In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
of the Middle East." He expressed his hope that "all Lebanese, Christians and Muslims are awaiting his holiness's arrival on Friday and all trust that his visit will bring good and peace as well as a return to true partnership between the peoples of the East."
That session with government leaders will be followed by a meeting between the pope and Muslim Leaders. The Shiite cleric Sayyed Mohammad Hasan al-Amin, spoke to the Lebanese Daily Star and referred to the "blessed visit". He drew parallels with the visit of Blessed john Paul II in 1997. He said the visit was "a sign that Lebanon has a great place in the Vatican" and expressed hope that its impact would be felt not only by Christians but by all the Lebanese.
The Holy Father will then lunch with the Patriarchs and Bishops of Lebanon, members of the Special Council for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops and the papal entourage in the refectory of the Armenian Catholic Patriachate of Bzommar. Finally, in the evening, as is his custom, he will meet with the youth in an open air session on the square across from the Maronite Patriarchate of Bkerké.
On Sunday morning he will conclude the visit by offering an open air Mass at Beiruts waterfront where he will preach the homily and then make the formal presentation of the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation for the Middle East in the Beirut City Center Waterfront. Then, he will lead the Angelus and give an address. That will be followed by an ecumenical meeting in the Hall of Honor of the Syro-Catholic Patriarchate of Charfet and his departure for Rome.
The significance of this apostolic visit to Lebanon by the Vicar of Christ cannot be overstated. Its timing is prophetic and its message is urgent. The Christian faithful throughout the world need to pray for the Successor of Peter as he travels on this mission of peace. We also need to pray for the success of his efforts. Finally, we need to pray in solidarity with our Christian brethren in the Middle East in their time of travail.
At his Wednesday General audience, Pope Benedict XVI spoke these words to the faithful: "I exhort all Christians of the Middle East, both those born there and the newly arrived, to be builders of peace and architects of reconciliation. Let us pray to God that he may fortify the faith of Christians in Lebanon and the Middle East, and fill them with hope.
"The history of the Middle East teaches us the important and sometimes primordial role played by the various Christian communities in inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue. Let us ask God to give that region of the world its longed-for peace, and respect for legitimate differences."
The Vatican news Agency issued the following report on the visit.
"The Pope is going to Lebanon as a "messenger of peace" and the dramatically mounting tension that still today affects the entire region of the Middle East, "far from discouraging him have made his desire" to undertake this journey "even more pressing". On the eve of Benedict XVI's departure, offers a key to interpreting the papal visit, describing it as "an invitation to leaders in the Middle East and to the international community to work with determination to find fair and lasting solutions for the region".
In a September 13 interview with Le Figaro, a French daily, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vaticans Secretary of State, noted that "for the Pope the advancement of human rights - and first among them the right of religious freedom - is the most effective strategy for building the common good. " He also said that the Pope "intends to be a prophetic and a moral voice", asking "all men and women of good will to ensure that religion is never an incentive for war and division".
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Lebanon, Egypt, Yemen, Iraq, Iran, Jihadist, Islamist, Pope benedict XVI, Peace, Pope, Deacon Keith Fournier
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