Pope Francis Remembers Trip and Year of St. Joseph

Remarks After Praying Angelus with Faithful in St. Peter’s Square

Pope Francis Trip
(C) Vatican Media

Pope Francis today looked back on his just-completed trip to Cyprus and Greece and marked the close of the Year of St. Joseph.

His remarks came after praying the noonday Angelus with the faithful in St. Peter’s Square.

“Two days ago I returned from my journey to Cyprus and Greece,” the Pope said. “I thank the Lord for this pilgrimage; I thank all of you for the prayer that accompanied me, and the populations of those two dear countries, along with their civil and religious leaders, for the affection and kindness with which they welcomed me. To all of you, I say again: thank you!”

The Holy Father also noted the close of the year dedicated to Saint Joseph:

“Today marks the end of the Year dedicated to Saint Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church. And the day after tomorrow, 10 December, the Jubilee of Loreto will come to a close. May the grace of these events continue to work in our lives and in the lives of our communities. May the Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph guide us on the path to holiness!”

Pope Francis made further comments on his recent apostolic journey:

“Cyprus is a pearl in the Mediterranean, a pearl of rare beauty, which however bears the wound of barbed wire, the suffering of a wall that divides her. In Cyprus I felt at home; I found brothers and sisters in everyone. I hold in my heart every encounter, in particular the Mass in the stadium of Nicosia. I was moved by the dear Orthodox Brother Chrysostomos when he spoke to me about the Mother Church: as Christians, we follow different paths, but we are children of the Church of Jesus, that is a Mother, and accompanies and keeps us, that keeps us going, all as brothers and sisters. My hope for Cyprus is that it may always be a laboratory of brotherhood, where encounter prevails over confrontation, where we welcome our brother and sister, especially when he or she is poor, discarded, a migrant. I repeat that faced with history, before the faces of those who emigrate, we cannot remain silent, we cannot turn away.

“In Cyprus, as in Lesvos, I was able to look into the eyes of this suffering: please, let us look into the eyes of the discarded people we meet, let us be provoked by the faces of children, children of desperate migrants. Let us allow ourselves to be moved by their suffering in order to react to our indifference; let us look at their faces, to awaken us from the slumber of habit!

“Then I think with gratitude of Greece. There too I received a fraternal welcome. In Athens, I felt immersed in the greatness of history, in the memory of Europe: humanism, democracy, wisdom, faith. There too I experienced the mystique of wholeness: in the meeting with my brother Bishops and the Catholic community, in the festive Mass celebrated on the Lord’s Day, and then with the young people who had come from so many places, some from very far away, to live and share the joy of the Gospel. And again, I experienced the gift of embracing dear the Orthodox Archbishop Hieronymos: first, he welcomed me into his home, and the next day he came to visit me. I cherish this fraternity in my heart. I entrust to the Holy Mother of God the many seeds of encounter and hope that the Lord has scattered on this pilgrimage. I ask you to continue to pray that they may germinate in patience and flourish in trust.”