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A pilgrimage in the deserts of today’s world

· Benedict XVI opens the Year of Faith on the 50th anniversay of the beginning of Vatican II ·

The Pope insists on the need to “literally” return to the Council to find an authentic spirit and to rediscover the essential in order to live

“A pilgrimage in the deserts of today’s world”. This is the suggestive image chosen by Benedict XVI to represent the Year of Faith, inaugurated this morning Thursday, 11 October, with a mass in St Peter's Square – exactly 50 years after the opening of the Vatican Council and 20 years after the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church .

At the Homily that Pope underlined that the Year of Faith is “linked harmoniously with the Church’s whole path” over the last 50 years, “from the Council, through the Magisterium of the Servant of God Paul VI, who proclaimed a Year of Faith in 1967, up to the Great Jubilee of the year 2000, with which Blessed John Paul II re-proposed to all humanity Jesus Christ as the one Saviour, yesterday, today and forever”.

Benedict XVI also insisted various times on the need to “literally” return to the Council in order to find an authentic spirit and rediscovering the essential to live. And “if today the Church proposes a new Year of Faith and a new evangelization”, he explained, “it is not to honour an anniversary, but because there is more need of it, even more than there was fifty years ago”.

In fact, the Pope observed that “recent decades have seen the advance of a spiritual “desertification”. But it is “in starting from the experience of this desert” it is possible to discover again “the joy of believing, its vital importance for us, men and women”. “In the desert we rediscover the value of what is essential for living; thus in today’s world there are innumerable signs, often expressed implicitly or negatively, of the thirst for God, for the ultimate meaning of life”.

“In the desert”, he concluded, “people of faith are needed who, with their own lives, point out the way to the Promised Land and keep hope alive”. At the end of the celebration Patriarch Bartolomaios I spoke and highlighted the progress that has been made in ecumenism.

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St. Peter’s Square

Sept. 19, 2019

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