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Thursday, June 30, 2011


VATICAN CITY, 29 JUN 2011 (VIS) - At the end of this morning's Mass, the Holy Father appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square below.

  Before the Marian prayer Benedict XVI apologised to pilgrims for his late arrival due, he said, to the fact that "the Mass in honour of Sts. Peter and Paul was long and beautiful. Our thoughts went to that fine hymn of the Church of Rome which begins: 'O Roma felix!'. Today, on the Feast of ... the patrons of this city we sing: 'Joy, Rome, because you were stained with the precious blood of such great Princes. Not for your praise, but for their merits, do you surpass all beauty".

  "St. Peter's and St. Paul's witness of love and faithfulness illumines the pastors of the Church, guiding men to truth and moulding them to faith in Christ. St. Peter in particular represents the unity of the apostolic college. For this reason, during this morning's liturgical celebration in the Vatican Basilica, I imposed the pallium on forty metropolitan archbishops, as an expression of their communion with the bishop of Rome in the mission to guide the people of God to salvation".

  "The faith professed by Peter is the foundation of the Church", Benedict XVI said. Peter's primacy is divine predilection, as is the priestly vocation: 'Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you', said Jesus, 'but my Father in heaven'. This is what happens to those who decided to respond to God's call with the whole of their lives. I happily reiterate this today as I celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of my own ordination.

  "Thank you for your presence and for your prayers", the Pope added. "I am grateful to you. Above all, I am grateful to the Lord for His call and for the ministry He has entrusted to me. I thank everyone who, on this occasion, has expressed support for my mission with prayer, the prayer which incessantly rises to God from all ecclesial communities, and becomes adoration of the Eucharistic Christ, increasing the power and freedom to announce the Gospel".

  The Holy Father concluded his remarks by again greeting "the delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, present today in Rome for the significant custom of venerating Sts. Peter and Paul and sharing my hope in the unity of Christians, as the Lord wished. Trustingly we invoke the Virgin Mary, Queen of the Apostles, that all the baptised may become as 'living stones' which build the Kingdom of God".
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