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Solemnity of Christ the King
Sunday, 21 November 2004


1. Today, the last Sunday of the liturgical year, we are celebrating the Solemnity of Christ the King.

The Fathers of the Second Vatican Council were focusing on Christ the King 40 years ago when, on 21 November, they promulgated the Dogmatic Constitution that begins with the words "Lumen gentium cum sit Christus", "Christ is the Light of humanity".

Lumen Gentium marked a milestone in the Church's journey on the highways of the contemporary world and was an incentive to the People of God to assume their responsibilities with greater determination in building the Kingdom of Christ, which will be fulfilled only beyond history.

2. Indeed, every baptized person, especially the lay faithful, is duty bound to spread the Gospel in the temporal order (cf. Lumen Gentium, nn. 31, 35, 36, 38). Moreover, in this mission, the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church is a useful aid; it was published just this year by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, to which I renew my gratitude.

3. However, if it is to achieve its goal every human undertaking must find support in prayer. Today we are celebrating the Day of Prayer. I entrust to Mary Most Holy the communities of contemplative life whom I greet with affection. May these brothers and sisters of ours never lack the spiritual and material support of all the faithful.

After the Angelus:

Today in Italy Migration Day is being celebrated on the theme: "The world as a home: from mistrust to welcome". I greet all migrants and those who sustain them on their journey of faith and brotherhood. God bless you!

I greet the Spanish-speaking pilgrims, especially those from the Diocese of Huelva. Faithful to Christ the King, proclaim the Gospel! Have a happy Sunday!

I greet the Italian-speaking pilgrims, especially the parish group from Nimis with the friends of Lannach-Graz, Austria, the group from Sts Peter and Paul Parish in Pescasseroli, the "Fogolar Furlan" Choir from Milan and the faithful from Ancona, Loreto, Aprutino and Avezzano.

I wish you all a good Sunday!


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