Calling to mind the figure of St Joseph, who protected the life of the
[the Holy Child], so greatly venerated in that country, I recalled that families, who are facing various threats, must be protected so that they may witness to the beauty of the family according to the plan of God. We also need to defend families from new forms of ideological colonization which threaten its identity and mission.
And it was a joy for me to be with the young people of the Philippines, to listen to their hopes and their concerns. I wanted to offer them my encouragement in their efforts to contribute to the renewal of society, especially through service to the poor and the protection of the natural environment. Care for the poor is an essential element of our Christian life and witness — I also mentioned this during the visit; it involves the rejection of all forms of corruption, because corruption steals from the poor and requires a culture of honesty.
I thank the Lord for this pastoral visit to Sri Lanka and the Philippines. I ask him to bless always these two countries and to confirm the fidelity of Christians to the Gospel message of our redemption, reconciliation and communion with Christ.
After his address, the Pope said to all the English-speaking pilgrims who were present:
I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, including the various groups from the United Kingdom, Switzerland, New Zealand, Japan and the United States of America. Upon you and your families I invoke grace and peace in the Lord Jesus. God bless you all!
Diane Montagna is Rome correspondent for Aleteia’s English edition.