2006-10-02 15:18:37

Pope speaks on Rosary, Mission Sunday, Iraq, World Habitat Day

(Oct. 02, 2006) Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday invited families and communities to pray the Rosary throughout October, a month dedicated also to the missions, which have as their patroness St Theresa of the Child Jesus. The Pope also urged Muslims and Christians to live in peace in Iraq where, he said, followers of both religions faced tragedy on a daily basis.
Speaking to a large crowd during his traditional weekly midday angelus prayer at the papsl summer residence of Castelgandofo, the Pope said the rosary is a "contemplative and Christocentric prayer, inseparable from the meditation of sacred Scripture." It is "the prayer of the Christian who advances in the pilgrimage of faith, in the following of Jesus, preceded by Mary." The feast of the Virgin of the Rosary is observed on Oct. 7. The Holy Father invited the faithful "to pray the rosary as a family during this month," and in larger spiritual families, "in communities and parishes," "for the intentions of the Pope, for the mission of the Church, and for peace in the world."
In October, the Church also draws attention to missions, observing the annual Mission Sunday on the penultimate Sunday of the month. Speaking during Sunday’s midday Angelus prayer, the Pope reminded Christians that "the Church is missionary by nature" as reflected in the words of the risen Jesus to his apostles: 'As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.'" Therefore, "the mission of the Church is the prolongation of Christ's mission: To take the love of God to all, proclaiming charity with words and concrete testimony," the Pontiff said. Charity as "soul of the mission" is the core of the message Pope Benedict XVI on the occasion of the 80th Mission Sunday, to be observed on Oct. 22. The Pontiff said that the Christian must realize this "with humility and courage, serving his neighbour without ulterior motives and obtaining in prayer the strength of joyful and industrious charity." To carry out this mission, Pope Benedict XVI evoked St. Theresa of the Child Jesus who along with St. Francis Xavier is the universal patroness of the missions. “May the young Carmelite and doctor of the Church, who indicated the 'simple' way to holiness as confident abandonment in the love of God," "help us to be credible witnesses of the Gospel of charity," the Pope said. The Pope’s missionary prayer intention for October also draws attention to Mission Sunday. He invites all the faithful to join him in praying that this year’s annual observance may everywhere increase the spirit of missionary animation and cooperation.
After praying the Angelus the Pope drew attention to the situation in Iraq hoping that the fraternal bonds between Christians and Muslims - "children of the same land" - will continue. The Pope recalled his meeting on Saturday with Patriarch Emmanuel III Delly during which the head of the Chaldean Catholic Church spoke to the Holy Father of "the tragic reality that the beloved population of Iraq must face daily, where Christians and Muslims have lived together for 14 centuries as children of the same land." The Pontiff said: "I hope that these bonds of fraternity will not diminish between them, while, with sentiments of my spiritual closeness, I invite all to join me in asking Almighty God for the gift of peace and concord in that martyred country." The Chaldean Catholic community is the largest Christian community in Iraq.
After the Angelus prayer, the Pope also spoke of the United Nations’ World habitat Day marked on Monday. "The management of the rapid process of urbanization, consequence also of the increasingly relevant emigration to cities, represents one of the most serious problems that humanity of the 21st century is called to address," said the Holy Father. "I express my encouragement to all those, at the local and international level, who work so that people who live in run-down areas are assured of worthy conditions of life, satisfaction of their essential needs and the possibility to realize their own aspirations, in particular in the family realm, and in peaceful social coexistence," said the Pope.

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