Pope Francis thanks Greece for warm welcome

Pope Francis expresses his appreciation for the warm welcome he has received in Greece, and recalls that “thanksgiving” is at the heart of our Christian faith and life.

By Devin Watkins

As the Pope wrapped up Mass in Athens on Sunday, he thanked the people of Greece for welcoming him in their midst.

Using the Greek word for “thank you” (Ευχαριστώ), Pope Francis noted that the Greek language gave the entire Church a term to sum up the gift of Christ: Eucaristia, or Eucharist, “thanksgiving”.

“For us Christians, thanksgiving is at the heart of our faith and life,” said the Pope.

And he prayed that the Holy Spirit might “make of everything we are and everything we do a ‘Eucharist’, a thanksgiving to God and a gift of love to our brothers and sisters.”

Carrying Greece with him as he departs

With this grateful attitude in mind, the Pope expressed his appreciation to the Greek civil authorities and the nation’s Catholic bishops for their invitation and help in preparing his Apostolic Journey.

He also assured the nation of his continued care and concern.

“Tomorrow I will be leaving Greece, but I will not leave you!” said Pope Francis. “I will carry you with me in my memory and in my prayers. And I ask you too, please, to keep praying for me.”

Pope Francis returns to Rome on Monday morning, following a meeting in Athens with young people.