The Inauguration Mass of Pope Benedict XVI

 This morning at 8.50 BST, viewers in the UK will be able to watch a live broadcast on BBC1 of the Inauguration Mass of Pope Benedict XVI. The Mass can also be heard on Vatican Radio at: Sister Janet from Vatican Radio sent the following personal message last night. May God bless and protect Pope Benedict XVI as he follows in the footsteps of St Peter. I'm really too tired to be writing an update. I began the first couple of sentences a few hours ago and scrapped it, thinking that it's Saturday and I don't usually send out an e-mail on a Saturdaybut then it's been an unusual week and it's been an unusual Saturday. I don't usually manage to go to an Audience with a new Pope, for a start, when I'm working during the weekend, especially not one with most of the staff of Vatican Radio plus several thousand journalists for company! I was looking forward to it, but the audience was also something memorable for its relaxed, exuberant atmosphere, the tumultuous applause as Pope Benedict walked out in front of the crowd gathered in the Paul VI Audience Hall. He waved, smiled and then spoke to us in Italian, English, French and German, moving so easily from one language to the other that the progress from French into German would not have been particularly noticeable had it not been for the rapturous cheers and applause from the Germans in the hall. (I might add that the instigator was a member of the Vatican Radio German Programme!) The Italians were not to be outdone. A corner of the vast hall suddenly erupted with "Benedetto! Benedetto!" chanted to the same 'tune' as "We are the Champions!" of football fame. The Pope's encouraging message about the media was only brief. It was friendly and warm. What struck me was the very real warmth with which he greeted and was greeted in return, by the Cardinals present. There was real love and very genuine smilesso different from some of the unfortunately negative comments that seem to be appearing in the media at present. As Pope Benedict waved goodbye to the journalists and everyone else (including a couple of very non-journalist babies!), I couldn't help thinking that I was very proud of the way in which he had handled his first Audience, the audience potentially the most difficult. He is a courageous man who has taken on the shoes of the Fisherman! I was also very pleased to hear someone remark that in Pope Benedict, World War II has come to an end for Germany. Whereas the war divided, here is a Pope who can unite and bring peace. That was a beautiful insight. Outside, the piazza was almost as full as it would have been had the Pope chosen to deliver his message from the steps of St. Peter's. The multitude was quite happy to follow the proceedings on the massive screens that, tomorrow, will give them a better view of his inauguration. In the meantime, the steps are being decorated for the ceremony. The weather is promising to behave itself. At least 500,000 people are expected. God bless our Pope! God bless, Sr Janet Web outreach and development

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