Vatican City ( AsiaNews) - The hope for a New Year full of "peace and every good" expressed by Pope Francis has nothing to do with the "magic and somewhat fatalistic connotations of a new cycle that begins". "My hope - said the Pope - is that of the Church, it is Christian hope! ... We know that history has a centre: Jesus Christ, incarnate, dead and risen; it has a goal: the Kingdom of God, kingdom peace, justice, freedom, love, and has a force that moves toward that end : the Holy Spirit . This Spirit is the power of love that has fertilized the womb of the Virgin Mary, and is the same that animates the projects and efforts of all the peacemakers".
Before the Angelus prayer in front of a packed St. Peter's Square, the Pope explained the two occurrences marked today: the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God and the World Day of Peace , launched by Pope Paul VI and now in its 47th edition .
This year's theme, chosen by Francis, is "Fraternity; Foundation and Path to Peace ."
"At the foundation - explained the pope - is the conviction that we are all children of our Heavenly Father , we are part of the same human family, and we share a common destiny. Thus we all have the shared responsibility to work so that the world becomes a community of brothers and sisters who respect each other, accept differences and take care of each other. We are also called to be aware of the violence and injustices present in many parts of the world and that should not leave us indifferent and immobile: the commitment of all is necessary to build a more just and caring society".
The pope added that in recent days he received a letter from a man who spoke of all the difficulties and even violence in the world, who wondered " What happens in the human heart, that allows all of this? And he said, it's time to stop ". " I make his words my own - said the pope - these words : What is happening in the human heart ? In the heart of humanity? It is time to stop ."
"From every corner of the earth - he continued - Today believers elevate prayer to ask the Lord for the gift of peace and the ability to bring it to every environment." And here he stressed the need to bring peace "starting from our homes".
"On this first day of the year, the Lord help us all to set out more firmly on the path of justice and peace , the Holy Spirit acting in our hearts , loosening the fastenings and hardening of hearts so that they will open up to the tenderness and weakness of the Child Jesus. Peace requires the force of meekness, the force of nonviolence of truth and of love."
He concluded: "We place our hopes with filial trust in the hands of Mary, Mother of the Redeemer. May she, who extends her maternal love to all mankind, hear the cry for peace of the people oppressed by war and violence, so that the courage of dialogue and reconciliation prevail over the temptation for revenge, arrogance, corruption. We ask her for the Gospel of fraternity announced and witnessed by the Church will speak to every conscience and break down the walls that prevent enemies from recognizing each other as brothers" .
After the Marian prayer, Francis greeted the President of the Italian Republic , Giorgio Napolitano, and sent his best wishes to the Italian people "so that, with the contribution of all in responsibility and solidarity , we can look to the future with confidence and hope."
He also thanked the various groups that have organized meetings or marches dedicated to peace : Caritas , Pax Christi, Sant'Egidio Community , the Movement of family love . A special greeting was addressed to members of the Fraterna Domus and the " Star Singers ", "children and young people in Germany and Austria who bring the blessing of Jesus to homes and collect offerings for children in need. "
Finally , renewing his best wishes for the new year, he invited all present - as he had already done at Mass in the basilica - to invoke Mary with the title : " Holy Mother of God, Holy Mother of God, Holy Mother of God! " .