Pope speaks to faithful at end of procession, prayer vigil

2012-10-12 Vatican Radio

A torchlight procession organized by the Catholic Action group with thousands of people participating from every continent and state of life in the Church took place here in Rome yesterday evening, to mark the 50th anniversary of the opening of the II Vatican Council and the beginning of the Year of Faith. The procession ended in St Peter’s Square, and, as had his predecessor, the Blessed John XXIII on the same night exactly a half-century earlier, Pope Benedict XVI appeared at his window in the Apostolic Palace to greet the faithful. “Today, as 50 years ago,” said Pope Benedict, “we can be happy, because we carry the joy of the gospel, with us.” Evoking the extraordinary and prophetic gentleness and familiarity of Blessed John XXIII, Pope Benedict said, “50 years ago, at this very window, the good Pope John appeared and spoke to us with unforgettable words, words full of poetry, goodness, the words of the heart.” Listen to our report:

“We were happy and full of enthusiasm then,” said Pope Benedict, “the great ecumenical council was underway and we were sure it had to be new springtime for the Church, a New Pentecost.” Even today, though the Church has been humbled by scandal and though her members – including her pastors – continue to suffer under the weight of their sinfulness – we can experience great joy. “We can experience the presence of the Lord in this day, experience the goodness of his presence.”

Pope Benedict concluded his remarks by making his own the request of ‘Good Pope John’: “Go home to your children, and hug them tenderly. Tell them, ‘this tenderness is from the Pope.’