“In these days, we are aware that the pandemic continues to invite us to watch over each other,” the pope reflected in his message. “The coronavirus continues to cause social separation and, sadly, the loss of life for many people, and this generates a social crisis. Our hope – we are believers – is placed in the Lord! In this time of fear and uncertainty, Our Lord continues to invite us to go ahead and proclaim our faith in his Mercy, in his Tenderness and in his tremendous Love.”
He noted the celebration of the 250th anniversary of Mission San Gabriel Arcangel, the first church founded by Saint Junipero Serra, whom he called “that great Apostle of Mexico and California.”
“During his canonization in 2015, I indicated that ‘he was the embodiment of “a Church which goes forth”, a Church which sets out to bring everywhere the reconciling tenderness of God’. May this jubilee be a great opportunity for renewal,” Pope Francis said.
The pope added he prays that during the Congress “Our Lord may fill your hearts with the living waters of his Spirit and renew your zeal as missionary disciples who always ‘go ahead’ in faith, to take his hope to the entire world, not with fine words, but with genuine acts of accompaniment, sharing with everyone the joy of knowing that we are not alone.”
“May God, made man in Jesus, come with us through the day of life, urging us to dream and to walk together towards the Father, transforming history and transforming ourselves.”
The conference will include workshops in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese. Bishop Robert Barron, auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles, will give an address on looking at the cross with fresh eyes. Keynotes will include Sister Norma Pimentel, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, and Bishop Mark Seitz of El Paso speaking in Spanish on a spirituality of accompaniment, and Father Albert Hasse, OFM, on hope amid arduous circumstances.