With family or community, ‘thank you’ and ‘sorry’ are key words, pope says

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ROME — Everyone, including the pope, has someone they should thank God for and someone they should apologize to, Pope Francis said.

Celebrating an early morning Mass in the chapel of his residence Feb. 14, Pope Francis thanked God for a woman named Patrizia, who was retiring after 40 years working at the Vatican, most recently in the Domus Sanctae Marthae, a guesthouse where the pope and some other Vatican officials live.

Patrizia and other staff at the papal residence are part of the family, the pope said in his homily. A family isn’t just “dad, mom, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles and grandparents,” but includes “those who accompany us on the journey of life for a bit of time.”

“It would do all of us who live here good to think about this family that accompanies us,” the pope told other priests and sisters who live in the residence. “And you who don’t live here, think of the many people who accompany you on your life’s journey: neighbors, friends, co-workers, fellow students.”

“We are not alone,” he said. “The Lord wants us to be a people, he wants us to be with others. He doesn’t want us to be selfish; selfishness is a sin.”

Remembering the people who assist you when you are sick, help you daily or simply offer a wave, a nod or a smile should lead to expressions of gratitude, the pope said, urging worshippers to offer a prayer of thanks God for their presence in your life and a word of thanks to them.

“Thank you, Lord, for not leaving us alone,” he said.

“It’s true, there always are problems and wherever there are people, there is gossip. Even in here. People pray and people gossip — both,” the pope said. And people lose patience with each other sometimes.

“I want to thank the people who accompany us for their patience and to ask forgiveness for our shortcomings,” he said.

“Today is a day for each of us to give thanks and ask heartfelt forgiveness from the people who accompany us in life, for a bit of our life or for our whole life,” the pope said.

Taking advantage of the celebration of Patrizia’s retirement, he offered a “big, big, big thank you to those who work at home here.”

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