.- Pope Benedict visited the Maronite Catholic Cathedral of Our Lady of Graces in Nicosia before leaving the country on Sunday afternoon. He called Maronites to be proud of their traditions while remaining tied into the Universal Church.
At the cathedral, which has a capacity of around 300 people, Maronite Archbishop Youssef Soueif welcomed Pope Benedict and his entourage composed of members of the Roman Curia in addition to the Custos of the Holy Land, Fr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa.
Assuring the "ancient" community of his closeness, "moved by a father's care," the Holy Father urged the Maronite community to treasure the "great inheritance" of their Christian heritage.
Reminded of St. Peter's words that Christians are living stones used to build the spiritual house, the Pope said that "together with Christians throughout the world, we are part of that great temple which is the Mystical Body of Christ."
The communion we find in our spiritual worship, he added, "impels us to carry the Good News of our new life in Christ to all mankind."
In closing, the Pope prayed "that your Church, in union with all your pastors and with the Bishop of Rome, may grow in holiness, in fidelity to the Gospel and in love for the Lord and for one another."
For the full text of the Holy Father's address, visit: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/cyprus10/resource.php?res_id=1432