Pope Francis’ end of year message to Church employees
In many workplaces, the CEO issues a customary end of year greeting to staff, wishing them a happy Christmas and thanking them for their efforts over the past 12 months. The same applies for staff of the Holy See and Vatican State, except the CEO delivering their end of year message happens to be Pope Francis and all their family is invited along!
Pope Francis’ latest end of year message to his staff and their families was delivered on 21 December 2017 in the Paul VI Hall. The message is both encouraging and challenging, and filled with great love, sensitivity and practical wisdom that Pope Francis is best known and loved for.
We’ve summarised the key messages from his end of year address for you to reflect on – covering themes of thanks, fair work practices, family, biting your tongue and forgiveness. As employees of a global Catholic Church, with Pope Francis as our Supreme Pontiff and leader, this “message for staff” is also a message for us!
You are a part of this “chain” that carries forward the work of the Church
“I thank each of you for the work you do in here…. without the work that you do.. one would not be able to do so much work for the preaching of the Gospel, to help so many people, the sick, schools, so many things. You are a part of this “chain” that carries forward the work of the Church.”
The Church as a fair employer
“I do not want illegal work in the Vatican…. we must work in here to ensure there is no illegal work or precarious workers. It is also a problem of conscience for me, because we cannot teach the social doctrine of the Church and then do those things that are unacceptable. ..work is your path to holiness, happiness and growth…work gives us dignity, and job security gives us dignity..
Talk about precarious work… help your superiors put an end to irregular work situations and keep your job, because it is your dignity.. keep your job, but do it well!”
Seek help if you are struggling
“I would like to say to you sincerely: when I know that one of your families is in crisis, that there are children who are anguished because they see that the family has ..a problem, I suffer. But allow yourselves to be helped….I know it’s not easy, that there are personality problems, psychological problems, problems . . . so many problems in a marriage. However, try to ask for help in time….
I know that among you there are some who are separated; I know it and I suffer, I suffer with you . . . life has gone that way…. If something has happened, at least don’t let the children suffer, because when parents quarrel, the children suffer, they suffer. And I’ll give you some advice: never quarrel in front of the children –never, because they don’t understand. Take care of the family. And for this you have here Monsignor Verges and also the chaplains. They will tell you where to go to get help.”
Bite your tongue
“You have heard what I say about gossip: gossip is a terrorist, because like terrorists, he throws a bomb and goes away; the bomb explodes and damages so many others, with the language, that bomb. Do not terrorise! Do not terrorise with gossip, please.
But someone could tell me: “Father, give us some advice: how can we do this, not gossip?”. Bite your tongue! Surely it will swell up, but you will have done well not to gossip.”
“…we do not always set a good example. We clerics make mistakes in life: sins, injustices, or sometimes we treat people badly, we are a bit neurotic … Forgive us for all these examples that are not good.
Do not be afraid, you too, to ask for forgiveness if your conscience rebukes you for something; look for a good confessor and do a nice clean-up! … We are all sinners, everyone… We all must go to confession”.
As employees of the Catholic Church in Australia, Pope Francis’ message provides some practical and timely new year resolutions we can all take on board.
Click here for the full translated copy of the address.