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Monday, May 9, 2011


VATICAN CITY, 7 MAY 2011 (VIS) - After landing in Venice, the Pope travelled by boat through the canals to the dock of St. Mark's Square. After a few words of greeting from the mayor, the Pope addressed the citizens in the square.

  The Holy Father recalled the "Venetian sons of these lands" who became pontiff such as "Patriarch Albino Luciani, who became Pope under the name of John Paul I; Patriarch Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, who became Pope John XXIII and was elevated by the Church to the glory of the altars and proclaimed Blessed; and Patriarch Giuseppe Sarto, the future St. Pius X".

  Referring to Venice's traditions and this "suggestive place that is the gateway to the heart of the city" known as the "Pearl of the Adriatic", Benedict XVI emphasized the unique character of "openness that has always characterized Venice, a crossroads of peoples and of communities of every provenance, culture, language, and religion".

  "Also in this day and age, with its new perspectives and complex challenges", he continued, "Venice is called to assume important responsibilities in promoting a culture of welcome and sharing, capable of building bridges of dialogue between peoples and nations; a culture of harmony and love that has its firm foundations in the Gospel".

  While highlighting "the splendor of the monuments and the fame of the civil institutions that demonstrate the glorious history and character of  the Venetians", the Pope noted that "with the passing of the centuries, the faith transmitted by the first evangelizers has been each time rooted more deeply in the social fabric, to the point of becoming an essential part of it". In this context he called to mind "those two important sanctuaries that were born of the fulfillment of a vow made to Divine Providence on being liberated from the scourge of the plague: the Church of the Most Holy Redeemer and the Sanctuary of St. Mary of Health".

  "I invite all you Venetians", he concluded, "to always seek and safeguard the harmony between the outlook of faith and the reason that allows our conscience to perceive the true good, in a way that the decisions of the civil community are always inspired by ethical principles that correspond to the profound truth of human nature. Human persons cannot renounce the truth about themselves without their sense of personal responsibility, of solidarity toward others, and of honesty in their economic and workplace dealings suffering as a result".

  On finishing his address, the pontiff entered into the basilica where he venerated the reliquaries of St. Mark, brought to Venice from Alexandria in the seventh century.
PV-ITALY/                                VIS 20110509 (430)

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