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Pope Francis: Christ the King Angelus for persecuted brethren


(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis celebrated Mass and prayed the Angelus on Sunday, to mark the Solemnity of Christ the King and the close of the Year of Faith, proclaimed by Pope emeritus Benedict XVI in the last year of his reign. Thousands of pilgrims braved the late November chill in the morning air to gather for the Mass in St Peter’s Square under an overcast, threatening sky.

A highlight of the celebration was the presentation, at the end of the Mass, of the Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii gaudium – The Joy of the Gospel – to a select group of faithful representing each state of life in the Church, and a broad array of vocations, including a bishop, a priest, a deacon, religious men and women, novices, a family, catechists, artists, journalists, young people, the elderly and the sick. The Exhortation is the concluding document of last year’s Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which focused on ‘The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith’. The official presentation of the document is scheduled for this coming Tuesday, November 26th. Listen: RealAudioMP3

In his homily, Pope Francis focused on the centrality of Christ in creation, in history and in the life of every human person. He said, “To him we can bring the joys and the hopes, the sorrows and troubles which are part of our lives. When Jesus is the centre, light shines even amid the darkest times of our lives.” The Holy Father went on to say, “God’s grace is always greater than the prayer which sought it. The Lord always grants more than what he has been asked,” adding, “you ask him to remember you, and he brings you into his Kingdom!”

At the end of the Mass, the Holy Father led the faithful in the recitation of the Angelus, dedicating the traditional prayer of Marian devotion to all Christians suffering persecution because of their faith in Jesus. “With this prayer,” he said, “we invoke the protection of Mary, especially for our brothers and sisters who are persecuted because of their faith – and there are many of them.”

St Peter's Square was also the scene of a special concrete act of charity and solidarity: a special collection was taken on behalf of the victims of the recent typhoon, which killed thousands of people and devastated vast areas of the Philippines.