I thank you for your words of welcome. I also greet the Patriarch
Emeritus and I assure you both of my fraternal good wishes and prayers.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, I am happy to be here with you
today in this Co-Cathedral, where the Christian community in Jerusalem
continues to gather, as it has been doing for centuries, ever since the
earliest days of the Church. Here in this city, Peter first preached the
Good News of Jesus Christ on the day of Pentecost, when about three
thousand souls were added to the number of the disciples. Here too the
first Christians “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and
fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Acts 2:42). From
Jerusalem, the Gospel has gone out “to all the earth … to the ends of
the world” (Ps 19:4), yet all the time, the Church’s missionary effort
has been sustained by the prayers of the faithful, gathered around the
altar of the Lord, invoking the mighty power of the Holy Spirit upon the
work of preaching.
Above all, it is the prayers of those whose vocation, in the words of
Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, is to be “love, deep down in the heart of the
Church” (Letter to Sister Marie of the Sacred Heart) that sustains the
work of evangelization. I want to express a particular word of
appreciation for the hidden apostolate of the contemplatives who are
present here, and to thank you for your generous dedication to lives of
prayer and self-denial. I am especially grateful for the prayers you
offer for my universal ministry, and I ask you to continue to commend to
the Lord my work of service to God’s people all over the world. In the
words of the Psalmist, I ask you also to “pray for the peace of
Jerusalem” (Ps 122:6), to pray without ceasing for an end to the
conflict that has brought so much suffering to the peoples of this land.
And now, I give you my blessing.
The Holy See Press Office
12 May 2009