VATICAN CITY, OCT. 10, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave today before praying the midday Angelus together with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
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Dear Brothers and Sisters!
I have just come from St. Peter’s Basilica where I presided at the opening Mass of the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops. This extraordinary synodal gathering, which will last two weeks, will see the meeting in Rome of the pastors of the Church that lives in the Middle East, a very diverse reality: In that land, in fact, the one Church of Christ expresses herself in all the wealth of her ancient traditions. We will be reflecting on the following theme: “The Catholic Church in the Middle East: Communion and Witness.” In fact, in those countries, unfortunately marked by profound divisions and lacerations by age-old conflicts, the Church is called to be the sign and instrument of unity and of reconciliation, on the model of the first community of Jerusalem, in which “the multitude of those who had become Christian were of one heart and one soul” (Acts 4:32). This is an arduous task since the Christians of the Middle East often find themselves having to endure difficult conditions of life at the personal, familial and communal levels. But this should not be discouraging: it is precisely in this context that the perennial message of Christ becomes more necessary and urgent: “Convert and believe in the Gospel” (Mark 1:15). In my recent visit to Cyprus I consigned the “instrumentum laboris” of this synodal assembly [to the participants]; now that it has begun, I invite everyone to pray, invoking from God an abundant outpouring of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
The month of October is called the month of the Rosary. This is a “spiritual intonation,” so to speak, provided by the liturgical memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary, which is celebrated on October 7. We are thus invited to let ourselves be guided by Mary in this ancient and ever new prayer, which is especially dear to her because it leads directly to Jesus, contemplated in his mysteries of salvation: joyous, luminous, sorrowful and glorious. In the footsteps of the venerable John Paul II (cf. Apostolic Letter “Rosarium Virginis Mariae), I would like to recall that the Rosary is a biblical prayer, completely interwoven with Sacred Scripture. It is a prayer of the heart in which the repetition of the “Hail Mary” orients one’s though and affection toward Christ, and thus one confidently supplicates his Mother and ours. It is a prayer that aids meditation on the Word of God and is likened to Eucharistic communion on the model of Mary, who carries in her heart all Jesus did and said and his presence itself.
Dear Friends, we know how much the Virgin Mary is loved and venerated by our brothers and sisters of the Middle East. All look upon her as the caring Mother, near to every suffering, and as the Star of Hope. We entrust the assembly that opens today to her intercession so that the Christians of that region are strengthened in communion and bear witness of the Gospel of love and peace to all.[After the Angelus the Holy Father greeted the pilgrims in various languages. In Italian he said:]
In recent days there has taken place in Rome the “Mission to Youth 2010,” organized by the Diocesan Service for the Pastoral Care of Young People. This year it reached the Tor Bella Monaca and Torre Angela quarters, with many initiatives of spiritual animation, parish, school and university gatherings and visits to the sick. At the center of everything, Eucharistic adoration, that is, the living presence of Jesus Christ. I express my appreciation to the young missionaries, to the seminarians and to all those who were a part of this experience. Thank you, you have done well! May the Lord make the seeds of the Gospel fruitful that you have sown with faith and with love![In English he said:]
I offer warm greetings to the English-speaking visitors gathered for this Angelus prayer. I invite all of you to join me in praying for the ‘Special Assembly for the Middle East’ of the Synod of Bishops, which opened this morning in Saint Peter’s Basilica. May this momentous ecclesial event strengthen the communion of the faithful in the Middle East, especially as they give witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to the gift of peace he offers. As we entrust these prayers to the powerful intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph, her Spouse, who themselves came from that region, I invoke upon you and your families God’s abundant blessings.[Again in Italian he said:]
Thanks to everyone.[Translation by Joseph G. Trabbic]
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