Benedict XVI Blesses St. Benedict Torch

Celebrates Europe’s Patron

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VATICAN CITY, MARCH 10, 2010 ( Today Benedict XVI blessed a torch in honor of his namesake, which will be brought to Cassino for the weeklong celebration of Europe’s patron.

The torch of St. Benedict of Nursia was lit Feb. 27 in the cathedral of Cologne, Germany, and is traveling toward Cassino, Italy, for the celebrations in honor of the saint. It is due to arrive Saturday, and the festivities will begin the next day.

With the torch the Pope received in Paul VI Hall representatives from the monastic community of Montecassino, seven athletes from Cassino, and members of the St. Benedict Foundation together with more than 50 people in costume for the historic procession Terra Sancti Benedicti. The delegation was also accompanied by those who bore the flags of the diocese’s communes.
The torch initiative was born in 1964, when Pope Paul VI proclaimed St. Benedict the patron of Europe.

People began to hold a procession to Rome with Medieval costumes in order to recreate the historic atmosphere of the «St. Benedict Days,» which are part of the celebrations that will take place in Cassino through March 21.
Some 450 participants in the procession will parade through the streets of Cassino on March 14 and March 21 in order to animate the festivities with the traditional splendor of the monastic community at the time of Abbot Bernard Ayglerius, who was abbot of Montecassino from 1263 to 1282.

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