Instrumentum mensis Januarii pro lectura Magisterii Summi Pontificis Benedicti XVI pro evangelizatione in terris missionum

Saturday, 16 February 2008

With the celebration of Mass in St Peters' Basilica on the solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, on the occasion of the 41st World Peace Day, the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI sanctified the first day of the new year. In his homily he reminded the faithful of the true nature of peace, neither a conquest of man, nor the fruit of political agreements, but instead a “a divine gift to implore continually”. The traditional audience to members of the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See, for an exchange of new year wishes, on 7 January in the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican, was an opportunity for the Holy Father to dwell on the lights and shadows of the situation in the world today: “God can never be excluded from the horizon of man or of history. God’s name is a name of justice, it represents an urgent appeal for peace”. On 10 January Benedict XVI received in audience the administrators of the Lazio Region and Rome municipality and province, to whom he indicated certain priorities: the education emergency, support for the family founded on marriage, spreading poverty, penalisation of Catholic healthcare structures. The education emergency was mentioned by the Pope again on the 21 January in a Letter to the diocese and city of Rome and on the 24, on the occasion of the publication of the Papal Message for the 42nd World Communications Day. On 17 January the Holy Father was to attend the inauguration of the new academic year at La Sapienza in Rome, but the Pope had reluctantly to cancel his visit and instead sent his discourse which was read in his absence. On 19 January the Holy Father's Message for the 16th World Day of the Sick was made public. On the 25, the feast of the Conversion of St Paul, the Pope presided a celebration of Vespers in the Papal Basilica of St Paul's outside the Walls, on the occasion of the closing of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. The next day he received in audience the Prelate Auditors, Officers and Lawyers of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota on the occasion of the solemn inauguration of Judiciary Year. Lastly, on 30 January, Pope Benedict XVI addressed to the Church his Message for Lent 2008, in which he focussed especially on the practice of almsgiving, which, with fasting and prayer, marks this season of sanctification in preparation for Easter.