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Sunday, 7 November 2004


1. Popular piety has dedicated the month of November to the faithful departed. We confidently pray for them knowing that, as Jesus affirms in today's Gospel reading, "God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. All are alive for him" (Lk 20: 38). He remains faithful to his covenant with mankind, a covenant that death itself cannot destroy.

2. This alliance, sealed in Christ's Passover, is continually renewed in the sacrament of the Eucharist. It is here, therefore, that prayer for the deceased reaches its summit. By offering Holy Mass for them, believers are sustaining their final purification. Bonds of spiritual love with the deceased are strengthened when Holy Communion is received with faith.

3. May Mary Most Holy intercede from Paradise for all of our beloved deceased. As pilgrims on the earth, may she strengthen our faith in the final resurrection, whose promise is offered to us in the sacrament of the Eucharist.

After leading the prayer of the Angelus, the Holy Father said:

I greet the Spanish-speaking pilgrims, especially those coming from the parish communities of Corazón de María y San Agustín de Canarias and El Salvador de La Palma, and to the members of the Ecuadorian Navy.

I greet the Brazilian pilgrims and take this opportunity to thank God in praise for your noble Nation's faithfulness to the Gospel of Christ. It is my wish that all Leaders of Brazil continue to defend life from its conception to natural death. Praised be Jesus Christ.

I greet the people of Africa present at this Angelus and express my concern for the heart-rending news coming from Côte d'Ivoire, where violence is claiming new victims. May weapons be silenced, peace agreements be respected and the path of dialogue be followed! I entrust the Peoples of Côte d'Ivoire to Mary, Queen of Peace.

I turn my thoughts to the Italian-speaking pilgrims, especially to the "Mercy group of San Nicola Manfredi", coming from Benevento.

Finally, today in Poland, "Hospice Day" is being celebrated; its motto is: "Hospice is also life". The care given by workers and volunteers to those who are terminally ill and dying is a great work of mercy. I ask God to reward their love and dedication with his grace. I also entrust those who assist the suffering in their own homes to Mary Most Holy. God bless everyone.

I wish a pleasant Sunday to all.


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