The Vatican Information Service is a news service, founded in the Holy See Press Office, that provides information about the Magisterium and the pastoral activities of the Holy Father and the Roman Curia...[+]
VATICAN CITY, DEC 30, 2005 (VIS) - Today in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received the participants of the XXXIII International Congress of the International Federation of "Pueri Cantores", gathered during these days in Rome. This association was created in 1965 by a decree of the Cardinal Vicar of Rome, as a moral institution, proposes the spreading of liturgical music interpreted by children in their scholastic years.
The Pope welcomed the President and manifested his appreciation for the "spirit in which your federation realizes and intends to pursue its mission in the Church, at the service of the liturgy, giving the entire world a message of peace and brotherhood".
The Holy Father continued: "It is particularly opportune during Christmas time to sing praises to the Lord and to express our joy to him, following the example of the Virgin Mary, who was the first person to give grace to the Lord for the Mystery of the Incarnation, with her 'Magnificat', which the Church repeats from generation to generation. (...) Vatican Council II recalled how greatly the Church appreciates the role of those who, with their singing, contribute to the beauty of the liturgy. Because Christ 'is present when the Church prays and sings' and we are united with the heavenly Church".
The Holy Father underlined the importance of the mission of the Pueri Cantores today in "helping the People of God to pray with dignity, because sacred music is a 'ministerial function' in the Divine service. (...) When the Church prays, sings or acts, the faith of the participants is nourished, the souls are raised towards God to give Him spiritual homage and to receive grace with greater abundance".
At the end of the speech, the Pope gave the Apostolic Blessing to all the members of the Federation of Pueri Cantores. AC/SACRED MUSIC:LITURGY/PUERI CANTORES VIS 20051230 (310)
VATICAN CITY, DEC 30, 2005 (VIS) - This morning, Benedict XVI visited the Santa Marta Dispensary, which is located in the Vatican. The dispensary assists and helps families from different countries, ethnic backgrounds or religions, focusing on the children. Ten doctors with different specializations collaborate with this center, as well as one psychologist and forty volunteers, coordinated by the Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paoli.
In his speech, the Holy Father pointed out that his visit took on "special significance, because it was during the Christmas period: during these days, our gaze is turned to the Child Jesus". As from the Grotto in Bethlehem, "Jesus knocks at the door of our heart, asking us to make a space for Him in our lives. God is like this: He does not impose Himself, He never enters forcefully, however, like a child, He asks to be listened to. In a certain sense, (...) He waits for us to open our hearts to Him and take care of Him".
After recalling that today was the celebration of the Holy Family of Nazareth, the Pope assured that in seeing the work achieved in the dispensary for all the children and their parents, he wished to underline "the fundamental vocation of the family in being the first and fundamental place for welcoming life. The modern concept of family, also due to a reaction to the past, places great relevance on marital love, underlining the subjective aspects of freedom of choice and sentiments. Whereas it is more difficult to perceive and understand the value of the calling to collaborate with God in the procreation of human life".
He added: "Also, contemporary societies, even with so many means, cannot always simplify the parents' task, on the spiritual and moral motivational level as well as on the level of the practical conditions of life. There is a great need, under the cultural profile as well as the political and legislative one, to sustain the family, and initiatives such as your dispensary are very useful for the above. These are small but important realities and, thanks to God, the Church is full of these and never ceases in making them available to all".
Before finishing, Benedict XVI invited those present "to pray for all the families in Rome and in the world, especially for those going through difficult times, especially those obliged to live far from their original land. We pray for those parents that cannot ensure their children the necessary things for health, instruction, or for a dignified and serene way of life". BXVI-VISIT/VATICAN DISPENSARY/... VIS 20051230 (430)