RADIO VATICANA REPORT: Pope Benedict XVI prayed the Regina coeli with the faithful gathered in the courtyard of the Apostolic retreat in Castel Gandolfo on Easter Monday – a bright, crisp, clear day, with an April breeze stirring the air.
Easter Monday – a day of rest
and recreation in many countries, as the Holy Father noted at the beginning of
his remarks to the gathered faithful ahead of the traditional Eastertide prayer
of Marian devotion – a day in which people often take leisurely walks in the
city, or visit the country, spending precious hours with friends and
The real reason for this holiday, though, is the resurrection of
Our Lord – as Pope Benedict called it, “the decisive mystery of our
The Holy Father went on to note that the Gospel writers do not
describe the Resurrection, itself. “The event,” he said, “remains mysterious –
not as something unreal, but as something beyond the reach of our knowledge - as
a light so bright the eyes cannot bear it.” The narratives begin instead by
when, at dawn the day after the Sabbath, the women went to the tomb and found it
open and empty.
St. Matthew speaks of an earthquake and a bright angel
who rolled away the great tomb stone and sat on it (cf. Mt 28.2). The women,
when they had received from the angel the announcement of the resurrection, ran
full of fear and joy, to break the news to the disciples – and it was in just
that moment that they met Jesus, fell at his feet and worshiped him – and Jesus
said to them, “Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee:
there shall they see me (Matthew 28:10).”
The Pope went on to note
important role that women play in the Gospel accounts of the appearances of the
risen Jesus, as also in His passion and death.
“In those days, in
Israel,” said Pope Benedict, “women's testimony could have no official legal
value.” Nevertheless, the Pope continued, “women have experienced a special bond
with the Lord, which is crucial for the practical life of the Christian
community, and this always, in every age, not only at the beginning of the
Church’s pilgrim journey.”
The Holy Father then called the attention of
the faithful to Mary, Mother of the Lord: Sublime and exemplary model of this
relationship with Jesus, especially in His paschal mystery. Precisely through
the transformative experience of the Passover of her Son, the Virgin Mary
becomes Mother of the Church, that is, of all believers and of their
communities. “May Mary,” he concluded, “obtain for us that we too might
experience the living presence of the Risen Lord, source of hope and
After the Regina coeli, the Holy Father greeted pilgrims
in many languages, including English.
I am pleased to welcome all the
English-speaking pilgrims present today for this Regina coeli prayer.
Today we continue our solemn Easter celebration, recalling with greater joy than
ever our redemption from sin and death in Jesus Christ. May the Risen Lord pour
out his grace upon us, and give us the courage to bring the Good News to others.
I invoke Easter blessings upon all of you!
Thirty one people also sustained serious injuries just as the fate of the survivors is yet to be ascertained as at press time.
The incident was said to have happened at an outpost of the Christ the King Parish Church Adamgbe, Vandeikya Local Government Area of Benue.
Adamgbe is located on the high brow landscape of Vandeikya Local government, about 11 Kilometers away from the main Vandeikya town, few miles to the border between Benue and Cross River states.
It was gathered that the pillars of the church suddenly uprooted from the ground, leading to the collapse of the building on the multitude of worshippers. The development was said to have led to abrupt end of the E aster mass vigil.
When our correspondent visited the area yesterday, the priest in charge of the St. Robert's Catholic Mission, Rev. Fr. Cosmos Jooli, said the mass was arranged to be held under the mango trees (outside the church building).
The cleric further disclosed that the incident occurred between 8.30pm and 9pm when he had gone to his apartment to prepare for the mass, saying that heavy rainstorm forced the worshippers to rush to the church building to take refuge.
He also claimed that the cause of the collapse was as a result of the storm and not the dilapidated or old nature of the building as was being speculated, adding that the ugly situation led to the cancellation of the inauguration of a new Hilux pick up Van purchased by the church to ease the problem of transportation.
The Benue State Police Command was said to have had assisted in the evacuation of the dead bodies and rescue of those who were already trapped by the fallen roof and were seeking for help.
Two of the injured worshippers, Mrs. Grace Ube and Miss. Felicia Nyiyongo, spoke to our correspondent at the St. Elizabeth Health Care and Maternity Centre, Vandeikya, where they were receiving treatment and thanked God for sparing their lives.
The dead bodies have since been deposited at the mortuary of the General Hospital in Vandeikya, while the injured are now receiving treatment at various hospitals.
SOURCE: LEADERSHIP REPORT