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Monday, March 20, 2006


VATICAN CITY, MAR 19, 2006 (VIS) - During remarks prior to praying the Angelus at midday today with thousands of faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square, Benedict XVI dedicated his attention to the figure of St. Joseph, whose feast day is celebrated tomorrow.

  The Pope began by recalling John Paul II's devotion to St. Joseph "to whom he dedicated his Apostolic Exhortation 'Redemptoris Custos', Guardian of the Redeemer, and whose assistance he surely felt at the hour of his death." Benedict XVI then went on to explain the importance of the figure of Jesus' putative father in the history of salvation, beginning with his belonging to the tribe of Juda. This "united Jesus to the line of David" and ensured that the messianic promises were fulfilled in Him, as Matthew recounts in his Gospel when he describes the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, the flight to Egypt and the name of "Nazarene."

  "Like his wife Mary," the Holy Father continued, St. Joseph "showed himself to be the true heir of the faith of Abraham: faith in God Who guides the events of history according to His mysterious salvific plan." St. Joseph's greatness "is even more evident because his mission took place in the humility and obscurity of his house in Nazareth. Indeed, God Himself, in the Person of His Son incarnate, chose this way of life and this path in His earthly existence."

  St. Joseph's example presents us all with "a powerful invitation to perform the role that Providence has assigned us with faithfulness, simplicity and modesty. I am thinking above all of fathers and mothers in families, and I pray that they may always know how to appreciate the beauty of a simple and hard-working life, carefully cultivating their conjugal relationship and enthusiastically accomplishing the great, and by no means easy, mission of education."

  The Pope concluded his remarks by entrusting to St. Joseph "priests who exercise their paternity over ecclesial communities, ... consecrated people in their joyful and faithful observance of the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience," and "workers of the entire world, that they may contribute with their various professions to the progress of humanity entire."

  After praying the Angelus, Benedict XVI recalled that this year marks the fifth centenary of the Vatican Museums, which John Paul II defined as "one of the most important doors of the Holy See, open to the world." The museums offer, he said, "an important contribution to the mission of the Church, communicating Christian truths to millions of people through the language of art."
ANG/ST. JOSEPH:VATICAN MUSEUMS/...                VIS 20060320 (440)

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