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Sunday, January 1, 2017

Angelus celebrating the Mother of God

At the conclusion of the Mass celebrated in the Vatican Basilica for the Solemnity of Holy Mary, Mother of God and marking the 50th World Day of Peace, Pope Francis appeared at the window of his study in the Vatican Apostolic Palace to recite the Angelus with the faithful and with pilgrims gathered in Saint Peter's Square for the usual Sunday appointment.


Greetings of His Holiness, Pope Francis
prior to the recitation of the Angelus

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

In recent days, we have focused our gaze adoringly upon the Son of God, born in Bethlehem; today, on the Solemnity of Holy Mary, the Mother of God, we turn our eyes to the Mother, but understanding that both of these have a strong bond between them.  This bond does not end with the fact that one has generated and the other has been generated; Jesus was born of a woman (Gal 4:4) with the purpose of saving us and his mother was not excluded from that mission, indeed, she is intimately connected to it.  Mary was aware of this, and therefore she did not close herself off to considering only her maternal relationship to Jesus, but she remained open and concerned about all the events that were taking place around her; keeping them and meditating upon them, scrutinizing and deepening their significance, as today's gospel reminds us (cf Lk 2:19).  She had already spoken her yes and proclaimed her openness to being involved in bringing about the fullness of God's plan of salvation, which scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts, brought down the mighty from their thrones and lifted up the lowly, filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty (Lk 1:51-53).  Now, silently and attentively, she seeks to discern what God wants of her from one day to another.

The visit of the shepherds offered her an occasion to capture some elements of God's will as it was manifested in the presence of these humble and poor people.  The evangelist Luke tells us about the visit of the shepherds to the cave using a relentless succession of words that express movement.  He says: they went without delay, they found the child with Mary and Joseph, they saw him, they explained all that had been told to them, and finally they glorified God (cf Lk 2:16-20).  Mary paid attention to these movements: to what the shepherds said, to what happened to them, because in them she could already see the saving action that would come about through the work of Jesus, and she remained open, ready for any request that the Lord might make.  God asked Mary not only to be the mother of his only-begotten Son, but also to cooperate with his Son and for his Son in the realization of the plan of salvation, in order that she, humble servant that she was, might accomplish the great work of divine mercy.

Therefore, while, like the Shepherds, we contemplate the icon of the Child in the arms of his Mother, we are aware that within our hearts, there is growing within our hearts a sense of immense gratitude to the One who gave the world its Saviour.  For this reason, on the first day of this new year, we say to her:

Thank you, o Holy Mary for the Son of God, Jesus, Holy Mary of God!
Thank you for your humility which caught the eye of God;
thank you for the faith with which you welcomed his Word;
thank you for the courage with which you said Here I am,
forgetting about yourself, instead fascinated by Holy Love,
making yourself one with his hope.
Thank you, O Holy Mother of God!
Pray for us, pilgrims in time;
help us to journey on the path to peace.
Amen.



Following the recitation of the Angelus, the Holy Father continued:

Dear brothers and sisters, Happy New Year!

This year will be a good one, to the extent that each of us, with the help of God, seeks to do good one day at a time.  This is how we create peace, saying no - with concrete actions - to hatred and violence and yes to fraternity and reconciliation.  Fifty years ago, Blessed Pope Paul VI began to celebrate the World Day of Peace on this date, in order to strengthen the common commitment to building a world of peace and fraternity.  In the Message for this year, I suggested that we take nonviolence as a style of living in order to establish a policy of peace.

Unfortunately, violence has struck again, this past night that should be filled with wishes and hope.  Grieved as I am, I express my closeness to the Turkish people, praying for the many victims and for those who have been wounded as well as for that entire nation that is in mourning, and I ask the Lord to sustain all men of good will who are courageously rolling up their sleeves to tackle the scourge of terrorism and this bloody stain that envelops the world with a shadow of fear and bewilderment.

I want to thank the President of the Italian Republic for the cordial greetings he sent to me last night, during his Message to the Nation.  I in turn express my heartfelt greetings, invoking the blessing of the Lord upon the Italian people that, with the responsible and unified contribution of all, we may look to the future with trust and hope.

I greet all of you who are present, the associations, the youth groups, wishing you all a happy and a peaceful new year.  I express my thanks for many initiatives of prayer and commitment to peace that are taking place in every corner of the world.  I remember especially the national march that took place last night in Bologna, organized by the Italian Bishops, Caritas, Catholic Action and Pax Christi, with the support of the Dioceses and the Commune of Bologna.

I greet all those who are taking part in the Peace in all the world demonstration, organized by the Sant'Egidio community.  Thank you for your presence and for your witness!

And I wish you all a year of peace and grace in the Lord and with the maternal protection of Mary, the Mother of God.

Happy feast day, and please, don't forget to pray for me.  Enjoy your lunch and good bye!
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