.- In his fifth visit as Pope to a Roman parish community, the Holy Father visited âSanta Maria del Rosario ai Maritiri Portuensiâ to consecrate their new church. His message to the parishioners was that they should be ready to give a witness for their hope, taking inspiration from the martyrs who are buried nearby.
In his homily, Pope Benedict said, "The liturgy of Advent constantly repeats how we must awake from the slumber of habit and mediocrity, how we must abandon sadness and discouragement ... because the Lord is near." He recalled the fact that the new church is located very near the catacombs of Generosa where, according to tradition, three young Christian martyrs were buried: Simplicius, Faustinus and Beatrice.
"Are not the young martyrs who died to bear witness to Christ a powerful stimulus for you, the Christians of today, to continue to follow Jesus faithfully? And does not the protection of Our Lady of the Rosary call upon you to be men and women of profound faith, just as she was? Today too, though in different ways, Christ's salvific message is attacked and Christians, no less than yesterday, are called to give reasons for their hope, to offer the world the testimony of the Truth of the One Who saves and redeems."
"The living community is more sacred than the actual church we have consecrated," said the Holy Father after the rite of consecration. "May the concern we show for this temple ... be a stimulus to show more intense concern in defending and promoting the temple of the individual person."
"It is Jesus," said the Pope, "Who lives in the parish community. Everything then, in the church building and in the Church community, speaks of Jesus. ... The Lord gathers us into the great community of the Church of all times and places, bound in communion with Peter's Successor as a rock of unity."