For Pope Francis, June is a month dedicated to praying for a demographic he frequently brings up in his speeches and homilies: the elderly, sick and marginalized, particularly for solidarity for those in big cities.
“In our cities the elderly and sick are neglected. Can we ignore it?” the Pope asks in the video, published June 2.
Our cities, he said, “should be characterized above all by solidarity, which entails not only giving to the needy, but also taking responsibility for one another and fostering a culture of encounter.”
He asked viewers to join him in praying that “the aged, marginalized, and those who have no one may find — even within the huge cities — opportunities for encounter and solidarity.”
In the video, Francis speaks in his native Spanish as a scene unfolds depicting young street musicians who see an elderly homeless man, dirty and sitting alone. In the course of the video the musicians, who were getting a lot of tips, move to sit beside the man, and give him what they earned by playing.
The clip marks the latest in a new series of short videos dedicated to Francis’ monthly prayer intentions, called “The Pope Video.”
An initiative of the Jesuit-run global prayer network Apostleship of Prayer, the videos are filmed in collaboration with the Vatican Television Center and mark the first time the Pope’s monthly prayer intentions have been featured on video.
The Apostleship of Prayer, which produces the monthly videos on the Pope’s intentions, was founded by Jesuit seminarians in France in 1884 to encourage Christians to serve God and others through prayer, particularly for the needs of the Church.
Since the late 1800s the organization has also received a monthly, “universal” intention from the Pope. In 1929 an additional missionary intention was added by the Holy Father, aimed at the faithful in particular.
While there are two intentions, the prayer videos are centered on the first, universal intention.
Though Pope Francis’ June intention focused on the elderly and marginalized, his evangelistic intention is for seminarians and novices in religious orders, that all entering religious life “may have mentors who live the joy of the Gospel and prepare them wisely for their mission.”
His intentions this year have so far focused on themes he speaks out about frequently, such as interreligious dialogue, care for creation, families in hardship, small farmers and respect for women.
Francis’ prayer intentions for the rest of the year are listed on the organization’s website and center on other themes close to Francis’ heart, such as prayers for indigenous peoples, countries receiving refugees and an end to child-soldiers.