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A practical witness of holiness and charity

· Benedict XVI meets with members of The Papal Foundation ·

On Friday morning, 16 April, at an Audience in the Vatican's Clementine Hall, the Holy Father spoke to the members of The Papal Foundation who were making their annual pilgrimage to Rome and thanked them for the support they give to the Church's mission. On this day, the Pope's birthday, Bishop Michael J. Bransfield of Wheeling-Charleston, U.S.A., President of the Foundation's Administrative Board, made him the gift of more than $ 6,200,000 to support the Church's charities. At the end of the Audience The Papal Foundation also presented to the Holy Father a book on the history of the Foundation, “Peter's Partner”, by Eric Hansen who was also present, and gave him a birthday cake, singing “Happy Birthday” to him. The following is the text of the Pope's Discourse which was given in English.

Dear Friends,

I am pleased to greet the members of The Papal Foundation on the occasion of your annual pilgrimage to Rome. Our meeting is pervaded by the joy of this Easter season, as the Church celebrates the Lord's glorious victory over death and his gift of new life in the Holy Spirit.

A year ago I had the grace of visiting the Holy Land and praying before the Lord's empty tomb. There, echoing the witness of the Apostle Peter, I proclaimed that Christ, by rising to new life, has taught us “that evil never has the last word, that love is stronger than death, and that our future, and the future of all humanity, lies in the hands of a faithful and provident God” ( Address at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre , 15 May 2009). In every time and place, the Church is called to proclaim this message of hope and to confirm its truth by her practical witness of holiness and charity. The Papal Foundation has advanced this mission in a particular way by supporting a broad spectrum of charities close to the heart of the Successor of Peter. I thank you for your generous efforts to offer assistance to our brothers and sisters in developing countries, to provide for the education of the Church's future leaders, and to advance the missionary endeavors of so many dioceses and religious congregations throughout the world.

In these days I ask you to pray for the needs of the universal Church and to implore a renewed outpouring of the Spirit's gifts of holiness, unity and missionary zeal upon the whole People of God. With great affection I commend you and your families to the loving intercession of Mary, Mother of the Church, and cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of joy and peace in Jesus our Risen Lord.

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