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"Slightly more than 500 years have passed," he added, "since the first stone of the second
Vatican Basilica was laid. ... And yet it remains a living place, it is not a museum,
it is a spiritual organism, and the stones also reflect this vitality."
Benedict XVI thanked the staff of the Fabric for the work they carry out
"with commitment and competence, so that this 'heart' of the Church
... can continue to 'beat' with perennial vitality, drawing to herself men and women
of the entire world and helping them to enjoy a spiritual experience that marks their lives."
Pope Benedict concluded: "Thanks to your efforts, ... many people are able to draw fruit from their
pilgrimage or visit to the Vatican Basilica,
and take away in their hearts a message of faith and hope."

"Whoever arrives in Saint Peter's Square feels immediately welcomed by a spiritual embrace symbolized by the two symmetrical colonnades of Bernini. His glance, however, is spontaneously drawn to the noble wall of travertine over which looms the cupola and on which are arranged eight columns of a single order, like eight giants, supporting in the central position the triangular pediment with the coat of arms of Pope Paul V, who presided over the conclusion of the work. Nor does the spiritual power unleashed by the figure of Christ the Redeemer at the center of the balustrade which crowns the edifice escape the observer. It gives rise to that marvelous vision of apostles, martyrs, confessors, and virgins which goes out from the side of Christ at the apex of the facade and unfolds in a great throng along the entire length of the two arms of the colonnade as though to recall and summarize the history and the mission of the Church, which is that of bearing witness to holiness of life, the Gospel message."

Taken from: The Address of the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, on the occasion of the ceremony marking the conclusion of the work carried out on the facade of St. Peter's Basilica. 1987

















Maurice & Eloise Howard


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