THE VICAR OF CHRIST SPEAKS INTRODUCTION|
Today we bring you the Holy Father's Angelus message from this past Sunday in which he gives thanks to God and to all the authorities in Egypt for his successful "Jubilee Journey" in completing the Pentateuch path of his pilgrimage through Salvation History. He reflects on specific moments of great spiritual wealth for all Catholics and Christians around the world, and looks forward to continuing the "Jubilee Journey" later this month to the Holy Land. The full English text was translated and provided by ZENIT news agency ZE00022720.
1. I thank the Lord who, after the special commemoration of Abraham held in the Paul VI Auditorium last Wednesday, enabled me to make these days of planned pilgrimage to Egypt, a hospitable land that gave refuge to the Holy Family fleeing from Herod, which received the Gospel in apostolic times and is heir of a very ancient civilization. The high point of this pilgrimage was the ascent to Mount Sinai.
I am grateful to President Mubarak and to the Egyptian authorities, to the organizers and to those who in different ways contributed to my making this visit in Moses' footsteps. I renew my thanks to the Coptic Orthodox Church, with whose Patriarch, His Holiness Shenouda III, I had a cordial discussion; as well as Egumeno Damianos and the Greek-Orthodox monks, for their hospitality near Mount Sinai.
2. I send cordial greetings and appreciation to the fervent Catholic community, with whom on Friday I was able to celebrate a solemn Holy Mass in the Cairo Sports Palace, in which all the Churches present in Egypt took part: the Coptic, Latin, Maronite, Greek, Armenian, Syrian and Chaldean.
A significant ecumenical meeting was later held in the new Cathedral, consecrated last Christmas, with representatives and faithful of the Churches and ecclesial community present in Egypt. I am pleased to emphasize how profitable the dialogue with the Coptic Orthodox Church was, and I pray the Lord that he will render it ever richer in fruits of mutual understanding and collaboration.
I also want to thank Grand Sheikh Sayed Tantawi of Al-Azhar, head of the Muslim community to which the greater part of the population belongs, for our courteous meeting.
Now my thoughts turn to the central part of my pilgrimage, the most ancient Monastery of St. Catherine on Mount Sinai. There, in a simple but touching ceremony, I was able to commemorate both the moment in which God, speaking from the burning bush, revealed his name "I am" to Moses, and where he stipulated the Covenant with the People, founded on the Decalogue. The fundamental precepts of the Natural Law are reflected in the Ten Commandments. The Decalogue points out the way for a fully human life. Outside of it there is no future of serenity and peace for persons, families, or nations.
3. My eyes now turn to the Holy Land, the land of Jesus Christ, where, God willing, I will go during the last week of the month of March. Thanking all who accompanied me with prayer and continue to be near me with their spiritual support, I invoke the Mother of the Redeemer so that my visit to places in which 2000 years ago the Word of God "pitched his tent" among men, may redound to the benefit of the whole Church and the entire world.
March 2, 2000 |
volume 10, no. 44
THE VICAR OF CHRIST SPEAKS
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