At midday today, Benedict XVI appeared at the window of his private study in order to pray the "Regina Coeli" with thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square below.
The Pope first dedicated some remarks to the Ascension of the Lord, which falls on Thursday May 25, though in some countries it will be celebrated on Sunday May 28.
"Jesus' final gesture, has a dual significance," he said. "In the first place, by rising 'up' He unequivocally revealed His divinity. He returned from whence He came, in God, after having completed His mission on earth. Moreover, Christ ascended to heaven with the humanity He had assumed and caused to arise from the dead: that humanity is ours, transfigured, made divine, rendered eternal. Thus the Ascension reveals the 'ultimate vocation' of all human beings, each called to the eternal life of the Kingdom of God."
This year, the day of the Ascension of the Lord coincides with the World Day of Social Communications, dedicated to the theme: "The media: network of communication, communion and cooperation":
Benedict XVI recalled how "the Church looks attentively to the media as representing an important vehicle for spreading the Gospel, and for favoring solidarity among peoples by drawing their attention to the great issues."
On this subject, the Pope mentioned the "Walk the World" event, an initiative promoted by the United Nations World Food Program to combat hunger in the world."
"I remain close to this initiative in prayer," the Holy Father added. "And it is my heartfelt hope that, with a contribution from everyone, we may overcome the blight of hunger that still afflicts humanity.”
He concluded his address turning to the Virgin Mary to which “we particularly entrust our brethren oppressed by the scourge of hunger, those who go out to help them and those who, through the social communications media, contribute to strengthening links of solidarity and peace between peoples.”