06/19/2005, 00.00
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Benedict XVI: From the Eucharist comes love for refugees and the poor

Drawing attention to World Refugee Day promoted by the UN, the Pope says "works of charity" are the fruit of partaking of the Eucharist.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "The care of Christians for those in need and their commitment to a more supportive society are contiually nourished by active and conscious partaking of the Eucharist." This is what Benedict XVI said in today's Angelus. Addressing an enormous crowd of at least 30,000 people, he recalled World Refugee Day, which is set to be marked tomorrow by the UN along the theme "It takes courage to be a refugee". The Catholic Church offers swift, efficient and committed service at the frontline of refugee situations across the world, including Italy, Asia, Africa. This Eucharistic Year, Benedict XVI said all this commitment does not consist of mere generosity; rather, it is the fruit of faith which is nourished during liturgical celebrations. At the same time, the Eucharist prompts the Christian community towards an ongoing "capacity to go against widespread poverties in our world".

Below are the words of the pope's reflection before the Angelus:

Dear brothers and sisters!

Tomorrow, 20 June, World Refugee Day will be celebrated by the United Nations to keep alive awareness of the problems faced by those forced to leave their homeland. This year's theme - "It takes courage to be a refugee" - highlights the fortitude needed by those who must leave everything, sometimes even their families, to escape serious difficulties and dangers. The Christian community is close to those who undergo this painful experience; it endeavors to sustain them, to express in different ways its interest and love for them through concrete gestures of solidarity, so that whoever finds himself far from his country will feel the Church as a homeland where no one is a stranger.

The loving care of Christians towards those in difficulty and their commitment for a more supportive society is continually nourished by their partaking of the Eucharist. Whoever nourishes himself of Christ with faith at the Eucharistic celebration absorbs his lifestyle, that is a style of service geared especially towards the most vulnerable and disadvantaged people. In fact, works of charity are a criterion of the authencity of our liturgical celebration (cfr ap. letter Mane nobiscum Domine, 28). The current Year of the Eucharist helps diocesan and parish communities to boost this capacity to go against widespread poverties in our world.

Today, we wish to entrust in particular men, women and children who live as refugees to the maternal protection of the most Holy Mary, who tasted the bitterness of exile together with her spouse Joseph and the baby Jesus, when the absurd persecution of king Herod forced the Holy Family to flee to Egypt (Mt 2,13-23). Let us pray to the most Holy Virgin so that these brothers and sisters of ours may find welcome and understanding on their way.

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