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5/31/2009 6:56 PM
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After the Mass at St. Peter's Basilica, the Holy Father led the customary Sunday noon Marian prayer from his study window overlooking St. Peter's Square.

Here is a translation of the words he spoke before and after the Regina caeli:

Dear brothers and sisters!

The Church spread throughout the whole world relives today, on the Solemnity of Pentecost, the mystery of its own birth, its own 'baptism' in the Holy Spirit (cfr Acts 1,5), which took place in Jerusalem 50 days after Easter, on the Jewish feast of Pentecost itself.

The resurrected Jesus had told his disciples: "Stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high" (Lk 24,49). This took place in sensible form in the Cenacle, while everyone was gathered in prayer with Mary, the Virgin Mother.

As we read in the Acts of the Apostles, suddenly the place was filled with an impetuous wind, and tongue-like flames settled on each one present.

The Apostles went forth thereafter and started to proclaim in various languages that Jesus is the Christ, Son of God, who died and was resurrected (cfr Acts 2,1-4).

The Holy Spirit, who with the Father and the Son, created the universe, who guided the history of the people of Israel and who spoke through the prophets, who in the fullness of time cooperated in our redemption, descended on Pentecost on the nascent Church and made her missionary, sending her forth to announce to all peoples the victory of divine love over sin and death.

The Holy Spirit is the soul of the Church. Without him, what would she be reduced to? It would certainly be a great historical movement, a complex and solid social institution, perhaps a kind of humanitarian agency.

In fact, that is how it is thought of by those who consider her without the eyes of faith. However, in reality, in her true nature and even in her most authentic historical presence, the Church is ceaselessly formed and led by the Spirit of its Lord. She is a living body, whose vitality is precisely the fruit of the invisible divine Spirit.

Dear friends, this year, the Solemnity of Pentecost falls on the last day of the month of May, on which we normally celebrate the beautiful Marian Feast of the Visitation.

This fact invites us to allow ourselves to be inspired and instructed by the Virgin Mary, who was a protagonist in both events. At Nazareth, she received the annunciation of her singular motherhood, and, shortly after, conceived Jesus by the action of the Holy Spirit. by the same Spirit of love that urged her to go assist her aged relative Elizabeth, who was in the sixth month of a pregnancy that was itself miraculous.

The young Mary, who carried Jesus in her womb, oblivious of herself, ran in aid to her neighbor, is the stupendous icon of the Church in the perennial youthfulness of the Spirit, of the missionary Church of the incarnate Word, called to bring it to the world and to bear witness to it, especially in the service of charity.

Let us invoke therefore the intercession of the Most Blessed Mary, so that she may obtain for the Church of our time that it may be powerfully reinforced by the Holy Spirit.

In a particular way, may the ecclesial communities who suffer persecution in the name of Christ feel the comforting presence of the Paraclete participating in their sufferings, so that they may receive the Spirit of glory in abundance (cfr 1 Pt4,13-14).

After the prayers, he said the following:

These days, the young people of Abruzzo are gathering in great numbers around the Cross of World Youth Day, brought in pilgrimage to their region by a group of volunteers sent from the International Youth Center of San Lorenzo here in Rome.

In communion with the youth of that land so severely struck by earthquake, let us ask Christ who died and was resurrected to pour on them his Spirit of comfort and hope.

I extend my greeting to all Italian youth who today, in their respective dioceses, are gathering to conclude with their bishop the triennium of the Agora.

I remember with joy the unforgettable events which marked this triennium: the meeting in Loreto in September 2007 and World Youth Day in Sydney last July. Dear young people of Italy, with the power of the Holy Spirit, be witnesses of the risen Lord!

In English, he said:

I am pleased to welcome all the English-speaking pilgrims to today’s Regina Caeli.

On this Pentecost Sunday, we rejoice in the Lord’s gift of the Holy Spirit. Saint Paul reminds us that if we live in the Spirit, we must also follow the Spirit by putting aside all conceit, anger, envy and everything that divides us (cfr Gal 5,26).

My dear friends, having received God’s precious gift, may you abound in his fruits of love, peace, patience, kindness and all that bears witness to the Kingdom of God in our midst! Praised be Jesus Christ!

He had special words for the Polish pilgrims:

I cordially greet all the compatriots of the Servant of God John Paul II. Thirty years ago, he invoked in Warsaw: "Let your Spirit descend on us and renew the face of the earth. This earth!"

We are witnesses to the changes that have taken place in the world. But renewing the face of the earth is not possible without a renewal of men's hearts. For this, we ask: "Let your Spirit come down and renew our hearts in Christ." I wish this renewal for all of you.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 5/31/2009 6:57 PM]
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