Holy Father Pope Francis was welcomed on 10th May, 2018, to the small town of Loppiano in the Italian region of Tuscany by over 7000 members of the Focolare movement. The Focolare Movement is a diverse reality that prioritizes dialogue and a lifestyle that contributes towards building unity and peace in the world. His Holiness Pope Francis was able to field questions and interact with those present after praying at the Sanctuary dedicated to Mary, Mother of God, before a painting that symbolizes inter-religious dialogue.

As reported by Vatican Radio, Amongst the questions put to the Pontiff by some of the citizens of Loppiano were queries about how to adapt with the times without betraying one’s roots and one’s heritage to which His Holiness  said “memory” is the frame of life: “just as the fruits of a tree are possible because the tree has roots, if you have no memory, you will be uprooted and will not be able to bear fruits”. Another question regarding the theme of “mission” in a new stage of evangelization and the need to   respond to the challenges of our time, Holy Father remarked that “The challenge, is to remain faithful to the original inspiration, and at the same time be open to the breath of the Holy Spirit and courageously undertake new paths that the Spirit suggests.”

Holy Father Pope Francis concluded his remarks by inviting those present to look to the Mother of God saying that the Shrine dedicated to her in Loppiano is an invitation to learn from her.