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Monday, January 22, 2007


VATICAN CITY, JAN 21, 2007 (VIS) - Shortly before midday today, Benedict XVI appeared at the window of his private study overlooking St. Peter's Square in order to pray the Angelus with the pilgrims gathered below.

  The Pope recalled the fact that the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is taking place from January 18 to 25, and that its theme this year - "He even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak" - is "taken from the Gospel of St. Mark and refers to the people's amazement at Jesus' healing of the deaf man."

  "The original project for the Week," he continued, "was prepared by faithful in Umlazi, South Africa, a poor city where AIDS has assumed the proportions of a pandemic and where human hopes are very few. But the Risen Christ brings hope to everyone, especially to Christians. Heirs to the divisions of the past, they now wish to launch this appeal: Christ can do anything, He "even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak." In other words, He is capable of infusing Christians with the ardent desire to listen to others, to communicate with others and, with Him, to talk the language of mutual love."

  "Ecumenism is a profound experience of dialogue, an act of listening and talking to one another, ... a task that everyone can undertake, especially as regards 'spiritual ecumenism' based on the prayer and experiences that Christians are currently able to share."

  The Pope expressed the hope that "the desire for unity, translated into prayer and fraternal collaboration to alleviate man's suffering, may become ever more widespread." He also thanked all the people who, "all over the world, pray and work for unity with conviction and constancy."

  After praying the Angelus, Benedict XVI mentioned the Day of Catholic Schools, which is being celebrated today in the diocese of Rome, and he recalled how Catholic educational institutions serve "the integral growth of the person: heart, mind and freedom."
ANG/UNITY:CATHOLIC SCHOOLS/...                VIS 20070122 (340)

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