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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Leave divisions behind, embrace fellowship, pope says at Marian shrine

At a Marian shrine in the heart of Transylvania, Pope Francis called on Romania’s Catholics to leave resentments behind and to embark on a journey of unity.

Celebrating Mass on 1st June at the Sumuleu Ciuc shrine, an important place of pilgrimage for Romanians and for Catholics from across the border in Hungary, the pope called on the faithful to ask God “for the grace to change past and present resentments and mistrust into new opportunities for friendship.”

“Complicated and sorrow-filled situations from the past must not be forgotten or denied, yet neither must they be an obstacle or an excuse standing in the way of our desire to live together as brothers and sisters,” he said.

Due to severe rain and fog, the pope’s originally scheduled landing at an airport in Bacau and subsequent helicopter ride to the shrine was cancelled. Instead, his plane landed at Transylvania Airport in Targu Mures and he was driven by car to Sumuleu Ciuc.

Tens of thousands of pilgrims wearing colourful raincoats, surrounded by green pine forests clouded by mist, waited for the pope outside the shrine. Rain, mud and fog did little to dampen their spirits as they sang and waved happily awaiting the pope’s arrival.

Among the pilgrims at the Mass were Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dancila and Hungarian President Janos Ader, who attended “as a simple pilgrim,” the Vatican said.

Picture: Pope Francis arrives in procession to celebrate Mass at the Marian shrine of Sumuleu Ciuc in Miercurea Ciuc, Romania, on 1st June 2019. (CNS photo/Paul Haring).