Pope Francis led a moment of silent prayer for Fr Roberto Malgesini, a 51-year-old priest who was stabbed to death in Como, Italy, on September 15.
“I join in the pain and prayers of his family members and the Como community and, as his bishop said, I praise God for the witness, that is, for the martyrdom, of this witness of charity towards the poorest,” Pope Francis said at the general audience on September 16.
Malgesini was known for his care for the homeless and migrants in the northern Italian diocese. He was killed on Tuesday near his parish, St Rocco’s Church, by one of the migrants he helped.
Speaking to pilgrims in the Vatican’s San Damaso Courtyard, the Pope noted that Malgesini was killed “by a person in need whom he himself helped, a person with a mental illness.”
Pausing for a moment of silent prayer, he asked those present to pray for Fr Roberto and for “all the priests, sisters, laypeople who work with people in need and rejected by society.”
In his general audience catechesis, Pope Francis said that exploitation of God’s creation in nature and exploitation of people went hand-in-hand.
“There is one thing that we must not forget: those who do not know how to contemplate nature and creation do not know how to contemplate people in their richness,” he said. “Whoever lives to exploit nature ends up exploiting people and treating them as slaves.”
Pope Francis spoke during his third general audience to include the presence of pilgrims since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
He continued his catechesis on the theme of healing the world after the coronavirus pandemic, reflecting on Genesis 2:15: “The Lord God then took the man and settled him in the garden of Eden, to cultivate and care for it.”