300,000 at the Easter blessing THE Holy Father on Ea ster morning called upon Catholics throughout th e world, priests and laity, to transform themselves into " phalanxes of apostles " and, with the zeal and energy o f the early Christians, take Christianity into the streets, the factories, offices and the countryside.
His Holiness was speaking to a cheering multitude of 300,000 in St. Peter's Square and, over the radio, to millions of Catholics in all parts of the world.
"Let the priests preach from the pulpits, in the streets, in the squares—wherever there is a soul to be saved.
" And side how to appeal
by side with the priests, let the laity who know to minds and hearts with words and with love, also speak."
His Holiness, speaking from the balcony of St. Peter's, addressed himself to "Romans, Easter guests of the Eternal City, beloved sons and daughters of the whole world," and said:
" Faithful Christians, you have good reason to rejoice. celebrating the radiant day of the Resurrection. On this day Jesus returned to life. On this day His divine mission, which to the fearful seemed darkened at the hour of the Passion, shone with confirmed splendour.
" He will remain the everlasting Victor over death, the eternal possessor of life. Yesterday, today, down the centuries —. as in the first Easter, Christ is living and invincible.
" The indestructible life of Christ flows over to His Mystical Body. Therefore we say to you, 'Live, live, dear children,'
Too many worries
"Already you have too many worries in providing for your material life. You work or seek work so that your loved ones may have bread and a home. This is a just and proper concern of yours.
" But we will add in the very words of Jesus, the Divine Teacher of heroism: ' What does it profit a man if he gain the whole world and suffer the loss of his own soul? Or what exchange shall a man give for his soul?' The soul cannot live without breath, nor without food. and the breath of the soul is prayer, its food is the Eucharist.
" if you are unconscious, however, of others dying around you, you cannot hope to live more fully yourselves. That is why we pray that, from this Square. thousands of hearts should solemnly declare: "We want our brothers also to live. Wherever we encounter death, we want to bring life.'
" We would like great phalanxes of apostles to arise, such as those which the early days of the Church
knew. Let the priests preach from the pulpits, in the streets, in the squares—wherever there is a soul to be saved. And side by side with the priests. let the lay people who know how to appeal to minds and hearts with words and with love, also speak."
Welcome for all
"You who carry life within you, enter into every place, into factories, into offices, into fields — wherever Christ Himself has the right to enter.
" Offer yourselves, make yourselves known to one another, in your many centres of work, in your homes, all closely united in a single thought and a single desire.
" Open wide your arms to welcome all who seek you and look for a word of comfort and reassurance in this dark atmosphere of discouragement. Set yourselves to work against those who encourage sin; set yourselves to work, builders of the House of God, so that the victory of faith, of virtue and of love, for which in the widest and fullest sense we hope, will increase Christian joy in you, and spread its life-giving fruits across that world which knows not Christ or forgets Him. Thus will he established and assured that peace for which we incessantly pray." Then the Holy Father prayed: " 0 Jesus. risen. gloriously alive in Thy humanity, we give 'Thee thanks for the gift of life, which through Thy Resurrection Thou hast communicated to our souls and to Thy Church. Grant that these Thy children here devotedly united may foster it within themselves with untiring perseverance. Grant that the Paschal light of Thy grace may lighten the way which will lead back the lost and wandering souls to the house of their Father.
Voices of doubt
" Quicken again to virtue those who bear Thy name, but are unmindful of what it demands. Open to Thy light and to Thy love the minds and hearts of all those who listen to the voices of doubt, of denial, of opposition, to Thy saving message, or who allow themselves to be deceived by the vain and specious attractions of the world.
" Renew the joy of Thy Church and dry the tears of its members who are suffering and sorrowing, straitened and persecuted for truth and justice."