Francis celebrates Mass in Hungarian, Romanian and German at the pilgrimage shrine of Sumuleu Ciuc in Transylvania - calling for reconciliation despite the difficult past. The sermon in the text
Bucharest (kath.net/KAP) Pope Francis continued his trip to Romania with a visit to Sumuleu Ciuc. The city in the east of Transylvania is a center of Hungarian-speaking Catholics. Since the 16th century Sumuleu Ciuc is a place of pilgrimage of the mostly Catholic Hungarians. Banned under the Communists, the pilgrimage was revived in 1990. At a Mass with tens of thousands of believers at the Shrine of Sumuleu Ciuc, the Pope called for reconciliation and brotherhood between different cultures and traditions. The intercessions were presented in Hungarian, Romanian and German.
Francis emphasized that the wealth of a people was "its thousand faces, cultures, languages and traditions." He referred to the Romanian and Hungarian traditions of pilgrimage and the participation of Christians of other denominations. Thus Sumuleu Ciuc was "a symbol of dialogue, unity and fraternity.”
The pope called for reconciliation despite a difficult past. People should not "allow fraternity to be stolen from earth and injuries that nourish division and fragmentation." At the same time it would be a "grace" to be able to transform old and present hostilities and mistrust into community.
The Pope also encouraged the visitors of the place of pilgrimage, who belonged mainly to social minorities, to openness and hope for the future. "To be a pilgrim means not to look so hard at what could and should not have been, but what awaits us and what we can not delay." These included solidarity, brotherhood and the pursuit of the good, truth and justice.
God looks at the weak to soften the strong, said Francis. At the same time, he emphasized that it was "to fight the notion that those who have been left behind yesterday will become the protagonists of tomorrow and not leave behind today's protagonists.”
The history of the shrine sanctuary of Sumuleu Ciuc goes back to the 14th century and is connected with the Transylvanian army commander Johann Hunyadi and his fight against the Ottomans. At the center of religious worship is a more than 500 year old and more than two meters tall, Gothic wooden statue, Mary with the Child Jesus and scepter. It was built around 1515 for the Franciscan church of Sumuleu Ciuc, founded in 1400, and is said to be the largest known statue of mercy in the world. Traditionally, a big pilgrimage takes place on the Saturday before Pentecost. Most pilgrims are Hungarians, members of the largest minority in Romania, or from the neighboring country itself.
The arrival of the Pope on the morning in Bucharest had to be changed due to bad weather conditions. The planned last leg with a helicopter over the summit chain of the Eastern Carpathians would have been too dangerous, according to the organizers, because of storm cells. Therefore, the papal train had to fly by plane to Targu Mures (Neuburg am Mures) and from there to drive about 150 kilometers by car on rural roads. The area of the service is located on a grassy slope above the pilgrimage church.
In the afternoon, Francis is expected in the northeastern Romanian town Iasi near the border with Moldova. There an encounter with young people and families is planned. In the evening, the head of the church returns to Bucharest.
kath.net publishes the homily of Pope Francis at Holy Mass in the sanctuary of Şumuleu Ciuc (Schomlenberg):
Full of joy and thankful to God, I am with you today, dear brothers and sisters, in this beloved Marian Shrine rich in history and faith. We come as sons and daughters to meet our mother and realize that we are siblings. The sanctuaries are, so to speak, the "sacramental" places of a Church as a field hospital. They preserve the memory of the faithful people, who, in the midst of their afflictions, never tire of seeking the source of living water, where hope is refreshed. They are places of joy and celebration, tears and pleading. Without many words, we go to Mary's feet to be looked at by her. May she lead us to her with her gaze, which is "the way, the truth and the life" (Jn 14: 6).
We do not do it somehow, but we are pilgrims. Every year on the Saturday before Pentecost, you go on a pilgrimage here to fulfill the vows of your ancestors, to strengthen faith in God and to deepen the worship of the Mother of God depicted in the large wooden statue. This annual pilgrimage belongs to the heritage of Transylvania; but at the same time it honors the Romanian as well as the Hungarian tradition. It also respects the faithful of other denominations and is a symbol of dialogue, unity and brotherhood. It calls for renewed witness to a faith that has become life, and a life that becomes hope. To be a pilgrim is to know that we come to our house as a people; it means that we are aware of being a people.
We come as a people whose wealth is its thousand faces, a thousand cultures, languages and traditions. It is the holy, faithful people of God who are traveling with Mary on pilgrimage and singing the mercy of God. Just as Mary in Cana, Galilee, Jesus made an effort to do his first miracle, she is an advocate in every sanctuary - not just to her son, but to each one of us, so that we can not get away from the talk and wounds that cause division and fragmentation which robs our living fraternity. The intricate and sad stories of the past should not be forgotten or denied, but they should not be an obstacle or an argument for preventing the desired brotherly coexistence.
To be a pilgrim is to feel called and inspired, to go forward together, and ask the Lord for mercy to turn former and present resentments and suspicions into new opportunities for the community; Being on a pilgrimage means breaking away from our safety and comfort and seeking the new earth that the Lord wants to give us. Pilgrimage challenges us to discover the Spirit and to share that we can live together and not have to be afraid of mingling, meeting and helping each other. To be a pilgrim is to participate in this somewhat chaotic crowd, which can turn into a true experience of brotherhood, into a solidary caravan writing history (see Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii gaudium, 87). Being on a pilgrimage means not looking so much at what could have been (and not being), but rather at what awaits us and what we can not postpone.
To be a pilgrim is to believe in the Lord, who comes and is in our midst and who promotes and inspires solidarity, brotherhood, and the desire for good, truth, and justice (see ibid., 71). Pilgrimage means fighting and fighting for those who were left behind yesterday to become the protagonists of tomorrow and that the protagonists of this morning will not later be left behind. And that, brothers and sisters, requires the manual work of working together for the future. Yes, that's why we're here to say together, Mother, teach us to design the future.
When we make a pilgrimage to this sanctuary, our eyes are turned to Mary and to the mystery of her election by God. She was a girl from Nazareth, a small place in Galilee, on the margins of the Roman Empire and also on the margins of Israel. With her "yes" she was able to set in motion the revolution of tender love (cf ibid., 88). The mystery of the vocation of God, who turns his eyes on the weak to the strong, also drives and encourages us to say "yes", as Mary did, to follow the paths of reconciliation.
Brothers and sisters, let's not forget: if you dare, the Lord will not disappoint you. Let's go ahead, let's move forward together, we dare something. So we allow the Gospel to be the leaven that can penetrate everything and give our people the joy of salvation. Let's do that in unity and fraternity.
Trans: Tancred firstname.lastname@example.org