Thousands of people prayed the Angelus at midday Sunday with Pope Benedict XVI in the Italian city of Brindisi. The Holy Father told the people that they are true signs of peace – a message which must be spread among nations.
After celebrating Mass at the shrine of Santa Maria de finibus Terrae, or St. Mary of the Ends of the Earth, the Holy Father called upon the faithful "to renew the Christian message of cooperation and peace among all peoples, especially among those in the…ancient cradle of civilization, and the Near and Middle East."
Pope Benedict's visit in Italy this weekend took him to the Italian towns of Santa Maria di Leuca and Brindisi, "the heel of the boot," in the extreme south-east of the Italian peninsula.
Brindisi is an ancient port city, where the epic poet Virgil died and where St. Peter is said to have disembarked on his way to Rome.
Before praying the Angelus, Pope Benedict explained the port is filled with symbolic significance.
"Every port speaks of hospitality, shelter, security, speaks of a longed-landing after a sea voyage, perhaps long and difficult. But a port also tells of departures, plans and aspirations of the future. In particular, the port of Brindisi plays a leading role in communication with the Mediterranean and towards the East, and for this reason also hosts a base of the United Nations, which plays an important role in terms humanitarian aid."
Recalling his April address to the House Assembly at the United Nations in New York, the Pope condemned the "indifference" that sometimes prevents states from stopping conflicts or to exploring diplomatic channels for reconciliation.
The action of the international community and its institutions, assuming compliance with the principles that are the basis of international order, should never be interpreted as an undesirable imposition and a limitation of sovereignty. On the contrary, is the indifference or lack of intervention that causes real harm.”
At the conclusion of the Angelus, the Pope invoked the Blessed Virgin Mary, "the port of salvation for every man and the whole humanity."
"May her maternal protection always defend your city and region, Italy, Europe and the world from the storms that threaten the faith and true values; allowing younger generations to take off without fear and carry on with Christian hope through the journey of life. Mary, Port of salvation, pray for us."