Hallelujah echoes from the Church’s heart at Easter, Benedict XVI teaches

.- On Easter Monday, the Pope simultaneously addressed pilgrims at Castelgandolfo and in St. Peter’s Square on the subject of the Easter exclamation “Hallelujah”.

After the grueling schedule of Easter celebrations, Pope Benedict traveled to the Apostolic Palace at Castelgandolfo to rest. The synchronized prayer and reflection with the faithful gathered at St. Peter’s was made possible by a television linkup.

Before praying the Regina Coeli, the Pope remarked upon the singing of Hallelujah, the word that in the wake of Lent and the Passion passes "from mouth to mouth, from heart to heart". It "echoes forth", he said, "from an absolutely new event: the death and resurrection of Christ."

"This experience", said the Holy Father, "has forever inscribed the word 'Hallelujah' in the heart of the Church."  From her heart "derives also the prayer we recite today and on every day of the Easter period ... the Regina Coeli. Its text is brief and has the direct form of an announcement. It is like a new 'annunciation' to Mary, this time not by an angel but by Christians who invite the mother to joy because her Son ... rose again as He promised."

"Let us allow this Easter Hallelujah to impress itself deeply within us", said the Pope, "so that it becomes not just a word but the expression of our very lives: the lives of people who invite everyone to praise the Lord, and who do so through their own behavior as 'people who have risen'".

After the Marian prayer, the Holy Father recalled that today marks the Day of Prayer and Fasting for Missionary Martyrs. "Remembering and praying for these our brothers and sisters (bishops, priests, religious and lay people), who fell during the year 2007 while undertaking their missionary service, is a duty of gratitude for the whole Church and a stimulus for each of us to bear witness ever more courageously to our own faith and hope in Him Who on the cross overcame, once and for all, the power of hatred and violence with the omnipotence of His love".

The Pope concluded by remarking that today also marks World Tuberculosis Day. He expressed his own "special closeness" to the sick and to their families, and the hope for "an increase in international efforts to combat this sickness."

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