Sunday, January 27, 2013


Vatican Radio REPORTS Two thousand young boys and girls drawn from across Rome’s sprawling parishes marched on St Peter’s Square this Sunday to the sound of drums, trumpets and songs for their annual appointment with Pope Benedict XVI.
They are the children of Catholic Action Rome and the last Sunday of January marks their annual ‘Caravan of Peace’ which culminates in the release of two white doves from the Papal apartments shortly after the Angelus prayer.

This year, the young boy and girl chosen to release the doves together with Pope Benedict told the Holy Father that the funds collected by the children of Rome will be donated to the forgotten children of Egypt.

Proceeds from their pastoral and charity initiatives in fact will be sent to the Jesuit Community of Alexandria, in particular Brother Atef, who heads a theatre group for street children titled ‘Art and Life’.

Earlier, Pope Benedict XVI had encouraged prayers for peace across the entire Middle East. He expressed his spiritual closeness to all those participating in the initiative supported by the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

In fact the last Sunday of January also marks world day of prayer for peace in the Holy Land. The global event, now in its fifth year, is a 24 hour continuum of prayer in more than three thousand cities for peace in the region.

The Pope said: “I thank those who are promoting this in many parts of the world and I greet in particular those present here today”.

Vatican Radio REPORT On January 27th each year, the United Nations sets aside a day in special remembrance of Holocaust victims.

Following his Angelus prayer this Sunday, Pope Benedict prayed: "Today is the " International Holocaust Remembrance Day" in memory of the Holocaust victims of Nazism. The memory of this immense tragedy, which above all struck so harshly the Jewish people, must represent for everyone a constant warning so that the horrors of the past are not repeated, all forms of hatred and racism overcome and respect and dignity of the human person promoted"

The International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust also commemorates when the Soviet troops liberated the Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland on January 27, 1945.

It is hoped that through remembering these events, people will remember the Holocaust and prevent genocide.

Across the globe Holocaust survivors and world leaders speak out in remembrance of victims, but also to make sure that the world never forgets what happened in Europe in the 1930s and 1940s. So that new generations may learn about the tragedy, and for everyone to work so it will never happen again.

It is also a good time to remember the words of Pope Benedict XVI when he visited the Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem on May 11
th, 2009.

I have come to stand in silence before this monument, erected to honor the memory of the millions of Jews killed in the horrific tragedy of the Shoah.
They lost their lives, but they will never lose their names: these are indelibly etched in the hearts of their loved ones, their surviving fellow prisoners, and all those determined never to allow such an atrocity to disgrace mankind again. Most of all, their names are forever fixed in the memory of Almighty God.
Yad Vashem is the Jewish people’s living memorial to the Holocaust. It was erected to safeguard the memory of the past and impart its meaning for future generations. Established in 1953, as the world center for documentation, research, education and commemoration of the Holocaust. Together with its partners, Yad Vashem has collected and recorded the names and biographical details of two thirds of the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis. Two million more still remain unidentified.

As the Pope quoted at the beginning of his visit to Yad Vashem, a passage from the Book of the prophet Isaiah furnishes two simple words which solemnly express the significance of the place itself: “vad” – which means memorial, and “shem” which means name…
“I will give in my house and within my walls a memorial and a name … I will give them an everlasting name which shall not be cut off” .
One can weave an insidious web of lies to convince others that certain groups are undeserving of respect – the Pope said - yet, try as one might, one can never take away the name of a fellow human being.
May the names of these victims never perish! May their suffering never be denied, belittled or forgotten! And may all people of goodwill remain vigilant in rooting out from the heart of man anything that could lead to tragedies such as this!
And Pope Benedict said that the Catholic Church feels deep compassion for the victims remembered here. Similarly, he continued - she draws close to all those who today are subjected to persecution on account of race, colour, condition of life or religion – their sufferings are hers, and hers is their hope for justice. And he reaffirmed that he is committed to pray and work tirelessly to ensure that hatred will never reign in the hearts of men again.
Gazing upon the faces reflected in the pool that lies in stillness within this memorial, one cannot help but recall how each of them bears a name. I can only imagine the joyful expectation of their parents as they anxiously awaited the birth of their children. What name shall we give this child? What is to become of him or her? Who could have imagined that they would be condemned to such a deplorable fate!
Their cry – the Pope said - still echoes in our hearts.

My dear friends, I am deeply grateful to God and to you for the opportunity to stand here in silence: a silence to remember, a silence to pray, a silence to hope.


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