Pope in Latvia: Stand with those excluded from society

REUTERS/Max Rossi

During his homily Pope Francis called on the Latvian Catholics to “stand near” people who are suffering. The Pope is currently on his third of the four-day visit to the three Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. Pope Francis was reading from John’s Gospel, in which Mary stands at the foot of the cross as Jesus is crucified. In his homily, the Pope said that Catholics were called to “touch the sufferings of others”.

The Pope explained that when “touching the suffering of others” it took more than merely passing by or making a quick visit, saying that those suffering should feel one standing firmly at their side. Pope Francis explained how Mary stands by those who suffer, saying that these included even those who were put on trial, condemned by all or deported.

he Pope appealed to the tens of thousands of people who attended to be “ready to lift up the fallen” and calling them to “help end all of those situations of oppression that make people feel crucified themselves.”

The pouring rain did not deter the faithful from gathering and celebrate mass in the famous Marian shrine where Pope Francis was addressing a congregation of tens of thousands of people that gathered at the Basilica of the Assumption in Algona, Latvia. Following the mass, the Pope flew to Riga where he would address the political class.

On Tuesday the Pope is expected to travel to Estonia before heading back to Rome.