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Monday, October 25, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 24 OCT 2010 (VIS) - Following this morning's concelebration of the Eucharist to mark the end of the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops, Benedict XVI appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with thousands of faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.

  Referring once again to the theme of the synodal assembly - "The Catholic Church in the Middle East. Communion and Witness" - the Pope noted how today also marks World Mission Day, which has as its theme: "Building Ecclesial Communion is the Key to the Mission".

  "There is", he explained, "a surprising similarity between the themes of these two ecclesial events. Both invite us to see the Church as a mystery of communion which, by her nature, is destined for all of man and for all mankind. ... For this reason the next Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, due to be held in 2012, will be dedicated to the theme: 'The new evangelisation for the transmission of the Christian faith'. At any time and in any place - also in the Middle East today - the Church is present and works to welcome each human being and offer him Christ, the fullness of life".

  "In today's liturgy", the Pope went on, "we read St. Paul's testimony concerning the final reward the Lord will give 'to all who have longed for his appearance'. This is not a passive or solitary period of waiting; quite the contrary, the apostle lived in communion with the risen Christ, so that 'the message might be fully proclaimed' and that 'all the Gentiles might hear it'. The missionary task is not to revolutionise the world but to transfigure it, drawing strength from Jesus Christ".

  "Christians today, as the Epistle to Diognetus says, also 'show that life is wonderful, and that their shared life is extraordinary. They spend their time on earth, but their citizenship is in heaven. They obey established laws, but with their lives they surpass those laws. They are killed and thereby they are given life. Even when they do good they are persecuted and every day their numbers grow'.

  "To the Virgin Mary, who from the crucified Christ received the new mission of being Mother to all those who wish to believe in Him and follow Him, we entrust the Christian communities of the Middle East and all missionaries of the Gospel".
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