Sunday, January 8, 2012


VATICAN CITY, 6 JAN 2012 (VIS) - At midday today, Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord, the Holy Father appeared at the window of his private study overlooking St. Peter's square, to pray the Angelus with faithful gathered below. During his remarks he announced a forthcoming consistory, due to be held on 18 February, for the creation of twenty-two new cardinals.

Introducing the Marian prayer, Benedict XVI explained that the Epiphany "is an ancient feast, which ... highlights the mystery of Christ's manifestation to all peoples, represented by the Magi who came to adore the newborn King of the Jews in Bethlehem, as the Gospel of St. Matthew says".

"The entire period of Christmas and Epiphany is characterised by the theme of light", the Pope explained. "Jesus is the sun which rose on the horizon of humankind to illuminate the individual life of each one of us and guide us, all together, towards the goal of our pilgrimage, towards the land of freedom and peace in which we will forever live in full communion, with God and among ourselves".

The announcement of this mystery of salvation was entrusted by Christ to His Church. "The world, with all its resources, is unable to give humanity the light to guide it on its journey. This is clear also in our own day, when Western society seems to have lost direction and is feeling its way forward. Yet the Church, thanks to the Word of God, sees beyond these shadows. She does not possess technical solutions but she has her gaze turned to the final destination offering the light of the Gospel to all men and women of good will, of whatever nation or culture".

After the Angelus prayer, the Pope expressed his congratulations to the Eastern Churches which, in accordance with the Julian calendar, will celebrate Christmas tomorrow. "May each family and each community be filled with the light and peace of Christ the Saviour", he said.

He also recalled the fact that the Epiphany coincides with the Day of Missionary Children. "Dear children and young people", he said, "may your hearts, like the heart of Jesus, be open to the world. Yet also remain attentive to those who live near you and be ready to extend a hand to them".

Finally the Pope addressed greetings in a number of languages to the pilgrims gathered below his window. Speaking to Polish faithful he said: "To your prayers I entrust a countryman of yours [Marek Solczynski], a new nuncio who received episcopal ordination this morning".

ANG / VIS 20120107 (440

Source: Vatican Information Service

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