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Palm Sunday 2014 & the 29th World Youth Day

XXIX WYD Message: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven” (Mt 5, 13)      

Pope Francis's Homily at Mass in St Peter's Square
St Peter's Square, Sunday 13 April 2014 - in Arabic, English, French, German, Italian, PolishPortuguese & Spanish

"This week begins with the festive procession with olive branches: the entire populace welcomes Jesus. The children and young people sing , praising Jesus.

But this week continues in the mystery of Jesus’ death and his resurrection. We have just listened to the Passion of our Lord. We might well ask ourselves just one question: Who am I? Who am I, before my Lord? Who am I, before Jesus who enters Jerusalem amid the enthusiasm of the crowd? Am I ready to express my joy, to praise him? Or do I stand back? Who am I, before the suffering Jesus?

We have just heard many, many names. The group of leaders, some priests, the Pharisees, the teachers of the law, who had decided to kill Jesus. They were waiting for the chance to arrest him. Am I like one of them?

We have also heard another name: Judas. Thirty pieces of silver. Am I like Judas? We have heard other names too: the disciples who understand nothing, who fell asleep while the Lord was suffering. Has my life fallen asleep? Or am I like the disciples, who did not realize what it was to betray Jesus? Or like that other disciple, who wanted to settle everything with a sword? Am I like them? Am I like Judas, who feigns loved and then kisses the Master in order to hand him over, to betray him? Am I a traitor? Am I like those people in power who hastily summon a tribunal and seek false witnesses: am I like them? And when I do these things, if I do them, do I think that in this way I am saving the people?

Am I like Pilate? When I see that the situation is difficult, do I wash my hands and dodge my responsibility, allowing people to be condemned – or condemning them myself?

Am I like that crowd which was not sure whether they were at a religious meeting, a trial or a circus, and then chose Barabbas? For them it was all the same: it was more entertaining to humiliate Jesus.

Am I like the soldiers who strike the Lord, spit on him, insult him, who find entertainment in humiliating him?

Am I like the Cyrenean, who was returning from work, weary, yet was good enough to help the Lord carry his cross?

Am I like those who walked by the cross and mocked Jesus: “He was so courageous! Let him come down from the cross and then we will believe in him!”. Mocking Jesus….
Am I like those fearless women, and like the mother of Jesus, who were there, and who suffered in silence?

Am I like Joseph, the hidden disciple, who lovingly carries the body of Jesus to give it burial?

Am I like the two Marys, who remained at the Tomb, weeping and praying?

Am I like those leaders who went the next day to Pilate and said, “Look, this man said that he was going to rise again. We cannot let another fraud take place!”, and who block life, who block the tomb, in order to maintain doctrine, lest life come forth?

Where is my heart? Which of these persons am I like? May this question remain with us throughout the entire week."

Papa Francesco's words at the Angelus in St Peter's Square
Palm Sunday, 13th April 2014 - in Croatian, English, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

"At the conclusion of this celebration, I extend a special greeting to the 250 delegates — bishops, priests, religious and laity — who have participated in World Youth Days organized by the Pontifical Council for the Laity. Thus begins the journey of preparation for the next worldwide gathering, which will take place in July 2016 in Krakow and will take the theme: “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall find mercy” (Mt 5:7).

In a moment, the Brazilian youth will hand on the World Youth Day Cross to the Polish youth. Blessed Pope John Paul II entrusted the cross to youth 30 years ago: he asked them to carry it throughout the world as a sign of Christ’s love for humanity.

This 27 April we will all have the joy of celebrating the canonization of this Pope, together with John XXIII. John Paul II, who initiated World Youth Day, shall become its great patron; in the Communion of Saints he will continue to be a father and friend to the young people of the world.

Let us ask the Lord that the Cross, together with the Icon of Mary Salus Populi Romani, may be a sign of hope for everyone, by revealing to the world the invincible love of Christ.

The World Youth Day Cross and Icon were passed from the hands of Brazilian youth to those of the Polish young people, who will carry the beloved symbols to Krakow for WYD 2016.

I greet all the Romans and the pilgrims! In a special way I greet the delegations from Rio de Janeiro and Krakow who are being led by their Archbishops, Cardinal Orani João Tempesta and Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz.

Within this context it is my joy to announce that, please God, next 15 August, in Daejeon, in the Republic of Korea, I will meet with the youth of Asia in their great continental gathering.

And now let us turn to the Virgin Mother, that she may help us always to follow in faith the example of Jesus.

Angelus Domini ..."

Catechesis by Pope Francis in Holy Week
General Audience, 16th April 2014 - in Arabic, Croatian, English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese & Spanish

"Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!
Today, midway through Holy Week, the liturgy presents us with a regrettable episode: the account of the betrayal of Judas, who goes to the leaders of the Sanhedrin to bargain for and deliver his Master to them: “What will you give me if I deliver him to you?”. At that moment, a price was set on Jesus. This tragic act marks the beginning of Christ’s Passion, a dolorous path which he chooses with absolute freedom. He himself says it clearly: “I lay down my life.... No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again” (Jn 10:17-18). And thus by this betrayal Jesus’ journey of humiliation and despoliation begins. As though he were an article for sale: this one costs 30 pieces of silver.... Once he has taken the path of humiliation and self-abandonment, Jesus travels along it to the very end.

Jesus attains complete humiliation through “death on the Cross”. It was the worst form of death, that reserved for slaves and criminals. Jesus was considered a prophet but he died like a criminal. As we contemplate Jesus in his Passion, we see reflected the suffering of humanity, and we discover the divine answer to the mystery of evil, suffering and death. Many times we feel horror at the evil and suffering that surrounds us and we ask ourselves: “Why does God allow it?”. It deeply wounds us to see suffering and death, especially that of the innocent! When we see children suffer it wounds our hearts: it is the mystery of evil. And Jesus takes all of this evil, all of this suffering upon himself. This week it would benefit all of us to look at the crucifix, to kiss the wounds of Jesus, to kiss them on the crucifix. He took upon himself all human suffering, he clothed himself in this suffering.

We expect God in His omnipotence to defeat injustice, evil, sin and suffering with a triumphant divine victory. Yet God shows us a humble victory that, in human terms, appears to be failure. We can say that God conquers in failure! Indeed, the Son of God appears on the Cross as a defeated man: he suffers, is betrayed, reviled and finally dies. But Jesus allows evil to be unleashed on him and he takes it upon himself in order to conquer it. His Passion is not an accident: his death — that death — was “written”. Truly we cannot find many explanations. It is a puzzling mystery, the mystery of God’s great humility: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son” (Jn 3:16). This week let us think deeply about the suffering of Jesus and let us say to ourselves: this is for my sake. Even if I had been the only person in the world, he would have done it. He did it for me. Let us kiss the crucifix and say: for my sake, thank you Jesus, for me.

When all seems lost, when no one remains, for they will strike “the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered” (Mt 26:31), it is then that God intervenes with the power of his Resurrection. The Resurrection of Jesus is not the happy ending to a nice story, it is not the “happy end” of a film; rather, it is God the Father’s intervention there where human hope is shattered. At the moment when all seems to be lost, at the moment of suffering, when many people feel the need to get down from the Cross, it is the moment closest to the Resurrection. Night becomes darkest precisely before morning dawns, before the light dawns. In the darkest moment God intervenes and raises.

Jesus, who chose to pass by this way, calls us to follow him on his own path of humiliation. When at certain moments in life we fail to find any way out of our difficulties, when we sink in the thickest darkness, it is the moment of our total humiliation and despoliation, the hour in which we experience that we are frail and are sinners. It is precisely then, at that moment, what we must not deny our failure but rather open ourselves trustingly to hope in God, as Jesus did. Dear brothers and sisters, this week it will do us good to take the crucifix in hand and kiss it many, many times and say: thank you Jesus, thank you Lord. So be it."


"Je vous salue bien cordialement chers pèlerins de langue française, en particulier les jeunes venus d’Alsace et de Suisse. Je vous invite à vivre avec ferveur cette semaine sainte, dans la certitude que Dieu nous rejoint dans nos souffrances et nos épreuves. Que la Vierge Marie, pleine de grâce, vous accompagne sur le chemin de dépouillement et d’amour de Jésus.

I greet all the English-speaking pilgrims taking part in today’s Audience, including those from England, Australia, Canada and the United States. My particular greeting goes to the delegation from the NATO Defense College and to the many young people present. Upon all of you, and upon your families, I invoke the gifts of the Spirit for a fruitful celebration of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of the Lord. God bless you all!

Ein herzliches Willkommen sage ich allen Pilgern und Besuchern deutscher Sprache, besonders den zahlreichen Jugendlichen und Schülern. Wir wollen uns auf Ostern vorbereiten, indem wir Jesus unsere Herzen öffnen, um Vergebung bitten für unsere Fehler und uns seiner Leitung anvertrauen. Euch und euren Familien erbitte ich den Segen und die Gnade des Herrn. Frohe Ostern!

Saludo a los peregrinos de lengua española, en especial a los grupos venidos de España, lleno de banderas, Puerto Rico, Guatemala, México, Uruguay – ví varios mates por ahí -, Argentina y otros países latinoamericanos. Invito a todos a vivir esta Pascua con la certeza de que, en Jesús, Dios nos ama y nos perdona. Pido a la Virgen María, nuestra Madre, que nos acompañe en el camino de la cruz y del amor que Cristo nos enseña. Muchas gracias.

De coração saúdo todos os peregrinos de língua portuguesa, com menção particular do Colégio Nossa Senhora da Assunção. Tomai como amiga e modelo de vida a Virgem Maria, que permaneceu ao pé da cruz de Jesus, amando, também Ela, até ao fim. E quem ama passa da morte à vida. É o amor que faz a Páscoa. A todos vós e aos vossos entes queridos, desejo uma serena e santa Páscoa.

أُرحّبُ بالحجّاجِ الناطقينَ باللغةِ العربية، وخاصةً بالقادمينَ من الشرق الأوسط. لنَعِش أُسبوعَ الآلام بإتباع يسوع بالخروج من ذواتنا للقاء الآخرين، بالذهاب نحو إخوتنا وأخواتنا، لاسيما أولئك البعيدين والمنسيين والأكثر حاجة للتفهم والمؤاساة والمساعدة. أتمنى لكم فصحًا مجيدًا وليبارككم الله!

Pozdrawiam serdecznie wszystkich Polaków. Bracia i siostry, przed nami Triduum paschalne, które wprowadza nas w tajemnicę męki, śmierci i zmartwychwstania Chrystusa. Przypomina, że w ukrzyżowanym Synu Człowieczym, Bóg kocha nas wszystkich, przebacza, przygarnia do siebie. Niech radość wielkanocnego poranka będzie waszym udziałem, niech opromieni życie każdego z was nadzieją, ufnością i pokojem. Na radosną chwilę spotkania ze Zmartwychwstałym Panem, z serca wam błogosławię.

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Cari pellegrini di lingua italiana: benvenuti! Sono lieto di accogliere i partecipanti al Congresso UNIV per studenti universitari sull’ecologia della Persona e del suo ambiente, promosso dalla Prelatura dell’Opus Dei. Saluto i gruppi parrocchiali e le numerose Associazioni, in particolare la Comunità Romena in Italia. La visita alla Città Eterna in occasione della Santa Pasqua vi faccia riscoprire il senso cristiano della festa come momento di incontro con Dio e di gioia comunitaria con i fratelli.

Un pensiero speciale rivolgo ai giovani, agli ammalati e agli sposi novelli. Domani inizia il Triduo Pasquale, cuore dell’anno liturgico. Cari giovani, riflettete sul prezzo di sangue pagato dal Signore per la nostra salvezza. Cari malati, il Venerdì Santo vi insegni la pazienza nei momenti di croce. E voi, cari sposi novelli, riempite della gioia della Risurrezione le vostre mura domestiche."