VATICAN: POPE: INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR PEACE IN MIDDLE EAST
RADIO VATICANA REPORT: A prayer for the Holy Land, solidarity with Leprosy sufferers
Pope Benedict XVI joined the International Day of Intercession for Peace in the Middle East Sunday, with a prayer to God to converge hearts and minds for concrete solutions for peace in the Holy Land.
Following the midday Marian prayer he was joined at the window of his private study high above St Peter’s Square by a young boy and girl from Rome’s Azione Cattolica movement. There in an what has become an annual tradition, marking the end of the youth groups’ “Caravan of Peace”, the Pope released two white doves above the crowds.
He also marked the World Day for Leprosy Sufferers, promoted in the 1950s by Raoul Follereau and officially recognized by the United Nations. Leprosy, he said “although declining, still unfortunately affects many people who live in conditions of severe poverty. I assure all those who suffer of my special prayer, which I also extend to those who assist them and, in many ways, are committed to defeating Hansen's disease".
And looking ahead to this week’s celebration of the Lunar New Year, Pope Benedict sent a special greeting of “serenity and prosperity” to the people of the Far East.
Earlier, during his reflections on the Sunday Gospel, which this week proposes the Sermon on the Mount, the Holy Father spoke of the Beatitudes as a program of life, that seeks to liberate mankind from the false values of this world.
He said “"the Church does not fear poverty, contempt, persecution in a society often attracted to material wealth and worldly power," because "as St. Paul writes, God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong, and God chose the lowly and despised of the world, those who count for nothing, to reduce to nothing those who are something "(1 Cor 1:27-28)”.
The Beatitudes concluded Pope Benedict “are the transposition of the cross and resurrection in the existence of the disciples. They reflect the life of the Son of God who allows himself to be persecuted, despised to the point of death for the salvation of mankind”http://www.radiovaticana.org/en1/Articolo.asp?c=458398