(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent a personal letter to a young boy taking part in a “mission of peace” to the Marian sanctuary at Lourdes.
Listen to Christopher Wells' report:
Eight-year-old Damian had written to the Pope inviting him to Lourdes to be with the children taking part in the Mission, which was sponsored by UNITALSI, an Italian organization which helps sick people travel to Lourdes and other international sanctuaries. Pope Francis responded to Damian’s request for a video message with a personal letter that will be read during the grand Eucharistic Procession at Lourdes on Wednesday, on the occasion of the Tenth Pilgrimage of Children on the Mission of Peace.
In his message, the Holy Father assured the children that he was accompanying them in prayer, and was spiritually close to them. He asked the children to share with Mary and Jesus their expectations, hopes, joys, and sufferings, and to “trust in the help of Jesus and the support of Mary.”
“Your mission is both a prayer and a testimony,” the Pope said. “You show adults that children are able to pray, to love Jesus, the friend who never betrays, to help each other, to hope for a better future.”
The Pope concluded his letter by asking the children to pray for all children who are attempting to make the voyage to Lourdes, and to pray, too, for him.
Below, please find Vatican Radio’s translation of Pope Francis’ letter to Damian and the children participating in the Tenth Pilgrimage of Children on the Mission of Peace
Dear children on the Mission of Peace to Lourdes,
I know that your mission of peace brings you this year to the Sanctuary of Lourdes, to the feet of the Madonna, to request her protection. I am happy about your voyage, promoted by U.N.I.T.A.L.S.I., and I want to tell you that I am accompanying you with prayer: know that I am spiritually close to each one of you, especially, to you who are sick.
With confidence, tell the Madonna and her son Jesus about your expectations, your hopes, your joys and your sufferings, and trust in the help of Jesus and the support of Mary.
Your mission is both a prayer and a testimony: you show adults that children are able to pray, to love Jesus, the friend who never betrays, to help each other, to hope for a better future.
And in this moment in which we see so many young children who are attempting the voyages of hope, the Pope asks you to pray for them to the Madonna of Lourdes. I renew my greetings and my encouragement for each of you, and I ask you, please, to pray for me. I bless you from the heart.