Pope´s Sunday Angelus Address

At Vacation Chalet in North of Italy

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LES COMBES, Italy, JULY 17, 2001 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of John Paul II´s address before the midday Angelus on Sunday, at a vacation chalet in the north of Italy.

* * * Dearest Brothers and Sisters!

1. I join you today, for the usual recitation of the Angelus, from this lovely place, in the mountains of the Val d´Aosta, where, moreover, I feel at home, thanks to the hospitality of the Diocese of Aosta, the Salesians, and all those who cooperate with courteous disposition to ensure a tranquil stay for me. To each and all I express my heartfelt gratitude.

I especially thank Bishop Giuseppe Anfossi of Aosta, the presidents of the board and of the regional councils, as well as the mayor and parish priest of Introd. I affectionately greet the dear Valdostani, who welcome me every year with great cordiality, as also the holiday makers and pilgrims who have come to visit me today.

I express special greetings to the mayors of the municipalities most affected by the terrible floods of last October, which resulted in 20 victims and considerable damage in the whole region. Through you, illustrious gentlemen, I wish to renew my encouragement to the families who have suffered and suffer most from that calamity, exhorting all to persevere in the effort of reconstruction, in a spirit of confidence and solidarity.

2. For some months now, I have been offering a special catechesis on the Psalms in the Wednesday general audiences. In these days, before such stupendous scenery, my thoughts turn naturally to those Psalms in which Creation, especially mountains, play a most important part.

For example, I am thinking of Psalm 8: “O Lord, our Lord,” the Psalmist exclaims, “how awesome is your name in all the earth!” (verses 2,10). “The heavens declare the glory of God” — we read in Psalm 18 [19] — “the sky proclaims its builder´s craft” (verse 2). In fact, Creation is the first book of Revelation, which God has entrusted to the mind and heart of man. “The Lord is my shepherd,” splendid Psalm 22 [23] sings, “he makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness” (verses 1-4).

The whole of Psalm 103 [104] is a hymn to the Creator: “Bless the Lord, my soul! Lord, my God, you are great indeed! … You made springs flow into channels that wind among the mountains. … The high mountains are for the wild goats; the rocky cliffs, a refuge for badgers … How varied are your works, Lord!” (verses 1 […],10 […],18,24). How can we not make these sentiments our own before such moving natural spectacles?

3. While I contemplate the summits of these mountains, which by now have become familiar to me, my spirit frequently turns to Mary. God has raised her above all angelic and earthly creatures, and has made her our sustenance in the road to heaven. Tomorrow, in the Liturgy, we will celebrate her as the Blessed Virgin of Mount Carmel. Today we venerate her as “Queen of Val d´Aosta”: this is suggested by the beautiful statue, brought especially from the Cathedral of Aosta. It is the same statue that in 1948 went through the villages of the Region infusing in the Valdostani a renewed spirit of fraternity, following the Second World War. We pray to Mary, so that there will always be unity among Christians, and so that justice, solidarity and peace will reign in the world.

[translation by ZENIT]

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