Yesterday, Pope Benedict XVI made his first public appearance at his study window for the weekly recitation of the Regina Coeli prayer, below which, tens of thousands of pilgrims gathered.
The new Pope, who had been living at the Vatican’s St. Martha residence since the papal conclave, finally settled into his apartment on Saturday.
He told the gathered faithful yesterday that: "I address you for the first time from this window that the beloved figure of my predecessor made familiar to countless people throughout the world.”
“From Sunday to Sunday,” the Holy Father said, “John Paul II, faithful to an appointment which had become a pleasant custom, accompanied for over a quarter of a century the history of the Church and the world and we continue to feel him more than ever close to us."
Pope Benedict greeted the Orthodox and Eastern Orthodox Churches, who celebrated Christ’s resurrection yesterday, "with special affection.”
“To these dear brothers and sisters of ours,” he said, “I address the traditional announcement of joy: 'Christos anesti!' Christ is Risen!"
He added his hopes that Easter, for these Churches, would be, " a choral prayer of faith and praise to the One Who is our common Lord, and Who calls us to walk decisively on the path towards full communion."
The Pope continued his address saying that, "Today we begin the month of May with a liturgical memory so dear to Christians, that of St. Joseph the Worker."
To much applause from the faithful gathered below, he added, "You know that my name is also Joseph!"
He said that the feast was instituted 50 years ago by Pius XII "to underline the importance of work and of the presence of Christ and the Church in the world of work."
In this vein, the Pope stressed the importance that everyone, especially young people, would have work "and that working conditions are ever more respectful of the dignity of the human person."
He also specially addressed the Christian Associations of Italian Workers, which this year celebrates the 60th anniversary of its founding.
Recognizing the special place of Mary, to whom the month of May is dedicated, Benedict XVI remarked that, "through words, and even more by example, John Paul II taught us to contemplate Christ with the eyes of Mary."
After the Marian prayer, he told the crowd that recently, his thoughts had been on "all people who suffer because of war, illness and poverty.” “In particular, today”, he added, “I am close to the people of Togo, upset by painful internal struggles. For all these nations I implore the gift of harmony and peace."