Vatican City (MTI) – More than 1,600 acolytes and altar servers from Hungary and dioceses from beyond the border met Pope Francis on the opening day of the eleventh International Pilgrimage of Acolytes and Altar Servers in Rome on Tuesday.
The event is organised by the Coetus Internationalis Ministrantium (CIM), an international organisation comprising acolytes and altar servers from across Europe, which meets every five years.
Pope Francis spoke about the power of faith and its ability to provide strength and happiness. He said Jesus shows the way in “the great journey” of life to the weak and that faith helps one to be more open to and accepting of one’s peers.
Pope Francis led a vigil with prayers spoken in Italian, French, German and Hungarian.
The pontiff was greeted in St. Peter’s Square with hymns and prayer.
The pope was first greeted by Laszlo Nemet, Bishop of Zrenjanin (Nagybecskerek) in Vojvodina, Serbia, head of CIM, who noted that the organisation has held meetings in Rome since 1962. The bishop made a special mention of the youths arriving from Ukraine who “are forced to live with the horrors of war”. He covered the events of the first day in the Vatican Radio in various languages including Hungarian.
More than one thousand of the Hungarian speaking pilgrims are from Hungary, with the remainder coming from Transylvania, Vojvodina and Slovakia.
The Hungarian delegation, the second largest behind that of Austria, will take part in a mass performed in Hungarian in the Church of Sant’Ignazio di Loyola on Wednesday.
The event concludes on August 8.