05/21/2006, 00.00
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Pope: Social communications help us free children from hunger

The Pope spoke about the celebration of the World Day of Social Communications and an event by the UN World Food Programme against hunger. On Thursday, there is the feast of the Ascension, when Jesus unequivocally revealed his divinity and ascended into Heaven with the humanity he had assumed. On Thursday, the Pope will leave for Poland and on 3 June, he will meet church movements.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Means of social communication help us to bring to the world, especially children, "freedom from hunger". The World Day of Social Communications and an event held by the World Food Programme of the United Nations, celebrated on the feast of the Ascension, were the focus of greetings delivered by Benedict XVI today, to around 30,000 people in St Peter's Square for the Regina Caeli. Among the crowd were 13, much applauded, German and Swiss bands. They came to Rome to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Basilica of St Peter with the Pope. Yesterday, they made their way through the streets around the Vatican and today they performed the hymn of Bavaria which, as the Pope recalled, "is really a prayer".

The Ascension, in the words of Benedict XVI, on the one hand commemorates the moment when Jesus "revealed his divinity in an unequivocal way: he goes back to where he came from, that is, in God, after having fulfilled his mission on earth". On the other hand, "Christ ascends to Heaven with the humanity he assumed and which he raised from the dead: that humanity is ours, transfigured, divinized, become eternal. The Ascension, therefore, reveals the 'highest vocation' (Gaudium et Spes 22) of each person: called to eternal life in the Kingdom of God, Kingdom of love, light and peace".

The Pope then recalled today's celebration of the World Day of Social Communications, this year focusing on the theme of "The media: network of communication, communion and cooperation". He said: "The Church considers the media with attention because it represents an important vehicle to spread the Gospel and to encourage solidarity among people, drawing attention to pressing problems that still affect us deeply. Today, for example, there is the initiative 'Walk the World', organized by the World Food Programme of the United Nations, aiming to sensitize governments and public opinion about the need for concrete and timely action to guarantee to all, especially children, 'freedom from hunger'. I am close in prayer to this event that is taking place in Rome and other cities of around 100 countries. I vividly hope that, thanks to the contribution of all, the scourge of hunger, which still afflicts mankind and seriously threatens the lives of millions of people, may be overcome. I think above all about the urgent and tragic situation in Darfur, Sudan, where great difficulties to meet the basic food needs of the population persist."

After recital of the Marian prayer, Benedict XVI recalled that in a few days time, he will leave for Poland and on 3 June, the vigil of Pentecost, he will celebrate Vespers with representatives of more than 100 church movements. "I am well aware what the richness of their educational and missionary formation means for the Church. It was much appreciated, sustained and encouraged by the beloved Pope John Paul II. Together, we will celebrate the First Vespers of the Solemn Feast of Pentecost, invoking the Holy Spirit with faith; that it may fill the hearts of the faithful and that the message of the love of Christ, Saviour of the world, may be announced to all."

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