Vatican City, 5 May 2013 (VIS) – “Today, the National Day of Children Victims of Violence, I give a special greeting to the 'Meter' Association. This gives me the opportunity to turn my thoughts to all those who have suffered and who are suffering because of abuse. I want to assure them that they are present in my prayers but I also want to forcefully state that we must all commit ourselves with clarity and courage so that every human person, especially children who are among the most vulnerable, be always defended and protected.” These were the Pope's words before praying the Regina Coeli with the numerous faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square, many of whom were with confraternities on pilgrimage to Rome for the Year of Faith.
The Holy Father also noted, in the context of that pilgrimage, that love for the Virgin “is one of the characteristics of popular piety that must be esteemed and well-ordered. That is why I invite those present to reflect on the final chapter of the Vatican II Constitution on the Church, 'Lumen Gentium', that speaks precisely of Mary in the mystery of Christ and the Church. It says that Mary 'advanced in her pilgrimage of faith'. …. In the Year of Faith I leave you this icon of Mary the pilgrim, who follows Jesus the Son, and precedes all of us in the journey of faith.”
Then, explaining that the Oriental Churches that follow the Julian Calendar are celebrating Easter today, he sent a special greeting to them, joining with all of them to proclaim “the joyful news: Christ is risen! Gathered together around Mary in prayer, we ask God for the gift of the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, who may console and comfort all Christians, especially those who are celebrating Easter through trials and suffering, and guide us on the path of reconciliation and peace.”
He also mentioned yesterday's beatification, in Brazil, of of Francisca de Paula de Jesus, known as “Nha Chica” saying, “her simple life was dedicated to God and charity, in fact, they called her 'mother of the poor'. I join in with the joy of the Church in Brazil for this luminous disciple of the Lord.”
Likewise he affectionately greeted all the confraternities present, “coming from many countries. Thank you for your witness of faith! I also greet the parish groups and families, as well as the grand parade of various military bands and associations coming from Germany.”