From Vatican Information Service@1:2320/100 to All on Mon Jul 13 10:49:02 2015
that she is our Mother. A Mother who learned, amid so many hardships, the meaning of the words: 'Do not be afraid, the Lord is with you'. A Mother who keeps saying to us: 'Do whatever he tells you'. This is what she constantly says
to us: 'Do whatever he tells you'. She doesn't have a plan of her own; she doesn't come to tell us something new. Rather, she prefers to remain silent, and
simply accompanies our faith with her own.
"You know this from experience. All of you, all Paraguayans, share in the living memory of a people who have made incarnate these words of the Gospel. Here I would like especially to mention you, the women, wives and mothers of Paraguay, who at great cost and sacrifice were able to lift up a country defeated, devastated and laid low by an abominable war. You are keepers of the memory, the lifeblood of those who rebuilt the life, faith and dignity of your people, together with Mary. You lived through many difficult situations which, in the eyes of the world, would seem to discredit all faith. Yet, inspired and sustained by the Blessed Virgin, you continued to believe, even 'hoping against
all hope'. And when all seemed to be falling apart, with Mary you said: 'Let us
not be afraid, the Lord is with us; he is with our people, with our families; let us do what he tells us'. Then and now, you found the strength not to let this land lose its bearings. God bless your perseverance, God bless and encourage your faith, God bless the women of Paraguay, the most glorious women of America.
"As a people, we have come home, to this house of all Paraguayans, to hear once
more those words which are so comforting: 'Rejoice, the Lord is with you'. They
are a summons to cherish your memory, your roots, and the many signs which you have received as a people of believers tested by trials and struggles. Yours is
a faith which has become life, a life which has become hope, and a hope which leads to eminent charity. Yes, like Jesus, may you be outstanding in love. May you be bearers of this faith, this life and this hope. May you, Paraguayans, continue to build these up this country's present and future".
The Holy Father invited those present to join him in prayer: "Here, in your Eden of Caacupe, are your people, Virgin most pure, who offer you their love and
their faith". Her exclaimed, "All together: here, in your Eden of Caacupe, are your people, Virgin most pure, who offer you their love and their faith. Pray for us, Holy Mother of God, that we may be worthy of the promises and graces of
our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen".
Following the Holy Mass, the Pope commended Paraguay to Our Lady of the Miracles of Caacupe, repeating the act by his predecessor St. John Paul II on 18
May 1988, during his visit to the Shrine as part of his apostolic trip to Paraguay.
Francis responds to the "builders of society" in Paraguay
Vatican City, 12 July 2015 (VIS) - The Leon Condou Sports Centre in Asuncion was the location of the Pope's meeting with the so-called "society-builders" in
Paraguay - that is, school and university professors, artists and businesspeople, journalists, women's associations, agriculturalists and indigenous groups. The Holy Father answered various questions from those present, whom he greeted first with the following words:
"Seeing all of you together, each coming from his or her own sector or organisation within beloved Paraguayan society, each bringing his or her own joys, concerns, struggles and hopes, makes me grateful to God. In other words, it seems that Paraguay is anything but dead, thank God. When a people is unengaged and listless, passively accepting things as they are, it is a dead people. On the contrary, I see in you great vitality and promise. And God always
blesses this. God is always on the side of those who help to uplift and improve
the lives of His children. To be sure, problems and situations of injustice exist. But seeing you and listening to you helps renew my hope in the Lord Who continues to work in the midst of His people. You represent many different backgrounds, situations and aspirations; all together, you make up Paraguayan culture. All of you have a part to play in the pursuit of the common good. In the present condition of global society, where injustices abound and growing numbers of people are deprived of basic human rights and considered expendable,
to see you here before me is a real gift.
The first question was from a young person who expressed his concern regarding
the construction of a society characterised by fraternity, justice, peace and dignity for all.
"Youth is a time of high ideals", said the Pope. "I often say that it is really
sad to see a young person who is out of work. It is important that you, the young, and there are indeed many young persons here in Paraguay, realise that genuine happiness comes from working to make a more fraternal country! It comes
from realising that happiness and pleasure are not synonymous. Happiness, joy, is one thing, but fleeting pleasure is another. Happiness is built up, it is something solid which edifies. Happiness is demanding, it requires commitment and effort. ... Paraguay has a large population of young people and this is a great source of enrichment for the nation. So I think that the first thing to do
is to make sure that all that energy, that light, does not disappear from your hearts, and to resist the growing mentality which considers it useless and absurd to aspire to things that demand effort. ... Be committed to something, be
committed to someone. This is the vocation of young people so don't be afraid to
take a risk on the field, but play fairly and give it your best. Don't be afraid
to give the best of yourselves! Don't look for easy solutions beforehand so as to avoid tiredness and struggle. And don't bribe the referee. I ask you not to fight the good fight alone. Try to talk about these things among yourselves, profit from the lives, the stories of your elders, of your grandparents, for there is great wisdom there. 'Waste' lots of time listening to all the good things they have to teach you. They are the guardians of that spiritual legacy of faith and values which define a people and illumine a path. ... Jesus extends
to you an invitation through the memory of your people. ... Fraternity, justice,
peace and dignity are concrete and real, otherwise they are useless. They are constructed with the work of each day. And so, how do you shape those ideals, daily and concretely? Even if you make mistakes, make amends, get up again and move forward - make progress with concrete steps. I confess to you that I feel somewhat allergic ... to very eloquent discourses; those who know the speaker end
up saying, 'What are liar you are!' This is why words on their own are not enough. If you give your word of honour, then make sacrifices each day to be faithful to that word, to be committed!
The second question related to dialogue as a means to advance the project of fully inclusive nation. "Dialogue is not easy. There exists also a 'theatrical dialogue' by which I mean that we rehearse dialogue, play out the conversation,
but it is subsequently all forgotten. ... For example, I think about that dialogue we have in the Church, interreligious dialogue, where different representatives of religions speak to each other. We sometimes meet to speak and
share our points of view, and everyone speaks on the basis of their own identity: 'I'm Buddhist, I'm Evangelical. I'm Orthodox, I'm Catholic'. Each one
explains their identity. They do not negotiate their identity. This means that,
for there to be dialogue, that fundamental basis of identity must exist. And what is the identity of a country? - and here we are speaking about a social identity - to love the nation. The nation first, and then my business! ... That is
identity. That is the basis upon which I will dialogue. If I am to speak without
that basis, without that identity, then dialogue is pointless. Moreover, dialogue presupposes and demands that we seek a culture of encounter; an encounter which acknowledges that diversity is not only good, it is necessary. Uniformity nullifies us, it makes us robots. The richness of life is in diversity. For this reason, the point of departure cannot be, 'I'm going to dialogue but he's wrong'. No, no, we must not presume that the other person is wrong. I dialogue with my identity but I'm going to listen to what the other person has to say, how I can be enriched by the other, who makes me realise my mistakes and see the contribution I can offer. It is a process of going out and
coming back, always with an open heart. ... This is the culture of encounter. Dialogue is not about negotiating. Negotiating is trying to get your own slice of the cake. ... Dialogue is about seeking the common good. Discuss, think, and
discover together a better solution for everybody. ... During dialogue there is
conflict. This is logical and even desirable. Because if I think in one way and
you in another and we walk together, there will be conflict. But we mustn't fear
it, we mustn't ignore it. On the contrary, we are invited to embrace conflict. ...
Conflict exists: we have to embrace it, we have to try and resolve it as far as
possible, but with the intention of achieving that unity which is not uniformity, but rather a unity in diversity. ... True cultures are never closed in
on themselves - cultures would die if they closed in on themselves - but are called to meet other cultures and to create new realities. ... Without this essential presupposition, without this basis of fraternity, it will be very difficult to arrive at dialogue. If someone thinks that there are persons, cultures, or situations which are second, third or fourth class surely things will go badly, because the bare minimum, a recognition of the dignity of the other, is lacking. There are no first, second, third, fourth categories of persons: they are all of the same lineage".
The third question was, "How do we hear the cry of the poor in order to build more inclusive society?". The Pope responded, "It is important not to exclude anybody, and not to exclude oneself, because everybody needs everybody. A fundamental part of helping the poor involves the way we see them. An ideological approach is useless: it ends up using the poor in the service of other political or personal interests. Ideologies end badly, and are useless. They relate to people in ways that are either incomplete, unhealthy, or evil. Ideologies do not embrace a people. You just have to look at the last century. What was the result of ideologies? Dictatorships, in every case. Always think of
the people, never stop thinking about the good of the people. ... To really help
people, the first thing is for us to be truly concerned for individual persons,
and I'm thinking of the poor here, valuing them for their goodness. Valuing them, however, also means being ready to learn from them. The poor have much to
teach us about humanity, goodness, sacrifice and solidarity. As Christians, moreover, we have an additional reason to love and serve the poor; for in them we see the face and the flesh of Christ, who made Himself poor so as to enrich us with His poverty. ... Let us reflect carefully. The poor person is just like me
and, if he or she is going through a difficult time for many reasons, be they