70,000 Romans met with the Pope in
St. Peter's Square in the Vatican today to celebrate the Jubilee of the
diocese of the Eternal City.
Cardinal Camillo Ruini, the Pope's Vicar for the diocese, was present
for the Mass, as were Cardinals from the Roman Curia and a large
contingent of diocesan clergy. But it was the faithful of the diocese
who filled the Square and who today gave their Bishop a very special
gift: a new parish dedicated to St. Charles Borromeo, the Holy Father's
patron saint. This brings the number of parises in the diocese to 329.
It was a significant gesture, and the Romans way of congratulating their
bishop on his 80th birthday.
The unique character of this city, which heard Ss. Peter and Paul
preach, was highlighted by the Holy Father during the homily. Rome has
the responsibility of leading the entire Christian community in charity,
a responsibility that is being confirmed every day during this Jubilee
by the millions of pilgrims coming to honor St. Peter's tomb, the first
pastor of the diocese.
Thus, the "particular vocation that Divine Providence reserved to Rome,"
is manifested once again, a "reference point for the communion and unity
of the whole Church and for the spiritual regeneration of all humanity,"
the Pontiff said.
According to estimates, this year Rome will welcome some 30 million
pilgrims, an "invasion" that is testing the generosity and friendliness
of Romans. The Holy Father encouraged them to continue in their efforts
to measure up to the moment, especially during the major events of the
Jubilee, such as the International Eucharistic Congress, which he
described as the "heart of the Jubilee" (June 18-25); World Youth Day
(August 15-20), which will gather one million youths who "hope to be
welcomed with joy and kindness by their Roman contemporaries and be
guests of their families, and the whole Christian community and
citizenry"; and, finally, the Families' Jubilee (October 14-15).
"Church of Rome, be aware of your special mission also during this
Jubilee! Do not be discouraged in face of the difficulties on your daily
path!" the Pontiff exclaimed.
Towards the end of the liturgy, dozens of children added joyful color to
the celebration with a dance in which they composed the Jubilee's logo.
At its conclusion, they lined up with a touch of formality to be blessed
by the Pope as their "payment."
During the celebration, Caritas' volunteers collected the pilgrims'
offerings, which will be used to restructure and enlarge a health center
established in Rome's central train station. It will be inaugurated
during the International Eucharistic Congress.
We encourage you to check the Catholic World News site at the
CWN home page and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales and the Dossiers, features and Daily Dispatches from ZENIT International News Agency CWN, NE and ZENIT are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC, but provide this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday. Because we can offer the news now in seven languages for the world, we are reprinting the news stories as they come in.