Pope Benedict XVI appealed for the victims of piracy today, saying he hopes all those taken on the high seas will receive humane and respectful treatment, and praying that the families of those being held remain strong in the faith, and not lose the hope that they will see their loved ones again soon. The Pope’s appeal was just one of the ways in which the Holy Father marked this Sunday’s World Maritime Day, organized by the Apostleship of the Sea each year to draw attention to the spiritual, moral and material challenges facing seafarers and their families.
Speaking at the end of the Sunday Angelus with the faithful gathered for the first time this Summer in the courtyard of the Apostolic Palace at Castel Gandolfo, Pope Benedict extended a special greeting to the chaplains and volunteers who devote themselves to the pastoral care of seafarers, fishermen and their families.
Ahead of the Angelus prayer, the Holy Father reflected on this Sunday’s Gospel, in which we hear the parable of the sower – a parable Pope Benedict described as, “autobiographical” – for, he said, “[it] reflects Jesus’ own experience and preaching.” The Pope went on to say, “[Jesus] identifies with the sower who spreads the good seed of the Word of God and sees the various effects it achieves, depending on how it is received. Some barely listen to the Word and do not receive it, whilst others receive it, but lack constancy and lose everything. Some more are overwhelmed by the concerns and seductions of the world, whilst others, like a good field, are receptive and listen; it is here,” he said, “that the Word bears fruit in abundance.”
The Pope also looked forward to Monday’s feast of St Benedict of Nursia, Patron of Europe, saying, “Let us look upon him, as a teacher of how we must listen to the Word of God, with depth and perseverance.”
Following the traditional prayer of Marian devotion, Pope Benedict greeted pilgrims in many languages, including English…
I offer a warm welcome to the English-speaking visitors gathered for this Angelus prayer. Today’s Gospel invites us to hear God’s word, to let it take deep root in our hearts, and to bring forth abundant fruits of holiness for the spread of his Kingdom. During these tranquil days of summer, let us resolve to draw closer to the Lord through regular prayer, participation in the Eucharist and generous acts of charity. Upon you and your families I invoke his gifts of joy and peace!
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