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Friday, February 13, 2009


VATICAN CITY, 13 FEB 2009 (VIS) - Yesterday evening in the Paul VI Hall, Benedict XVI attended a concert commemorating the eightieth anniversary of the foundation of Vatican City State. Our Lady's Choral Society and the RTE Concert Orchestra, both from Dublin, Ireland, played the "Messiah" by Georg Friedrich Handel. At the end of the performance, the Holy Father pronounced some brief remarks.

  "This concert", he said, "which celebrates such a significant anniversary for Vatican City State, is one of a series of events organised for this occasion, on the theme: 'A small territory for a great mission'. ... I would like to thank all the people who have contributed to solemnise such an important moment for the Catholic Church. Commemorating eighty years of the 'Civitas Vaticana', we feel the need to pay homage to all the past and present protagonists of these eight decades of history of this small parcel of land.

  "Firstly", he added, "I would like to recall the most important of those protagonists, my venerated Pius XI who, in announcing the signing of the Lateran Pacts and, especially, the foundation of Vatican City State, chose to use an expression of St. Francis of Assisi. He said that the new sovereign status was for the Church, as it had been for St. Francis, 'just enough body to hold the soul together'.

  "Let us ask the Lord, Who guides the fortunes of the 'Ship of Peter' among the not-always easy events of history, to continue to watch over this small State. Above all, let us ask Him to help, with the power of His Spirit, Peter's Successor who stands at the helm of this ship, that he may faithfully and effectively undertake his ministry as the foundation of unity of the Catholic Church, which has its visible centre in the Vatican whence it expands to all the corners of the earth".
AC/CONCERT ANNIVERSARY/VATICAN CITY                VIS 20090213 (330)

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