Vatican City ( AsiaNews) - "In this month of October, which is especially dedicated to the missions, we think of many missionaries, men and women, who have overcome obstacles of all kinds to proclaim the Gospel, who have really given their lives; as St. Paul says to Timothy: So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord, nor of me, a prisoner for his sake; but bear your share of hardship for the gospel with the strength that comes from God" ( 2 Tim 1:8 ) " . At the Sunday Angelus , with tens of thousands of pilgrims in St Peter's Square , referring to the liturgy of the day (XVII Sunday during the year , C ) , Pope Francis recalled the tradition of dedicating the month of October to mission and of the universal Churches' solidarity with missionaries. In fact , the month of October begins with the memory of St. Therese of Lisieux , Carmelite patroness of the missions and in one of last Sundays we celebrate World Mission Day , which falls on October 20.
Knowing about the missions is
always a way to develop one's own missionary activity. Francis
himself added: " However, this affects all of us: each of us , in our daily
lives, can bear witness to Christ , by the power of God, the power of faith
The Pope continued: "And how do we draw strength? From God in prayer . Prayer is the breath of faith : in a relationship of trust , love , that cannot lack dialogue , and prayer is the dialogue of the soul with God. October is also the month of the Rosary , and on this first Sunday it is traditional to recite the Supplication to our Lady of Pompeii , the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Rosary. We unite ourselves spiritually in this act of faith in our Mother , and receive from her hands the crown of the Rosary: It is a school of prayer, a school of faith . "
Previously, recalling the Gospel of the day, in which the disciples ask, " Increase our faith! '" (Luke 17:5-6 ), the Pope said that this is also our question in the Year of Faith : "Yes, Lord , our faith is small , our faith is weak, fragile , but I offer it as it is, for you to make it grow . Once again all together : Lord, increase our faith! ." And invited all the faithful to repeat this three times.
He adds: "And what does the Lord respond? He responds : " If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to (this) mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it would obey you"(v. 6 ) . The mustard seed is very small , but Jesus says that even such a small, but real, sincere, faith, can do humanly impossible , unthinkable things. And it's true ! We all know simple, humble , people but with a very strong faith , who really can move mountains ! I think about the mothers and fathers who face very hard situations or certain sick people, some even very serious, who convey serenity to those who visit them. These people, because of their faith, do not boast of what do, indeed, as requested by Jesus in the Gospel , they say : " We are useless servants . We did what we had to do" ( Luke 17:10 ) . " " How many people among us have this strong, humble, faith that does so much good ! "
The pontiff began his speech before the Angelus , " thanking God " for his pilgrimage to Assisi . "Just think - he said - it was my first time in Assisi and a great gift to make this pilgrimage on the feast of St. Francis ."
After the Marian prayer , Francis began by noting that " yesterday, Rolando Rivi was beatified in Modena, a seminarian from Emilia , who was killed in 1945 at 14, out of hatred for his faith , guilty only of wearing a cassock in that period of violence unleashed against the clergy, who raised his voice to condemn the massacres in the name of God the immediate postwar period . But faith in Jesus overcomes the spirit of the world ! Let us thank God for this young martyr, for his heroic witness of the Gospel". The Pope added: "Young people under 14 now have an example in him, he knew what was important , full of courage."
"Together with you all - he added immediately after - I would like to remember the people who have lost their lives in Lampedusa last Thursday. Let us all pray in silence for these our brothers and sisters , men, women , children. Let our hearts cry. Let us pray in silence" . On 3 October, about a mile from the island of Lampedusa a boat carrying about 500 refugees sunk. Many of them, perhaps 300, were trapped and drowned.
Benedict XVI invited families and communities to pray the Rosary throughout October, a month dedicated also to the missions, which have as their patroness St Thérèse of the Child Jesus. The pope mentioned meeting the patriarch of Baghdad and also drew attention to degraded urban suburbs.