We publish below the full text of the message of good wishes that the Presidency of the Italian Bishops’ Conference (CEI) has sent to Pope Francis today to mark the fifth anniversary of his election to the pontifical see.
Most Holy Father,
the fifth anniversary of Your pontificate is a cause of deep gratitude for all the Churches in Italy. As Pastors, we feel interpreters of this gratitude, aware that the same best wishes with which we embrace You, Successor of Peter, inspire us to continue with renewed enthusiasm the pastoral journey that You proposed to us with simplicity, humility and force.
Thank you, Holy Father, because – in a world battered by the wind of indifference – You do not tire of bridging distances, of taking care of people, of becoming involved in their stories, going as far as to kneel down and wash their feet.
Thank you for the human geography that represents us in this way, in the constant attention to the poor, to migrants, to prisoners, to the disabled, who are the flesh of the suffering Christ.
Thank you because, by leading us to inhabit the existential peripheries of our time, You challenge us to see a fruitful connection between life issues and social issues, the defence of human dignity and the protection of Creation, broken relationships and precarious work, the promotion of the family and the condemnation of an unfair economy.
Thank you, Your Holiness, because You relate these pastoral challenges to the essential which is resumed in the mystery of the Incarnation of the Word, which leads us to see reality as superior to the idea, and to do works of justice and charity in everyday life.
Thank you for the missionary spirit that You require of every Baptised and is expressed in the joy of the Gospel that fills the hearts and lives of those who meet Jesus.
Thank you for the co-responsibility to which You call the Church, so that she is a living body, animated by fraternal communion, attentive to take the first step without fear, to reach out to others and offer mercy, tenderness, and peace.
Holy Father, in assuring You of the assiduous prayer of all our communities, we reiterate our full commitment to making our own Your teaching and Your witness, with courage and great hope.