CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, MARCH 30, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the greeting Benedict XVI gave today before praying the Regina Caeli with thousands of people gathered in the patio of the pontifical residence at Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome.
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Dear brothers and sisters:
During the Jubilee Year 2000, the dear Servant of God John Paul II established that in the whole Church the Sunday after Easter, besides being the Sunday “in albis” would be designated Divine Mercy Sunday. He did this together with the canonization of Faustina Kowalska, a humble Polish woman religious, who was born in 1905 and died in 1938, a zealous messenger of merciful Jesus.
Mercy is in reality the central nucleus of the Gospel message; it is the very name of God, the face with which he has revealed himself in the old covenant and fully in Jesus Christ, the incarnation of creative and redeeming love. This merciful love also illumines the face of the Church, and is manifested, both by way of the sacraments, in particular that of reconciliation, and with works of communitarian and individual charity.
All that the Church says and does shows the mercy that God feels for man. When the Church has to remind about a neglected truth, or a betrayed good, it does it always motivated by a merciful love, so that men may have life and have it in abundance (cf. John 10:10). From divine mercy, which puts hearts at peace, also arises the authentic peace of the world, peace among peoples, cultures and religions.
Like Sister Faustina, John Paul II became in turn an apostle of divine mercy. On the night of that unforgettable Saturday, April 2, 2005, when he closed his eyes to this world, precisely the vigil of the Second Sunday of Easter was celebrated, and many observed the unique coincidence, which brought together a Marian dimension — the first Saturday of the month — and that of divine mercy.
In fact, his long and multifaceted pontificate finds here its central nucleus; all of his mission at the service of the truth about God, about man and peace in the world is summarized in this proclamation, as he himself said in Krakow-Lagiewniki in 2002, in inaugurating the great Shrine of Divine Mercy, “Apart from the mercy of God there is no other source of hope for mankind.” His message, like that of St. Faustina, presents the face of Christ, supreme revelation of the mercy of God. To contemplate constantly this face: This is the inheritance that he has left us, which we welcome with joy and make our own.
There will be special reflection about divine mercy in the coming days, due to the World Apostolic Congress on Divine Mercy, which will take place in Rome and will be inaugurated with the holy Mass, which, God willing, I will preside over in the morning of Wednesday, April 2, on the third anniversary of the death of the Servant of God John Paul II. Let us place the congress under the heavenly protection of most holy Mary, Mother of Mercy. We entrust to her the great cause of peace in the world so that the mercy of God achieves what is impossible with human strength alone, and instills the courage for dialogue and reconciliation.[Translation by ZENIT]
* * *[After the Regina Caeli, the Holy Father greeted the people in various languages. In English, he said:]
I greet all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors here today. This Sunday’s Gospel reminds us that through faith we recognize the presence of the Risen Lord in the Church, and that we receive from him the gift of the Holy Spirit. During this Easter season may we strengthen our desire to bear witness to the Good News of Jesus Christ calling us to a life of peace and joy. Upon each of you present and your families, I invoke God’s blessings of happiness and wisdom.
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