.- Before leading the Angelus prayer from the Italian city of Sulmona he visited on Sunday, the Holy Father proposed Mary as "the perfect model of obedience to the divine will." He hoped also for increased appreciation of the simple life, as St. Celestine lived it, and the subsequent freedom of heart and mind that opens us up to sharing.
During the visit for the occasion of the 800th anniversary of the birth of St. Celestine, the Holy Father led thousands of faithful in the recitation of the Marian prayer after Mass in the town square.
He prayed that the people of God would be able to "walk joyously and united on the path of faith, hope and love" and that, "faithful to the inheritance of St. Celestine, we may always know how to put evangelical radicality and mercy together, so that all who seek God may find him."
St. Celestine was a13th century hermit that became Pope Celestine V. His remains are now housed in the crypt of Sulmona's Cathedral of San Panfilo, where Benedict XVI will pay a visit Sunday afternoon to host an encounter with area youth.
Turning to Mary, "Virgin of silence and of listening," Benedict XVI said that, in her, St. Celestine "found the perfect model of obedience to the divine will," as he lived a simple and humble life, seeking the "truly essential" and thanking the Lord always as he recognized "in everything the gift of His goodness."
Turning to the present, the Pope said "also we, who live in an age of greater comforts and possibilities, are called to appreciate a sober lifestyle, to keep our hearts and minds freer and to be able to share our possessions with our brothers."
He prayed that "Holy Mary, who encouraged the first community of disciples of Jesus with her maternal presence, help also the Church of today to give good witness to the Gospel."
Following the Angelus prayer the Pope met with the bishops of the local Abruzzo region for lunch at a newly restored house for elderly and sick priests inaugurated as the "Benedict XVI" house. After lunch he was scheduled to meet with a delegation from the local prison.