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2007-05-19

Instrumentum mensis Aprilis pro lectura Magisterii Summi Pontifici Benedicti XVI, pro evangelizatione in terris missionum

The month of April culminated with the Liturgies of Holy Week, beginning with Palm Sunday which was also a celebration of World Youth Day at the diocesan level. The next day April 2nd Monday of Holy Week was devoted to the commemoration of John Paul II, with the closing of the diocesan process of canonisation and in the early evening a special Mass presided by Pope Benedict XVI in St Peter's Square. In the morning of 5th April Holy Thursday the Pope presided the Chrism Mass in St Peter's. In the evening of the same day he started the celebrations of the Easter Triduum Holy Mass “of the Lord's Supper”; the adoration of the Holy Cross on Good Friday in St Peter's followed by the 9pm Stations of the Cross at the Colosseum and the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday. The next morning he presided Easter Day Mass in St Peter's Square and gave his Easter Message and Urbi et Orbi Blessing from the central balcony of St Peter's. In his Easter Message to the world the Pope recalled serious natural disasters in many parts of the world and the suffering afflicting countless people. The Pope said - “I am thinking of what happened recently in Madagascar, in Solomon Islands, in Latin America and other parts of the world”. And again: “I am thinking of the scourge of hunger, of incurable diseases, of terrorism and kidnapping of people, of the thousand faces of violence which some people attempt to justify in the name of religion, of contempt for life, of the violation of human rights and the exploitation of persons. I look with apprehension at the conditions prevailing in several regions of Africa...”. He then recalled the people of East Timor, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, the Middle East region, Iraq “torn apart by continual slaughter as the civil population flees”. “In Lebanon - the Pope said - the paralysis of the country’s political institutions threatens the role that the country is called to play in the Middle East and puts its future seriously in jeopardy”. On the second Sunday of Easter 15 April the Pope celebrated Mass in St Peter's Square on the occasion of his 80th birthday, which was the next day. In the second half of April the Pope made a Pastoral Visit to the northern Italian cities of Vigevano and Pavia, the only dioceses in Italy not visited by John Paul II. In Pavia at the Basilica of St Peter in Golden Heavens Pope Benedict XVI prayed at the tomb of Saint Augustine, 4th century Bishop of Hippo.

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