Vatican City, 21 June 2014 (VIS) – During his journey from Cassano all'Jonio to Sibari, a distance of slightly less than twenty kilometres, the Pope stopped in the parish of San Giuseppe where, on 3 May last year, the priest Lazzaro Longobardi was murdered. Bishop Nunzio Galantino, secretary of the Italian Episcopal Conference, described him as “a martyr to charity”.
The Holy Father arrived at Marina de Sibari at 4 p.m. and, after greeting the numerous faithful awaiting him, he celebrated the Holy Mass of Corpus Domini, commenting that while on Holy Thursday we celebrate the institution of the Eucharist in the Last Supper, Corpus Domini is a feast primarily of thanksgiving and adoration.
“Indeed, the procession with the Most Holy Sacrament is traditional on this day”, he explained. “Adoring Jesus Christ and walking with Him. These are the two inseparable aspects of this feast day, which characterise all the life of the Christian people: a people who adore God and a people who walk, who do not stay in one place, who walk!”
First of all we are people who adore God. We adore God Who is love, Who in Jesus Christ gave Himself for us, Who offered Himself on the Cross to expiate our sins, and through the power of this love, rose from the dead and lives in His Church. We have no God other than Him! When, instead, we substitute adoration of the Lord with adoration of money, the way opens to sin, to personal interest and abuse; when one no longer adores God, the Lord, one becomes an adorer of evil, like those who live through dishonesty and violence. Your land, so beautiful, knows the signs and the consequences of this sin. The 'ndrangheta is this: adoration of evil and disdain for the common good. We must fight this evil and expel it. We must say no!”, he exclaimed. “The Church, who is so committed to educating consciences, must make increasing efforts to ensure that good may prevail. We ask this of our boys and girls, our young people in need of hope. To be able to respond to these needs, faith can help us. Those who follow this path of evil in life, as the mafiosi do, are not in communion with God: they are excommunicated!”
“Today we confess with our gaze turned to the Corpus Domini, to the Sacrament on the altar. And for this faith we renounce Satan and all his seductions; we renounce the idols of money, vanity, pride, power, violence. We Christians do not wish to worship anything or anyone else in this world other than Jesus Christ, Who is present in the holy Eucharist”.
“Perhaps we do not always fully realise the meaning of this: of what consequences our profession of faith has or should have”, remarked the Pontiff. “This, our faith in the real presence of Jesus Christ … in the consecrated bread and wine is authentic if we make an effort to walk behind Him and with Him. To worship is to walk; a people who worships is a people who walks, seeking to put into practice the commandment He gave to His disciples at the Last Supper: 'as I have loved you, so you must love one another'. A people that loves God in the Eucharist is a people who walks in charity. Worship God in the Eucharist, walk with God in fraternal charity”.
“Today, as bishop of Rome, I am here to confirm you not only in faith but also in charity, to accompany you and encourage you on your path with Jesus Charity. … I extend my support to all the pastors and faithful of the Church in Calabria, courageously committed to evangelisation and promoting styles of life and initiatives centred on the needs of the poor and the least among us. And I extend this also to the civil authorities who endeavour to live their political and administrative commitment for what it is, a service to the common good. I encourage all of you to bear witness to concrete solidarity with your brothers and sisters, especially with those most in need of justice, hope and tenderness”.
Francis went on to thank God for all the signs of hope that can be seen in families, parishes, associations, and ecclesial movements in Calabria, and urged the young not to be robbed of their hope as, “adoring Jesus in your hearts and staying united with Him you will be able to oppose evil, injustice and violence with the strength of goodness, truth, and beauty”.
“The Body of the Lord makes us one entity, one family, the People of God reunited around Jesus, the Bread of life. What I have said to the young I say to all of you: if you worship Christ and walk behind Him and with Him, your diocesan Church and your parishes will grow in faith and charity, in the joy of evangelisation. You will be a Church in which fathers, mothers, priests, religious, catechists, children, the elderly, and the young all walk one next to the other, they support each other, they help each other, and they love each other like brothers, especially in moments of difficulty. May Mary, our mother, the Eucharistic woman you venerate in many shrines, especially in that of Castrovillari, precede you in this pilgrimage of faith”, he concluded.
At 5.30 p.m., after the Eucharist, the Pope transferred to the heliport next to the sports field, departing at 6 p.m. and landing an hour and a half later.