Saturday, January 19, 2008

In prayerful support of the Pope

~from Asia News

The Angelus of Benedict XVI will be followed tomorrow by millions of people in Italy and all over the world. The idea comes from Cardinal Camillo Ruini, vicar of Rome, who has invited Catholics and all the Romans to come to Saint Peter's Square tomorrow to participate in the traditional Marian prayer recited by the pontiff. The purpose is to "express closeness and affection to the pope", and to "share a moment of collective serenity and prayer" after the regretful cancellation of his visit to the university of Rome.

...To those who thought that the gesture might seem to be nothing other than a proof of political power, in "L'Osservatore Romano" (on January 18) Cardinal Ruini reiterated that the Angelus "is a prayer. Therefore it is absolutely not directed against anyone, it will be a gesture of affection and serenity". If, therefore, "anyone wants to interpret this event in any other way, he will interpret in an absolutely mistaken manner".

The invitation has met with an enthusiastic response all over Italy. In Rome, 150,000 persons are expected in Saint Peter's Square. Many more will participate in the prayer from their own cities. Big screens will display the event in many churches, to help those present pray together with the pope. In Milan, the Sunday prayer will be broadcast live on a big screen in the central square of the city's cathedral, at the initiative of the city council.

Even in faraway China, there is widespread response to the invitation. In Hebei, the Catholics will meet in the chapel at 7 p.m. local time (noon in Rome) to pray together with the pope.

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