-- ZENIT.org News Agency
Protestant Congregation Receives Personal Video Message From Francis
Pope Urges Them to Join Him in Prayer, That 'This Separation Comes to an End'
ROME, February 21, 2014 (Zenit.org) - Pope Francis has shown his enthusiasm for ecumenism through a private video recorded for longtime friend, Anglican Episcopal Bishop Tony Palmer, which was played at a gathering of Kenneth Copeland Ministries.
Kenneth Copeland Ministries is a Protestant ministry based in Texas, founded and directed by Copeland and his wife and children.
In the video message, the Holy Father explains that he and Palmer have been "friends for years."
After a brief introduction in English, the Pope spoke in Italian and the video was played with subtitles.
The Pope goes on to speak of joy and yearning -- joy that his audience has "come together to worship Jesus Christ the only Lord" and yearning that "this separation comes to an end and gives us communion. I am nostalgic (yearning), of that embrace that the Holy Scripture speaks of when Joseph's brothers began to starve from hunger, they went to Egypt, to buy, so that they could eat."
"We have lot of cultural riches, and religious riches. And we have diverse traditions. But we have to encounter one another as brothers. We must cry together like Joseph did. These tears will unite us. The tears of love," Francis told the congregation.
The Pope said he spoke as "a brother" and "in a simple way," inviting them: "Let us allow our nostalgia (yearning) to grow, because this will propel us to find each other, to embrace one another. And together to worship Jesus Christ as the only Lord of History."
"I thank you profoundly for listening to me," the Pope continued. "I thank you profoundly for allowing me to speak the language of the heart."
And he asked the congregation for prayer, a request that they granted immediately following the video, as Copeland led the congregation in prayer, which he described as "prayer in the Spirit," as they spoke in tongues.
Francis urged: "And let us pray to the Lord that He unites us all. Come on, we are brothers. Let's give each other a spiritual hug and let God complete the work that he has begun. And this is a miracle; the miracle of unity has begun.
"A famous Italian author named Manzoni, once wrote in his novel, of a simple man amongst the people, who once said this, 'I've never seen God begin a miracle without Him finishing it well.' He will complete this miracle of unity. I ask you to bless me, and I bless you. From brother to brother, I embrace you. Thank you."
After Copeland led the congregation in prayer, himself visibly moved, he echoed the Holy Father's idea of the "miracle of unity [that] has begun," saying that when he entered ministry 47 years ago, "this was impossible."
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