A little later Saturday on this, the second day of his Apostolic Visit, Pope Francis will preside over a Marian encounter with families and youth in the city of Iasi. The Bishop of the diocese, Petru Gherghel says that devotion to Our Lady is strong in Romania.
Pope Francis on Saturday afternoon is in Iasi located in the north-eastern part of the country.
It is one of one of the oldest cities in Romania, where the first newspaper and university in the country was opened.
The Pope’s devotion to Our Lady is well known and on this the second day of his Apostolic Visit he will preside over a Marian Encounter with youth and families, in the square of the Palace of Culture.
Speaking to Vatican Radio and News the Bishop of Iasi, Petru Gherghel says, that this is a young diocese but many young people from the area have left Romania for other countries. “Many people are looking for a better life, after the difficult period of communism that has generated suffering in families, making them remain in poverty. That’s why so many families have left the country: at first their husbands but then also their wives, and now also with the young.”
When Pope John Paul II visited the country in 1999, he called it the “garden of the Mother of God.” The Bishop says that, Orthodox as well as Catholic’s love Our Lady in Romania.
“Pope Francis, being aware of this, really wanted to strengthen this devotion to our Mother, Mary. The Pope really wants to invite us to go forward together under the mantle of our Mother Mary.”
Asked about relations with the Orthodox faithful, in this part of Romania, he responds by saying, “they are together, everyone respects each other. Let’s go ahead in this rapprochement. And the Pope comes precisely to help us always feel part of a family, even if there are somewhat different manifestations of faith, but everyone must be aware of being children of God.”
With thanks to Vatican News and Lydia O’Kane, where this article originally appeared.