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Monday, March 30, 2009


VATICAN CITY, 29 MAR 2009 (VIS) - At 9 a.m. today, the fifth Sunday of Lent, the Pope visited the parish of the Holy Face of Jesus, located in the Magliana neighbourhood in the western sector of the diocese of Rome. The church, dedicated to St. Maximilian Kolbe in 1982, took the name of Holy Face of Jesus in 2001.

  Before Mass, the Holy Father greeted people gathered outside the church under heavy rain. "Unfortunately it is raining, but the sun is on its way", he told them. "We know that the sun, though it may be hidden, exists; that God is near, that He helps us and accompanies us. In this way do we wish to progress towards Easter, knowing that suffering and difficulties are part of our life, but aware that behind them is the sun of divine goodness".

  In his homily during the Eucharistic celebration, the Pope encouraged the parishioners to place themselves at the service of others in the present time of "economic and social crisis", so as to counter fear and solitude, maintaining trust in God. In this context he identified a model of charity in St. Maximilian Kolbe who sacrificed his own life in Auschwitz concentration camp in order to save the life of another prisoner.

  "In our times, marked by a generalised social and economic crisis, there is a particular merit in the efforts you are making, especially though parish Caritas and the Sant'Egidio Community, to respond ... to the requirements of the poor and needy", he told his congregation.

  Commenting upon the Gospel of St. John of this fifth Sunday of Lent, the Pope exhorted the faithful to seek to share Jesus' state of mind in the period running up to Easter, reliving the mystery of His crucifixion, death and resurrection, not as mere spectators but as protagonists.

  Turning then to address young people, the Holy Father said: "Allow yourselves to be attracted by Jesus. Looking at His Face with the eyes of faith, ask Him: Jesus, what do You want me to do with You and for You? Listen to Him and, guided by His Spirit, accept the plans He has for each one of you".
HML/.../HOLY FACE OF JESUS                    VIS 20090330 (380)

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