What a great celebration on Sunday afternoon for the pastoral visit of Pope Francis to the Parish of San Giuseppe all’Aurelio in Rome! Upon his arrival, greeted by the crowds who were waiting for him, Pope Francis received a Roma family the Parish knows and has helped for many years and a delegation of children of the School of Peace of the area, together with the Youth for Peace. The School of Peace gathers together many children of the neighbourhood, including a number of children from a residence belonging to the Municipality of Rome where several poorer families are temporarily sheltered. Pope Francis wanted to meet them, greeting them all lovingly, one by one, addressing words of hope and encouragement to them. “I wish you the best, that there always be peace for your family, and work and joy. And never lose hope. Because hope is the Lord and the Lord never disappoints”, the Pope said. And then he added: “I wish to conclude with a word of thanks. I thank those who do the School of Peace. It is a very important seed that will bear fruits in time. What you do, all over the world, is very important because you sow a seed that will bear fruit in the lives of the children. You need to work with hope and patience. You need patience, but yours is a great effort”.
Pope Francis then said a prayer with those who were present, visibly moved and excited, and he blessed them.
The pastoral visit of Pope Francis to the Parish of San Giuseppe took place on the 3rd Sunday of Advent, called Gaudete, the Sunday of joy.
And Christian joy was the focus of Pope Francis’ homily during the Mass. “Christian joy is a gift of the Lord – he said – and to have this joy, one needs to pray, to give thanks and give others the good news. This is the vocation of Christians: prayer, thanksgiving and help for the poor. This is our way to Christmas”.