VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis on Thursday received in audience members of The Papal Foundation, who are in Rome on their annual visit.
Addressing 225 Papal Foundation members, in the Clementine Hall of the Apostolic Palace, the pope said: “It is my hope that your pilgrimage to the Eternal City will strengthen you in faith and hope, and in your commitment to promote the Church’s mission by supporting so many religious and charitable causes close to the heart of the Pope.”
“Today’s world,” he continued, “so often torn by violence, greed and indifference, needs our witness to the Gospel message of hope in the redemptive and reconciling power of God’s love.”
The pontiff welcomed the generous initiatives of the foundation, which assists “the Church’s efforts to proclaim that message of hope to the ends of the earth and to work for the spiritual and material advancement of our brothers and sisters throughout the world, especially in developing countries.”
“Each of us, as a living member of Christ’s body, is called to foster the unity and peace that is the Father’s will, in Christ, for our human family and all its members,” he said.
Pope Francis thanked members for supporting many religious and charitable causes and encouraged them, as a vital part of their “commitment to the work of the Papal Foundation, to pray for the needs of the poor, the conversion of hearts, the spread of the Gospel, and the Church’s growth in holiness and missionary zeal.”
He then entrusted members and their families to the intercession of the Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, before imparting his Apostolic Blessing.
Founded in the United States in 1988, The Papal Foundation was established as an endowment to support the mission of the Holy Father. In recent years, the endowment has grown to over $220 million, with a total of $111 million awarded in grants and scholarships, “to build the Church, to educate and prepare leaders and to support the most vulnerable, young or old, around the world.”