(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis, in an audience with Vatican security personnel Thursday, thanked officers and agents for their service, saying the new year brings many expectations and hopes. Speaking to officers and agents of the Inspectorate of Public Security, State Police and chaplains for the security services, Pope Francis observed the new year also brings “darkness and dangers that worry humanity.” The Pope also said he wished in particular, to recall in prayer one of their Italian colleagues who recently passed away and offered a fond embrace to the man’s wife and son, also present at the audience.
Listen to our report:
As Christians, the Pope said, "we are called not to lose heart and not to be discouraged."
He reminded security officials of the human and Christian values they represent in “guarding and monitoring places that have great importance for the faith and the life of millions of pilgrims.” The Pope recalled the many people who come to visit the “heart of Christian Rome” and the times they turn to security personnel for assistance. “May each of them feel helped and guarded by your presence and your thoughtfulness,” he said, adding that the Lord holds us all accountable for the good and bad we have done towards others while carrying out our duties.
Below, please find Vatican Radio’s unofficial translation of the original text in Italian:
Mr. Chief of Police,
Dear Officers and Agents,
I am pleased to welcome you on the occasion of the exchange of good wishes for the new year, which marks the 70th anniversary of your activity. This traditional meeting gives me the opportunity to extend a personal greeting to you and to express my grateful appreciation for the work you carry out daily with professionalism and dedication.
My greeting and my wishes go first to Dr. Maria Rosaria Maiorino, whom I thank for the kind words addressed to me on behalf of all. I cordially greet the members of the Inspectorate of Public Security at the Vatican, as well as other managers and officials of the State Police and Chaplains led by the National Coordinator. I assure a special remembrance in prayer for your colleague Alessandro, who recently passed away, fondly embracing his wife and son who are here.
We have just started a new year, and many are our expectations and our hopes. On the horizon we also see darkness and dangers that worry humanity. As Christians we are called not to lose heart and not to be discouraged. Our hope rests on an unshakable rock: the love of God, revealed and given to us in Christ Jesus, our Lord. We remember the comforting words of the apostle Paul: "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword? ... But in all these things we are more than conquerors thanks to Him who loved us "(Rom 8,35.37).
Dear officers and agents, in the light of this firm hope, your work takes on a different meaning, which involves human and Christian values. For you, in fact, have the task of guarding and monitoring places that have great importance for the faith and the life of millions of pilgrims. Many people who come to visit the heart of Christian Rome often turn [to you for assistance]. May each of them feel helped and guarded by your presence and your thoughtfulness. Yes, dear brothers and sisters, we are all called to be stewards of our neighbor. The Lord will call us to account for the responsibilities entrusted to us, for the good or bad that we have done towards our neighbor.
We entreat the maternal protection of the Virgin Mother at the beginning of this new year. We entrust to her every concern and hope, so that in all circumstances of life we can love, rejoice and live in the faith of the Son of God who became man for us.
I ask you to please pray for me and offer you my heartfelt blessing.