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Pope Francis: we need peace, a future of cradles, not of graves

Be open gates! – this is what Pope Francis asked of the worshippers at the Holy Mass conducted in Kossuth Square in Budapest on Sunday. At the end of the ceremony, the Catholic Pontiff asked world leaders to build peace, praying for a future of cradles and not graves.

The Holy Mass was attended by President of Hungary Katalin Novák, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, Speaker of the National Assembly László Kövér and several members of the government.

The Pope urged those gathered to try to be like Jesus, open gates, gates that are not slammed in front of anyone, through which all can enter and experience the beauty of the love and forgiveness of the Lord.
He asked the worshippers to allow the Lord of Life who comforts and heals into their hearts, and then step out into the world and become open gates in society. As he said: "Let us be open and receptive to each other, to help Hungary grow on the path of brotherhood and peace!"

When explaining the biblical parable of the Good Shepherd, he underlined: the Good Shepherd first „calls his own sheep by name” and then „leads them out”.

Jesus came as the good shepherd of mankind to call us by our name and lead us home. And even today, in all the situations of life, in our "losses, in our fears, in the occasional sense of defeat, in the prison of sadness that threatens to take away our freedom, he calls us". He comes to "heal our wounds and take upon himself our weaknesses, to call us to unity in his flock" – Pope Francis said.
"Brothers and sisters, as we are here this morning, let us feel the joy of being God’s holy people – he stressed, and went on to say: we were all born of his invitation, he gathered us together and therefore we are his people, his flock, his church.

The Pontiff said it is beautiful that at Holy Mass, bishops, priests, monks and believers are together, and good that they can share this joy with the delegates of other Christian denominations, the leaders of the Jewish community, the representatives of civil society organisations and the diplomatic corps.
This is Catholicism – he pointed out, emphasizing that the Good Shepherd invited Christians to accept and hand down his love, to make his flock inclusive and never exclusionary.

He went on to explain: once the Good Shepherd called his sheep by their name and gathered them in a flock, he "leads them out ", sends them out into the world so they can bravely and fearlessly become the harbingers of good news and leave a testimony of love.
Jesus said, "I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture" – the Pope quoted.

Jesus is the gate that has opened wide, to allow us „to enter the Community of the Father. But as is well-known, open gates are not only for us to enter somewhere, but also to leave the place where we currently are" – he explained.
Jesus is the gate that shows us the way into the world, the gate that encourages us to „go out and meet our brothers and sisters". We have all been invited "to leave our comfort zones and have enough courage to go to all the peripheries where the light of the Gospels is needed " – the Pope stressed.

He called the view of closed gates saddening and painful: the closed gates of selfishness and individualism in a society where many are threatened by withering loneliness; the closed gates of indifference towards those suffering and living in poverty; the closed gates before strangers, refugees and the poor – he enumerated the sufferers. Lastly, he mentioned the closed gates of church communities: "shutting ourselves up", isolating ourselves from the world, from those who are not "all right "and who long for the forgiveness of God.
"Brothers and sisters, I am asking you to open the gates!" – Pope Francis turned to the worshippers, repeating his request two times.

The universal prayers were recited in seven languages: Hungarian, German, Ukrainian, Romanian, Croatian, Slovak and Slovenian.

At the Holy Mass, the liturgy of the Eucharist was led by Cardinal Péter Erdő, Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest. In several places in the square, Holy Communion was given to the worshippers.
At the end of the Holy Mass, Péter Erdő thanked Pope Francis for visiting "us, a people whose language bears little resemblance to any other in the world ", a people that for a thousand years has clung lovingly to Western Christianity, but often felt abandoned by it.

The Cardinal thanked the Pontiff for having come to visit the poor and the refugees from neighbouring Ukraine. "Thank you for visiting the poor, the sick children and the young people who are the greatest challenge and at the same time hold the greatest potential for our Church " – he said.

Péter Erdő stressed: the peoples living along the River Danube have learnt that the big river is not only a border, but "if with wisdom and insight we build bridges, it also connects peoples". As an example, he mentioned King Saint Stephen, venerated today as a saint by both the Catholic and the Orthodox Church as he preached the teachings of Christ at a time when there was still complete unity between the Churches of the East and the West.
"We thank you, Holy Father, for bringing a message of dialogue and peace to us, which is especially timely today " – the Cardinal concluded his address, asking for God’s blessing on Pope Francis and his ministry, and for the Holy Father's apostolic blessing on all present.

The Cardinal gifted a statue depicting Saint Stephen to Pope Francis.

Before the Holy Mass, Pope Francis drove around in the square in an open popemobile, greeting participants.

During the Pope’s entry at the beginning of the Holy Mass, the part Tu es Petrus (You are Peter) relating the establishment of the Church in Franz Liszt’s Christus oratorio was played. The permanent parts of the Mass were the movements of Zoltán Kodály’s Hungarian Mass.