In his remarks to the staff of this pontifical institution he recalled how they undertake their duties "in a place, the venerable basilica of the Apostle, that is the heart of the Catholic Church. A beating heart, thanks to the Holy Spirit which keeps it alive, but also thanks to the activity of those who daily ensure its upkeep.”
"Slightly more than 500 years have passed," he added, "since the first stone of the second Vatican Basilica was laid. ... And yet it remains a living place, it is not a museum, it is a spiritual organism, and the stones also reflect this vitality."
Benedict XVI thanked the staff of the Fabric for the work they carry out "with commitment and competence, so that this 'heart' of the Church ... can continue to 'beat' with perennial vitality, drawing to herself men and women of the entire world and helping them to enjoy a spiritual experience that marks their lives."
Pope Benedict concluded: "Thanks to your efforts ... many people are able to draw fruit from their pilgrimage or visit to the Vatican Basilica, and take away in their hearts a message of faith and hope."
Among their other duties, the Basilica staff are responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the St. Peters.
The Pope also greeted Archbishop Angelo Comastri, archpriest of St. Peter's Basilica and Bishop Vittorio Lanzani, delegate of the Fabric.
.- Following today's general audience, Benedict XVI went to the headquarters of the Fabric of St. Peter's to greet the people who work there. The Holy Father told those who serve the Vatican’s Major Basilica that St. Peter’s is not a museum or work of architecture, but a “living place,” a “spiritual organism.”