26 August 2022 | Address of His Holiness



Please note that this document is an unofficial translation and is provided for
reference only.

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning and welcome!

I thank the Bishop for the greeting he addressed to me on your behalf and on
behalf of the entire Lodi community, which you represent well in both the ecclesial
and civic dimensions. And I thank the Bishop Emeritus, because I like that the
emeritus continue to participate in the life of the Church, and do not lock
themselves up… Come on, courage! In fact, you are priests, consecrated women,
seminarians and lay faithful, synodal delegates and representatives of parishes and
associations, volunteers and communication operators, together with the public
authorities of the Province and the Lodi area, with the Mayors, in particular those of
the first “red zone “In the West for the covid-19 epidemic.

The reasons that prompted you to come are different. I like to remember first what
binds me to you with a kind of “kinship” that I would call “baptismal”. As you know,
the priest who baptized me, Father Enrico Pozzoli, and who then helped me to enter
the Company [of Jesus] and followed me all my life, is a son of your land, a native
of Senna Lodigiana, in the “lower ”, Near the Po River. Attracted by Don Bosco’s
charism, he left as a young man for Turin and, having become a Salesian, was
immediately sent to Argentina, where he remained for his whole life. He became
friends with my parents and also helped them accept my calling to the priesthood. I
was happy when your good fellow countryman – who is present here – collected
documents and news about him and wrote his biography. I had it immediately, of
course, but today I receive it in official form, so to speak, and with emotion,
because you bring it to me, friends of Senna Lodigiana, fellow villagers of Don
Pozzoli, who was a true Salesian! A wise, good, hard-working man; an apostle of
the confessional – he never tired of confessing -, merciful, capable of listening and
giving good advice. Thank you so much! This is why I say that we are somewhat
related, but not by blood, no, the thread that unites us is much stronger and more
sacred because it is that of Baptism!

Speaking of ties with your land of Lodi, we cannot forget that there is another one,
this time because of a great saint: Francesca Saverio Cabrini, a native of
Sant’Angelo Lodigiano, who founded the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart in
Codogno and is the patroness of migrants. I am the son of migrants; Argentina has
become home to many and many migrant families, mostly Italians, and Santa
Cabrini and the Cabriniane are an important presence in Buenos Aires. Today I want
to express to you my admiration and my gratitude for this woman, who – together
with Bishop Scalabrini – is a witness of the Church’s closeness to migrants: her
charism is more relevant than ever! I ask for her intercession so that your diocesan
community is always attentive to the signs of the times and draws from the charity
of Christ the courage to live the mission today.

Father Pozzoli and above all Saint Cabrini remind us that evangelization is done
essentially with the holiness of life, bearing witness to love in facts and in truth (cf.
1 Jn 3:18). And so too is the transmission of the faith in families, through a simple
and convinced witness. I think of grandparents and grandmothers who transmit the
faith by example and with the wisdom of their advice. Because the faith must be
transmitted “in dialect”, always, in no other way. Grandparents, dad, mom … Faith
must be transmitted in dialect. We know well that today the world has changed,
indeed, it is constantly changing. There is a need to look for new ways, new
methods, new languages. The main way, however, remains the same: that of
witness, of a life shaped by the Gospel. The Second Vatican Council showed us this
way, and the particular Churches are called to walk in it with an outgoing attitude,
with a missionary conversion that involves everyone and everything.

Your Laudense Church has already experienced two Synods after the Second
Vatican Council: the thirteenth and, recently, the fourteenth. Now, the synodal
journey that we are undertaking as a universal Church would like to help the whole
People of God to grow precisely in this essential, constitutive, permanent dimension
of being Church: walking together, in mutual listening, in the variety of charisms
and ministries. , under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, who creates harmony and
unity out of diversity. I welcome from you the Book of your recent diocesan Synod
as a sign of communion, and I urge you to continue the journey, faithful to the
roots and open to the world, with the wisdom and patience of the peasants and the
creativity of the craftsmen; committed to caring for the poor and caring for the
earth that God has entrusted to us. The synodal journey is the development of a
dimension of the Church. I once heard it said: “We want a more synodal and less
institutional Church”: this is not right. The synodal journey is institutional, because
it appears it belongs to the very essence of the Church. We are in synod because it
is an institution. […]