VATICAN CITY, JAN. 6, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address John Paul II gave today, the solemnity of the Epiphany of Our Lord, before praying the Angelus with the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
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1. “We have come to do him homage” ([cf.] Matthew 2:2). These words of the Magi, which we have heard today in the Gospel, are the theme of the next World Youth Day, which will be celebrated in Cologne. I invite the youth of Germany and your contemporaries from around the world to set out spiritually on the path toward this important city to discover in Christ, like the Magi, the face of God.
2. The Epiphany is also the Day of Missionary Childhood. Children are the present and the future of the Church. They have an active role in the evangelization of the world, and with their prayers they contribute to save and improve it.
While I renew my prayer for the little victims of the tsunami in Asia, I cannot forget the child victims of hunger and illnesses, of war and terrorism, as well as the children who are abducted or have disappeared or those exploited for the vile motive of trafficking.
3. My appreciative thought goes to those committed to the defense of the smallest, in a particular way to the Pontifical Society of the Missionary Childhood.
“Whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it” (Mark 10:15). May the Blessed Virgin Mary, who today presents Christ to the world, help us to adore him with the spirit of children.
[After praying the Angelus, the Pope delivered this greeting:]
To the brothers and sisters of the Eastern Churches who celebrate Christmas in these days, I send my cordial wishes for peace and joy in the Lord.
[Original text in Italian; translated by ZENIT]