The nuncio drew on the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary and its roots in the victory of Christian forces at the Battle of Lepanto despite being outnumbered and outgunned by an Ottoman fleet.
Archbishop Pierre said reflection on the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary might help the faithful better understand the Church's mission and help the Catholic conference better reflect on how the Gospel might have "a greater impact on the life and structures of individuals, the Church, and the world in a rapidly changing environment, marked by secularization, individualism, and isolation."
"We learn from Mary that we find true joy in obedience to God's Word – according to His plan and in His time. As disciples, at times, we want our vocation on our terms. Mary teaches us that everything must be surrendered to God. This lesson – which really involves our conversion – is best learned in silence and contemplation."
Mary showed active engagement in the world, and could not keep her joy to herself.
The Nativity of Christ, because it was witnessed by people on the peripheries, such as shepherds, showed that the encounter with Christ at the peripheries opens new horizons. It prompts one to ask how Christ is present at the margins, like in prisons and jails or on death row.
Pierre praised the Missouri Catholic Conference's work combating the "throwaway culture" and its creation of communities and conditions "in which every life and all of creation is valued." The nuncio also stressed the importance of work on migration, work that promotes the common good, and the preferential option for the poor that is not merely social activism but "loving attentiveness."
"The Church must go forth to meet people unafraid of encountering those families facing difficulty," he said.
Pope Francis expressed "cordial greetings and good wishes" to those gathered, according to a message from Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State. The cardinal conveyed the Pope's apostolic blessing "as a pledge of joy and peace in the Lord."
"His Holiness prays that this anniversary will be the occasion not only of gratitude for the blessings and accomplishments of the past half century, but also of a renewed effort to favor the pastoral effectiveness of the Church's mission in the State of Missouri amid the challenges and the opportunities of the present time," Cardinal Parolin said in a message read by Pierre.