By Cindy Wooden
For the first time in 15 years, Pope Francis was not able to walk along the line of people waiting to get into the Shrine of St. Cajetan to listen to them and bless them.
However, Pope Francis did not want to miss an opportunity to speak to the pilgrims lined up in Buenos Aires to celebrate the Aug. 7 feast day of St. Cajetan, patron of Argentina and of jobseekers.
Beginning at midnight on the feast day, Pope Francis’ recorded video message was being played over and over on big screens at the entrance to the shrine and was being broadcast throughout the day on Canal 21, the television station of the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires.
Pope Francis began by saying he still wanted to continue celebrating the feast with the pilgrims, just like he did every year after becoming archbishop in 1998.
The theme for this year’s feast day celebration and the Aug. 1-9 prayer novena in Buenos Aires was “With Jesus and St. Cajetan, let us go out to encounter the most needy.”
As the faithful bring their needs and prayers to the shrine, he said, they should be thinking, “I’m going through a bad time; I’m standing in line to encounter St. Cajetan and Jesus, and then I’ll go out to meet others because there is always someone who is worse off than I am.”
Pope Francis said, “Do you need to convince the other to become Catholic? No, no, no! Go out and meet him, he is your brother. This is enough. Go out and help him and Jesus will do the rest.
“Your heart, when you encounter those in greater need, will start to grow and grow and grow,” the pope said. “Encounters multiply our ability to love.” – CNS