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THE HOLY SEASON OF EASTER
VATICAN - Pope's Easter Message: "Christ is hope and comfort to the Christian communities suffering most for their faith on account of discrimination and persecution ... is close to all human situations of suffering and injustice"
Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) - "If Jesus is risen, then - and only then - has something truly new happened, something that changes the state of humanity and the world. Then He, Jesus, is someone in whom we can put absolute trust; we can put our trust not only in his message, but in Jesus himself, for the Risen One does not belong to the past, but is present today, alive." These are the words spoken by Holy Father Benedict XVI at noon on Easter Sunday, April 8, from the central loggia of St. Peter's Basilica. In his Easter Message, followed by the Easter wishes in 65 languages to peoples and nations throughout the world, and the Blessing Urbi et Orbi, the Pope said: "Christ is hope and comfort to the Christian communities suffering most for their faith on account of discrimination and persecution. And he is present as a force of hope through his Church, which is close to all human situations of suffering and injustice. " Benedict XVI continued: "May the Risen Christ grant hope to the Middle East and enable all ethnic, cultural and religious groups in that region to work together to advance the common good and respect for human rights. Particularly in Syria, may there be an end to bloodshed and an immediate commitment to the path of respect, dialogue and reconciliation, as called for by the international community. May the many refugees from that country who are in need of humanitarian assistance find the acceptance and solidarity capable of relieving their dreadful suffering. May the Paschal victory encourage the Iraqi people to spare no effort in pursuing the path of stability and development. In the Holy Land, may Israelis and Palestinians courageously take up anew the peace process." A particular memory on behalf of the Pope went to the African continent: "May the Lord, the victor over evil and death, sustain the Christian communities of the African continent; may he grant them hope in facing their difficulties, and make them peacemakers and agents of development in the societies to which they belong. May the Risen Jesus comfort the suffering populations of the Horn of Africa and favour their reconciliation; may he help the Great Lakes Region, Sudan and South Sudan, and grant their inhabitants the power of forgiveness. In Mali, now experiencing delicate political developments, may the Glorious Christ grant peace and stability. To Nigeria, which in recent times has experienced savage terrorist attacks, may the joy of Easter grant the strength needed to take up anew the building of a society which is peaceful and respectful of the religious freedom of all its citizens." (SL) (Agenzia Fides 11/04/2012)