Celebrating the 80th anniversary of the foundation of the Vatican City State, Pope Benedict attended a concert featuring both a choral and orchestra from Dublin, Ireland. Afterwards, the Holy Father addressed the audience and prayed that God would continue to watch over the small state.
The concert took place last night at the Paul VI Hall, and featured a performance of Handel’s “Messiah” by Our Lady’s Chorale Society and the RTE Concert Orchestra, both from Dublin, Ireland. The concert was part of a series of events organized to commemorate the anniversary, with the theme: “A small territory for a great mission.”
After the concert concluded, the Holy Father expressed his gratitude for the celebration saying, “I would like to thank all the people who have contributed to solemnize such an important moment for the Catholic Church.” Reflecting on the past 80 years of the city-state’s existence, he added that it is also important to pay tribute to the chief “protagonists” throughout “these eight decades of history of this small parcel of land.”
The Pontiff then recalled “the most important of those protagonists,” the venerated Pius XI who, “in announcing the signing of the Lateran Pacts and, especially, the foundation of Vatican City State, chose to use an expression of St. Francis of Assisi. He said that the new sovereign status was for the Church, as it had been for St. Francis, 'just enough body to hold the soul together’.”
The Holy Father then asked the Lord, who “guides the fortunes of the 'Ship of Peter' among the not-always easy events of history, to continue to watch over this small State.”
“Above all,” he continued, “let us ask Him to help, with the power of His Spirit, Peter's Successor who stands at the helm of this ship, that he may faithfully and effectively undertake his ministry as the foundation of unity of the Catholic Church, which has its visible center in the Vatican whence it expands to all the corners of the earth."