Pope Francis offers final greetings to Colombia

2017-09-11 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis offered a final greeting at the conclusion of his Apostolic Visit to Colombia following Mass in Cartagena, inviting Colombians to continue the journey anew each day.

He thanked the many people who had prepared his visit for their hard work and sacrifice, especially offering his gratitude to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and civil authorities.

“These have been intense and beautiful days; I have been able to meet many people and to experience many things that have touched me deeply,” he said.

Pope Francis invited Colombians not to be content with “taking the first step”.

“Instead, let us continue our journey anew each day, going forth to encounter others and to encourage concord and fraternity. We cannot just stand still.”

Finally, the Holy Father had one final exhortation.

“Colombia, your brothers and sisters need you. Go out to meet them.  Bring them the embrace of peace, free of all violence. Be “slaves of peace, forever”. SLAVES OF PEACE, FOREVER.”

Please find below the official English translation of the Pope’s prepared remarks:

At the conclusion of this celebration, I would like to thank His Grace Jorge Enrique Jiménez Carvajal, Archbishop of Cartagena, for his kind words on behalf of his brother bishops and the entire people of God.

I also greet President Juan Manuel Santos, the civil authorities, and all those who have taken part in this Eucharistic celebration, whether here or through the communications media.

I am deeply grateful for the hard work and sacrifice that have made this visit possible.  Many people helped, giving freely and readily of their time and energy.  These have been intense and beautiful days; I have been able to meet many people and to experience many things that have touched me deeply.  You have done me much good.

Dear brothers and sisters, I would like to leave you with one last word.  Let us not be content with “taking the first step”.  Instead, let us continue our journey anew each day, going forth to encounter others and to encourage concord and fraternity. We cannot just stand still. In this very place, on 8 September 1654, Saint Peter Claver died, after forty years of voluntary slavery, of tireless work on behalf of the poor.  He did not stand still: his first step was followed by many others.  His example draws us out of ourselves to encounter our neighbours.  Colombia, your brothers and sisters need you.  Go out to meet them.  Bring them the embrace of peace, free of all violence.  Be “slaves of peace, forever”.  SLAVES OF PEACE, FOREVER.

(from Vatican Radio)