(Vatican Radio) The Church of Rome was founded on the faith of Saints Peter and Paul , the two Apostles from the Holy Land whose feast day is celebrated 29 June: that’s what Pope Francis recalled during his midday Angelus address on this Rome holiday. The entire universal Church, he said, considers the two patron saints of Rome “two pillars and two great lights which shine not only in the Rome sky, but in the hearts of believers of the Orient and the West.”
In his catechesis, Pope Francis pointed out that the two apostles were very different: Peter, a humble fisherman and Paul, sophisticated and highly educated. The courageous decision of the two Near Eastern saints to embark on a difficult and dangerous journey to Rome gave this territory the Christian spiritual and cultural patrimony that has formed its very foundation, the Pope affirmed.
Both came to Rome to give witness to the Gospel among people and they sealed their mission of faith and charity with martyrdom, he added.
Today, Peter and Paul return among us in a symbolic way, the Pope said, traveling the streets of this city, knocking “at the doors of our homes, and above all, of our hearts.” They still desire to bring Jesus to us: “his merciful love, his consolation, his peace; Let us welcome their message!”
Referring to the celebration of Holy Mass which he had just concluded in St. Peter’s Basilica, Pope Francis said he blessed the Pallia for the new Metropolitan Archbishops who had been appointed this year. He renewed his best wishes to them and their families and encouraged them to “pursue with joy their mission in service to the Gospel, in communion with the entire Church and especially with the Seat of Peter” as symbolized in the Pallium.
Pope Francis said he welcomed with joy and affection Members of a delegation sent by his “dear brother,” Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. Their presence, he added, “is sign of the existing fraternal bonds between our Churches. Let us pray so that the bonds of communion and common witness will strengthen.”
The Holy Father then entrusted to the Blessed Virgin Mary, “Salus Populi Romani” the entire world, and “in particular this city of Rome” so that it will always refer back to its rich foundation of spiritual and moral values “in its social life, its mission in Italy, in Europe and in the world.”
In his comments following the Angelus Prayer, Pope Francis prayed for the victims of Monday’s horrific terrorist attack at Istanbul’s main international airport, for their families and the “dear Turkish people.” He prayed for the conversion of “violent hearts” and asked the Lord to “sustain our steps on the path to peace.”