VATICAN CITY, MAY 1, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI offered the Church’s newest Blessed as a model for the peoples of the world as he greeted pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square in various languages before praying the midday Regina Caeli.
The Pope had just concluded the three-hour Mass of beatification of his predecessor when he offered the traditional Regina Caeli greeting, though without the customary meditation.
He lauded radio and television personnel who had “spared nothing to make it possible even for those farthest away to participate in this great day.” And he had a special greeting for “the sick and the elderly, toward whom the newly beatified [John Paul II] felt particularly close.”
In Spanish, the Holy Father recalled John Paul II’s many trips to Spain and Latin America. “The new blessed travelled your lands tirelessly,” he said, “[lands] characterized by confidence in God, love for Mary and affection for the Successor of Peter.”
The Polish Pontiff “felt in each one of his trips the warmth of your sincere and heartfelt esteem,” he assured.
Benedict XVI invited the Spanish speakers to “follow the example of fidelity and love for Christ and the Church that [John Paul II] left us as a precious legacy” so that “the faith of your peoples is maintained in the firmness of its roots, and peace and concord favor the needed progress of your peoples.”
In French, the language spoken by many of the patriarchs from the Middle East who are in Rome for the beatification, the Pope asked for Blessed John Paul II’s intercession for those engaged in building “a civilization of love, with respect for the dignity of every human person, created in the image of God, with particular concern for those who are most fragile.”
“With him, follow the luminous footsteps of the blesseds and saints from your countries,” he exhorted. “May the Virgin Mary accompany you!”
For English-speakers, the Pope emphasized his predecessor’s “firm faith in Christ, the Redeemer of Man.”
He expressed his hope that this example inspires the faithful “to live fully the new life which we celebrate at Easter, to be icons of divine mercy, and to work for a world in which the dignity and rights of every man, woman and child are respected and promoted.”
In German, the Pontiff reflected on the ongoing strength of John Paul II’s message, “just as when he announced the freshness of the Gospel, and incarnated through his actions the mercy of God and the love of Christ.”
He reminded the Portuguese of one of the Polish Pope’s favorite exhortations: “Be not afraid!” And he directed a special greeting to John Paul II’s countrymen, wishing for them “the gift of peace, unity and prosperity.”