At the end of a day dedicated to celebrating 70 years of an ecumenical fellowship forged by the World Council of Churches, Pope Francis turned to the region’s Catholics, reminding them of what lies at the heart of the faith.
The Lord’s Prayer “offers us a road map for the spiritual life” by reminding people they are part of one human family, that they should live a simpler, more caring life and that forgiveness works miracles in history, he said.
“There is no greater novelty than forgiveness, which turns evil into good,” he told 40,000 Catholics from Switzerland, France and other nations not far from this landlocked country, whose history was built on the values of peace and neutrality.
The pope was in Geneva on 21st June “as a pilgrim in quest of unity and peace,” for a one-day journey celebrating the 70th anniversary of the founding of the World Council of Churches – a fellowship of 350 ecclesial communities, including many Orthodox churches, who represent some 500 million Christians worldwide. The Catholic Church, which cooperates extensively with the council, is not a full member.
Celebrating Mass at the city’s enormous indoor expo centre, the pope pointed to the essential lessons contained in the Lord’s Prayer, which Jesus teaches his disciples in the day’s Gospel reading.
The pope first circled the vast indoor centre in a small white electric cart, greeting the faithful and blessing babies. Former pontifical Swiss guards in traditional uniform were present, standing at attention, representing their service rendered for more than 500 years in Rome.
Picture: Pope Francis arrives in procession to celebrate Mass at the Palexpo convention centre in Geneva on 21st June. (CNS photo/Paul Haring).