VATICAN CITY, JAN 1, 2005 (VIS) - At 10 a.m. in the Vatican Basilica, the Holy Father presided at the celebration of Mass for the Solemnity of Mary Mother of God, on the occasion of the 38th World Day of Peace. The principal celebrant was Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano.
In his homily, the Pope said that the World Day of Peace "constitutes an invitation to Christians and to all people of good will to renew their decisive commitment to build peace. This means accepting a fundamental moral requirement, well expressed in the words of St Paul: 'Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good'," which is the theme of World Peace Day this year.
The Holy Father went on: "In the face of the multiple expressions of evil, which unfortunately afflict the human family, the main requirement is to promote peace, using consistent means, giving importance to dialogue and works of justice, and educating for forgiveness".
John Paul II highlighted the fact that "each individual can contribute to the peace of everyone. This is the path along which Christians and believers of other religions are called to walk, together with all those who recognize a universal moral law. Beloved brothers and sisters, promoting peace in the world is our shared mission! May the Virgin Mary help us to carry out the words of the Lord, 'blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God'."
At midday, the Pope appeared at the window of his private study in order to pray the angelus with thousands of people crowding St Peter's Square.
"The Most Holy Virgin offered the world the Messiah, who is God's blessing for each man and woman, and for the whole world", the Holy Father affirmed. "This blessing is the foundation for the greetings we exchange this year: greetings of goodness because in Christ, God has filled us with all goodness; greetings of peace, because 'He is our peace'."
After recalling the words from his message for the World Day of Peace that evil "is the result of human freedom", the Pope underlined the fact that evil "is defeated when freedom, under the influence of grace, is firmly oriented towards good, in other words definitively towards God".
"Mary, Queen of Peace, help us all to build together this fundamental good of human coexistence, Only in this way will the world be able to progress down the paths of justice and fraternal solidarity".
Following the angelus, and before wishing those present a Happy New Year in various languages, John Paul II reiterated his prayers "for the victims of the catastrophe (in Asia) and for their families. I note with favor the contest of solidarity growing throughout the world. Upon this sense of human solidarity, as well as upon God's help, is founded the hope for better times in the course of this year that begins today".
HML/WORLD PEACE DAY/... VIS 20050103 (500)