by Iacopo Scaramuzzi, Vatican Insider
Vatican City, June 29, 2016 – Today the Pope prayed for peace in the wake yesterday’s airport attack in the Turkish city of Istanbul. “Dear brothers and sisters, yesterday evening, in Istanbul, a brutal terrorist attack was committed, which has killed and injured many people. We pray for the victims, for their families, and for the beloved people of Turkey. May the Lord convert the hearts of the violent, and sustain our feet on the way of peace,” the Pope said during his 29 June Angelus address after celebrating Mass for the solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul. “Let us all pray in silence,” Francis said, before reciting an Ave Maria with faithful in St. Peter’s Square.
Before the Marian prayer, the Pope talked to faithful about today’s Solemnity of Saints Peter and Pau, patron saints of Rome: “The Roman Catholic Church is founded on the faith of these two Apostles, whom it has always venerated as patron saints,” Francis said appearing at the window of the study in the Apostolic Palace. However, it is the entire universal Church that looks at them with admiration and considers them two pillars and beacons that shine not just in the Roman sky but in the hearts of faithful East and West. In the story that describes the mission of the Apostles,” Francis continued, “the Gospel tells us that Jesus sent them out in pairs. In a way, Peter and Paul were also sent from the Holy Land to Rome to preach the Gospel. The two men were very different from one another: Peter was a “humble fisherman”, Paul was a “master and a doctor”, as today’s liturgy says. But we owe the fact that we know Jesus and that the Christian faith is a living and fundamental part of the spiritual heritage and culture of this land, to the apostolic courage shown by these two sons of the Near East. They left their homelands and made their way to Rome, out of love for Christ, despite the difficulties that awaited them during the long journey and the risks and mistrust they were to come across along the way. Here, they proclaimed and bore witness to the Gospel among the faithful and sealed their mission of faith and charity with martyrdom. Today Peter and Paul are ideally among us once again, they wander the streets of thsi city, knocking on house doors but above all on the doors to our hearts. They wish to bring Jesus to people again, his merciful love, his consolation, his peace. We are so deeply in need of this! Let us embrace this message! Let us take heed of their testimony! Peter’s sincere and steadfast faith, Paul’s big and universal heart will help us to be joyous Christians, faithful to the Gospel and open to welcoming everyone.” After this morning’s mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, where Francis – in the presence of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, his “dearest brother Bartholomew” – blessed the pallia of new metropolitan archbishops nominated this year, he said: “Today, we entrust the whole world and the city of Rome in particular, to the Virgin Mary “Salus Populi Romani”, so that,” he underlined, “it may always find the rich spiritual and moral values it possesses, the basis of its social life and its mission in Italy, Europe and the world as a whole.”
After saying a prayer for the victims of the Istanbul airport attack, during the Angelus, Francis mentioned the Impact Inventing Conference hosted by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and Catholic Relief, which took place in recent days. The conference is titled “Making the Year of Mercy a Year of Impact for the Poor” “May those private and public investments help the many marginalised people out there overcome poverty,” Francis said.
The Pope ended his address by greeting faithful from all over the world, including Spain, Ukraine and China, first and then sent out a special greeting to the faithful of Rome on the feast of the city’s patron saints: “Rome’s Pro Loco sponsored the traditional ‘Infiorata,’ or flower art festival featuring flower carpets created by various artists and civil service volunteers. Thank you for this initiative and for the beautiful flower creations! I would also like to remind you that tonight there are going to be fireworks in the Piazza del Popolo. Proceeds will go to works of charity in the Holy Land and the Middle East.”