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Looking Ahead to Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul. "Occasion to Underline the Unity of the Church"
VATICAN CITY, JUNE 26, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI delivered today from the window of his study, before he prayed the midday Angelus with the crowds gathered below in St. Peter's Square.
* * *

Dear Brothers and Sisters!

We are preparing to celebrate with great solemnity the feast of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, who sealed with blood in Rome the proclamation of the Gospel. At 9:30 a.m. on June 29 I will preside over the holy Mass in the Vatican basilica: It will be a significant occasion to underline the unity and catholicity of the Church.

As in the past, the celebration will be attended by a special delegation sent by the ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople. I invite the faithful of Rome -- who venerate the holy Apostles Peter and Paul as their special patrons -- pilgrims, and the whole People of God to invoke heavenly protection on the Church and her pastors.

The end of June marks for countries of the north of the world the beginning of the summer season and for many people the time of vacation begins. While I wish everyone to be able to live serenely a few days of merited rest and relaxation, I wish to make an appeal to prudence to those who set out for different holiday places. Every day, unfortunately, especially on weekends, incidents occur on the roads with so many human lives tragically cut short, and more than half of the victims are young people.

In recent years much has been done to prevent such tragic events, but there can be and must be more done with the contribution and commitment of all. Distraction and superficiality must be combated, which in an instant can ruin one's own future and that of others. Life is precious and unique: It must always be respected and protected, including with correct and prudent conduct on the roads.

May the Virgin Mary, who accompanies us in our daily journey of life, watch over those who are traveling and obtain mercy for road victims. To her, heavenly Queen of the Apostles, on the imminent feast of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, we entrust the Church and her missionary action in the whole world.