.- Since his installation as Pope last spring, Benedict XVI has received thousands of visitors and pilgrims each week to hear his audiences and addresses. This morning, he took time to thank and encourage those who make these massive gatherings possible.
Officials who organize and provide service and assistance during pontifical audiences, ceremonies and official gatherings met with the Pope today, who encouraged them to welcome all believers into the Papal household--which he called a home to all believers.
The group is collectively known as "Addetti di Anticamera."
The Pope reminded them that they make up a centuries-old "Collegio" under the Prefecture of the Pontifical Household, and added that although "Times change,” and “usage and customs vary…what remains the same is the spirit with which each of you is called to work alongside the one called by Divine Providence to govern the Universal Church.”
He stressed that “since this household, the Pontifical Household, is home to all believers,” the group “must ensure that it is hospitable to all those who come to visit the Pope."
Pope Benedict challenged the “Addetti” to work with a "commitment to bear witness to Him who is the true Lord of the household: Jesus Christ.”
“This”, he said, “involves maintaining constant dialogue with Him in prayer, growing in friendship and intimacy with Him, and remaining prepared to bear witness to His welcoming love with all you meet.
He told them that “if this is the spirit with which you undertake your duties, ... then [those duties] can become a special apostolate, an opportunity to transmit courteously and cordially the joy of being Christ's disciples in all situations and all moments of our lives."
As the Church prepares to celebrate the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord tomorrow, the Pope spent part of his audience speaking about the person of Mary.
"Just as she presented Jesus to the Magi,” he said, “so the Virgin continues to offer Him to all humanity. Let us accept Him from her hands: Christ fulfils the most profound expectations of our hearts and gives meaning to all out plans and actions. May He be present in families and reign everywhere with the power of His love."