“What does Sunday, the day of the Lord, mean for us? It is a day for rest and for family, but first of all a day for Him”, tweeted Pope Benedict XVI this Sunday shortly after concluding the midday Angelus prayer with the thousands of pilgrims – mostly Romans – who had flocked to St Peter’s Square.
It was a day with many important anniversaries: International Holocaust Remembrance Day, World Day of Prayer for the Holy Land, and World Leprosy Day.
The Holy Father spoke of how Sunday is a propitious day for people to entrust themselves, their prayers and intentions to the Lord, because on Sunday, through the Eucharist and living to His life-giving Word, we have a direct channel of communication to the Lord.
Referring to the memory of the Holocaust, an immense tragedy, which above all struck so harshly the Jewish people, Pope Benedict said that this must represent for everyone a constant warning so that the horrors of the past are not repeated, all forms of hatred and racism overcome and respect and dignity of the human person promoted”
The International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust also commemorates when the Soviet troops liberated the Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland on January 27, 1945.
It is hoped that through remembering these events, people will remember the Holocaust and prevent genocide.
“We are also celebrating the 60th World Leprosy Day. I express my closeness to those who suffer from this disease and encourage researchers, health professionals and volunteers, particularly those who are part of Catholic organizations and the Association of Friends of Raoul Follereau. I invoke the spiritual support of St. Damien de Veuster and St. Marianna Cope, who gave their lives for those suffering from leprosy”.