With emotive messages and invitations to peace, unity, justice and reconciliation, Pope Francis agitated five-day agenda for Colombia ended. He was present in the cities of Bogota, Medellin, Villavicencio and Cartagena.
The Pope began his tour on 7 September in the streets of Bogota encouraging the Colombian people not to lose courage and not to let themselves be robbed of the joy that characterizes them. At the Mass in the Bolivar Park, he strongly affirmed that the environments of degradation and of disbelief sicken the soul, the illusions and projects of the young people. In his speech to the young, he invited them never to lose their joy, to «meet», … and have the «big dreams».
On 8 September at Villavicencio, the Pope prayed in silence before the broken Christ of Bojaya, and in front of the cross and invited the Colombians to forgive and to reconcile.
The next day, in Medellin (at the Mass celebrated at Enrique Olaya airport), the Pope invited all Colombians to go to the essential: not to obstruct development and renewal; not to be afraid of change; to open the doors to the renewing air of the Spirit and to focus all efforts in the search for peace and reconciliation in favor of the country.
«Renewal involves sacrifice and courage» – he said, «not to be considered better or neater, but to respond better to the call of the Lord». He also insisted on the opening with which the Catholic Church has to act, without excluding anyone, but open to all who wish to approach it.
Finally, Cartagena addressed the issue of the dignity of all. He exhorted to work for the dignity of the poor, the children, the discarded ones of the society. He spoke of the need to heal the wounds of history through instances where justice is done. With God and in the light of Christ, there is no human life that ends simply in failure.
Before returning to Rome, President Juan Manuel Santos thanked the pontiff for his visit to the country with these words: «Today Colombia is a different country, thanks to your visit». And we have understood the lesson, -he told to the Holy Father-, « if Colombia wants a stable and lasting peace, it must urgently give way to the common good, equity, justice and respect for human nature».
Moreover, the pope, as the climax of his journey, said : «… I would like to leave to you one last word: let us not stay in ‘taking the first step’, let us continue walking together every day to meet the Other, in search of harmony and fraternity. We cannot stand still», … here you are some of the last words before taking the flight back to Rome.