Christmas Day, December 25, 2011 Rome
Urbi et Orbi: Christ come to save us
Christ is born for us! Come to save us! Those were Pope Benedict’s words to the city and the World this Christmas Day.
As the sun shone and the bands played, the Holy Father on the dot of 12 midday came out onto the balcony of St Peter’s Basilica for the traditional Urbi et Orbi message.
The Pope asked the faithful to repeat the words “Come to save us”! in spiritual union with the many people to are experience particularly difficult situations, people who have no voice.
Those people included the many thousands affected by insecurity, hunger and food shortages in the Horn of Africa. The Pope appealed to the international community during his message to continue to offer assistance to those displaced from that region and as he put it “whose dignity has been sorely tried”. Staying on the continent of Africa, Pope Benedict prayed also that political stability would reign in the Great Lakes Region of Africa and South Sudan.
The Holy Father during his message recalled the birthplace of the Christ Child and prayed that Prince of Peace would bring stability peace and dialogue between Israeli’s and Palestinians, an end to violence in Syria and reconciliation in Iraq and Afghanistan. May the Lord also grant, said the Pope, “renewed vigour to all elements of society in the countries of North Africa and the Middle East as they strive to advance the common good.”
2011 saw a number of natural disasters occur in the world and Pope Benedict turned his attention to South East Asia, particularly Thailand and the Philippines and to those who have been stricken by severe floods.
He also prayed that the birth of Saviour would bring about shared solutions in Myanmar, also known as Burma.
This address focusing on peace, stability and reconciliation was followed by Christmas greetings given by the Pope given in over 65 languages including Italian, Tamil, Irish, Arabic and Hebrew.
The Pope’s Urbi et Orbi message came less than 24 hours after the Holy Father celebrated the traditional Christmas Eve Mass in the splendour of St Peter’s Basilica.
Those gathered including the faithful and members of the diplomatic corps listened as Pope Benedict told them that the Christmas celebration had become too commercial and there was a need for people to look to the simplicity of the occasion to discover true “joy and true light”.