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Monday, January 3, 2011

EUROPE MUST STRENGTHEN ITS CHRISTIAN ROOTS

VATICAN CITY, 31 DEC 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father has sent a Letter to Archbishop Julian Barrio Barrio of Santiago de Compostela, Spain, to marks today's closing of the Compostela Holy Year.

  The people who have made the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela during the course of this year "must return to their homes as the disciples of Emmaus returned to Jerusalem", the Pope writes. "We cannot be credible witnesses of God if we fail to collaborate with men and women and to serve them. This service to profound understanding and to the courageous defence of man is an evangelical requirement and an essential contribution that we, as Christians, can make to society".

  Addressing himself in particular to the young, "whom I will have the joy to meet next year in Madrid for World Youth Day", the Pope invites them to let themselves "be attracted by Christ, establishing a frank and serene dialogue with Him and asking themselves: Will the Lord be able to rely on me to be His apostle in the world, to be His messenger of love? May your response not be lacking in generosity, nor in the enthusiasm which led St. James to follow his Master with no concern for the sacrifices involved".

  The Holy Father then goes on to encourage seminarians "to identify themselves increasingly with Jesus, Who calls them to work in His vineyard. The priestly vocation is an admirable gift of which we should be proud, because the world needs people completely dedicated to making Jesus Christ present, shaping their lives and their activities around Him, daily repeating His words and gestures with humility, so as to be His image in the flock entrusted to their care".

  "As I conserve in my heart the recollection of my happy stay in Santiago de Compostela, I ask the Lord that the forgiveness and the aspiration to sanctity which have developed during this Compostela Holy Year may, under the guidance of St. James, help to make the redeeming Word of Jesus Christ present in that particular Church and in all of Spain. May this light", he concludes, "also be perceptible in Europe, as an incessant call to strengthen its Christian roots and thus increase its commitment to solidarity and the defence of man's dignity".
BXVI-LETTER/                            VIS 20110103 (390)

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