Pope Francis appealed on Sunday (20th September) for a successful outcome to the ongoing peace talks between the Colombian government and representatives of the FARC rebels that are taking place in the Cuban capital. The Pope’s appeal came in his Angelus address following Mass on the first full day of his pastoral visit to Cuba. He spoke of the “crucial importance of this present moment” and prayed it may lead to a “definite reconciliation, saying we do not have the right to allow ourselves “yet another failure” on this path towards peace and reconciliation.
Please find below the English translation of the Pope’s Angelus Message delivered from Havana’s Revolution Square:
“I thank Cardinal Jaime Ortega y Alamino, Archbishop of Havana, for his kind words, and I greet all my brother bishops, priests, religious and lay faithful. I also greet the President and all the authorities present.
We have heard in the Gospel how the disciples were afraid to question Jesus when he spoke to them about his passion and death. He frightened them, and they could not grasp the idea of seeing Jesus suffer on the cross. We too are tempted to flee from our own crosses and those of others, to withdraw from those who suffer. In concluding this Holy Mass, in which Jesus has once more given himself to us in his body and blood, let us now lift our gaze to the Virgin Mary, our Mother. We ask her to teach us to stand beside the cross of our brothers and sisters who suffer. To learn to see Jesus in every person bent low on the path of life, in all our brothers and sisters who hunger or thirst, who are naked or in prison or sick. With Mary our Mother, on the cross we can see who is truly “the greatest” and what it means to stand beside the Lord and to share in his glory.
Let us learn from Mary to keep our hearts awake and attentive to the needs of others. As the wedding feast of Cana teaches us, let us be concerned for the little details of life, and let us not tire of praying for one another, so that no one will lack the new wine of love, the joy which Jesus brings us.
At this time I feel bound to direct my thoughts to the beloved land of Colombia, “conscious of the crucial importance of the present moment when, with renewed effort and inspired by hope, its sons and daughters are seeking to build a peaceful society”. May the blood shed by thousands of innocent people during long decades of armed conflict, united to that of the Lord Jesus Christ crucified, sustain all the efforts being made, including those on this beautiful island, to achieve definitive reconciliation. Thus may the long night of pain and violence can, with the support of all Colombians, become an unending day of concord, justice, fraternity and love, in respect for institutions and for national and international law, so that there may be lasting peace. Please, we do not have the right to allow ourselves yet another failure on this path of peace and reconciliation.
I ask you now to join with me in praying to Mary, that we may place all our concerns and hopes before the heart of Christ. We pray to her in a special way for those who have lost hope and find no reasons to keep fighting, and for those who suffer from injustice, abandonment and loneliness. We pray for the elderly, the infirm, children and young people, for all families experiencing difficulty, that Mary may dry their tears, comfort them with a mother’s love, and restore their hope and joy. Holy Mother, I commend to you these your sons and daughters in Cuba. May you never abandon them!”