Pope tells Catholics to celebrate, welcome diversity

Pope Francis arrives to lead a meeting at the Maronite Cathedral of Our Lady of Grace in Nicosia, Cyprus, yesterday (CNS/Paul Haring)

The Church is a mosaic of different rites and cultures and must show the world the beauty of welcoming all people as brothers and sisters, Pope Francis told the Catholics of Cyprus. Source: CNS.

Beginning his December 2-4 visit to the island with a meeting with bishops, priests and religious rather than with government officials, the Pope highlighted the religious value of welcoming and diversity in a nation struggling with migration.

Cyprus has a large Orthodox majority, but also centuries-old communities of Maronite and Latin-rite Catholics.

On the flight from Rome to Larnaca, a city on the sea about 30 miles from Nicosia, Pope Francis told reporters, “It will be a beautiful trip, but we will touch some wounds.”

One of those wounds — the fact that for more than 40 years the island has been divided between the mostly Greek Cypriot south and the mostly Turkish Cypriot north — explained why the Pope landed in Larnaca. The Nicosia airport is now mainly the headquarters of the United Nations peacekeeping force that patrols the “green line” between the north and south.

Meeting with the bishops, priests, religious and seminarians in the Maronite Cathedral, Pope Francis said: “The Church, as catholic, universal, is an open space in which all are welcomed and gathered together by God’s mercy and invitation to love. Walls do not and should not exist in the Catholic Church. For the Church is a common home, a place of relationships and of coexistence in diversity.”

FULL STORY

Pope, arriving in Cyprus, tells Catholics to celebrate, welcome diversity (By Cindy Wooden, CNS)

RELATED COVERAGE

Pope calls on Cypriot Church to welcome change and diversity with patience (Vatican News)

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