That incense sure had a high smokeability ratio. Wow! Look at that thing burn.
His Holiness looks positively perplexed in this shot =)
"What the heck are these people doing? If only I were the Pope... Oh wait... I am the Pope... crap."
The new Church does look rather modernist and minimalist though. Too bad they're marring the face of Rome with such newfangled structures.
Just wondering what Raphael and Michelangelo might think?
Here's the Pope's homily:
THE PARISH, A BEACON RADIATING THE LIGHT OF FAITH
VATICAN CITY, DEC 10, 2006 (VIS) - At 9 a.m. today, the second Sunday of Advent, the Pope made a pastoral visit to the Roman parish of St. Mary Star of Evangelization, where he celebrated Mass and consecrated the new parish church.
In his homily, Benedict XVI, noted how the inauguration was taking place "in the period of Advent which, for the last 16 years, the diocese of Rome has dedicated to awareness raising and fund collection for building new churches on the city outskirts." Thus, this new church "joins the more than 50 parish structures already built over these years thanks to the Vicariate of Rome's economic efforts, the contributions of so many faithful, and the concern of the civil authorities.
"I ask all faithful, and all citizens of good will to continue their generous commitment, so that neighborhoods that are still deprived may, as soon as possible, have a home for their parish.
"The parish is a beacon that radiates the light of faith," the Pope added, "above all in our largely secularized world. Thus it meets the most profound and authentic desires of the human heart, giving meaning and hope to the lives of individuals and families."
St. Mary Star of Evangelization is a young parish, said the Pope, both because it was founded in 1989 and because most of its families are young. "Your community," he went on, "has the arduous but fascinating task of educating its children in the life and the joy of the faith. I trust that together, in a spirit of sincere communion, you will prepare the Sacraments of Christian initiation, and help your boys and girls ... to grow in love and faithfulness to the Lord."
A sacred building, the Holy Father explained, "exists so that the Word of God may be heard, explained and understood. ... It exists so that the Word of God can work among us as a power that creates justice and love."
"The church exists so we can meet Christ there, Son of the living God. God has a face. God has a name. In Christ, God became flesh and gives Himself to us in the mystery of the Blessed Eucharist."
"We humans," the Pope added, "live from Truth. This Truth is a Person, it speaks to us and we speak to it. The church is the place we meet the Son of the living God and thus it is also the place we meet one another. This is the joy God gives us: that He became one of us, that we can almost touch Him, and that He lives with us. Truly, the joy of God is our strength."
The Virgin Mary, said the Pope at the conclusion of his homily, "tells us why church buildings exist. They exist so that within each of us a space may be created for the Word of God, so that within us and through us the Word can become flesh today."
Benedict XVI had previously visited two Roman parishes. On December 18, 2005 he visited the parish of Santa Maria Consolatrice which was his titular church from 1977 to 1993, and on March 26, 2006 he visited the parish of God the Merciful Father.