Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Back in the Square

A Blessed Lent to all.

The General Audience returned to St. Peter's Square today, and the Pope wore his "first communion" uniform (i.e. the grecca topcoat) in light of the weather.

And everyone was there: seminarians, Muslims, Amy Welborn et famille... All roads, indeed, lead to Rome.

A snip from the remarks:
"Lent is, in the end, through almsgiving, the occasion for sincere sharing of gifts received with one's brothers and for attention to the needs of the poorest and abandoned ones," Benedict told pilgrims and tourists at his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square....

Benedict told the audience that the imposition of ashes, in all Catholic churches, is an "austere and symbolic gesture."

He urged faithful to "look with fresh eyes at their brothers and their needs" and denounced "indifference and closure in one's own selfishness" in the face of the "terrible challenges of poverty of a large part of humanity."

The Mass at Santa Sabina is at the Eucharistic prayer -- some of you may be shocked to know that Benedict has chosen to use the Eucharistic Prayer of Reconciliation I.

Cardinal Josef Tomko, the retired prefect of the Propaganda Fide who is the titular of Ash Wednesday's station church, was the prelate privileged to play with the fluffy hair as he imposed the ashes, in the European custom, on the crown of the Pope's head -- as opposed to the American showiness which places them on the forehead.

Photos to come.

PHOTO 1: Arturo Mari/L'Osservatore
PHOTO 2: AP/Plinio Lepri