· Vatican City ·

Angelus Message

The Cross, a bridge between the past and the future

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17 September 2021

At the end of Holy Mass, Pope Francis recited the Sunday Angelus with the faithful gathered in Heroes’ Square. The following is the English text of the reflection he shared with them after the Marian prayer.

Dear brothers and sisters,

The word “Eucharist” means “thanksgiving”, and at the end of this celebration that concludes the Eucharistic Congress and my visit to Budapest, I want to thank you from my heart. I thank the great Hungarian Christian family, which I would like to embrace in its rites, its history, its brothers and sisters, both Catholic and those of other confessions: all journeying towards full unity. I cordially greet my Brother, Patriarch Bartholomew, who honours us with his presence. I particularly thank my beloved brother Bishops, the priests, the men and women religious and all of you, dear faithful! I greatly thank those who worked so hard for the Eucharistic Congress and today’s celebration.

In renewing my gratitude to the civil and religious authorities who welcomed me, I want to say köszönöm [thank you]: thank you to you, the people of Hungary. The official song of the Congress has reminded you: “For a thousand years the cross was the column of your salvation. Now may the sign of Christ be for you also the promise of a better future”. This is what I wish for you: that the cross be your bridge between the past and the future. Religious sentiment has been the lifeblood of this nation, so attached to its roots. Yet the cross, planted in the ground, not only invites us to be well-rooted, it also raises and extends its arms towards everyone. The cross urges us to keep our roots firm, but without defensiveness; to draw from the wellsprings, opening ourselves to the thirst of the men and women of our time. My wish is that you be like that: grounded and open, rooted and considerate. Isten éltessen! [God bless you!] The “Mission Cross” is the symbol of this Congress: may it lead you to proclaim with your lives the liberating Gospel of God’s boundless love for each person. Amid the present-day famine of love, men and women long for this nourishment.

Today in Warsaw, not far from here, two individuals who bore witness to the Gospel are being beatified: Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński and Elizabeth Czacka, Foundress of the Franciscan Sisters Servants of the Cross. Both were familiar with the Cross first-hand. Cardinal Wyszyński, the Primate of Poland, who was arrested and imprisoned, was always a courageous Pastor according to the heart of Christ and a herald of freedom and human dignity. Sister Elizabeth, who as a young girl lost her sight, devoted her whole life to assisting the blind. May the example of these new Blesseds encourage us to transform darkness into light with the power of love.

Finally, on this day when we venerate the Most Holy Name of Mary, let us pray the Angelus. In ancient times, out of respect, Hungarians did not pronounce the name of Mary, but called her by the same honorific title used for the queen. May “the Blessed Queen, your ancient patron” accompany you and bless you! From this great city, my blessing goes out to everyone, in particular to children and young people, the elderly and the sick, the poor and the marginalized. With you and for you I say: Isten, áldd meg a magyart! [May God bless the Hungarian people!]