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Pope's general audience of Jan. 23. Appeals for Jakarta flood victims
January 23, 2013 - Every week on Wednesday, the Pope holds a public meeting, called the general audience, during which pilgrims and tourists who come to Rome have a chance of seeing and hearing him speak in several languages and also receive his blessing. The general audience of Jan. 23rd was held in the Vatican’s Paul VI audience hall. It began with several aides reading a passage from the Letter to the Hebrews.
After an aide greeted the Pope on behalf of the English speaking pilgrims, Pope Benedict XVI delivered his catechesis in English.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
In our catechesis for this Year of Faith, we now turn to the Creed, the solemn profession of our faith as Christians. At the beginning of the Creed, we say “I believe in God”. Faith is our response to the God who first speaks to us, makes himself known and calls us to enter into communion with him. We hear God speaking to us in the Scriptures, which recount the history of his revelation, culminating in the coming of his Son, Jesus Christ. A central figure in this history of revelation is Abraham, the father and model of all believers (cf. Rom 4:11-12). Sustained by God’s blessing and trusting in his promises, Abraham set off into the unknown. Like Abraham, we too are called to let faith shape our thoughts and actions in accordance with God’s saving word, even when this runs contrary to the thinking and ways of this world. With the eyes of faith, we discern God’s presence and his promise of eternal life beyond the realities of this present existence. In opening ourselves to God’s blessing, we become in turn a blessing for others.
During this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, I offer a warm welcome to the faculty and students of the Bossey Graduate School of Ecumenical Studies, with cordial good wishes for their studies. I also greet the military chaplains from the United Kingdom recently returned from Afghanistan. Upon all the English-speaking visitors present at today’s Audience, including the pilgrim and student groups from the United States, I invoke God’s blessings of joy and peace.
At the end of the audience Pope Benedict expressed his solidarity with the people of the Indonesian capital Jakarta, devastated by serous floods, causing victims, displacement and untold damage. “I wish to express my closeness with the people hit by this natural calamity, assuring them my prayers and encouraging solidarity so that no one may lack the necessary help,” the Pope said in Italian. Police reported on Monday at least 26 people were killed and more than 100,000 fled their homes. The floods reached their peak last Thursday after a dike in central Jakarta collapsed. They engulfed around 30 percent of the city of 14 million, including its business district center and the presidential palace.
Pope Benedict concluded Wednesday’s general audience with his blessing.
Receive the Pope's blessing: