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From conflict to encounter

· On arriving in Sarajevo the Pope encourages dialogue and cooperation in order to heal the wounds of the past ·

From the “Jerusalem of the West”, the ancient cradle of coexisting cultures, ethnicities and religions, Pope Francis admonished war, calling “patience and trust” essential to such dialogue in order to heal the wounds of the past. On arriving in Sarajevo — a city which still bears signs of destruction from the bloody conflict 20 years ago — the Pontiff urged the entire community of Bosnia and Herzegovina to look to the future with hope, setting aside ancient grievances. The Holy Father pointed to the “culture of encounter” as the only way to fight “the barbarity of those who would make of every difference the occasion and pretext for further unspeakable violence”.

To the members of the Presidency and the highest political, diplomatic, civil and religious authorities of the country — who met in the Presidential Palace on Saturday morning, 6 June, after arriving at the airport — Francis introduced himself “a pilgrim of peace and dialogue”. Recognizing the progress made since the 1995 agreement in Dayton, the Pontiff explicitly asked the international community, especially Europe, to favour the already-begun peace process.

A horizon of trust which the Pope underlined once again during the Mass celebrated in Koševo Stadium in the presence of tens of thousands of people. After denouncing the horrors of war and admonishing the trafficking of arms, the Pontiff recalled that “crafting peace is a skilled work”. “It requires passion, patience, experience and tenacity” and must be sown with an attitude and action of service, brotherhood, dialogue and mercy. It is a work “to be carried forward each day, step by step, without ever growing tired. making peace is the work of artisans”.

The address to authorities 

The homily at the Koševo Stadium 

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St. Peter’s Square

Oct. 17, 2018

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