Pope thanks Hungarians for welcome, prays for peace in nearby Ukraine
By Devin Watkins
Pope Francis prayed the Regina Coeli on Sunday, at the conclusion of Mass in Hungary’s capital, Budapest.
In his remarks ahead of the traditional Eastertide Marian prayer, the Pope entrusted the people of Hungary to the Blessed Virgin Mary, under the title of Magna Domina Hungarorum.
“From this great city and from this noble country,” he said, “I desire to entrust to her heart the faith and the future of the entire continent of Europe, which has been on my mind in these days and, in particular, the cause of peace.”
Pope Francis prayed especially for “the neighbouring, beleaguered Ukrainian people and the Russian people, both consecrated to you.”
“You, who are the Queen of Peace,” he prayed, “instil in the hearts of peoples and their leaders the desire to build peace and to give the younger generations a future of hope, not war, a future full of cradles not tombs, a world of brothers and sisters, not walls and barricades.”
Prayers for Church in Europe
The Pope also recalled how the Virgin Mary accompanied the first steps of the early Christian community, holding the disciples together with her prayer.
He expressed his hopes that the Church in Europe might find in her “strength in prayer, renewed humility and obedience, and be an example of convincing witness and joyful proclamation.”
Gratitude for heartfelt welcome
Pope Francis went on to thank Hungary’s government authorities and all Hungarians for their heartfelt welcome and “the affection I have experience in these days.”
He especially thanked the many people who have travelled from afar to encounter him during his three-day Apostolic Journey.
“I think especially of the sick and the elderly, of those who were unable to be present with us, of those who are lonely and those who have lost faith in God and hope in life,” he said. “I am close to all of you; I pray for you and I give you my blessing.”
Christians ‘united in the Gospel’
Acknowledging the many people of other Christian confessions who followed his Visit to Hungary, the Pope urged Christians to always support one another, since we are all “united by the Gospel”.
He noted the words of Cardinal Peter Erdo, Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, who pointed out that Hungary has lived “on the eastern border of Western Christianity for a thousand years.”
“It is a beautiful thing when borders do not represent boundaries that separate,” he said, “but points of contact, and when believers in Christ emphasize first the charity that unites us, rather than the historical, cultural and religious differences that divide us.”
Spreading the joy of Christ
Pope Francis concluded his Regina Coeli address by calling on the people of Hungary to spread the joy of Christ to all around them.
“Isten éltessen! [Best wishes!]. With gratitude for these days, I keep you in my heart and I ask you to pray for me. Isten áld meg a magyart! [God bless the Hungarians!]”
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