2007-03-17 06:55:24

Pope Benedict XVI praises caretakers of St. Peter’s Basilica

(16 Mar. 2007) : As part of the celebrations for the 500th anniversary of St. Peter’s Basilica, Pope Benedict XVI after Wednesday’s general audience, visited the Fabbrica di San Pietro, the office of the Vatican’s chief engineer. During his visit the Pontiff expressed thanks to those who work to maintain this huge building complex, saying, "You work in a place, the venerable basilica of the apostle, which is 'the heart of the Catholic Church': a pulsing heart, thanks to the Holy Spirit that keeps it alive, but also thanks to the work of all those that make it function daily. The Pontiff continued: "It's not a museum, it's a spiritual organism, and even the stones feel this vitality; and to you, first of all, who work here, you are 'living stones' as Peter the apostle wrote, living stones of the living edifice that is the Church. "Thanks to your contribution … pilgrims from all over the world can live their pilgrimages fruitfully … and carry within their hearts a message of faith and hope, the certainty of having seen not only a great work of art but also of having encountered the living Church, the apostle Peter and finally Christ, the Pope said. The Fabbrica di San Pietro was established by Pope John Paul II in 1988 for the care of the basilica, including maintenance, decor, its custodians and pilgrims who visit it.

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