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Monday, December 5, 2011


VATICAN CITY, 3 DEC 2011 (VIS) - Yesterday evening in the Clementine Hall of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father attended a recital of the "Christmas Alpine Oratory" by the Bavarian composer Hans Berger. The performance was followed by a projection of the film: "From Heaven to Earth. Advent and Christmas in the Bavarian Alps" by Sigrid Esslinger. The film was produced by the German broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk, which also sponsored this evening's event.

  At the close Benedict XVI spoke to thank the musicians, the director of the film and the representatives from Bayerischer Rundfunk for having brought "a taste of typically Bavarian customs and life into the Pope's home".

  "In our land, Advent is called the 'time of silence'", the Holy Father remarked. "For the faith, the silence of the home becomes expectation of the Lord and joy at His presence. ... Today Advent is often precisely the opposite: a time of frenetic activity, of buying and selling, of preparations for Christmas, of large meals. ... Yet, as you have seen, the popular traditions of the faith have not disappeared; rather, they have been renewed, intensified, updated, creating islands for the soul, islands of silence, islands of faith, islands for the Lord in our time. I think this is very important. We must thank everyone ... who brings the truth of faith into our homes, in our time".
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VATICAN CITY, 4 DEC 2011 (VIS) - This morning, the Holy Father addressed some remarks to faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square for the Angelus prayer. He reminded them that the current liturgical time of Advent "highlights two figures who had a pre-eminent role in preparing the way for the historical coming of the Lord Jesus: the Virgin Mary and St. John the Baptist".

  In today's Gospel reading "John is presented as an ascetic figure. ... On one occasion Jesus Himself contrasted John with those who 'are in royal palaces' and who wear 'soft robes'. The way of life of John the Baptist should call all Christians to a sober lifestyle, especially in the lead-up to Christmas when the Lord (as St. Paul would say), 'though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich'".

  "John's mission", the Holy Father went on, "was an appeal to conversion, his Baptism 'was associated with an ardent call to a new way of thinking and acting, it was associated above all with announcing the judgement of God' and the imminent coming of the Messiah". John "called people to inner conversion on the basis of a recognition and confession of their sins. As we prepare for Christmas, it is important we look into ourselves and make a sincere assessment of our lives".

  In his language greetings following the Marian prayer, Benedict XVI noted that this week marks the sixtieth anniversary of the International Organisation for Migration and of the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, as well as the fiftieth anniversary of the Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness. "May the Lord protect people who, often under constraint, have to abandon their own country or who have no nationality of their own", the Pope said. "While encouraging solidarity towards them, I pray for all those who strive to protect and assist these our brothers and sisters in emergency situations, often exposing themselves to serious fatigue and danger".
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VATICAN CITY, 5 DEC 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience:

 - Archbishop Nicola Girasoli, apostolic nuncio to Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Dominica, Jamaica, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and Grenadines, Suriname, Guyana, and apostolic delegate in the Antilles.

 - Twelve prelates of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Archbishop John Myers of Newark, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishops Edgar M. da Cunha S.D.V., Gaetano Aldo Donato and Manuel A. Cruz, and by former Auxiliary Bishops David Arias O.A.R. and Dominic Anthony Marconi.

    - Bishop Paul Gregory Bootkoski of Metuchen.

    - Bishop Arthur Joseph Serratelli of Paterson, accompanied by Bishop emeritus Frank Joseph Rodimer.

    - David M. O'Connell C.M. of Trenton, accompanied by Bishop emeritus John Mortimer Smith.

    - Bishop Donald Walter Trautman of Erie.

 - Jasna Krivosic-Prpic, ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina, on her farewell visit.

 - Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
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