VATICAN CITY, DEC. 22, 2005 ( Benedict XVI recalled the most important events for the life of the Church in 2005, including John Paul II's death and his own election as Pope.

The Holy Father continued with his predecessor's tradition of reviewing the key events of the past year when he met with members of the Roman Curia to exchange Christmas greetings.

The meeting took place today in the Vatican's Clementine Hall. The Pope was greeted, on behalf of those present, by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals.

John Paul II's death

Recalling John Paul II's last Holy Week, Benedict XVI said that "with his words and deeds, he gave us great things; but no less important is the lesson he gave us from the chair of suffering and silence."

John Paul II spoke to the world "through his silent suffering, transforming it into a great message," Benedict XVI stressed.

"The response that took place worldwide to the Pope's death was a moving manifestation of recognition of the fact that, in his ministry, he gave himself totally to God for the world," he noted.

Papal election

Benedict XVI also referred briefly to his own election on April 19 as John Paul II's successor in the Chair of the Apostle Peter.

He acknowledged that it is "a task well beyond anything I could have imagined as a vocation for me. Therefore, only thanks to an act of trust in God was I able to pronounce in obedience my 'yes' to this election."

"As then, I also ask all of you today for your prayers, as I count on their strength and support," he added.

World Youth Day

The first international apostolic trip of this pontificate was in August, for World Youth Day in Cologne, Germany, another event mentioned by Benedict XVI.

Recalling the joy of the more than 1 million young people gathered for the event, the Holy Father said that the Church learned a lesson from that meeting: the importance of Eucharistic adoration.

"Given the threat of each one making himself his own criterion, it is essential to emphasize adoration," he asserted.

Synod of Bishops

The world Synod of Bishops, held in October, closed out the Year of the Eucharist convoked by John Paul II.

Benedict XVI said that the episcopal summit became a witness for the world of the Church's faith in the real presence of the risen Christ in the Eucharist, "with his flesh and blood, body and soul, with his divinity and humanity."

"For me it is moving to see how everywhere, in the Church, the joy is awakening of Eucharistic adoration and how its fruits are manifested," he said.

Vatican II, plus 40

The Holy Father dedicated most of his evaluation to the 40th anniversary of the close of the Second Vatican Council, observed Dec. 8.

"Forty years after the Council we can confirm that the positive is greater and more alive than would seem in the agitation of the years around 1968," Benedict said. "Today we see that the good seed, despite its slow development, does however grow and so our profound gratitude grows for the work carried out by the Council."

Countering those who believe that the ecumenical summit implied a rupture for the Church with the past, the Pope added: "The Church, both before and after the Council, is the same one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church, journeying through time."