Pope Francis on Thursday prayed for the city and people of Rome, as he gave an Angelus address for the feast of the apostles Peter and Paul, patron saints of the Italian capital.
Speaking from his study window to the crowds gathered in St Peter’s Square, including priests and pilgrims from Ireland, the Pope recalled how both of these two apostles suffered persecution and gave their lives in service to the first Christian communities.
The liturgical readings of the day, the Pope continued, remind us that even in the most difficult moments of persecution, the Lord remained close to Peter and Paul, just as he remains by our side today. Especially in our times of trial, he said, God holds out his hand and comes to help us, liberating us from the threats of our enemies.
Our real enemy, Pope Francis, said, is sin, but when we are reconciled with God, through the Sacrament of Confession, we are liberated from evil and the burden of sin is lifted from us.
The Pope welcomed especially the members of an Orthodox delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarchate, as well as the five new cardinals, who received their red hats at Wednesday’s consistory, and the Metropolitan Archbishops who were named over the past year.
Greeting visitors from across the globe, the Pope said he prayed especially for all the people of Rome as they celebrate their feast day through traditional flower and firework displays. May they live in peace, he said, witnessing to the Christian faith with the same fervor as the apostles Peter and Paul.