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Children of a God who is close

· Benedict XVI's Homily during his Visit to the Roman Parish of San Patrizio a Colle Prenestino ·

Advent is a time of joy because in this season expectation of the Lord's coming  is wakened in the hearts of believers. His presence among men and women shows a close God “who is with us in the Church”. Benedict XVI explained this to the faithful of the Roman Parish of San Patrizio a Colle Prenestino, to which he made a Pastoral Visit on Sunday morning 16 December. The Holy Father celebrated the Mass of the Third Sunday of

Advent and afterwards returned to the Vatican for the recitation of the Angelus.

The Marian prayer was also marked by the festive Christmas atmosphere of “Gaudete” Sunday, but the Holy Father did not omit to express his “closeness in prayer” to the families of the victims of the violence perpetrated in the elementary school in the United States of America. “I was deeply saddened”, he said, “by Friday’s senseless violence in Newtown, Connecticut”, and he expressed this hope: “let us dedicate ourselves more fervently to prayer and to acts of peace”, to combat the spread of  tragedies like this one.

Among those who listened to his moved words, were also 5,000 children from the Centro Oratori Romani [Roman centre of after school recreation and prayer centres] who had come to St Peter's Square for the traditional blessing of their Baby Jesus figurines to put in their cribs at home. The Pope encouraged them as he did with the Polish faithful of the “Christmas Charity for Children”, expressing the hope that their charitable and ecumenical project would bring joy to the hearts of many little ones.

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St. Peter’s Square

Nov. 14, 2018

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