Vatican City, 25 November 2013 (VIS) – “St. Thomas Aquinas teaches us that each person will love his neighbour as he loves himself, and will therefore enjoy his neighbour’s goods as if they were his own. Thus, the joy of one will increase inasmuch as the joy of others increases”. With these words, this morning Pope Francis received three thousand Greek Catholic pilgrims from Ukraine and Belarus, in Rome to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the translation of the relics of St. Josaphat to the Vatican Basilica. In the morning Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, celebrated the Divine Liturgy along with the major archbishop of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk.
At midday, the Holy Father went to the Basilica to greet the pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square, and said that “the best way to commemorate St. Josaphat is to love each other and to love and serve the unity of the Church. We are supported in this by the courageous witness of the many more recent martyrs, who constitute a great richness and great comfort for your Church”. Francis expressed his hope that “the intense communion that you wish to deepen every day within the Catholic Church may help you also to build bridges of fraternity with other Churches and ecclesial communities in Ukraine and in other countries where your communities are present”.