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Armenia: Card. Bassetti to Catholic community, “be strong, do not let yourselves be robbed of hope”

“Be strong, try to overcome evil and keep Jesus’ words. The Church has confidence in you, and as Pope Francis says, do not let yourselves be robbed of hope”. The president of the Italian Bishops’ Conference (CEI) and archbishop of Perugia-Città della Pieve, Card. Gualtiero Bassetti, who is in Armenia on an ecumenical pilgrimage with the bishops from the Italian region of Umbria, said this to the Catholic community and to Bishop Raphael Minassian. The meeting took place in the Cathedral of Gyumri, where a mass was celebrated, which was attended by priests, seminarians, the nuns of Mother Teresa of Calcutta and the Armenian nuns of the Immaculate Conception. Also participating in the celebration were Caritas workers and many children and young people attending the summer camp in the parish. Card. Bassetti conveyed Pope Francis’ greetings to them, inviting them to prepare with enthusiasm for the Synod on young people. The Cardinal thanked for “the festive welcome and the fraternal hospitality” given to them “in this land blessed by God, which from the beginning of Christianity has welcomed the news of salvation”. Speaking about the pilgrimage, the president of the CEI said: “it was moving to see the places where Jesus’ wounds became particularly evident in so many of our brothers and sisters killed in the persecutions at the beginning of the 20th century; they were tortured and persecuted because of their Christian faith and for belonging to this nation”. “All this – he concluded – leads us to reflect on our being Christians today, not only in words, but in the facts and in the testimony of life. Jesus wants to make us new people; we ask Him for the strength to walk, He Who frees our hearts from the chains of sin”.

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