(VIS) - At the end of this morning's Mass, during which he canonised five blesseds the Holy Father emerged into the atrium of the Vatican Basilica to pray the Angelus with thousands of faithful who had followed the ceremony from St. Peter's Square.
The Pope invited French pilgrims to follow the example of St. Jeanne Jugan and concern themselves "with the poorest and weakest, with those wounded by life and abandoned by our societies, and to do so particularly for the occasion of the 'World Day for the Eradication of Poverty'".
Turning his attention to Fr. Damien, he invited people "to support, through prayer and works, those people generously committed to combating the disease of leprosy and the other forms of 'leprosy' that are due to a lack of love, ignorance and indifference". He also expressed the hope that the intercession of the new saint and of the Blessed Virgin would "free the world of leprosy".
Greeting a group of survivors of the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki he said: "I pray that the world may never again witness such mass destruction of innocent human life".
The news Spanish saints, Francesc Coll y Guitart and Rafael Arnaiz Baron, "honour the best religious traditions and the profound Christian roots of their people", said the Holy Father.
He then invited Polish pilgrims to rejoice at their new saint, Zygmunt Szczesny Felinski, former archbishop of Warsaw, and entrusted to his protection "the Church of Poland, and the entire nation".
"The Virgin Mary", Pope Benedict concluded, "is the star that guides all journeys to sainthood. Her 'fiat' is the model of perfect adherence to the divine will, and her 'Magnificat' expresses the hymn of joy of the Church, which on earth already rejoices for the great works of God, and in heaven eternally praises His glory".