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The Psalter

From March 2001 until his death four years later, Pope St John Paul II gave catechesis on the psalms and canticles prayed at Lauds and Vespers each day by the Church. Benedict XVI in his first catecheses finished the series on Vespers.

Here on Totus2us, the psalms and canticles are in two sections. Here below they are listed as they are prayed in the Divine Office, at Morning and Evening Prayer every day.

Week 1

Sunday Vespers I
          Psalm 140 (141); Psalm 141 (142); Philippians 2
Sunday Lauds
          Psalm 62 (63); Daniel 3, 57-88,56; Psalm 149
Sunday Vespers II
          Psalm 109 (110); Psalm 113A (114); Apocalypse 19
Monday Lauds
          Psalm 5 ; 1 Chronicles 29, 10-13; Psalm 28 (29)
Monday Vespers
          Psalm 10 (11); Psalm 14 (15); Ephesians 1
Tuesday Lauds
          Psalm 23 (24); Tobit 13, 1-5b,7-8; Psalm 32 (33)
Tuesday Vespers
          Psalm 19 (20); Psalm 20 (21); Apocalypse 4-5
Wednesday Lauds
          Psalm 35 (36); Judith 16, 2-3a,13-15; Psalm 46 (47)
Wednesday Vespers
          Psalm 26 (27); Colossians 1
Thursday Lauds
          Psalm 56 (57); Jeremiah 31, 10-14; Psalm 47 (48)
Thursday Vespers
          Psalm 29 (30); Psalm 31 (32); Apocalypse 11
Friday Lauds
          Psalm 50 (51); Isaiah 45, 15-26; Psalm 99 (100)
Friday Vespers
          Psalm 40 (41); Psalm 45 (46); Apocalypse 15
Saturday Lauds
          Psalm 118 (119) ; Exodus 15, 1-4a,8-13,17-18; Psalm 116 (117)

Week 2

Sunday Vespers I
          Psalm 118 (119) 105-112; Psalm 15 (16); Philippians 2, 6-11
Sunday Lauds
          Psalm 117 (118); Daniel 3, 52-57; Psalm 150
Sunday Vespers II
          Psalm 109 (110), 1-5,7; Psalm 113B (115); Revelation 19, 1-7; 1 Peter 2, 21b-24
Monday Lauds
          Psalm 41 (42); Ecclesiasticus 36, 1-5, 10-13; Psalm 18 (19)
Monday Vespers
          Psalm 44 (45), 2-10; Psalm 44 (45) 11-18; Ephesians 1, 3-10
Tuesday Lauds
          Psalm 42 (43); Isaiah 38, 10-14,17-20; Psalm 64 (65)
Tuesday Vespers
          Psalm 48 (49), 1-13; Psalm 48 (49) 14-21; Revelation 4, 5
Wednesday Lauds
          Psalm 76 (77); 1 Samuel 2, 1-10; Psalm 96 (97)
Wednesday Vespers
          Psalm 61 (62); Psalm 66 (67); Colossians 1, 12-20
Thursday Lauds
          Psalm 79 (80); Isaiah 12, 1-6; Psalm 80 (81)
Thursday Vespers
          Psalm 71 (72) I (1-11) & II (12-19); Revelation 11, 17-18; 12, 10b-12a
Friday Lauds
          Psalm 50 (51); Habakkuk 3, 2-4,13a,15-19; Psalm 147, 12-20
Friday Vespers
          Psalm 114 (116), 1-9; Psalm 120 (121); Revelation 15, 3-4
Saturday Lauds
          Psalm 91 (92); Deuteronomy 32, 1-12; Psalm 8

Week 3

Sunday Vespers I
          Psalm 112 (113), Psalm 115 (116), Philippians 2, 6-11
Sunday Lauds
          Psalm 92 (93), Daniel 3, 57-88,56, Psalm 147 (148)
Sunday Vespers II
          Psalm 110 (111)
Monday Lauds
          Psalm 83 (84), Isaiah 2, 2-5, Psalm 95 (96)
Monday Vespers I
          Psalm 122 (123), Psalm 123 (124), Ephesians 1, 3-10
Tuesday Lauds
          Psalm 84 (85), Isaiah 26, 1b-4,7-9,12, Psalm 66 (67)
Tuesday Vespers
          Psalm 124 (125), Psalm 130 (131)
Wednesday Lauds
          Psalm 85 (86), Isaiah 33, 13-16, Psalm 97 (98)
Wednesday Vespers
          Psalm 125 (126), Psalm 126 (127), Colossians 1, 12-20
Thursday Lauds
          Psalm 86 (87), Isaiah 40, 10-17, Psalm 98 (99)
Thursday Vespers
          Psalm 131
Friday Lauds
          Psalm 50 (51), Jeremiah 14, 17-21, Psalm 99 (100)
Friday Vespers
          Psalm 134 (135)
Saturday Lauds
          Psalm 118 (119) 145-152, Wisdom 9, 1-6,9-11, Psalm 116 (117)

Week 4

Sunday Vespers I
          Psalm 121 (122), Psalm 129 (130), Philippians 2, 6-11
Sunday Lauds
          Psalm 117 (118), Daniel 3, 52-57, Psalm 149 (150)
Sunday Vespers II
          Psalm 109 (110), Psalm 111 (112), Apoc 19
Monday Lauds
          Psalm 89 (90), Isaiah 42, 10-16, Psalm 134 (135), 1-12
Monday Vespers I
          Psalm 135 (136), Ephesians 1, 3-10
Tuesday Lauds
          Psalm 100 (101), Daniel 3, 26-41, Psalm 143 (144), 1-10
Tuesday Vespers
          Psalm 136 (137), 1-6, Psalm 137 (138)
Wednesday Lauds
          Psalm 107 (108), Isaiah 61, 10-62, Psalm 145 (146)
Wednesday Vespers
          Psalm 138 (139), Colossians 1, 12-20
Thursday Lauds
          Psalm 142 (143), 1-11, Isaiah 66, 10-14a, Psalm 146 (147), 1-11
Thursday Vespers
          Psalm 143 (144)
Friday Lauds
          Psalm 50 (51), Tobit 13, 8-11,13-15, Psalm 146 (147), 12-20
Friday Vespers
          Psalm 144 (145), Apoc 15
Saturday Lauds
          Psalm 91 (92), Ezekiel 36, 24-28, Psalm 8

Benedictus

Magnificat

The Psalms in the Tradition of the Church
Catechesis by Pope St John Paul II
General Audience, Wednesday 28 March 2001 - also in French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

1. In the Apostolic Letter Novo millennio ineunte I expressed the hope that the Church would become more and more distinguished in the "art of prayer", learning it ever anew from the lips of the Divine Master. This effort must be expressed above all in the liturgy, the source and summit of ecclesial life. Consequently, it is important to devote greater pastoral care to promoting the Liturgy of the Hours as a prayer of the whole People of God. If, in fact, priests and religious have a precise mandate to celebrate it, it is also warmly recommended to lay people. This was the aim of my venerable Predecessor Paul VI, a little over 30 years ago, with the Constitution Laudis canticum in which he determined the current form of this prayer, hoping that the Psalms and Canticles, the essential structure of the Liturgy of the Hours, would be understood "with new appreciation by the People of God".

It is an encouraging fact that many lay people in parishes and ecclesial associations have learned to appreciate it. Nevertheless, it remains a prayer that presupposes an appropriate catechetical and biblical formation, if it is to be fully savoured.

To this end, we begin today a series of catecheses on the Psalms and Canticles found in the morning prayer of Lauds. In this way I would like to encourage and help everyone to pray with the same words that Jesus used, words that for thousands of years have been part of the prayer of Israel and the Church.

2. We could use various approaches to understanding the Psalms. The first would consist in presenting their literary structure, their authors, their formation, the contexts in which they were composed. It would also be fruitful to read them in a way that emphasizes their poetic character, which sometimes reaches the highest levels of lyrical insight and symbolic expression. It would be no less interesting to go over the Psalms and consider the various sentiments of the human heart expressed in them: joy, gratitude, thanksgiving, love, tenderness, enthusiasm, but also intense suffering, complaint, pleas for help and for justice, which sometimes lead to anger and imprecation. In the Psalms, the human being fully discovers himself.

Our reading will aim above all at bringing out the religious meaning of the Psalms, showing how they can be used in the prayer of Christ's disciples, although they were written many centuries ago for Hebrew believers. In this task we will turn for help to the results of exegesis, but together we will learn from Tradition and will listen above all to the Fathers of the Church.

3. The latter, in fact, were able with deep spiritual penetration to discern and identify the great "key" to understanding the Psalms as Christ himself, in the fullness of his mystery. The Fathers were firmly convinced that the Psalms speak of Christ. The risen Jesus, in fact, applied the Psalms to himself when he said to the disciples: "Everything written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and the psalms must be fulfilled" (Lk 24, 44). The Fathers add that in the Psalms Christ is spoken to or it is even Christ who speaks. In saying this, they were thinking not only of the individual person of Christ, but of the Christus totus, the total Christ, composed of Christ the Head and his members.

Christians were thus able to read the Book of Psalms in the light of the whole mystery of Christ. This same perspective also brings out the ecclesial dimension, which is particularly highlighted when the Psalms are sung chorally. We can understand, then, how the Psalms came to be adopted from the earliest centuries as the prayer of the People of God. If in some historical periods there was a tendency to prefer other prayers, it is to the monks' great credit that they held the Psalter's torch aloft in the Church. One of them, St Romuald, founder of Camaldoli, at the dawn of the second Christian millennium, even maintained, as his biographer Bruno of Querfurt says, that the Psalms are the only way to experience truly deep prayer: "Una via in psalmis".

4. With this assertion, which seems excessive at first sight, he actually remained anchored to the best tradition of the first Christian centuries, when the Psalter became the book of Church prayer par excellence. This was the winning choice in view of the heretical tendencies that continuously threatened the unity of faith and communion. Interesting in this regard is a marvellous letter that St Athanasius wrote to Marcellinus in the first half of the 4th century while the Arian heresy was vehemently attacking belief in the divinity of Christ. To counter the heretics who seduced people with hymns and prayers that gratified their religious sentiments, the great Father of the Church dedicated all his energies to teaching the Psalter handed down by Scripture. This is how, in addition to the Our Father, the Lord's prayer by antonomasia, the practice of praying the Psalms soon became universal among the baptized.

5. By praying the Psalms as a community, the Christian mind remembered and understood that it is impossible to turn to the Father who dwells in heaven without an authentic communion of life with one's brothers and sisters who live on earth. Moreover, by being vitally immersed in the Hebrew tradition of prayer, Christians learned to pray by recounting the magnalia Dei, that is, the great marvels worked by God both in the creation of the world and humanity, and in the history of Israel and the Church. This form of prayer drawn from Scripture does not exclude certain freer expressions, which will continue not only to characterize personal prayer, but also to enrich liturgical prayer itself, for example, with hymns and troparia. But the Book of Psalms remains the ideal source of Christian prayer and will continue to inspire the Church in the new millennium."

Saluti:

"I warmly welcome the priests taking part in the Institute for Continuing Theological Formation at the Pontifical North American College, and I am confident that this special time of study will help you to minister ever more effectively to the people you serve. I also greet the Vicars for Religious from the United States. Upon all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors I invoke the abundant blessings of Almighty God.

Je suis heureux d'accueillir les personnes de langue française. Je salue particulièrement les Petites Sœurs de Jésus du Père de Foucauld, en session de renouveau, les pèlerins du diocèse de Saint-Claude, ainsi que les jeunes présents ce matin, notamment les centres Daniélou. Que le temps du carême vous aide à entrer avec confiance dans une relation toujours plus profonde avec le Christ, pour en témoigner généreusement! À tous, je donne de grand cœur la Bénédiction apostolique.

Mit diesen Gedanken grüße ich die Pilger und Besucher aus den Ländern deutscher Sprache. Möge euch die österliche Bußzeit eine Hilfe und ein Ansporn sein, um die Praxis des Gebets zu erneuern und einzuüben. Dazu erteile ich euch, euren Lieben daheim und allen, die mit uns über Radio Vatikan und das Fernsehen verbunden sind, den Apostolischen Segen.

Amados peregrinos de língua portuguesa, a minha saudação amiga para todos vós, com votos de um frutuoso empenho na caminhada quaresmal que estais fazendo. Que nada vos impeça de viver e crescer na amizade de Deus, e testemunhar a todos a sua bondade e misericórdia! Sobre vós e vossas famílias, desça a minha Bênção Apostólica.

Saludo con afecto a los peregrinos de lengua española. De modo especial a las Religiosas de María Inmaculada, a los colegios Nazaret de Madrid y Sagrada Familia de Sabadell así como al grupo de la Escuela italiana ‘Ventuno Aprile’ de Mendoza. Que el rezo de los Salmos sea, para vosotros, una experiencia de profunda oración que os lleve al encuentro con el misterio de Cristo.

Dragi hrvatski hodocasnici, obracam vam se rijecima pozdrava i blagoslova. Od srca zelim da ovo korizmeno vrijeme za svakoga od vas bude posebno pogodna prigoda za razmišljanje o otajstvu Isusa Krista u pustinji i za zivljenje toga otajstva u svakodnevnome zivotu. Hvaljen Isus i Marija!

Zo srdca vítam slovenských pútnikov z Bratislavy, Košíc, Drienovskej Novej Vsi a Nizného Zipova. Drahí pútnici, odporúčam vám prezívat' tieto dni prípravy na Vel'kú noc v duchu pokánia, ako návrat do domu Otca, ktorý kazdého z nás očakáva s otvoreným náručím. Ochotne udel'ujem apoštolské pozehnanie vám i vašim drah vo vlasti. Pochválený buď Jeziš Kristus!

Szeretettel köszöntöm a magyar híveket, elsôsorban azokat, akik Budapestrôl érkeztek. Isten hozott Benneteket! A nagyböjti idôszak legyen alkalom arra, hogy újra fölfedezzük az imádság erejét. Erre adom apostoli áldásomat Kedves Mindannyiotokra. Dicsértessék a Jézus Krisztus!

Rivolgo un cordiale benvenuto ai pellegrini di lingua italiana. In particolare, saluto i ragazzi e le ragazze della Diocesi di Faenza-Modigliana, che da poco hanno ricevuto la Cresima; essi sono accompagnati dal loro Vescovo, Mons. Benvenuto Italo Castellani. Saluto pure gli adolescenti del Decanato di Vimercate, dell'Arcidiocesi di Milano, venuti per la loro professione di fede. Carissimi, vivete appieno la consacrazione ricevuta nei sacramenti del Battesimo e della Cresima e siate sempre autentici testimoni di Cristo, che è morto e risorto per noi. Saluto poi e ringrazio per la loro presenza i membri della Società sportiva Salernitana Calcio e dell'Unione calcistica femminile Sezze.

Pensando alla Festa dell'Annunciazione, che abbiamo celebrato qualche giorno fa, rivolgo infine un affettuoso saluto ai giovani, ai malati e agli sposi novelli.

Il "sì" pronunciato da Maria incoraggi voi, cari giovani, a rispondere con entusiasmo e generosità alla chiamata di Dio. L'umile adesione alla volontà divina della Vergine, a Nazaret come sul Calvario, aiuti voi, cari malati, ad unirvi sempre più al sacrificio redentore di Cristo. Colei che per prima accolse il Verbo incarnato accompagni voi, cari sposi novelli, nel cammino matrimoniale e vi faccia crescere ogni giorno nella fedeltà dell'amore e nel servizio alla vita."

The Liturgy of the Hours, prayer of the Church
Catechesis with Pope St John Paul II
General Audience, Wednesday 4 April 2001 - also in French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

"1. Before beginning the commentary on the individual Psalms and Songs of Praise, let us complete today the introductory reflection which we began in the last catechesis. We will do so by starting with one aspect that is prized by our spiritual tradition: in singing the psalms, the Christian feels a sort of harmony between the Spirit present in the Scriptures and the Spirit who dwells within him through the grace of Baptism. More than praying in his own words, he echoes those "sighs too deep for words" mentioned by St Paul, with which the Lord's Spirit urges believers to join in Jesus' characteristic invocation: "Abba! Father!" (Rom 8, 15; Gal 4, 6).

The ancient monks were so sure of this truth that they did not bother to sing the Psalms in their mother tongue. It was enough for them to know that they were in a way "organs" of the Holy Spirit. They were convinced that their faith would enable the verses of the psalms to release a special "energy" of the Holy Spirit. The same conviction was expressed in their typical use of the Psalms known as "ejaculatory prayer" - from the Latin word "iaculum", that is "a dart" - to indicate concise phrases from the Psalms which they could "let fly" almost like flaming arrows, for example, against temptations. John Cassian, a writer who lived between the 4th and 5th centuries, recalls that monks discovered the extraordinary efficacy of the short incipit of Psalm 69: "God, come to my assistance; Lord, make haste to help me," which from that time on became as it were the gate of entry to the Liturgy of the Hours.

2. In addition to the presence of the Holy Spirit, another important dimension is that of the priestly action which Christ carries out in this prayer, associating with himself the Church, his Bride. In this regard, referring to the Liturgy of the Hours, the Second Vatican Council teaches: "Jesus Christ, High Priest of the New and Eternal Covenant ... attaches to himself the entire community of mankind and has them join him in singing his divine song of praise. For he continues his priestly work through his Church. The Church, by celebrating the Eucharist and by other means, especially the celebration of the Divine Office, is ceaselessly engaged in praising the Lord and interceding for the salvation of the entire world" (Sacrosanctum Concilium, n 83).

So then the Liturgy of the Hours has the character of a public prayer in which the Church is specifically involved. It is enlightening to rediscover how she gradually came to shape her specific commitment of prayer to coincide with the various phases of the day. To do so we must go back to the apostolic community in the days when there was still a close connection between Christian prayer and the so-called "legal prayers", that is, those prescribed by Mosaic Law - which were prayed at specific hours of the day in the temple of Jerusalem. From the book of Acts, we know that the Apostles were in the habit of "attending the temple together" (Acts 2, 46), and "going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour" (Acts 3, 1). Moreover, we also know that the "legal prayers par excellence" were those of the morning and the evening.

3. Jesus' disciples gradually identified certain Psalms as particularly appropriate for specific moments of the day, week or year, finding in them a deep sense of the Christian mystery. An authoritative witness of this process is St Cyprian, who writes in the first half of the 3rd century: "We must also pray at the beginning of the day that the Resurrection of the Lord may be celebrated by morning prayer. The Holy Spirit once set this forth, when he said in the Psalms: "O my king and my God. For to you will I pray: O Lord, in the morning you shall hear my voice. In the morning I will stand before you, and will see you' (Ps 5, 3-4) ... For since Christ is the true Sun and the true Day, as the sun and the day of the world recede, when we pray and petition that the light come upon us again, we pray for the coming of Christ to provide us with the grace of eternal light."

4. The Christian tradition is not limited to perpetuating Jewish practice but made certain innovations which end by giving a different character to the entire prayer experience lived by Jesus' disciples. In fact, in addition to reciting the Our Father in the morning and evening, the Christians freely chose the Psalms with which to celebrate their daily prayer. Down through history, this process suggested the use of specific Psalms for certain particularly significant moments of faith. Among these, pride of place was held by the prayer of vigils, which were a preparation for the Lord's Day, Sunday, on which the Resurrection was celebrated.

Later, a typically Christian characteristic was the addition at the end of each Psalm and Canticle of the Trinitarian doxology, "Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit". Thus every Psalm and Canticle is illumined by God's fullness.

5. Christian prayer is born, nourished and develops around the event of faith par excellence: Christ's paschal mystery. Thus Easter, the Lord's passing from death to life, is commemorated in the morning, in the evening, at sunrise and at sunset. The symbol of Christ, "Light of the world", can be seen in the lamp light during the prayer of Vespers, which is consequently also called "lucernarium". The hours of the day, in turn, recall the events of the Lord's Passion, and the third hour, the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost as well. Lastly, prayer during the night has an eschatological character, recalling the watching recommended by Jesus in expectation of his second coming.

Giving their prayer this rhythm, Christians responded to the Lord's command "to pray always", but without forgetting that their whole life must, in a certain way, become a prayer. In this regard, Origen writes: "One who prays ceaselessly is one who combines prayer with work and work with prayer."

The whole panorama constitutes the natural habitat of the recitation of the Psalms. If heard and lived in this way, the Trinitarian doxology that crowns every Psalm becomes for the believer in Christ a continual immersion in the waters of the Spirit and in communion with the People of God, in the ocean of life and of peace in which that people was immersed through Baptism, that is, in the mystery of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."

Saluti:

"I warmly welcome the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors, especially those from England, Denmark, Sweden, the Faroe Islands, Ghana, Australia and the United States of America. I invite you all to more intense prayer during the coming days of Holy Week. Upon you and your families I invoke the abundant blessings of Almighty God.

Je salue cordialement les pèlerins francophones présents à cette audience, en particulier les jeunes venus de France, de Belgique et du Canada. Que le Seigneur rende fructueux votre pèlerinage et fasse grandir en vous un vrai sens de la prière chrétienne ! À tous je donne de grand cœur la Bénédiction apostolique.

Herzlich begrüße ich alle Pilger und Besucher aus Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz. Besonders willkommen heiße ich die vielen Jugendlichen und Schülergruppen. Gerne erteile ich euch, euren Lieben daheim und allen, die mit uns über Radio Vatikan oder das Fernsehen verbunden sind, den Apostolischen Segen.

Saúdo com afecto em Cristo os peregrinos e ouvintes de língua portuguesa, desejando-lhes felicidades e os favores de Deus. Faço votos por que a proximidade da Semana Santa ajude a uma maior vivência do sentido redentor da Cruz em suas vidas, por uma doação generosa e alegre ao próximo, mormente aos mais necessitados. Com a minha Bênção Apostólica.

Saludo a los peregrinos de lengua española, en especial a los alumnos del Instituto de Enseñanza de Nájera (La Rioja) y del Colegio Corazón Inmaculado, de Madrid, y al grupo de fieles de Córdoba (Argentina). A todos os deseo una buena preparación para la gran fiesta de la Pascua, ya cercana. Muchas gracias por vuestra atención.

Srdačno pozdravljam sve hodočasničke skupine iz Hrvatske, a na poseban način predstavnike građanskih vlasti Osječko-baranjske zupanije sa zupanom i dozupanom, te pripadnike Saveza Nijemaca i Austrijanaca Hrvatske iz Osijeka. Predragi, udjeljujući apostolski blagoslov vama i vašim obiteljima, od srca zelim da skorašnja svetkovina Uskrsnuća Gospodnjega za sve bude neiscrpljivo vrelo nade koja će vas pratiti u vašemu svakodnevnom zivotu i radu. Hvaljen Isus i Marija!

S láskou vítam slovenských pútnikov z Vel'kej Lehoty a z okolia Košíc, Prešova a Starej ubovne. Drahí bratia a sestry, preívame obdobie blízkej prípravy na Vekonočné sviatky. Nech je tento posvätný čas pre kazdého z vás príleitosou na upevnenie viery v Krista - Vykupitel'a človeka. Rád zehnám všetkých vás i vaše rodiny vo vlasti. Pochválený buď Jeziš Kristus!

Szeretettel köszöntöm a magyar híveket, elsôsorban azokat, akik Udvarhelyrôl érkeztek. Isten hozott Benneteket! A zsoltárok szavainak imádkozása közben szívünk emelkedjék Istenhez. Ezek az ôsi énekek olyan kincsek, amelyek lelki életünket gazdagítják. Szívbôl adom apostoli áldásomat Kedves Mindannyiotokra. Dicsértessék a Jézus Krisztus!

Ik groet nu de Belgische en Nederlandse pelgrims! Ik wens u toe dat deze Veertigdagentijd het verlangen naar een oprechte bekering in u doet groeien, en u doet openstaan voor Gods genade. Van harte verleen ik u de Apostolische Zegen. Geloofd zij Jezus Christus!

Srdečně vítám poutníky z olomoucké konfederace věz! Drazí, vyuzijme plně této postní doby, času modlitby a pokání, která nás privádí k obrácení a k prohloubení lásky k Bohu i bliznímu. Všem vám rád zehnám. Chvála Kristu!

This year the World Day of Health, with the theme, "Mental Health: Stop the Exclusion Dare to Care", will be celebrated on 7 April. On this occasion, I renew my appeal that, everyone, in accordance with his responsibility, commit himself to defending the dignity and rights of people suffering from mental illness. May no one remain indifferent to these our brothers and sisters. The Church looks with respect and affection on those who suffer from this affliction and urges the entire human family to accept them, giving special care to the poorest and most abandoned.

Saluto ora tutti i pellegrini di lingua italiana. In particolare saluto i novizi salesiani, come pure le numerose novizie di diverse Congregazioni religiose, che frequentano i corsi promossi dall'Unione Superiore Maggiori d'Italia, e sono qui presenti con i loro formatori e le loro formatrici. Carissimi Fratelli e Sorelle, vi esorto a far tesoro di questo tempo di formazione per prepararvi bene alla missione che vi attende. Saluto i fedeli della Parrocchia San Gabriele dell'Addolorata di Atri, la Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di San Miniato e il gruppo della Federazione Italiana Rugby. Tutti ringrazio per la loro partecipazione e invoco su ciascuno copiose benedizioni celesti.

Rivolgo, infine, un cordiale saluto ai giovani, ai malati e agli sposi novelli. In questo ultimo tratto della Quaresima, vi esorto a proseguire con impegno il cammino spirituale verso la Pasqua.

Cari giovani, intensificate la vostra testimonianza di amore fedele alla Croce di Cristo; voi, cari malati, guardate a Gesù crocifisso e risorto per vivere la prova del dolore come atto di amore; e voi, cari sposi novelli, imitando la perdurante fedeltà del Signore verso la Chiesa sua Sposa, fate sì che la vostra unione sponsale sia sempre animata dall'amore divino."