By Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Ascension of the Lord into heaven means Jesus is there with his Father to intercede on behalf of the faithful, Pope Francis said.

“He did not leave us alone. In fact, before ascending, he told us, as the Gospel says today, ‘I am with you always, until the end of the age.’ (Mt 28:20). He is always with us, looking at us,” the pope said May 21, when dioceses in Italy and many parts of the world were celebrating the feast of the Ascension. The Vatican marked the feast May 18.

“He is in a better ‘place’ — before his Father and ours — to intercede on our behalf,” the pope said. “Intercession is fundamental. This faith helps us, too — not to lose hope, not to get discouraged.”

Pope Francis told about 25,000 people gathered in St. Peter’s Square that he often imagines Jesus standing before the Father “showing him his wounds (and saying), ‘This is what I suffered for humanity: Do something!’ He shows the Father the price of our redemption. The Father is moved.”

After reciting the midday “Regina Coeli” prayer, Pope Francis noted that World Communications Day was also being celebrated May 21.

The theme, “Speaking with the heart,” refers to a “heart that moves us toward open and receptive communication,” the pope said.

“I greet the journalists, communication professionals, thanking them for their work. And I hope that they might always work at the service of the truth and for the common good,” he said, leading those gathered to offer a round of applause for all journalists.

The pope also reminded people that Laudato Si’ Week was being celebrated May 21-28. This year’s theme is “Hope for the Earth, Hope for Humanity.”

He invited everyone to work together in caring for the common home of creation. “There is such a need to put our capabilities and creativity together.”