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Lives cut short between desert and sea

· The Pope prays at Verano for deceased migrants and asks for more streamlined procedures for receiving survivors ·

And at the Angelus he presents the saints not as superhuman but as persons who trusted Jesus

On Friday 1 November, the Solemnity of All Saints, Pope Francis prayed in a special way for migrants who were recently killed in the “cruel desert” of the Sahara and for Christians who were slaughtered in the Syrian village of Sadad. This came on a day that commemorates all those who have preceded us to the “shores” where “the anchor of Christian hope”. This hope was symbolically represented at Verano by red rose placed on one of the historic tombs at the Roman cemetery, where Pope Francis celebrated the Holy Mass for the faithful departed, taking up an ancient tradition that was interrupted twenty years ago.

The Holy preached extemporaneously about Heaven and the hope we have of one day reaching its blessed shores. Drawing upon the day's first reading from the Book of Revelation, which recounts St John's vision of “a great multitude … standing before the throne of the Lamb,” Pope Francis said: “We can enter Heaven only thanks to the blood of the Lamb, thanks to the blood of Christ. It is the blood of Christ that justifies us, that opened Heaven's doors for us”. He continued: “And if today we remember our brothers and sisters who preceded us in life and who are in Heaven, it is because they have been washed in the blood of Christ. This is our hope: the hope of Christ's blood! This is hope that doe not disappoint”.

At the end of the Mass, after blessing the tombs, the Holy Father expressed his desire to pray particularly the brothers and sisters whose lives were cut short between desert and sea “as they sought freedom, and a more dignified life”. Pope Francis also remembered the survivors and expressed his hope that all legal procedures would be carried out with haste so that they might soon be welcomed in a stabler, more comfortable place.

At the noonday Angelus for All Saints, Pope Francis reminded the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square that the goal of our lives is nothing less than Heaven! Speaking extemporaneously, the Holy Father remarked that “the saints were not supermen, nor were they born perfect”. What led them to the heights of sanctity was knowing that they were loved by God, and “when they came to know God's love they followed him unconditionally, with all their hearts”. “They were men and women whose hearts were filled with joy and who shared this joy with others”. Pope Francis exhorted the faithful: “Never hate but rather serve others, serve those who are most in need; pray and live in joy; this is the road to holiness!”

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St. Peter’s Square

Nov. 19, 2019

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