Monday, April 28, 2008

Sowing the Joy of the Gospel in the World

Pope Benedict XVI on the Mission of Priests: ''Sowing the Joy of the Gospel in the World''

VATICAN CITY, APRIL 27, 2008 ( Here is a translation of the greeting Benedict XVI gave today before praying the Regina Caeli with several thousand people gathered in St. Peter's Square.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

A few moments ago we concluded a celebration in St. Peter’s Basilica in which I ordained 29 new priests. This is a time every year of special grace and festivity: The lifeblood of the Church and the city has been renewed and recirculated in them. If the presence of priests is indispensable for the life of the Church, it is also something precious for all.

In the Acts of the Apostles one reads that the Deacon Philip brought the Gospel to a city of Samaria; the people adhered to his preaching with enthusiasm and also saw the miracles that he worked for the sick; “and there was great joy in that city” (Acts 8:8). As I reminded the new presbyters in the course of the liturgical celebration, this is the meaning of the Church’s missions and particularly the mission of priests: Sowing the joy of the Gospel in the world!

Where Christ is preached with the power of the Holy Spirit and he is accepted with an open soul, society, though it be full of problems, becomes a “city of joy” -- which is also the title of a book about the work of Mother Teresa in Calcutta. This then is the wish I have for the newly ordained priests, for whom I invite all to pray: That where they are sent they may spread the joy and hope that flow from the Gospel.

In truth this is also the message that I brought last week to the United States of America, on an apostolic voyage that had these words as its motto: “Christ our hope.” I give thanks to God for abundantly blessing this singular missionary experience of mine and deigning to make me an instrument of the hope of Christ for that Church and that country. At the same time I thank God because I too was confirmed in hope by American Catholics: Indeed, I discovered a tremendous vitality and a decisive will to live and to witness to the faith in Jesus. Next Wednesday, during the general audience, I will speak more about this visit of mine to America.

Today many Eastern Churches, following the Julian Calendar, celebrate the great solemnity of Easter. I would like to express my fraternal spiritual nearness to these brothers and sisters of ours. I cordially greet them, praying that the God who is one and three will confirm them in the faith, fill them with the splendorous light that emanates from the resurrection of the Lord and to comfort them in the difficult situations that they often find themselves living and witnessing to the Gospel. I invite all to join with me in invoking the Mother of God, that the road of dialogue and collaboration that was started upon sometime ago will soon lead to a more complete communion among all the disciples of Christ, that they may be a luminous sign of hope for all humanity.

[After reciting the Regina Caeli, the Pope said in Italian:]

The news from some African countries continues to cause profound suffering and much concern. I ask you not to forget about these tragic events and the brothers and sisters who are involved in them! I ask you to pray for them and to be their voice!

In Somalia, especially in Mogadishu, bitter armed conflicts are worsening the humanitarian crisis of this dear people, which for too many years has been oppressed by brutality and misery.

Darfur, despite a momentary glimmer of hope, remains a tragedy without end for hundreds of thousands of defenseless and abandoned persons.

Finally, Burundi. After the recent bombardments that struck and terrorized the capital city of Bujumbura and also affected the apostolic nunciature, and in the face of the threat of a new civil war, I invite all the parties involved to take up again without delay the way of dialogue and reconciliation.

I ask the local political authorities, the leaders of the international community and every person of goodwill not to give up on efforts to bring and end to the violence and the honor the commitments that have been made, in a way that will provide a solid basis for peace and development. We entrust our petitions to Mary, Queen of Africa.

[Translation by Joseph G. Trabbic]

[In English, the Pope said:]

I am happy to greet all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present for this Regina Caeli. In today's Gospel Our Lord speaks to us of the mystery of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. May we always remain faithful to this divine communion by living the commandments that he has given us. God's blessings of joy and peace be with you all!