By Inés San Martín
ŠAŠTIN, Slovakia (Crux) — Pope Francis’s first European tour within the COVID-19 period ended with a bang, as he celebrated Mass for 60,000 individuals within the area surrounding the nationwide Basilica of Our Girl of the Seven Sorrows.
Through the homily of the closing Mass of his Sept. 12-15 go to to Slovakia, Pope Francis mentioned that Christians are known as to be “protectors and guardians of life the place the tradition of demise reigns.”
In response to native custom, the picture of Our Girl of the Seven Sorrows was carved by Countess Angelika Bakičová in 1564 to meet a promise made to avoid wasting her marriage. The Virgin allegedly appeared to her and instructed her that every thing could be fantastic.
The pontiff mentioned that the Mom of God is a mannequin of a religion that’s impressed “by easy and honest devotion, a continuing pilgrimage to hunt the Lord.”
“In making this journey, you overcome the temptation to a passive religion, content material with this or that ritual or historic custom,” Pope Francis mentioned. “As an alternative, you allow yourselves behind and set out, carrying in your backpacks the fun and sorrows of this life, and thus make your life a pilgrimage of affection in the direction of God and your brothers and sisters.”
Departing from his ready remarks, he mentioned “when the Church stops, it turns into unwell. When the bishops cease [journeying] they make the Church unwell. And when the clergymen cease, they make the trustworthy unwell.”
The pontiff additionally mentioned that the religion can’t be “diminished to a sweetener to make life extra palatable.”
“Jesus is an indication of contradiction. He got here to deliver mild to the darkness, exposing the darkness for what it’s and forcing it to undergo Him. Because of this, the darkness at all times fights towards Him,” Pope Francis mentioned.
In 1995, when Pope John Paul II mentioned Mass in the identical area throughout his apostolic go to to Slovakia, there have been 200,000 individuals in attendance, the distinction in numbers defined each by the rising secularization of the Slovak individuals and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Slovakia has one of many lowest vaccination charges of the European Union, with lower than 50% of the grownup inhabitants receiving at the very least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
The federal government had initially mandated that solely those that had been absolutely vaccinated or might show they’d recovered from COVID-19 within the final six months could be allowed to attend the Mass. Nonetheless, when a lower-than-anticipated variety of individuals registered, they eliminated the restrictions.
Upon arrival, Pope Francis took his time doing the same old drive by means of on the popemobile, imparting blessings, kissing infants and smiling, wanting nothing like the person who got here out of the balcony within the Gemelli hospital in Rome on July 10, per week after having 13 inches of his colon eliminated.
Throughout his homily, Pope Francis reminded the Slovak individuals, who for many years noticed their religion oppressed by the communist regime, that Christians are “weavers of dialogue the place hostility is rising; fashions of fraternal life the place society is experiencing pressure and hostility; bringers of the candy perfume of hospitality and solidarity the place private and collective selfishness too typically prevails, protectors and guardians of life the place the tradition of demise reigns.”
Among the many individuals on the liturgy was Katharina Vida, who supplied the signal language interpretation for the service.
Requested by Crux what she felt about being the interpreter for a papal Mass, she couldn’t disguise her emotion, and, tearing up, gave the Slovak phrase for “unimaginable.” Subsequent to her was Norberth, her son, who grew to become an improvised interpreter, since Katharina doesn’t communicate English.
She described the go to as “historic” as a result of it helped remind the world that there’s a nation within the map known as Slovakia.
This was not the primary time she supplied signal language interpretation so the deaf individuals of Slovakia might observe a historic occasion.
“Again in 1989, after I was only a younger woman, I used to be the interpreter of the revolution,” talking concerning the civil rebellion that led to the autumn of communism within the then-Czechoslovakia.
“I’ve chills simply desirous about it, even when on the time, I couldn’t grasp the that means of what I used to be doing, or of what my arms have been saying,” she mentioned.