Pope Francis celebrated Mass on All Saints Day in Rome's biggest municipal cemetery, Campo Verano. The cemetery is located in a part of Rome that tourists don't often visit, so attendees mostly came from different Roman neighborhoods.
In his homily, Pope Francis reflected on the Beatitudes of the Gospel. He especially focused on recognizing the need for patience and forgiveness. "How many times are we impatient, nervous, always prepared to complain. To others we have so many claims, but when they touch us, we react, raising our voice, as if we were the masters of the world.”
"Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” To recount this passage the Pope praised those who know to always forgive without exceptions. "They don't judge everything and everyone but instead try to put themselves in others' shoes. Forgiveness is something that we all need. No one is excluded.”
Pope Francis also recalled the "sowers of peace,” those who don't look for personal benefit but instead selflessly make peace with patience and consistency. "Look at the face of those who go around spreading weeds. Are they happy? Those who always look for opportunities to deceive, to take advantage of others. They're happy? No. They cannot be happy. Instead those who every day, with patience, seek to sow peace, are artisans of peace, of reconciliation.”
Thousands of years ago, Verano was an area for wealthy and powerful families. Now it is a popular neighborhood and its cemetery is one of the best known. But it's also an artistic center. Some of the most famous Italian sculptors of the last two centuries left their mark there.
Later during the Pope's Angelus prayer on Sunday, he expressed his closeness and solidarity with the people of the Central African Republic. However, he warned that if the cycle of violence continues, he may not be able to visit later this month.
"To express the closeness of the entire Church in praying that the nation so afflicted and tormented and to urge all Central Africans to be witnesses of compassion and reconciliation, on Sunday November 29th, I intend to open the Holy Door of the Cathedral of Bangui, during the apostolic journey that I hope to accomplish in that nation.”
Pope Francis had previously said he will visit the nation, but because of increasing violence in the capital, he has notably shifted his rhetoric toward saying he hopes to go
About the All Saints Day, the Pope said that examples of holiness can be found in everyday life. "How many good people have we met in our lives; how often do we exclaim: ‘This person is a saint!' We say it, it comes spontaneously. These are the saints who live next door, not the ones who are canonized, but the ones who live with us.”
Those everyday saints are a gift, the Pope explained, because they set an example for those around them. Imitating them can have a large effect on the world. "An act of tenderness, generosity, and time spent listening, a visit, a kind word, a smile. In our eyes, these gestures may seem insignificant, but in the eyes of God they are eternal, because love and compassion are stronger than death.”
At the end of his remarks, he also acknowledged the newly beatified Mother Teresa Casini, the founder of the Oblate Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. He thanked her for her missionary life in support of the Church.