After Holy Mass in Marseille’s Vélodrome Stadium on Saturday, 23 September, Pope Francis gave some final remarks to conclude his brief Apostolic Journey to Marseille. He invited the faithful to pray for peace, and he remembered the victims of the terrorist attack in Nice on 14 July 2016. “Let us prayerfully remember all those who lost their lives in that tragedy, as well as in all the terrorist acts that have been perpetrated in France and in every part of the world”, he said. The following is the English text of the Holy Father’s words.
I thank you, Your Eminence, for your words and I thank you all, brothers and sisters, for your presence and for your prayers: thank you!
Having now come to the end of this Visit, I would like to express my gratitude for the warm welcome I received, as well as for all the work and preparation that went into it. I thank the President of the Republic and, through him, I extend cordial greetings to all the men and women of France. I greet the Prime Minister who came to welcome me at the airport and I also greet the authorities present, in particular the Mayor of Marseille.
I embrace the entire Church of Marseille, with its parishes and religious communities, its numerous educational institutions and its charitable organizations. This Archdiocese was the first in the world to be consecrated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, during an outbreak of the plague in 1720. It is therefore in your hearts to be signs of God’s tender love, also in the midst of today’s “epidemic of indifference”. Thank you for your gentle and committed service, which bears witness to the closeness and compassion of the Lord!
Several of you have come here from various parts of France: merci à vous! I would like to greet the brothers and sisters from Nice, accompanied by their Bishop and Mayor. I recall the terrible attack of 14 July 2016, of which you are survivors. Let us prayerfully remember all those who lost their lives in that tragedy, as well as in all the terrorist acts that have been perpetrated in France and in every part of the world. Terrorism is cowardly. Let us not tire of praying for peace in war-torn regions, and especially for the war-torn people of Ukraine.
I send my heartfelt greetings to the sick, to children and the elderly, who are the memory of civilization. I think especially of those in difficulty and all workers in this city: Jacques Loew, France’s first worker-priest, worked at the port of Marseille. May the dignity of workers be respected, promoted and protected!
Dear brothers and sisters, I will carry the encounters of these days in my heart. May Notre Dame de la Garde watch over this city, which is a mosaic of hope, over all your families, and over each of you. Je vous bénis. S’il vous plaît, n’oubliez pas de prier pour moi. Ce travail n’est pas facil! Merci. (I bless you. Please do not forget to pray for me. This job is not easy! Thank you.)