Vatican City, 22 September 2013 (VIS) – At 10 o'clock in the morning, after greeting the political representatives who awaited him, the Holy Father entered the shrine of Our Lady of Bonaria and met with a group of sick people. At 10.45 he proceeded to the square adjacent to the shrine where he presided over the celebration of the Holy Mass along with Archbishop Arrigo Miglio of Cagliari. In his homily, the Pope alluded again to unemployment, precariousness and uncertainty regarding the future suffered by the inhabitants of Sardinia. “The loyal cooperation of everyone is necessary, with the commitment of leaders of institutions — even within the Church — to ensure the fundamental rights of persons and families, and to grow more fraternal and united. To ensure the right to work, to bring home bread, bread earned through work!”
Francis assured those present of his nearness and encouraged them to “persevere in your testimony of human and Christian values, so deeply rooted in faith and in the history of this land and population. Always keep the light of hope alive!” He went on to reiterate how “Mary teaches us to have complete trust in God, in His mercy” and the importance of encountering the gaze of Mary, as there we find reflected the gaze of the Father, who made her the Mother of God, and the gaze of the Son from the cross, who made her our Mother. “With this gaze Mary watches over us today. We need her tender gaze, her maternal gaze that knows us better than anyone else, her gaze full of compassion and care”.
Francis urged Sardinians, in spite of their difficulties, not to forget that they are not alone, that they are a united people and, walking together, they may learn to look upon each other under with the fraternal gaze Mary teaches us. “She invites us to become true brothers”, he continued. “Let us not allow anything to come between us and the gaze of the Virgin!. … Let us not be robbed of her gaze!”
At the end of the eucharistic celebration the Holy Father prayed the Angelus with the faithful and pilgrims present, whom he entrusted to the Virgin of Bonaria. He recalled all the Marian sanctuaries present in Sardinia and the strong bond with Mary expressed in Sardinian devotion and culture. He urged them to always be “true children of Mary and of the Church, and demonstrate this in your life, following the example of the saints”. The Pope concluded by mentioning the beatification in Bergamo on Saturday of the Capuchin friar Tommaso Acerbis da Olera.