Here is a translation of his address.
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Dear Members of Saint Peter’s Circle, good morning!
I express to you my gratitude for your work of support of the charitable activities of the Church in favor of the neediest. I greet you all affectionately and I thank your President General, Duke Leopoldo Torlonia, for his kind words.
The Year of Faith is about to end, this providential time of grace, during which the Church has renewed faith in Jesus Christ and revived the joy of walking in his paths. And a faith lived seriously brings about acts of genuine charity. We have so many simple testimonies of people that become apostles of charity in the family, at school, in the parish, in places of work and of social encounter, in streets, everywhere …. They have taken the Gospel seriously! The true disciple of the Lord personally commits himself in a ministry of charity, which extends to the many and inexhaustible poverties of man.
You also, dear friends, feel sent to the poorest, fragile and marginalized sisters and brothers. You do this as baptized persons, seeing it as your task as lay faithful. And not as an exceptional or occasional ministry, but an essential one, in which the Church is identified, exercising it daily. Every day situations present themselves that draw you in. Every day each one of us is called to be a consoler, to be a humble but generous instrument of God’s providence and of his merciful goodness, of his love that understands and sympathizes, of his consolation that relieves and gives courage. Every day we are all called to become “God’s caress” for those who perhaps have forgotten the first caresses, who perhaps have never felt a caress in their lives. You are here, for the Holy See and for Rome, God’s caress! Thank you, thank you so much!
Dear brothers and sisters, continue to be a visible sign of the charity of Christ to all those who are in need, be it in a material sense or in a spiritual sense, as also towards pilgrims who arrive in Rome from all parts of the world.
Today I thank you particularly for Peter’s pence which you collected in the churches of Rome. This is your habitual participation in my solicitude for the neediest persons of this city. I encourage you to continue in this action, drawing the love of giving brothers to the school of divine charity, through prayer and listening to the Word of God.
I entrust you, your families and your activities to the protection of the Holy Virgin, Salus Populi Romani, that she may guide and sustain you, and to the intercession of Saints Peter and Paul. Thank you for being “God’s caress!”
[Original text: Italian]
[Translation by ZENIT]