Then in Villavicencio, the day was dedicated to reconciliation, and included a large gathering for national reconciliation and a Mass in which the Pope beatified the two modern martyrs Bishop Jesús Emilio Jaramillo Monsalve and Fr. María Ramírez Ramos.
The two martyrs, he said, was a reminder "that peace is founded also and above all on the blood of the many witnesses of love, truth, justice and even the true and real martyrs killed for the faith, like the two mentioned."
Listening to their biographies "was moving to tears: tears of pain and joy together," he said. And in front of their relics and their faces "the holy people of God felt their own identity strongly, with pain, thinking of the many, too many, victims, and with joy, for the mercy of God extending toward those who fear him."
Then in Medellín, the perspective for the day was that of "Christian life as discipleship: vocation and mission," Francis said.
"When Christians commit themselves until the end in the journey following Jesus Christ, becoming true salt, light and leaven in the world,...the fruits are seen abundantly," he said, explaining that one of these fruits was the children's home he visited for youth who have lost their families due to violence or poverty.
Finally, the Pope drew attention to his visit to Cartagena, where St. Peter Claver lived. The saint, who was referenced in many of Francis' speeches during the trip, was an "apostle of the slaves," he said.
St. Peter Claver and St. Maria Bernarda Bütler, a missionary in Colombia, "gave their lives for the poor and marginalized, and so revealed the path to true revolution; evangelical, not ideological, which truly frees people and society from the slavery of yesterday and, unfortunately, today," he said.
In this sense, "taking the first step" means above all "drawing near, bending down, touching the flesh of the wounded and abandoned brother," the Pope said. "And in doing it with Christ, the Lord became a salve for us. Thanks to him there is hope, because he is mercy and peace."
Pope Francis closed his address by entrusting Colombia to the care and intercession of Our Lady of Chiquinquirá, whose statue he venerated in the cathedral of Bogotá.
"With the help of Mary, each Colombian can everyday take the first step toward their brother and sister, and so build together, day by day, peace and love, in justice and in truth."
After his audience, Pope Francis greeted individuals and groups of pilgrims from different countries around the world, including former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who became Catholic in 2007 and has established several foundations and non-profit organizations based on faith and global advancement.
(Story continues below)
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
At Catholic News Agency, our team is committed to reporting the truth with courage, integrity, and fidelity to our faith. We provide news about the Church and the world, as seen through the teachings of the Catholic Church. When you subscribe to the CNA UPDATE, we'll send you a daily email with links to the news you need and, occasionally, breaking news.
As part of this free service you may receive occasional offers from us at EWTN News and EWTN. We won't rent or sell your information, and you can unsubscribe at any time.