Today the Pope welcomed 7,000 faithful from the archdiocese of Turin, Italy. After extolling their efforts to grow deeper in the faith, the Holy Father announced that in the spring of 2010, there will be an exposition of the Shroud of Turin.
Pope Benedict began his talk to the faithful by saying that he is aware of how over the past ten years, the archdiocesan community has undertaken "wide-ranging apostolic and missionary activities, based on intense spiritual movement which focuses above all on the Sunday Eucharist, on weekly Eucharistic adoration and on the rediscovery of the importance of the Sacrament of Penance."
The Holy Father noted how the next pastoral year will be dedicated to the Word of God, while the following one "will see you oriented towards a more attentive contemplation of the Passion of Christ."
The Pope also had a special gift that he gave the Catholics from Turin as the contemplate Jesus’ Passion. At the audience he announced that he had accepted the request of the archbishop of Turin to have another “Solemn Exposition of the Shroud” in the spring of 2010.
He spontaneously added that, "If the Lord gives me life and health, I too hope to come." The Exposition of the Shroud, he said, "will provide an appropriate moment to contemplate that mysterious Face which silently speaks to the hearts of men, inviting them to recognize therein the face of God."
"May no difficulty or obstacle hinder your love for the Gospel of Christ!" exclaimed the Pope. "If Jesus is the center of your families, of your parishes and of all communities, you will feel His living presence, and unity and communion will grow among the various elements of the diocese.”
He encouraged the faithful to nourish their relationship with Christ through “prayer and with the frequent practice of the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist and Confession.” Young people were also a concern for the Holy Father who said that their “continuous Christian formation” must be ensured by the community. The adults of the Christian community should strive to be marked by their “works of charity and for your joint efforts to face the great 'educational challenge' of the new generations."
Finally, Benedict XVI asked the Virgin Mary "to protect priests and pastoral care workers, to ensure your communities have numerous holy vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life, to arouse in young people the desire to follow the exalted ideal of sanctity, and to be a comfort and support especially for the elderly, the sick, the suffering and for people alone and abandoned.”