.- Tens of thousands of faithful attended the Angelus with Pope Benedict XVI in St. Peter’s Square on World Mission Sunday. Pope Benedict’s words to them recalled missionaries who suffer persecution, including Father Ruggero Ruvoletto, killed in Brazil, and Father Michael Sinnot, kidnapped in the Philippines.
His message, Benedict XVI explained, was inspired by an expression from the Books of Revelation: “The nations will walk by its light.” The light is that of God, revealed by the Messiah and reflected in the Church, the Holy Father added.
“It is 'the light of the Gospel,’ that guides people towards the realization of one great family, in justice and peace, under the fatherhood of one good and merciful God,” Pope Benedict explained. “The Church exists to proclaim this message of hope to all humanity, which in our time ‘has experienced marvelous achievements but which seems to have lost its sense of ultimate realities and of existence itself.’"
The Church, he continued, feels the urgency of working to ensure that the sovereignty of Christ is fully realized. The Pontiff expounded, “All of its members and articulations cooperate in this project, according to the different states of life and charisms.”
“On this World Mission Sunday I remember the missionaries, priests, religious and laity, who devote their lives to bringing the Gospel into the world, also facing hardships and difficulties and sometimes even real persecution. I think, among others, of Father Roger Ruvoletto, a Fidei Donum priest, recently killed in Brazil, and Father Michael Sinnot, a religious, kidnapped a few days ago in the Philippines.”
Pope Benedict publicly thanked the Pontifical Missions for their valuable service rendered in animation and education to the missions and urged all Christians to a gesture of sharing, in material and spiritual help of the young, poorer local Churches.
Benedict XVI concluded by speaking about Sunday’s feast of St. Luke the Evangelist, whose Acts of the Apostles narrates “the spread of the Christian message to the ends of the known world.”
“Let us invoke his intercession, together with that of St. Francis Xavier and Saint Theresa of the Child Jesus, patroness of missions, and the Virgin Mary, so that the Church may continue to spread the light of Christ among all peoples,” the Holy Father said. “I ask you also to pray for the Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops, which in recent weeks is taking place here in the Vatican.”