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Monday, January 3, 2011


VATICAN CITY, 2 JAN 2011 (VIS) - At midday today the Pope appeared at the window of his study in the Apostolic Palace to pray the Angelus with thousands of faithful and pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square.

  The Pope again expressed his felicitations for the new year, and thanked everyone who had sent him "messages of spiritual support".

  Commenting on today's reading, a reiteration of the prologue of the St. John's Gospel as proclaimed on Christmas Day, the Pope highlighted how "this wondrous text expresses, in the form of a hymn, the mystery of the Incarnation as preached by the eye witnesses, the Apostles and in particular St. John whose feast falls on 27 December".

  Benedict XVI then addressed some remarks to thousands of people gathered in Plaza de Colon in Madrid, Spain, who were following him on live television linkup. They are celebrating, for the fourth consecutive year, the feast of the family which has as its theme this year: "The Christian family. Hope for Europe".

  "I invite you", said Benedict XVI, "to be strong in love and humbly to contemplate the mystery of Christmas, which continues to speak to our hearts and becomes a school of family and fraternal life. The maternal gaze of the Virgin Mary, the loving protection of St. Joseph and the sweet presence of the Baby Jesus provide a clear image of how each Christian family should be: a true shrine of fidelity, respect and understanding in which faith is transmitted, hope fortified and charity enflamed. I encourage everyone to live their Christian vocation with renewed enthusiasm in the home, as genuine servants of the love which welcomes, accompanies and defends life. Make your houses true seedbeds of virtue, and serene and luminous areas of trust in which, guided by the grace of God, it is possible to discern the call of the Lord Who continues to invite us to follow Him. With these feelings I fervently entrust the goals and fruits of your meeting to the Holy Family, that joy, mutual commitment and generosity may reign in a growing number of families".

  After the Angelus prayer the Holy Father referred to "news of the serious attack against the Coptic Christian community in Alexandria, Egypt. This vile and murderous gesture, like that of placing bombs near the houses of Christians in Iraq to force them to leave, offends God and all humankind, which only yesterday prayed for peace and began a new year with hope. In the face of these strategies of violence, which aim against Christians but have consequences on the entire population, I pray for the victims and their relatives, and encourage ecclesial communities to persevere in the faith and in the witness of non-violence which comes to us from the Gospel. I think also of the many pastoral workers killed in various parts of the world in the course of 2010. For them too we equally express our affectionate remembrance before the Lord. Let us remain united in Christ, our hope and our peace!"
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