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Huge crowd for Pope Benedict's final Angelus audience

Catholic World News - February 25, 2013

“We will always be close in prayer,” Pope Benedict XVI assured an overflow crowd in St. Peter’s Square on February 24 at the final Angelus audience of his pontificate.

More than 200,000 people flocked to St. Peter’s Square for the Pope’s midday audience on Sunday. Vatican officials set up giant video screens around the square for those who could not gain entry. The Pope thanked the crowd for their show of support.

Commenting on the day’s Gospel reading, which recounted the story of the Transfiguration, the Pope said that one lesson to be drawn from that story is “the primacy of prayer, without which the entire commitment of ministry and charity is reduced to activism.” That lesson is particularly timely during Lent, he observed.

However, the Pope continued, “prayer is not an isolation from the world and its contradictions, as Peter would have wanted on Mt. Tabor. Instead, prayer leads to a path of action.”

Turning to his own future, Pope Benedict told the audience: “The Lord has called me… to dedicate myself still more to prayer and meditation.” In pursuing a quiet life of prayer, he told the crowd, he would not be abandoning his work for the Church, but continuing that work in the best way he could.

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