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Monday, June 27, 2011


VATICAN CITY, 25 JUN 2011 (VIS) - This morning Benedict XVI received 2,000 members of the Association of Sts. Peter and Paul, who are currently celebrating their organisation's 40th anniversary.

  The association came into being at the wish of Paul VI who in 1970 disbanded various groups of pontifical guards, including the Palatine Guard of Honour created by Pius IX in 1850. His intention was to bring together a group of the faithful of Rome who wished to express their unconditional fidelity to the Apostolic See. Former members of the guard were thus invited to join a new group called the Association of Sts. Peter and Paul, the statutes of which were approved by Paul VI in 1971.

  The association is divided into three sections: liturgy, culture and charity, plus a general secretariat. It undertakes various initiatives, with the aim of bearing witness to Christian life, the apostolate and faithfulness to the Apostolic See.

  In his address the Holy Father thanked them for the charitable work they do in collaboration with the Daughters of Charity, and for their help in ensuring the smooth running of celebrations in the Vatican. "These tasks", he said, "require profound motivation, which must be constantly renewed by an intense spiritual life. In order to help others to pray, our own hearts must be turned towards God; in order to call them to respect holy places and holy things, we too must have a Christian sense of the sacred; in order to help our neighbour with authentic Christian love, we must have a humble heart and an attitude of faith. Your actions, often undertaken in silence, are an indication, an example, a reminder, and as such they also have an educational value".

  Benedict XVI commended the members of the association to the Virgin Mary, whom they venerate as "Virgo Fidelis". "Today there is more need for faithfulness than ever before", he said. "We live in a society which has lost this value, which exalts acceptance of change, of 'mobility' and 'flexibility', also for legitimate economic and organisational reasons. But the quality of human relationships is measured by faithfulness. Sacred Scripture teaches us that God is faithful".

  The Pope concluded his address by thanking those present for their gift of a chasuble for the sixtieth anniversary of his ordination as a priest. "It reminds me", he said, "that I am always first and foremost a priest of Christ".
AP/                                    VIS 20110627 (410)

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