Following the inaugural Mass of CELAM and the Regina Coeli, the Holy
Father addressed these words to the faithful, at the Sanctuary of
Our Lady of Aparacida, Brazil, 13 May 2007.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
With great affection I greet all of you who have come from the four
corners of Brazil, from Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as
those who are listening to me via radio and television. During the
celebration of Mass, I invoked the Holy Spirit, asking him to make
fruitful the Fifth General Conference of the Bishops of Latin
America and the Caribbean, which I shall inaugurate shortly. I ask
you all to pray for the fruits of this great gathering, which opens
up a future of hope for the Latin American family. You have a part
to play in building your Nations’ destiny. May God bless you and be
I offer affectionate greetings to the Spanish-speaking groups and
communities present today, and to all those in Spain and Latin
America who are spiritually united with this celebration. May the
Virgin Mary help you to keep alive the flame of faith, love and
harmony, so that by the witness of your lives and by faithfulness to
your baptismal vocation, you may be light and hope for humanity. Let
us also pray that the celebration of this Fifth General Conference
of the Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean will bear many
fruits of authentic spiritual renewal and untiring evangelization.
God bless you!
I warmly greet all the English-speaking groups present today.
Families stand at the heart of the Church’s mission of
evangelization, for it is in the home that our life of faith is
first expressed and nurtured. Parents, you are the primary witnesses
to your children of the truths and values of our faith: pray with
and for your children; teach them by your example of fidelity and
joy! Indeed, every disciple, spurred on by word and strengthened by
sacrament, is called to mission. It is a duty from which no one
should shy away, for nothing is more beautiful than to know Christ
and to make him known to others! May Our Lady of Guadalupe be your
model and guide. God bless you all!
Dear French-speaking families and groups, I greet with all my heart
those of you who live on the South American Continent, especially in
Haiti, in French Guiana and in the Antilles. May you build, in
cooperation with others, a more generous and fraternal society,
taking care to help young people discover the greatness of family
Today is the ninetieth anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady of
Fatima. With their powerful call to conversion and penance, they are
without doubt the most prophetic of all modern apparitions. Let us
ask the Mother of the Church, who knows the sufferings and hopes of
humanity, to protect our homes and our communities.
In a special way we entrust to her those peoples and nations that
are in particular need, confident that she will not fail to heed the
prayers we make to her with filial devotion. I remember in a special
way those brothers and sisters who suffer from hunger. In this
regard I want to mention the "March against Hunger" promoted by the
World Food Programme, the United Nations agency responsible for food
assistance. This initiative is taking place today in many cities
worldwide, including Ribeirão Preto here in Brazil.
Our prayers are offered also for the Afro-Brazilian community, who
this Sunday are commemorating the abolition of slavery in Brazil.
May this celebration foster a renewed sense of missionary outreach
towards this highly significant socio-cultural group in the Land of
the Holy Cross.
I also extend my warm greetings, together with my sincere gratitude,
to all the groups and associations gathered here. May God reward you
and keep you firm in the faith.
Let us now proclaim with joy the hymn of our salvation.
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