.- At the conclusion of the Angelus yesterday, Pope Benedict XVI delivered a letter addressed to children, which reads as follows:
On the occasion of my apostolic visit to Austria, I am happy to particularly address you who actively participate in the initiatives of the Pontifical Children’s Missionary Works. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your letters and drawings which you gave me as a sign of your affection and closeness to my mission. In them you express those sentiments of faith and love for which Jesus loved the little ones so much and received them with open arms, placing them as an example for his disciples: ‘The Kingdom of God,’ he said, ‘belongs to such as these.’
I wish to tell you that I appreciate your commitment to the Children’s Missions. "I see you little co-workers in the service that the Pope gives to the Church and the world: You support me with your prayer and with your commitment to spread the Gospel. There are so many children in fact who still do not know Jesus. And unfortunately there are many others deprived of what they need to live: food, health care, education; many live without peace and tranquility. The Church gives them particular attention, especially through missionaries; and you too feel called to offer your contribution, whether personally or as a group.
Friendship with Jesus is such a beautiful gift that you cannot keep it to yourselves! Those who receive this gift feel the need to give it to others; and in this way the shared gift does not diminish but multiplies! Keep to this path! You are growing up and soon you will become adolescents and young people. Do not lose your missionary spirit. Always keep your faith pure and genuine, like that of St. Peter.
Beloved little friends, I entrust you to the protection of the Virgin Mary. I pray for you, for your parents and siblings. I pray for your missionary groups and your teachers, and to all I impart my heartfelt Apostolic Blessing.”