In solidarity with the Argentinian people – our allies and friends – we post the address by Pope Francis on this feast day of Saint Cajetan, patron of bread and of work.
The Shrine of Saint Cajetan (San Gaetano da Thiene), patron of “Bread and of Work” of Argentina, is in the Buenos Aires district of Liniers, on the outskirts of the city. Every year on August 7, liturgical memorial of the Saint’s death, thousands of faithful queue to pass in front of the statuette of Saint Cajetan, kiss the glass of the small niche that contains it and make the sign of the cross. The queue winds through 15 streets of the city and lasts the whole day. Waiting can be as long as 10 hours. Every hour Holy Mass is celebrated at the Shrine. The main celebration is at 11:00 am. As Archbishop of Buenos Aires, the then Cardinal Bergoglio presided over the celebration on the feast of Saint Cajetan and, at the end of the Mass, went in the inverse direction of the queue of the faithful to speak with them, to hear their stories and to bless the children.
This year the 11 o’clock Mass will be presided over by Archbishop Aurelio Poli of Buenos Aires and Primate of Argentina. At the end of the celebration, Archbishop Poli will also greet the pilgrims. The theme of the celebration this year is “With Jesus and Saint Cajetan We Go to Meet Those Most in Need.” The celebrations foresee a novena of prayer, from August 1-9, with specific prayer intentions every day: the family, rulers, the suffering, the deceased, the unemployed, solidarity.
The Pope’s video-message is broadcasted cyclically on Buenos Aires’ Catholic television station (Channel 21) and on large screens at the entrance of the Shrine beginning at midnight local time (5:00 am in Italy) so that the faithful who approach in the queue can see and hear him.
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THE HOLY FATHER’S VIDEO-MESSAGE (transcript)
As every year, after having gone through the queue, I speak with you. This time I went through the queue with my heart. I’m a bit far away and I can’t share with you this very lovely moment — this moment in which you are walking towards the image of Saint Cajetan. Why? To meet with him, to meet with Jesus. However today, the motto of this pilgrimage, a motto chosen by you, selected among many possibilities, the motto speaks today of another meeting, and it says: “With Jesus and Saint Cajetan, We Go to Meet Those in Most Need” It speaks of the meeting with people in greater need, those who need us to give them a hand, to look at them with affection, to share their pain and anxieties, their problems. However, what’s important is not to look at them from afar, or to help them from afar. No, No! It’s to go and meet with them. That is what a Christian is! That is what Jesus teaches us: to go and meet with those in most need as Jesus did, who always went out to meet people. He went to meet them. We must go out and meet the neediest.
Sometimes I ask a person: “Do you give alms?”
They say: “Yes, Father.”
“And when you give alms, do you look at the eyes of the people to whom you give alms?”
“Oh, I don’t know, I wasn’t thinking.”
“Then you didn’t meet him. You tossed the alms and left.”
“When you give alms, do you touch the hand of the needy person, or do you toss a coin to him.”
“No, I toss the coin.”
“And you didn’t touch him? If you didn’t touch him, you didn’t meet with him.”
What Jesus teaches us first is to meet with one another and in our meeting, to help. We need to know how to come together. We need to build, to create, to construct a culture of coming together. So many disagreements, troubles in the family, always! — problems in the neighborhood, problems at work, problems everywhere. And disagreements don’t help. What we need is the culture of coming together, of going out to meet one another. And the motto says, to meet with the neediest, namely, with those who are in greater need than I am. To meet with those who are going through a bad time, worse than the one I’m going through. There is always someone who is having a worse time. Alas! There is always, always someone! Then I think, I’m going through a bad time. I come to the queue to meet with Saint Cajetan and with Jesus, and then I go out to meet with others, because there is always someone who is worse off. It is with these that we must come together.
Thank you for listening to me. Thank you for coming here today. Thank you for all that you bear in your heart. Jesus loves you very much. Saint Cajetan loves you very much. He only asks one thing of you: that you come together! That you go out and seek and find one in greater need! But not alone – with Jesus, with Saint Cajetan! Am I going to go out to convince someone to become a Catholic? No, no, no! You are going to meet with him, he is your brother! That’s enough! And you are going to help him, the rest Jesus does, the Holy Spirit does it. Remember well: with Saint Cajetan, we the needy go to meet with those who are in greater need. And, hopefully, Jesus will direct your way so that you will meet with one in greater need.
When you meet with the one in greater need, your heart will begin to enlarge, to enlarge, to enlarge! Because our coming together multiplies our capacity to love – our meeting with another enlarges our heart. Do it! “But I don’t know how to do it.” No, no, no! With Jesus and Saint Cajetan <you can>!
May God bless you and may you end well Saint Cajetan’s day. And please, don’t forget to pray for me. Thank you.