I am happy to have this opportunity to speak to you as you gather in Lourdes for the International Military Pilgrimage. Before all else, I want to bring you the greetings and good wishes of our Holy Father, Pope Francis, who has often spoken of the dignity and the importance of the military services for the promotion of the cause of peace. Your vital role in promoting the cause of peace, freedom and the common good has become all the more evident in recent weeks, even amid the tragedy of war, in the role you have played in large-scale planning and the provision of humanitarian aid to so many of our displaced and suffering brothers and sisters.
This evening, I am pleased to introduce the new Catholic Military Connect app for smartphones, developed by the International Military Apostolate in close cooperation with the “Tweeting with God” project. I believe that the app will be immensely helpful to all military personnel, and in a particular way to young men and women who, in this important sector of civil service, seek to grow in personal friendship with Jesus Christ and in the understanding and appreciation of the beauty and richness of our Catholic faith.
The app provides practical and useful information, answers frequently asked questions, and provides a treasury of prayers for different needs and occasions. In our increasingly digital world, it can also be an aid to sharing and building a sense of fellowship in our shared faith, our pursuit of holiness, and our efforts to bring the light of faith to our daily duties in the service of the larger community. For all of us, in whatever position or role we play in society, are called to advance the Gospel vision of a world redeemed and reconciled, in which all the members of the human family can live in security, freedom, justice and peace.
Two aspects of the app, I think, will prove particularly useful. First, the app provides ready information on the specific services available through your chaplaincies; in this way, it will help to build real, not merely virtual, worship communities. Second, it also provides the monthly prayer intentions of the Holy Father. I would ask you in his name to unite your prayers daily with his own, in the communion of the universal Church, for the spread of Christ’s kingdom and for the needs, material and spiritual, of so many of our brothers and sisters throughout the world.
Dear friends, during these days of pilgrimage and prayer, I am confident that you will draw great comfort and spiritual strength from this holy place, where the healing power of faith and the loving presence of Our Lady are so deeply felt, even amid illness, suffering and human tragedies. In the hope that the new Catholic Military Connect app will accompany you on your journey of faith, I invite all of you, together, to join me in downloading the app. (The Cardinal downloads the app). Thank you, and God bless you all!
Cardinal Pietro Parolin
Secretary of State