Vatican City (AsiaNews) During the first Angelus of the year, Benedict XVI greeted the world, urging everyone to look to Mary, who "today blesses the whole world by showing her divine Son, the 'Prince of Peace' (Is, 9: 5). With confidence we call on Her powerful intercession so that the human family, by opening itself to the evangelical message, may spend the year that now begins in brotherhood and peace."
Speaking before thousands of the faithful standing under a hammering rain in St Peter's Square, the Pope reiterated the themeIn Truth, Peace of his World Peace Day message. He urged Christians and "people of good will" to open up to the "truth that was revealed in Jesus who taught us the content and method to achieve peace: love."
"Upon choosing the human condition, God, who is love made perfect and real, revealed himself," he said. "In so doing he showed the way to peace, which involves dialogue, forgiveness and solidarity. Only this road leads to true peace".
After the Marian prayer, the Pope returned the greetings and best wishes expressed by Italian President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, who yesterday in his New Year Eve's speech to the nation, mentioned John Paul II and Benedict XVI with affection.
The Pope also greeted and thanked all those who organised rallies and prayer vigils for peace on the occasion of World Peace Day, an event which Pope Paul VI established 38 years ago.
He singled out the march organised by the Italian Bishops' Conference in Trent (Trent province in northern Italy) and the one today by the Sant'Egidio movement in Rome that ended in St Peter's Square.
After delivering greetings in French, English, Spanish, Portuguese and Polish, Benedict XVI urged everyone to listen to the Maria Dolens (Maria addolorata) bell tolling in a live hook-up to Rovereto (Trent Province).
The bell is the brainchild of a priest from Trent province who 80 years ago wanted to honour the memory of the fallen in war.
"We shall soon hear the bell toll," the Pope said. "May it be a portent of peace and brotherhood among peoples. Happy New Year to all!"