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Pope at general audience appeals for prayers for sick child

November 06, 2013 - Pope Francis held his weekly general audience on Wednesday, where he delivered a catechesis on the Church as the Communion of Saints. The public meeting provides an opportunity for pilgrims and tourists visiting Rome to see and hear the Pope, and also receive his blessing. The general audience of Nov. 6 was held in the open, in Rome’s St. Peter’s Square. It began with aides reading a passage from the First Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians, in several languages.

Basing himself on the scripture passage, Pope Francis delivered his main discourse in Italian at the end of which he urged for a moment of silent prayer for a year-and half old Italian child, Noemi, afflicted by a serious illness. “And now, may I request you an act of charity,” the Pope said. “But be calm, it is not a collection,” he assured immediately, to the amusement and cheer from the some 50,000 crowd. The Pope said that before coming to St. Peter’s Square for the general audience he met Noemi and her parents who are praying and asking the Lord to cure this ‘beautiful child.’ “Poor thing, she was smiling,’ the Pope noted, adding, “Let’s make an act of love.” “We don’t know her, but she is a baptized child, and one of us, a Christian.” “Let us ask the Lord to help the child at this moment and to heal her.” After a moment of silence followed by the ‘Hail Mary’ prayer, the Pope thanked the crowd for their gesture. Italian newspaper, ‘Il Messaggero’ reported that Pope Francis had contacted Noemi’s father on the phone on Oct. 15, and recently had sent the family a rosary. The family from Guardiagrele in central Itala's Abruzzo region met Pope Francis in the Vatican just before his Wednesday general audience. The family told the newspaper that they are continuing to fight to have stem cell treatment for the child.

The Pope’s main catechesis at the general audience was in Italian, summaries of which were read out by aides in various languages, including in English. But first, the aide greeted the Pope on behalf of the English-speaking pilgrims.

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… Dear Brothers and Sisters: In our continuing catechesis on the Creed, we now reflect on “the communion of saints” as a communion not only of persons but also of spiritual goods. Through our sharing in those goods, we grow in communion with Christ and with the members of his body, the Church. Today let us consider three of these spiritual treasures: the sacraments, charisms and charity. In the sacraments, we encounter Christ in all his saving power, are confirmed in the joy of faith, and sent forth to share with others the joy of salvation. Through the variety of charisms, the spiritual gifts and graces bestowed by the Holy Spirit, we help to build up the Church in unity, holiness and service. In charity, all these spiritual gifts find their fulfilment; everything is ordered to our growth in God’s love. Let us ask the Lord to increase our communion in these spiritual goods, so that we can live ever more fully our Christian vocation in union with him and as joyful signs of his saving love, present and at work in our midst.

Pope Francis then greeted the English-speaking pilgrims in Italian.

… I greet all the English-speaking pilgrims present at today’s Audience, including those from England and Wales, Ireland, Denmark, Australia, Japan and the United States. In a special way I greet the priests from England celebrating the anniversaries of their ordination. I also thank the choirs present for their praise of God in song. Upon all of you, and your families, I invoke God’s blessings of joy and peace! (BLESSING)


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