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nice20160718T1038 4690 CNS POPE ANGELUS NICE 800A woman prays as she attends Mass July 15 at the Nice cathedral in France to pay tribute to victims of people killed in the Bastille Day attack. Pope Francis prayed that God give comfort to grieving families and foil the plans of those who wish to harm others. (CNS photo/Eric Gaillard, Reuters)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Remembering the victims of the tragic terrorist attack in Nice, France, Pope Francis prayed that God may give comfort to grieving families and foil the plans of those who wish to harm others.

"May God, the good father, receive all the victims in his peace, support the wounded and comfort the families; may he dispel every plan of terror and death so that no man dares to spill his brother's blood ever again," the pope said July 17 after reciting the Angelus prayer with visitors gathered in St. Peter's Square.

The pope spoke following the July 14 attack during Bastille Day celebrations along Nice's seaside promenade that killed 84 people. The French government declared three days of mourning beginning July 16.

In a message following the attack signed by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, the pope condemned the Bastille Day attack as an "act of blind violence" and expressed his "deep sorrow" and "spiritual closeness" with the French people.

Before leading a moment of silent prayer at his Angelus address, the pope said the pain in the aftermath of the massacre in Nice, "in which so many innocent lives, even many children were mowed down, is still alive."

"I give a paternal and fraternal embrace to all the residents of Nice and to the whole French nation. And now, all together, let us pray thinking about this massacre, the victims, and the families," he said.

In his remarks before reciting the Angelus prayer, Pope Francis reflected on the day's Gospel reading in which Jesus visits the house of Martha and Mary.

The pope noted that the sisters welcomed Jesus in different ways: Mary sat at the feet of Jesus listening to his word while Martha busied herself "preparing things" and forgetting "the presence of her guest."

"If you welcome a guest in your house and continue doing things, you will have him sit there – both of you silent – as if he were a rock; a guest made of rock," he said.

Instead, Christians are called to be like Mary and listen to Jesus whose word "enlightens and sustains all that we are and all that we do."

"If we are going to pray, for example, before a crucifix, and we talk and talk and talk and then we leave, we don't listen to Jesus. We don't allow him to speak to our hearts," he said.

Reminding the faithful that hospitality is a work of mercy, Pope Francis warned that it is also a virtue that "runs the risk of being left aside," often due to the hustle and bustle of daily life in which people "don't have time to listen."

"I ask you to learn to listen and to dedicate more time to this. The root of peace lies in our capacity

alertAt the Spring Assembly of the U.S. bishops, Cardinal Joseph Tobin suggested that a delegation ofbishops go to the border to see for themselves what was happening to newly arrived immigrants, families and children. On July 1 and 2, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. bishops conference, and five other bishops conducted a pastoral visit to the diocese of Brownsville, Texas. Stops included Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle with the community, a visit to anHHS/OBR Shelter and Mass for the families there, a visit to the Customs and Border Patrol processing center in McAllen, TX, and a press conference at the end of their visit. Catholic News Service accompanied the bishops on their border trip. 

  1. Backgrounder and analysis of the bishops’ trip to the border: Cardinal DiNardo told CNS, “You cannot look at immigration as an abstraction when you meet” the people behind the issue.
  2. At final press conference, Cardinal Daniel Dinardo said the church was willing to be part of any conversation to find humane solutions because even a policy of detaining families together in facilities caused “concern.”
  3. Bishops serve soup to immigrant families at a center run by Catholic Charities and listen to their stories. Scranton Bishop Joseph Bambera said he found hope in hearing the people in the room talk about what’s ahead. They didn’t speak of making money but of finding safety for their children, he said, driven by “the most basic instinct to protect your family.”
  4. At an opening Mass he Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle-National Shrine near McAllen, Texas, Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville told Massgoers, “The bishops are visiting here so they can stop and look and talk to people and understand, especially the suffering of many who are amongst us,”

A delegation of U.S. bishops goes on a fact-finding mission at the U.S.-Mexican border to learn more about Central American immigration detention.

Following their visit to an immigrant detention center, U.S. bishops said they are even more determined to call on Congress for comprehensive immigration reform.