In a message to Pope Francis on Monday, the U.S. bishops vowed fidelity to the Holy See and voiced hope that Pope Francis will attend the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia next year. “We are very much aware that it is only in communion with the Bishop of Rome that we can most effectively give witness to the fullness of the Gospel in our country today,” the message read. “We undertake our efforts with unwavering devotion to the Holy See and to you as the successor of Peter.” Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, president of the bishops' conference, read the message to his brother bishops Nov. 10 during the opening day of the autumn General Assembly in Baltimore; the message was met with applause. In the message, the bishops praise Pope Francis for his bold proclamation of reconciliation across the globe. “We have continued to be moved by the courageous manner in which you have spoken on behalf of the poor and downtrodden and preached the gospel of reconciliation in Rome and beyond,” the message read. The bishops particularly praises the Pope’s trip to South Korea in August. During that trip, Pope Francis urged the reunification of the Korean peninsula, which has been divided for nearly seven decades. The bishops also praised the Pope’s message of peace during a trip to Albania in September. “Even as you wept upon hearing the testimony of an Albanian priest who spend 27 years in prison for his faith, you urged people everywhere not to allow the suffering of the past to justify enmity and violence today,” the message read. “Your clear and consistent voice calling for peace and reconciliation remains an inspiration to all of us.” The bishops concluded their message by thanking Pope Francis for the recent Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in Rome, and also promised their prayers for the Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, slated for October 2015.
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