Mass in Nazareth: The Family Is Essential
for Building a Civilization of Love
VATICAN CITY, 14 MAY 2009 (VIS) - At 8.30 a.m. today the Pope
travelled by helicopter to Nazareth, town of the Annunciation and of
the Holy Family, which is located some 110 kilometres from
Jerusalem. Having landed, the Holy Father continued his journey by
car to the Mount of the Precipice where he celebrated Mass to mark
the closure of Year of the Family, an initiative organised by the
Catholic Church in the Holy Land.
Benedict XVI was welcomed by the mayors of Nazareth and of Nazareth
Illit, by Bishop Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo, Latin patriarchal vicar
for Israel, and by Archbishop Paul Nabil El-Sayah of Haifa and the
Holy Land of the Maronites. The Holy Father saluted the faithful
from his popemobile as he toured the site, a natural amphitheatre
located near a wood dedicated to Pope John XXIII. Having then
received greetings from Archbishop Elias Chacour, Greek Melkite
ordinary for Galilee, he presided at Mass. Among those attending the
ceremony was Shimon Peres, president of the State of Israel.
In his homily, the Holy Father affirmed that, following the example
of Mary, Joseph and Jesus, "we come to appreciate even more fully
the sacredness of the family, which in God's plan is based on the
lifelong fidelity of a man and a woman consecrated by the marriage
covenant and accepting of God's gift of new life.
"How much the men and women of our time need to re-appropriate this
fundamental truth, which stands at the foundation of society, and
how important is the witness of married couples for the formation of
sound consciences and the building of a civilisation of love", he
"In the family each person, whether the smallest child or the oldest
relative, is valued for himself or herself, and not seen simply as a
means to some other end. Here we begin to glimpse something of the
essential role of the family as the first building block of a
well-ordered and welcoming society. We also come to appreciate,
within the wider community, the duty of the State to support
families in their mission of education, to protect the institution
of the family and its inherent rights, and to ensure that all
families can live and flourish in conditions of dignity".
Benedict XVI Is Star of Hope in Bethlehem,
Vatican Aide Considers Message for Palestinians
BETHLEHEM, West Bank, MAY 13, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI's
visit today to Bethlehem had one principal objective: to give hope
to this sorely tried population, says the delegate administrator of
the Holy See's pilgrimage agency.
Father Caesar Atuire, of Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi, the Vatican
institution whose mission is to evangelize through pastoral tourism
and the ministry of pilgrimage, spoke with ZENIT about the Pope's
stop at Bethlehem on the fifth day of his Holy Land pilgrimage.
The city where Jesus was born "has lived this day as if it were
Christmas," he said. And in fact, during the Mass the Holy Father
celebrated in Manger Square, one could hear carols being sung.
"Seeing the people here, hearing their songs, we realize that today
the Pope has brought to this land a message of peace, a message of
joy, to encourage this population that lives with so many
conflicts," Father Atuire said. "The Pope has recalled what the
Gospel of Luke says, that is, that Jesus would be a sign of