Speaking to the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the recitation of the Angelus, the Pope said saints are people who belong entirely to God, they carry the seal of God in their lives and on their persons.

Pointing out that we are all children of God and that we received the seal of our heavenly father with the sacrament of Baptism, Pope Francis said that saints are those who have lived their lives in the grace of Baptism, keeping that seal intact, behaving like children of God, trying to imitate Jesus.

“Saints – Pope Francis continued – are examples to imitate”. And noting that saints are not only those who have been canonized, but can be anyone from next door neighbors, to members of our own families or others we have met as we live our ordinary lives, the Pope said we must be grateful to them and to God for having given them to us as examples of how to live and die in fidelity to God and to the Gospel.

“How many good people have we met in our lives; how often do we exclaim: ‘this person is a saint!’… These are the saints who live next door, not the ones who are canonized, but the ones who live with us” he said.

Imitating their gestures of love and mercy, he said, is a bit like perpetrating their presence in this world. Acts of tenderness, of generous help, of closeness can appear insignificant, but in God’s eyes they are eternal, “because love and mercy are stronger than death” he said.

After the recitation of the Angelus prayer the Pope reminded the faithful that on Sunday afternoon he will travel to Rome’s Verano Cemetery where he will celebrate Holy Mass in memory of the dead.

The Pope said that by visiting the city’s main cemetery he intends to spiritually join all those who in these days will be praying on the tombs of their loved ones in every part of the world.