Vatican City, 29 June 2015 (VIS) – At midday, after celebrating Holy Mass with the new metropolitan archbishops in the Vatican Basilica, the Pope appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.
“The solemnity of the Saints Peter and Paul is celebrated, as you know, by the universal Church, but it is lived with particular joy by the Church of Rome, as her foundations lie in their witness, sealed with blood. Rome nurtures a special affection and acknowledgement for these men of God, who came from a faraway and to announce, at the expense of their lives, the Gospel of Christ to Whom they were totally dedicated. The glorious legacy of these two apostles is a reason for spiritual pride for Rome and, at the same time, is a reminder to live Christian virtues and in particular faith and charity: faith in Jesus the Messiah and Son of God, that Peter professed first and Paul announced to the people; and charity, which this Church is called upon to serve with a universal outlook”.
“In the Angelus prayer”, he explained, “we associate the memory of Saints Peter and Paul with that of Mary, the living image of the Church, Christ's spouse, whom the two Apostles made fruitful with their blood”. Peter personally knew Mary and, conversing with her, especially in the days preceding Pentecost, he was able to deepen his knowledge of the mystery of Christ. Paul, in announcing the fulfilment of the salvific plan 'in the fullness of time', does not neglect to mention the 'woman' to whom the Son of God was born in time. In the evangelisation of the two apostles here in Rome there are also the roots of the Romans' deep, centuries-long devotion to the Holy Virgin, invoked in particular as Salus Populi Romani. Mary, Peter and Paul: they are our travelling companions in our search for God, they are our guides on the path of faith and holiness; they drive us towards Jesus, to do all that He asks of us. Let us invoke their help, so that our heart may always be open to the suggestions of the Holy Spirit and encounter with our brothers”.
Francis asked all those present to pray in a special way for Rome, for its spiritual and material well-being, and that divine grace might support the Roman people to live Christian faith fully. After the Marian prayer he reminded those present of his upcoming apostolic trip to Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay from 5 to 12 July, and again asked the faithful to accompany him in prayer to Our Lady during the trip.