Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "Three intentions" entrusted "to the maternal intercession of Mary Most Holy, Mother of Christ and Mother of the Church" for "our brother migrants and refugees, religious dialogue with Jews and the unity of Christians”. This is how Benedict XVI concluded his reflection today before the Angelus with the pilgrims in St Peter's Square. At the end of the Marian prayer he once again recalled "the dear population of Haiti" affected by the earthquake, of whose situation he is being kept "fully informed" by the Apostolic Nuncio to the island nation. He also expressed encouragement for "the efforts of many charitable organizations to address the immense needs of the country".
Recalling the "blessed Bishop Giovanni Battista Scalabrini and ... Saint Francesca Cabrini," Apostles of migrants, the pope recalled the "constant" commitment of the Church to help migrants and refugees, especially migrant and refugee children. This aspect is also the theme of Day for Migrants celebrated this Sunday in Italy. "The child - said the pontiff - irrespective of nationality and skin colour, should be seen first and foremost and always as a person, the image of God, to be promoted and protected against marginalization and exploitation. In particular, we should make every effort so that children who are living in a foreign country may have legal guarantees and above all be accompanied in the countless problems they face."
Benedict XVI then recalled that at around 4 pm this afternoon, he will travel to meet the Jewish community in the Synagogue of Rome (the so-called “Great Temple"), 24 years after the historic visit made by Pope John Paul II. "Despite problems and difficulties - said the pope – there is an atmosphere of great respect and dialogue between believers of both religions, a sign of how relations have matured and the common commitment to enhance what unites us: faith in God, first and foremost, but also the protection of life and family, the aspiration to social justice and peace".
"Finally I would also like to remember, - said the pontiff - that tomorrow sees the beginning of the traditional Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Each year it is, for those who believe in Christ, a propitious time to revive the spirit of ecumenism, to meet, learn, pray and reflect together. The biblical theme, taken from the Gospel of Saint Luke, echoing the words of the risen Jesus to the Apostles: "You are witnesses of these things" (Luke 24:48). Our proclamation of the Gospel of Christ will be all the more credible and effective the more we will be united in His love, as true brothers. I therefore call on the parishes, religious communities, associations and ecclesial movements to pray incessantly, especially during Eucharistic celebrations, for the full unity of Christians. "
Before the greetings in different languages, Benedict XVI spoke of his "heartfelt prayer" for "the dear population of Haiti." "The Papal Nuncio - added the pope - who thank God is well, is keeping me fully informed, so I learned the painful death of the archbishop, as well as many priests, religious and seminarians. I follow and encourage the efforts of many charitable organizations, who are attempting to address the immense needs of the country. I pray for the wounded, the homeless, and for those who tragically lost their lives".