On Eastern Easter and the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker

«To Greet the Orthodox Churches and the Eastern Orthodox Churches»

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 2, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave at midday Sunday before and after praying the Regina Caeli with the faithful gathered below the papal apartment in St. Peter’s Square.

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Dear Brothers and Sisters!

I address you for the first time from this window, which the beloved figure of my predecessor made familiar to innumerable people worldwide. Faithful to an appointment that became a cherished custom, Sunday after Sunday, for more than a quarter of a century John Paul II supported the history of the Church and of the world, and we continue to feel him closer than ever.

My first sentiment is again of gratitude to those who have supported me in these days with prayer and those who from all parts of the world have sent me messages and good wishes.

I would like to greet the Orthodox Churches and the Eastern Orthodox Churches with particular affection, who precisely this Sunday celebrate the resurrection of Christ. To these our beloved brothers I address the traditional proclamation of joy: «Christos anesti!» Yes, Christ is risen, he is truly risen. It is my heartfelt hope that the celebration of Easter will be for them a unanimous prayer of faith and praise of him who is our common Lord, and who calls us to walk with determination on the path to full communion.

Today we begin the month of May with a liturgical memorial that is very dear to the Christian people, that of St. Joseph the Worker. It was instituted by Pope Pius XII of venerated memory, precisely 50 years ago, to underline the importance of work and of the presence of Christ and of the Church in the working world. It is necessary to witness also in today’s society the «Gospel of work,» of which John Paul II spoke in the encyclical «Laborem Exercens.» I hope that work will not be lacking especially for young people, and that working conditions will be increasingly respectful of the dignity of the human person.

I think with affection of all workers and I greet those gathered in St. Peter’s Square, belonging to numerous associations. In particular I greet the friends of ACLI (Christian Associations of Italian Workers), who this year are celebrating the 60th anniversary of their foundation, and I encourage them to continue to live their option of «Christian fraternity» as a value to incarnate in the field of work and social life, so that solidarity, justice and peace will be the pillars on which the unity of the human family is built.

Finally, my thoughts turn to Mary: The month of May is particularly dedicated to her. With his words and even more so with his example, Pope John Paul II taught us to contemplate Christ with Mary’s eyes, valuing especially the prayer of the holy rosary. With the singing of the Regina Caeli we entrust to the Virgin all the needs of the Church and of humanity.

[After the Regina Caeli, the Holy Father said:]

These days I find myself thinking often of all people who are suffering due to wars, illness and poverty. In particular, today I am close to the beloved peoples of Togo, distressed by painful internal struggles. For all these nations I implore the gift of harmony and peace.

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