02/20/2005, 00.00
VATICAN

Angelus: the Pope speaks again to the faithful after his illness

John Paul II says that his ministry is very much alive in him.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – The Pope spoke again to the faithful in St Peter's square during today's Angelus. John Paul II articulated his reflection which traditionally precedes the midday Angelus to the surprise and satisfaction of all those present. The Angelus prayer was however read by one of his aides.

Last Sunday, after some days in the hospital, the Holy Father had been able to say just a few words. His reflection was read instead by Mgr Leonardo Sandri. Yesterday, for the first time during his pontificate, the Pope was unable to attend the mass that brought to and end the Lenten Spiritual Exercises. Today he was able to speak and his voice was clear albeit slightly hoarse.

At the end of the prayer, he blessed the faithful gathered in the square and greeted different groups of pilgrims waving a hand.

In today's reflection, John Paul II spoke about the week of Spiritual Exercises that ended on the theme of the Church and the Eucharist.

"The Eucharist," he said, "is the source from which the communion of the members of the Mystic Body of Christ draws new strength.

Although he did not directly allude to next Tuesday, February 22, the Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter, the Pope did stress the strong link between the Eucharist, the unity of the Church and Petrine Ministry. "The Petrine Ministry is essentially a service to the unity of the Church," he said.

During his recent illness, many talked about his possible resignation from the post of universal pastor. As if in response to such views, the Pontiff restated his task: "Feed my lambs [. . .] Feed my sheep" (Jn, 21:15, 16, 17). I feel that this invitation Jesus made is very much alive in me when I contemplate the Eucharistic Mystery. To Him, the Good Shepherd, I entrust the people of God in this Lenten journey towards Easter."

Here is the entire text of what the Pope said:

"The Spiritual Exercises to which I participated together with many collaborators from the Roman Curia came to a close yesterday with a solemn Eucharistic Celebration followed by the Adoration.

"The Eucharist is the source from which the communion of the members of the Mystic Body of Christ draws new strength.

"From this perspective it is clear what task was assigned to Peter and his successors: the Petrine Ministry is essentially a service to the unity of the Church.

"[Y]ou are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church" (Mt, 16:18). To this pledge made by the Lord echo other comforting words: "I have prayed [for you Simon] that your own faith may not fail; and once you have turned back, you must strengthen your brothers" (Lk, 22:32).

"Feed my lambs [. . .] Feed my sheep" (Jn, 21:15, 16, 17). I feel that this invitation Jesus made is very much alive in me when I contemplate the Eucharistic Mystery. To Him, the Good Shepherd, I entrust the people of God in this Lenten journey towards Easter.

"Let us call on Mary, Mother of the Church, for Her help in the usual Angelus prayer."

 

 

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