“We witness in Sicily behaviors and gestures marked by great virtues as well as cruel heinousness,” he said. “As well, alongside masterpieces of extraordinary artistic beauty we see scenes of mortifying neglect.”
He noted the declining social situation, including the fall in population due to a low birthrate and the exodus of young people looking for work.
“We need to understand how and in what direction Sicily is experiencing the change of age and what paths it could take, in order to proclaim, in the fractures and joints of this change, the Gospel of Christ,” he said.
“This task, while entrusted to the entire people of God, asks of us priests and bishops full, total, and exclusive service,” Pope Francis commented.
“Please, do not stand in the middle of the road,” he urged. “Faced with the awareness of our weaknesses, we know that the will of Christ places us in the heart of this challenge.”
“The key to everything is in his call,” he underlined, “on which we lean to take to the sea and cast our nets again. We do not even know ourselves, but if we return to the call, we cannot ignore that Face who has met us and drawn us behind Himself, even united us to himself, as our tradition teaches when it states that in the liturgy we even act ‘in persona Christi.’”
“This full unity, this identification, we cannot limit it to the celebration, but rather we must live it fully in every moment of life, mindful of the Apostle Paul’s words: ‘No longer do I live, but Christ lives in me,’” he said.
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