Vatican City, 2 May 2015 (VIS) – More than seven thousand faithful of the diocese of Isernia-Venafro, which the Pope visited in July last year, were received in audience in the Vatican by the Holy Father this morning. Francis thanked them for the warmth and joy with which they welcomed him, without neglecting to mention the serious difficulties that continue to afflict the area, which he spoke about during his visit.
The Pontiff mentioned first of all the chronic unemployment that especially affects the youngest generations, who increasingly leave the area for other countries, and he also underlined that lack of adequate services to respond to the effective needs of the population. “Faced with this worrying scenario, a general mobilisation is necessary, to unite the strengths of the population, the institutions, private entities and various civil bodies”, he affirmed. “It is not possible to defer the concrete steps that need to be taken to favour the creation of new jobs, thus offering the young the possibility of realising their potential through honest work”.
The diocese is celebrating, on the other hand, a jubilee year dedicated to Pope Celestine V, originally from the region, which offers the opportunity for a new missionary impulse in order to go “beyond a static religious reality” and to “return to Christ, to the Gospel; to be reconciled with God and neighbour. And thus there is reborn the desire to bring His love to all, especially those who are alone, marginalised, humiliated by suffering and by social injustice; to the many who, tired of human words, feel a profound nostalgia for God”. The jubilee year will also provide a preparatory stage for the extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, and the parishes, where “ecclesial communion finds its most immediate and visible expression”, is called upon to be the “privileged place for listening to and announcing the Gospel; a house of prayer around the Eucharist; a true school of communion, where the ardour of charity prevails over the temptation to a superficial and arid religiosity”.
“When difficulties seem to obscure the prospects for a better future, when we experience failure and emptiness around us, it is the moment of Christian hope, based in the Risen Lord and accompanied by charitable strength towards those most in need. This is how your diocesan path, already admirably orientated to this way of charity, can involve more people and more social and institutional bodies in assisting those who are homeless or jobless, as well as those who are affected by forms of poverty both old and new, not only in order to take care of their urgent needs but also to build alongside them a more welcoming society, more respectful of diversity, more just and fraternal. … Problems can be overcome with solidarity. I encourage you, therefore, to be witnesses of solidarity in your cities and towns, at work, at school, in your families, and in the places where you meet”.
Finally, Francis commended all those present to Our Lady and the saints of Molise and Abruzzo, so they might be “supported by these powerful intercessors”, in order to look “without fear and with hope to your future and that of your land”.