Pope Benedict XVI marked the 4th anniversary of his election to the Papacy today with an appeal for an end to racism and forms of unjust discrimination.

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Declaration against Racism and Discrimination

Speaking ahead of the Regina Coeli prayer with the faithful, who were gathered on the Second Sunday of Easter in the courtyard of the Apostolic Retreat at Castel Gandolfo, the Holy Father looked forward to a conference examining the 2001 Durban Declaration against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and related Intolerance, which is scheduled to open this Monday, in Geneva, under the organization of the United Nations.

The Pope said resolute and Concrete action is needed on both the national and the international level to prevent and eliminate every form of discrimination and intolerance.

The Holy Father went on to say a vast work of education is needed, in which the dignity of the person is exalted and his rights protected.

The Church, for her part, continues to insist that only the recognition of the dignity of the human person, created in the image and likeness of God, is capable of providing a sound foundation for such a commitment.

The Holy Father also used the context of the Regina Coeli prayer to reflect on his 4 years of papacy, telling the faithful he never feels lonely and that during the Octave of Easter he felt the communion that surrounds and sustains him.

“A spiritual solidarity,” explained Pope Benedict, “nurtured by prayer, manifests itself in a thousand different ways.”

The Pope went on the say that it is God’s merciful love, which continues today as always to unite the Church soundly and make one family of all mankind, the Divine Love that forgives us our sins and brings us inner renewal through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

This, said Pope Benedict, was why Pope John Paul II dedicated this second Sunday of Easter to the Divine Mercy – to point out the Risen Christ as the true source of all hope and trust.

Regina coeli

The Regina Coeli is sung or recited in place of the Angelus during the Easter season, from Holy Saturday through Pentecost Sunday.

Queen of Heaven rejoice, alleluia: For He whom you merited to bear, alleluia, Has risen as He said, alleluia. Pray for us to God, alleluia.

V. Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia.

R. Because the Lord is truly risen, alleluia.

Let us pray: O God, who by the Resurrection of Thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, granted joy to the whole world: grant we beseech Thee, that through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, His Mother, we may lay hold of the joys of eternal life. Through the same Christ our Lord.

R. Amen.

In Latin

Regina coeli, laetare, alleluia: Quia quem meruisti portare, alleluia. Resurrexit sicut dixit, alleluia. Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluia.

V. Gaude et laetare, Virgo Maria, Alleluia,

R. Quia surrexit Dominus vere, alleluia.

Oremus: Deus qui per resurrectionem Filii tui, Domini nostri Iesu Christi, mundum laetificare dignatus es: praesta, quaesumus, ut per eius Genetricem Virginem Mariam, perpetuae capiamus gaudia vitae. Per eundem Christum Dominum nostrum.

R. Amen.

(19 Apr 09 – RV)