(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Sunday visited the hill top town of Castelgandolfo, urging the thousands of locals and visitors to be visible signs of hope and peace in the world. Some ten thousand people, led by the mayor and bishop of nearby Albano, gathered in the square and side streets surrounding the papal summer residence ahead of the Holy Father’s arrival on Sunday morning.
Greeting each and every well-wisher in Castelgandolfo, Pope Francis thanked especially the religious and civil authorities, as well as all the staff who work in the Pontifical Villa where popes have traditionally spent time over the summer period – in particular he remembered his two immediate predecessors, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and Blessed Pope John Paul II
Speaking at the midday Angelus prayer, Pope Francis reflected on the Sunday Gospel which recounts the story of the Good Samaritan and recalled the figure of a 16th century Italian priest who is popularly known as a patron saint of the sick and all who care for them.
St Camillo de Lellis, who died on July 14th 1614, founded a congregation known as the Camillians recognized by a large red cross on their cassocks which they wore as they took care of the sick and dying on the battlefield. Today, the anniversary of his death, marks the opening of a year of celebrations for the four centenaries of those who have followed in his footsteps and Pope Francis prayed especially for all doctors, nurses and healthcare workers who continue to work as Good Samaritans in our suffering world today.
The Pope also looked ahead to his forthcoming visit to Brazil to celebrate World Youth Day with hundreds of thousands of young people from all over the world. He prayed for all those taking part in the pilgrimage to Rio de Janeiro, that their hearts may be open to the mission that Christ gives them.
Joking with his enthusiastic audience, Pope Francis said there are clearly many young people here today, but he congratulated everyone present for feeling 'young at heart!'
Following the recitation of the Angelus prayer, Pope Francis remembered Christians in Ukraine who are today marking the 70th anniversary of a Second World War massacre of tens of thousands of Polish civilians by a Ukrainian nationalist militia. The Pope prayed for all the dead and injured, as well as asking God for the grace of true reconciliation between the peoples of Poland and Ukraine.