“The pandemic has marked the lives of people and the history of our communities,” Pope Francis said in the message, which was embargoed until 3:15am Rome Time on Friday (6:15pm PST). “Faced with this and other realities,” he said, “we need the commitment, strength and dedication of all,” if we are to “look to the future” and “build tomorrow.”
An annual recurrence first organized in 1956 by the Confraternity for Christian Doctrine and frequently boasting as many as 40 thousand participants, the Los Angeles gathering is this year taking place from February 18-21, and is being held online under the banner: “Proclaim the Promise!”
Pope Francis’s message begins at 24:42 of the video
“How pertinent, in this [Covid-19 pandemic] context,” said Pope Francis, “is the call of this Congress,” adding: “In crises, one’s own heart is revealed: its solidity, its mercy, its greatness, its smallness. Crises put us before the need to choose and choose and commit ourselves to a path.”
This year is the 65th anniversary of the LA Religious Education Congress, and the 50th anniversary of its dedicated section on youth.
“You young people,” Pope Francis said, “be the poets of a new human beauty, a new fraternal and friendly beauty!”
“As a single human family,” Pope Francis said, “dreams must be built together.”
“As fellow travelers sharing the same flesh, as children of the same earth, which is our common home, each of us bringing the richness of his or her beliefs and convictions, each of us with his or her own voice, brothers and sisters all,” Pope Francis went on to say.