St Peter's Square
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I address you for the first time from this window that the beloved figure of my Predecessor made familiar to countless people throughout the world. We also think to that window where John Paul II, from one Sunday to the next and faithful to an appointment that became a friendly habit, guided the history of the Church and of the world for more than a quarter of a century, and we continue to feel him closer to us than ever. My first sentiment is still gratitude to those who have supported me with their prayers in these days and to those who have sent me messages and good wishes from every part of the world.
I would like to greet with particular affection the Orthodox Churches, the Oriental Orthodox Churches and those Oriental Catholic Churches that are celebrating Christ's Resurrection on this very Sunday. I address to these beloved brothers and sisters of ours the traditional proclamation of joy: Christós anesti! Yes, Christ is risen, he is truly risen. I hope with all my heart that the celebration of Easter may be for them a unanimous prayer of faith and praise to the One who is our common Lord and is calling us to walk with determination on the path that leads to full communion.
Today, we are beginning the month of May with a liturgical memorial very dear to the Christian people: that of St Joseph the Worker; and you know that my name is Joseph. Exactly 50 years ago it was established by Pope Pius XII of venerable memory to highlight the importance of work and of the presence of Christ and the Church in the working world. It is also necessary to witness in contemporary society to the "Gospel of work", of which John Paul II spoke in his Encyclical Laborem Exercens. I hope that work will be available, especially for young people, and that working conditions may be ever more respectful of the dignity of the human person.
I am thinking with affection of all workers and I greet those gathered in St Peter's Square who belong to many associations. In particular, I greet the friends of the Christian Associations of Italian Workers, who this year are celebrating the 60th anniversary of their foundation. I hope that they will continue to live their choice of "Christian brotherhood" as a value to embody in the field of work and of social life, so that solidarity, justice and peace may be the pillars on which to build the unity of the human family.
Lastly, I address my thoughts to Mary: the month of May is specially dedicated to her. Pope John Paul II taught us, with his words and even more, with his example, to contemplate Christ with Mary's eyes, especially appreciating the prayer of the Holy Rosary. With the singing of the Regina Caeli let us entrust to the Blessed Virgin all the needs of the Church and of humanity.
After the Regina Caeli, the Pope said:
In these days I often find myself thinking of all the peoples who are suffering because of war, illness and poverty. Today, I am close in particular to the beloved peoples of Togo, overwhelmed by grievous internal strife. I implore the gift of harmony and peace for all these nations.
I now greet with affection the faithful from the Parishes of Santa Joaquina Vedruna, Barcelona, and Santa Catalina de Siena, Madrid, who are taking part in this Marian prayer. Dear brothers and sisters, may your visit to the tombs of the Apostles strengthen you in your commitment to give yourselves without reserve to Christ and his Church.
I greet with affection the faithful from Budapest and Pécs in Hungary; the Canossian Lay Brothers and Sisters; the children from the kindergarten in Abbasanta, Sardinia, with their teachers and parents; and the Genio Ferrovier Regiment from Bologna.
And finally, a good Sunday to you all. Thank you for your attention!
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