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Pope's Dec. 10 Homily at a Roman Parish

12/26/2006 - 6:00 AM PST

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"The Word of God Rebuilds the City"

VATICAN CITY, DEC. 26, 2006 (Zenit) - Here is a Vatican translation of the homily Benedict XVI gave Dec. 10 when visiting Our Lady Star of Evangelization Parish, in Rome.

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PASTORAL VISIT TO OUR LADY
STAR OF EVANGELIZATION PARISH OF ROME

HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI

II Sunday of Advent, 10 December 2006

Dear Brothers and Sisters of the
Parish of Our Lady Star of Evangelization,

I am pleased to be with you for the dedication of this beautiful new parish church: the first that I have dedicated to the Lord since I took up office as Bishop of Rome. The solemn liturgy for the dedication of a church is a moment of intense and common spiritual joy for all God's people who live in the area: I wholeheartedly join in your joy today.

I greet with affection the Cardinal Vicar of Rome, Camillo Ruini, Bishop Paolino Schiavon, Auxiliary Bishop of the Southern Sector, and Auxiliary Bishop Ernesto Mandara, Secretary of the Roman Commission for the Preservation of Faith and for the Provision of New Churches in Rome. I extend my deep gratitude to them and to all who have contributed in various capacities to making this new parish centre a reality.

This church is being inaugurated during the Season of Advent, which the Diocese of Rome for the past 16 years has dedicated to increasing awareness and collecting funds in order to build new churches on the city's outskirts. It comes in addition to more than 50 parish complexes that have already been built in recent years, thanks to the financial efforts of the Vicariate, the contributions of numerous faithful and the attention of the civil Authorities.

I ask all the faithful and citizens of good will to persevere generously in this task so that neighbourhoods that are still without a church may have their parish centre as soon as possible.

Especially in our broadly secularized social context, the parish is a beacon that radiates the light of the faith and thus responds to the deepest and truest desires of the human heart, giving meaning and hope to the lives of individuals and families.

I greet your parish priest, the priests who work with him, the members of the Parish Pastoral Council and the other lay people involved in the various pastoral activities. I greet each one of you with affection. Your community is lively and young!

It is young because it was founded in 1989, and especially because of the effective beginning of its activities. It is young because in this North Torrino district the majority of families are young, so children and young people abound.

Thus, the laborious but fascinating task of educating children in the life and joy of faith is incumbent on your community. I am confident that together, in a spirit of sincere communion, you will be involved in preparation for the sacraments of Christian initiation and will help your children, who from now on will find here welcoming premises and adequate structures to grow in love and in fidelity to the Lord.

Dear brothers and sisters, we have dedicated a church -- a building in which God and man desire to meet: a house that unites us, in which we are attracted to God, and being with God unites us with one another.

The three Readings of this solemn liturgy are intended to show us under very different aspects the meaning of a sacred building as a house of God and a house of men and women.

We have before us, in these three Readings that we have heard, three important themes: the Word of God, which gathers people together, in the First Reading; the city of God, which in the Second Reading appears at the same time as a bride; and lastly, the profession of Jesus Christ as the Son of God Incarnate, expressed first of all by Peter, who thus founded the living Church which is manifest in the physical building of every church. Let us now listen more attentively to what the three Readings tell us.

First of all, there is the account of the rebuilding of the People of Israel, of the Holy City Jerusalem and of the temple subsequent to their return from the Exile. After the great optimism of the homecoming, the people -- on arrival -- found themselves facing a wasteland. How were they to rebuild it?

The external rebuilding, so necessary, could not proceed unless the people were first rebuilt as a people -- unless a common criterion of justice was developed that would unite them all and regulate the life and activity of each one.

The people who had returned needed, so to speak, a "constitution", a fundamental law for their life. And they knew that this constitution, if it was to be just and lasting, if it was to lead definitively to justice, could not be the result of their own autonomous intention.

True justice cannot be invented by man: ...

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