Pope Francis left a lasting legacy of peace during his visit to the Kingdom of Bahrain early this week, said Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, the Vatican’s Pro-Prefect for Evangelization.
“It is a pilgrimage of peace and the call for all peoples of religions, different religions and cultures and nationalities to rediscover our common humanity,” said the cardinal who accompanied the pontiff during the four-day apostolic visit.
Vatican News in a report quoted the Filipino cardinal describing the papal trip as a “pilgrimage” because Pope Francis “related every item that he talked about to God and prayer.”
“For it’s only in God’s eyes, as it were, that we will discover that we all came from one source and that we are interrelated,” said Cardinal Tagle.
He said there was a lot of symbolism and cultural and political undertones during the visit, “but in the end, it was really a call to prayer and adoration of the one God.”
Cardinal Tagle said that the trip focused on inter-religious dialogue “and the affirmation of their faith for the minority Gulf region Catholics.”
The cardinal said the pontiff “shone the light on ecumenism and the need to overcome divisions,” adding that the country is “really mission territory” where the “greatest missionaries” are the laypeople.
“I’ve been hearing even from the laypeople who have been working here, they say that they felt affirmed (by the pope’s visit) in their presence, in their relationships, in their work,” he said.
“I think there will be many unseen effects of this visit. But the people who live here and work here will witness to that change,” said Cardinal Tagle.
Pope Francis arrived back in Rome on Sunday afternoon from his 39th apostolic journey abroad, which marked his second to the Middle-Eastern Gulf region.
During his trip, the pope called on young people to live their faith and urged the clergy and religious to preserve their God-given joy and continue their work of evangelization.
Pope Francis also called on religious leaders to recognize their responsibility and “duty” to promote peace and condemn those who use the name of God to perpetrate violence.
During Mass on Sunday, the pope encourage Catholics from the Arabian Peninsula to be bold in proclaiming the Gospel in their countries.
“All who are baptized have received the Spirit and so become prophets. As such, we cannot pretend not to see the works of evil, so as to live a ‘quiet life’ and not get our hands dirty,” he said.
“How is it possible for a Christian who wants to live his faith not to get his or her hands dirty?” the pope reiterated. “On the contrary, we received a Spirit of prophecy to proclaim the Gospel by our living witness.”
His November 3–6 trip included encounters with authorities, Muslim leaders, and the small Catholic community, including a Mass with around 30,000 people in Bahrain’s national soccer stadium — the first-ever public papal Mass in the country. – with reports from Vatican News and CNA
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