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Monthly message March 2023

cathopic 14864137674353 2Thanking Pope Francis for his 10 years of pontificate. 

Dear friends,

on behalf of the women of WUCWO I would like to thank Pope Francis whom, since March 13, 2013 and following his predecessors, leads us deepening the application of the Second Vatican Council. For this, I invite you to recall his facts, speeches and actions from the beginning of his pontificate to this day in order to try to understand at least something of his Magisterium.

During his first appearance as Pope, he bent to receive the blessing of the People of God. This gesture showed his deep humility and marked our awareness of the lay responsibility that comes from Baptism and Confirmation. There would be no place in his pontificate for clericalism. As he explained in Evangelii Gaudium 201, the vocation and the mission of the lay faithful are the transformation of the different earthly realities in order to transform all human activity by the Gospel.  

An historical picture: for the first time, a Pope inaugurated a Jubilee outside the Vatican. It took place in Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic, a country that is suffering from war and poverty. He encouraged us, over and over, to consider that the face of the Church should be that of mercy. During the Jubilee of Mercy, he told us, “Cannot become a mere parenthesis in the life of the Church; it constitutes her very existence, through which the profound truths of the Gospel are made manifest and tangible. Everything is revealed in mercy; everything is resolved in the merciful love of the Father" (Misericordia et misera 1).

On the first Holy Thursday of his pontificate, he washed the feet of young prisoners, including two young women, one of them Muslim. This fact and many others make us feel him very close to us. On the one hand, in Fratelli tutti 23, he reported that "we are still far from clearly reflect about the fact that women have exactly the same dignity and the same rights as men". One thing is affirmed with words, but decisions and reality shout another message. It is a given that "Doubly poor are those women who endure situations of exclusion, mistreatment and violence, since they are frequently less able to defend their rights." (EG 212). On the other hand, he highlighted the strength of the maternal role within the family (Amoris laetitia 173) and described as an ecclesiastic dream "Allow women to have a real and effective impact on the organization, the most important decisions and the direction of communities, while continuing to do so in a way that reflects their womanhood." (Dear Amazonia 103).

His first departure from the Vatican was to Lampedusa. A key in the Pope's teachings consists in going through the peripheries, as a place for meeting Jesus. He said: “It is a hermeneutical question: we understand reality only if we look at it from the periphery, and not if our gaze is focused on a centre that is equidistant from everything. To truly understand reality, we must move from the central position of calm and tranquillity and head toward the periphery” (Let Us Dream, Pope Francis, 2020). Francis strongly believes that this is the only way to change history.

We recall the smile on his face when he started relating to people as the Bishop of Rome. The “joy" is something central to his thinking: Evangelii Gaudium, Amoris laetitia, Gaudete et exsultate. "The joy of the gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus (...) With Christ joy is constantly born anew (Evangelii Gaudium, 1). And the Church needs not to be stolen from the joy of mission.

With the choice of his name, Francis, he made his pontificate clear. He signed Fratelli tutti on the tomb of St Francis, indicating to us that dialogue is the way of universal fraternity. He took the words of the Saint of Assisi to give us the immense gift of Laudato si, teaching to the Church and to the world that the cry of the poorest and the cry of the planet constitute the same crisis, to which we are all called to answer in order to care for our Common Home.

"The path of synodality is the path that God expects for the Church in this new millennium" was his famous expression during the 50th anniversary of the constitution of the Synod of Bishops in 2015. Since then, he has introduced us to the current synodal process. We hope, with the grace of the Holy Spirit, to realise the Pope's dream of a listening Church, of a poor Church for the poor, which is none other than the Church of communion, participation and mission.

As women of the Church, we thank God for the work of the Holy Spirit in "our Peter"!


María Lía Zervino, Servidora

WUCWO President General

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