Francisco encouraged the continued promotion of knowledge of this sixth-century Irish missionary saint, both “in the ecclesiastical and civil spheres”, in a message to the 25th International Meeting of Colombian Communities in the northern Italian city of Placencia.

“This at first glance may seem unrealistic, as there are many differences between the Europe of today and that of the 6th and 7th centuries, and equally distant from our model of life is that proposed by the holy abbot and his followers”, explained the pontiff.

However, the Pope argued that it is precisely this diversity that makes the saint’s message “particularly interesting and even attractive” for today, in which society lives “immersed in practical materialism and, often, a kind of neo-paganism”. .

“The Irish monks of that time became pilgrims and missionaries on the continent to re-evangelize vast territories where the first Christian flourishing was in danger of being lost,” he recalled.

In this way, by cultivating “the spirit, mentality and customs” of the people of that time, the clergy of Saint Columbanus “contributed decisively to preserving and renewing European civilization”, said Francis.

“Currently we also need that evangelical ‘lymph’, so that the continent’s ecclesiastical and civil communities do not lose their identity and do not disintegrate into a homologous globalization at the mercy of the dominant powers, but rather can express their faith and culture with fidelity creative to their traditions, contributing to the construction of a Europe of peoples, united in the coexistence of differences and open to encounter and dialogue with other civilizations in the world”, he defended.

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