Pope to Association of Saints Peter and Paul: Begin again, with hope in your hearts

Pope Francis meets with members of the Association of Saints Peter and Paul and urges them to continue in their mission, whilst always looking at Jesus with hope in their hearts.

By Francesca Merlo

Pope Francis on Saturday met with members of the association of Saints Peter and Paul, on the occasion of the association’s 50th anniversary. This association, the Pope notes, was “born thanks to the far-sighted intuition of St Paul VI”, who founded it in 1971 as a way to continue the legacy of ideals of the Palatine Guard.

A history of encounters

“It is good to see that, in this half century of life, you have gone from being a ‘palace honour guard’ to the honour of being ‘at the service’ of pilgrim humanity, thus bearing special witness to Christian life, apostolate and fidelity to the Apostolic See”, continued the Pope, addressing all those present in the Paul VI Hall in the Vatican. 

He asked the members what these 50 years of history represent, and noted that the title their magazine, named “incontro” (Italian for ‘encounter’) answers this question perfectly. “In fact”, continued the Pope, “your history is made up of continuous ‘encounters'”.

Pope Francis went on to note that “in the encounter there is always movement”, and that “if we all stand still, we will never meet.” This, according to the Pope is “the criterion that gives meaning to your daily commitment”. “Through your daily services you become artisans of encounter, bringing the warmth of Jesus’ kindness to those who enter St Peter’s Basilica, to those who need guidance, to those who need a smile to feel at home”, added the Pope. 

For the future

 

Pope Francis continued by sharing “a few points for the future” so that the service of this association may “continued to be a witness to those you meet”. He then summarised these points with the exhortation:

“Let us begin again with more humanity, looking to Jesus, with hope in our hearts”.

Let us begin again, repeated the Pope: “Certainly by treasuring what we have experienced, bearing in mind that we have all changed a little and, I hope, improved”.

He then moved on to Looking at Jesus. He stressed that today more than ever “we want to bear witness to our faith by proclaiming that our concrete life finds its roots in the humanity of Jesus”. The Pope explained that this means “knowing Him better, knowing how He led His existence, what He said, how He related to others”. 

And finally, the Pope turned to the concept of With hope in our hearts. “Hope must never be lacking in the believer’s journey”, he explained: We must walk sustained in Christ’s Word as it is the Word of life. 

The prayer

Bringing his discourse to a close, Pope Francis entrusted all the members and their families to Mary, before praying, together, the Prayer of the Association: 

“Holy Virgin and our most tender Mother, who was always faithful to God in the heroic fulfilment of your sublime mission, deh, please obtain for us that, following your example, we too may remain faithful in all the events of life to our Christian vocation and to the signs of divine grace. We have taken on sacrosanct commitments with our God: you implore us that our faith, threatened and fought against on every side, may never waver. We are children of the Church: grant that, steadfast in our ardent love for the Church herself and in devout obedience to her visible Head, we may glory in working hard and suffering generously.T hus, with your help, O Virgin Mary, having fulfilled our earthly day, we shall merit the immortal crown in heaven. Amen. Virgo Fidelis, ora pro nobis.”