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Pope's first general audience of 2014



January 08, 2014 - Pope Francis held his first weekly general audience of this year on Wednesday, delivering a catechesis on the Sacrament of Baptism. The public meeting is an opportunity for pilgrims and tourists visiting Rome, to see and hear the Pope, and also receive his blessing. The general audience of Jan. 8 was held in the open, in Rome’s St. Peter’s Square. It began with aides reading a passage from the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans, in several languages.
Listen: RealAudioMP3

Basing himself on the scripture passage, Pope Francis delivered his main discourse in Italian - summaries of which were read out by aides in various languages, including in English. But first, the aide greeted the Pope on behalf of the English-speaking pilgrims.
Listen: RealAudioMP3

… Dear Brothers and Sisters, today we begin a series of catecheses on the sacraments, starting with baptism. The Second Vatican Council tells us that the Church herself is a “sacrament”, a grace-filled sign which makes Christ’s saving work present in history, through the power of the Holy Spirit. The first of the Church’s seven sacraments, baptism gives us new birth in Christ, makes us sharers in the mystery of his death and resurrection, grants the forgiveness of sin and brings us new freedom as God’s children and members of his Church. Let us not forget the great gift we have received. Our baptism has changed us, given us a new and glorious hope, and empowered us to bring God’s redeeming love to all, particularly the poor, in whom we see the face of Christ. Our baptism has also given us a share in the Church’s mission of evangelization; as disciples, we are also missionaries. As we celebrate the feast of the Baptism of the Lord this Sunday, let us ask him to renew in us the grace of our baptism and to make us, with all our brothers and sisters, true children of God and living members of his body, the Church.

Pope Francis then greeted the English-speaking pilgrims in Italian.
Listen: RealAudioMP3

… I greet all the English-speaking pilgrims present at today’s Audience, including those from Ausralia, Haiti and the United States of America. Upon you and your families I invoke God’s blessings of joy and peace! (BLESSING)




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