VATICAN: POPE MESSAGE FOR FEAST OF HOLY FAMILY: PEACE AND CHARITY
RADIO VATICANA REPORT:
Pope Benedict XVI condemns violence, encourages charity
Pope Benedict XVI called for renewed commitment to good-faith dialogue and peaceful resolution to conflict on Sunday, as he condemned deadly violence against Christians in Nigeria, a church bombing in the Philippines and a suicide bombing in Pakistan that left more than forty people dead over the Christmas weekend.
“Once again,” said Pope Benedict, “the Earth is stained with blood.”
The Holy Father went on to express his heartfelt condolences to the victims of these senseless acts of violence, and renew once again his call to abandon the path of hatred to find peaceful solutions to conflicts.
Reflecting that on the first Sunday after Christmas, the Church traditionally celebrates the feast of the Holy Family, which lived through the dramatic experience of flight into Egypt in order to escape the murderous rampage of Herod, the Pope said, “We also remember all those - especially families - who are forced to flee their homes because of war, violence and intolerance.”
Pope Benedict invited all the faithful present to join him prayer, to ask with strength that the Lord touch the hearts of men, and bring hope, reconciliation and peace.
Shortly after the Sunday Angelus, Pope Benedict made his way to the Paul VI audience hall, for a special luncheon with some of Rome’s poorest people, in the care of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta’s Missionaries of Charity.
This year saw the 100th anniversary of the birth of the woman who would become Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, and Pope Benedict celebrated her as a reflection of the light of God’s love and a person who lived Christian charity toward all, without distinction, but with a special preference for those most in need. He said the 100th anniversary of her birth is an occasion for gratitude and reflection, for renewed and joyful commitment to service of the Lord and of all our brothers and sisters – especially the neediest.
After several courses that included lasagna, veal and roast potatoes, cake and coffee, the Holy Father visited with the sisters and their guests – his guests, greeting them as “Dear friends,” and telling them, “the Pope loves you, he carries you in his heart, he welcomes you all in a fatherly embrace, and he prays for you.” Before imparting his Apostolic Blessing, the Pope thanked his guests for sharing the joy of these festive days with him.