(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis prayed the Regina coeli with pilgrims and tourists gathered under a hazy Roman sky in St Peter’s Square on Sunday, the 7th Sunday of Easter and in many countries – including Italy – the day on which the Church marks the Ascension of Our Lord.
“Before parting from his friends,” said Pope Francis, “Jesus, referring to the event of his death and resurrection, told them, ‘You are my witnesses’: that is, the disciples, the Apostles are witnesses of the death and resurrection of Christ, on that day, even at the Ascension of Christ.”
The Holy Father went on to say, “In fact, after seeing their Lord ascending into heaven, the disciples returned to the city as witnesses who joyfully announced to everyone the new life that comes from the Risen Christ, in whose name ‘they would preach to all nations repentance and forgiveness of sins.’
“This,” he continued, “is the witness – not only with words but also with everyday life – the testimony that every Sunday should go out of our churches in order to enter throughout the whole week into our homes, our offices, our schools, our gathering places and entertainment venues, our hospitals, prisons, and homes for the elderly, into places crowded with immigrants, on the outskirts of the city. We must carry this witness every week: Christ is with us; Jesus is ascended to heaven; He is with us; Christ is alive!”