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Saint Peter's Square
Sunday, 30 April 2017



Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Dramatic news continues to reach us regarding the situation in Venezuela and the worsening of clashes there, with many people reported dead, injured and detained. I share in the pain of the families, to whom I ensure my prayers of intercession, and I appeal to the government and all the members of Venezuelan society to avoid any further forms of violence, to respect human rights and to negotiate solutions to the serious humanitarian, social, political and economic crisis that is exhausting the population. Let us entrust to the Most Holy Virgin Mary a prayer intention for peace, reconciliation and democracy in that dear country. And let us pray for all the countries that are beset by difficulties; I am thinking in particular in these days, of the Republic of Macedonia.

Leopoldina Naudet, Foundress of the Sisters of the Holy Family, was beatified yesterday [29 April] in Verona. She was brought up at the Court of Habsburg, first in Florence and then in Vienna, and, even as a girl, possessed a strong vocation to prayer and to the educational field. She was consecrated to God and, following various experiences, succeeded in establishing a new religious community in Verona, under the protection of the Holy Family, which is still active in the Church today. Let us join them in their joy and their thanksgiving.

Today, Italy marks the Day of the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart. I encourage you to support this important institution which continues to invest in the formation of young people in order to improve the world.

Christian formation is based on the Word of God. For this reason, I would also like to recall that “Biblical Sunday” is taking place in Poland today. Part of the Holy Scripture is read out in public in parish churches, schools and over the media. I wish all the best for this initiative.

And you, dear friends from Catholic Action, at the end of this encounter, I sincerely thank you for coming! And through you, I also greet all your parish groups, families, children and young people and the elderly. Keep moving forward!

I extend my greetings to the pilgrims who have joined us at this time for the Marian Prayer, especially those who have come from Spain, Croatia, Germany, and Puerto Rico. Together, let us turn to our Mother Mary. Let us thank her particularly for the Apostolic Visit to Egypt which I have just completed. I ask the Lord to bless the entire Egyptian population, [which was] so welcoming, the authorities and the Christian and Muslim faithful. May He bring peace to that country.


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