At the General Weekly Audiences during the month of January, Benedict XVI continued his cycle of catechesis on St Paul, in this Year of St Paul, except for the Audience on 21 January, when he dwelt on the theme of the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. On the first day of the Year in St Peter's Basilica the Holy Father presided a Eucharistic Celebration on the solemnity of Mary Mother of God and also to mark the 42nd World Day for Peace on the theme this year: "Fighting poverty, to build peace". Again in St Peter's, he celebrated Mass on January 6, the solemnity of the Epiphany. To mark the end of the week of Prayer for Christian Unity, on Sunday January 25, at St Paul's Basilica, the Pope presided Second Vespers of the Feast of the Conversion of St Paul in the presence of members of other Christian churches and communities present in Rome, and he preached on the theme of the week: That they may be one in your hand (Ez 37,17).
Among the private audiences granted by the Holy Father, we mention: 8 January, Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See for the exchange of New Year wishes; 12 January, Administrators of Lazio Region and Rome City and Province; 19 January, an Ecumenical Delegation from Finland on the occasion of the feast day of Saint Henry; 29 January, the Tribunal of the Roman Rota on the occasion of the inauguration of the new Judiciary Year; 30 January, participants at a meeting of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches; January 31, Directors of the Italian Confederation of Workers Unions, Confederazione Italiana Sindacati Lavoratori (CISL).
The Holy Father received on occasion of their respective ad limina visits the following Bishops: the Chaldean Bishops, the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Iran and the Catholic Bishops of Russia. On the occasion of the 6th World Meeting of Families held in Mexico City from 14- 18 January, Benedict XVI sent as his Representative, Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone; on 17 January, he sent a Message to participants in the recitation of the Rosary as part of the event, and, the following day, delivered a Video Conference at the end of the World Meeting of Families Mass.
Other messages this month included: 23 January to mark the 43rd World Communications Day; 24 January Message to the president of the Union of Catholic Press in Italy celebrating its 50th anniversary. The Holy Father granted a request from the Superior General of the Priestly Society of Saint Pio X, on behalf of three other Bishops of the Society, for the revocation of the excommunication on the four bishops ordained without pontifical mandate.
After the Angelus prayer on Sunday 25 January, the Holy Father sent greetings to various Asian countries preparing to celebrate Lunar New Year. Lastly we recall that after the Angelus prayer on Sunday 18 January the Holy Father appealed for the conflict in the Gaza Strip to cease and for peace to return to the Holy Land.