The Stewards of Saint Peter’s audience with our Holy Father Pope Francis last Thursday — the first since 2019 — was a truly beautiful experience. In addition to the excitement of being together for the first time in three years, the event was made special by the warmth of the Holy Father’s presence, the joy in his face despite the great physical pain he has been enduring, and most importantly, the gracious words he shared.
I think it’s important to take a moment to reflect on the appreciation and encouragement Pope Francis offered to the Stewards for the bold commitment to your shared mission, and just how touching and kind his words were. Here is his address below in its entirety:
Good morning and welcome! I am pleased to greet you, the Members, Trustees and Stewards of The Papal Foundation, and I extend my prayerful best wishes for your pilgrimage to Rome. It is good that we can meet this year in person, as restrictions put in place due to the Covid-19 pandemic have been somewhat eased.
Our time together affords me the opportunity to express my deep gratitude for the generous support you have provided both to me and to the Church in so many areas of the world. As we celebrate the Lord’s victory over sin and death and his gift of new life in this holy season of Easter, it is my hope that the joy of the resurrection will always fill your hearts, and that your visit to the tombs of the apostles and martyrs will enhance your fidelity to the Lord and his Church.
Over the years, The Papal Foundation has fostered on a global level the integral development of so many of our brothers and sisters. In particular, your response to the various requests that you receive for assistance with educational, charitable and ecclesial projects enables you to facilitate the Church’s ongoing efforts to build a culture of solidarity and peace. In this regard, your charitable outreach continues to extend to those on the peripheries of society who live in material, and frequently spiritual, poverty.
At the same time, as we are witnessing in these days the devastating effects of war and conflict, you increasingly see the need to provide care and humanitarian assistance to its victims, to refugees and to those forced to leave their homelands in search of a better and more secure future for themselves and their loved ones.
Your work helps to bring the love, hope and mercy that the Gospel proclaims to all who benefit from your generosity and commitment. For this I thank you, and I pray that you will be renewed in your zeal to serve our Lord in serving the least of our brothers and sisters, as Jesus himself told us (cf. Mt 25:40).
From its inception, solidarity with the Successor of Peter has been a hallmark of The Papal Foundation. I ask you, please, to pray for me and for my ministry, for the needs of the Church, the spread of the Gospel and the conversion of hearts. Entrusting all of you, together with your families, to the loving intercession of Mary, Mother of the Church, I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of joy and peace in Christ our Risen Saviour.