Pope Francis celebrates Mass at Transylvania’s Marian pilgrimage shrine

Șumuleu-Ciuc, Romania, Jun 1, 2019 / 04:04 am (CNA).- Pope Francis celebrated Mass Saturday at a 16th century Marian pilgrimage site in Transylvania, calling upon the Romanians and Hungarians present to “journey together” as a pilgrim people.

“To go on pilgrimage … means leaving behind our security and comfort and setting out for a new land that the Lord wants to give us,” Pope Francis said in his homily June 1.

“We come to the feet of our Mother, with few words, to let her gaze upon us, and with that gaze bring us to Jesus, who is the Way, the Truth and the Life,” he said.

With the votive Mass of Mary Mother of the Church, Pope Francis participated in the annual Pentecost pilgrimage to the Marian Shrine of Șumuleu-Ciuc, the site of a 1567 battle that defeated the Hungarian King John II Sigismund Zápolya, who had attempted to convert the Catholic Székely population to Protestantism.

“Here, every year, on the Saturday before Pentecost, you come on pilgrimage to honour the vow made by your ancestors, and to strengthen your own faith in God and your devotion to Our Lady, before her monumental wooden statue,” Pope Francis said. “As pilgrims to this shrine, we turn our gaze to Mary and to the mystery of God’s election.”

The statue of Our Lady of Csíksomlyó, venerated in the region since the 16th century, was present at the outdoor Mass at the shrine. At the end of the Mass, Pope Francis gifted a golden rose to Our Lady of Csíksomlyó.

“By saying ‘yes’ to the message of the angel, Mary – a young woman from Nazareth, a small town in Galilee on the fringes of the Roman Empire and of Israel itself – set in motion the revolution of tenderness,” Pope Francis said.

“Such is the mystery of God’s election: he looks to the lowly and confounds the powerful; he encourages and inspires us to say ‘yes,’ like Mary, and to set out on the paths of reconciliation,” he continued. “In every shrine, she watches over us and makes intercession.”

Pope Francis said that participating in a pilgrimage can mean joining a “somewhat chaotic sea of people,” but this can also give rise to “a genuine experience of fraternity.”

“To go on pilgrimage … is to believe in the Lord who is coming and even now is in our midst, inspiring and generating solidarity, fraternity, and the desire for goodness, truth and justice,” he said.

“The holy and faithful People of God who in union with Mary advance on their pilgrim way singing of the Lord’s mercy,” Pope Francis said.

Following the Mass, Pope Francis will travel northeast to Iasi to visit the Cathedral of Our Lady Queen of Iași. On the final day of Pope Francis’ May 31- June 2 apostolic visit to Romania, he will beatify seven martyred Greek-Catholic bishops in Blaj.

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