Today Pope Francis met with members of the Brazilian organization Família da Esperança, which cares for people in desperate situations like drug addiction and HIV/AIDS. His address to them can be read on the Vatican website. It touches on familiar themes of Francis’s papacy like solidarity, hope, and what he often calls peripheries and here calls “situations of social vulnerability.” I found this passage especially touching:

One of the great problems of today’s world is indifference, the seduction of indifference, as I recalled in the Encyclical Fratelli tutti. Instead, you have not remained indifferent in the face of the pain you have seen on the face of so many young people, afflicted by existential sufferings, especially those whose life was destroyed by drugs and other addictions. You became “neighbours”, or rather “brothers” to many people you picked up from the streets and, as in the parable of the Good Samaritan, you accompanied them so as to treat them, heal them and help them regain their dignity.

I think it’s worth noting that, while today is most famous as Michaelmas, the feast of St. Michael the Archangel, it is also the feast of the other two archangels whose names we know, Gabriel and Raphael. Raphael, who appears extensively in the biblical Book of Tobit, is a patron of healing, medicine, and rejuvenation from both physical and spiritual sickness. May St. Raphael intercede for the people at Família da Esperança, for all those who are sick or who care for the sick, and for all people, who will at some time or another in our lives need his aid.

Image: Twelfth-century Byzantine mosaic of the Archangel Raphael from La Mortorana, Palermo, Sicily. From Wikimedia Commons.

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Nathan Turowsky is a native New Englander and now lives in Upstate New York. A lifelong fascination with religious ritual led him into first the Episcopal Church and then the Catholic Church. An alumnus of Boston University School of Theology and one of the relatively few Catholic alumni of that primarily Wesleyan institution, he is unmarried and works in the nonprofit sector. He writes at Silicate Siesta.

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