Pope praises St Peter's Circle for 155 years of selfless service

Ahead of the Jubilee of Hope, Pope Francis applauds St. Peter's Circle for their work to the Church and invites them to intensify their efforts by passing down their heritage and cultivating love and charity.

Jun 25, 2024

Pope Francis with members of St. Peter's Circle (Vatican Media)

By Deborah Castellano Lubov
"With your presence, with your closeness, compassion and tenderness, you have greatly served the Church and also prepare the city of Rome for the Jubilee..."

The Holy Father expressed this gratitude on Monday morning in the Vatican to members of the St Peter’s Circle volunteer association, which for 155 years, has been supporting the Church’s charitable activities and helping those most in need.

The Circle was founded in 1869, by a group of young Romans.

The Pope warmly welcomed the Circle's members as he fondly recalled their history of service to predecessor Popes, and asked those before him to extend his greetings to their President, facing health issues, as he wished him a speedy recovery.

Remembering roots critical for future
"I feel gratitude for the service you do for the poor of Rome," he highlighted, acknowledging that they do this "in the name of the Pope and of Holy Mother Church."

Reflecting on having been gifted a book which documents the Popes' encounters with St Peter's Circle, throughout its history, the Pope acknowledged that such collections help remember one's roots, which, he said, are "fundamental."

"Without roots, there is no life and no future," he said, reminding that "the prosperity of leaves, is linked to the health of the roots."

With this in mind, the Pope encouraged them to always treasure their roots, but never allow them to turn sterile.

Pass heritage, values to young
"This is why I encourage you to pass on your heritage of values and experiences to the young," the Pope said, noting that young people are key to propelling forward.

"How nice to think of a grandfather of the Circolo San Pietro (St Peter's Circle) passing on to his grandson his experience!" the Pope acknowledged.

Calling this beautiful, he said, "Think how much an elderly person's example can transmit lived faith, concrete charity, and love for the poor."

Pope Francis went on to recall the imminent 2025 Jubilee of Hope, and how it must be an occasion for charity.

Jubilee of hope and charity
"Pilgrims and tourists who come to Rome should 'breathe' the air of Christian charity," he said, which, he noted, is "not just assistance," but "a care for dignity," through closeness and sharing, and "without publicity," and "spotlights."

"With your presence, with your closeness, compassion and tenderness," he said, "you too prepare the city for the Jubilee," noting this preparation extends beyond work tied to streets or infrastructure.

Rather, he highlighted, "it cares for the hearts and flesh of the poor, who, as St Laurence said," he remembered, "are the treasure of the Church." 

Pope Francis concluded by blessing all those before him, and their families, and by entrusting them to the protection of Mary Salus Populi Romani (Mary, Health of the Roman People).--Vatican News

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