Pope blesses Holy Thursday oil for Italy quake victims
09 Apr 2009
TICAN CITY: April 9, 2009. Pope Benedict XVI on Thursday reserved part of the oil he traditionally consecrates in the run-up to Easter for the earthquake-ravaged L'Aquila archdiocese in central Italy.
"I wish to send these holy oils to our dear brother (L'Aquila Archbishop) Giuseppe Molinari, who because of the great damage caused by the earthquake cannot gather his faithful today," the pope said.
"May they accompany the time of rebirth and reconstruction, caring for the sick and sustaining hope," he said after celebrating Holy Thursday mass at Saint Peter's Basilica.
In the Roman Catholic tradition, the oil consecrated by priests around the world on Holy Thursday is used throughout the year on various occasions, especially in rites concerning the sick.
Holy Thursday marks the start of Easter celebrations that will culminate in the pope's traditional "urbi et orbi" (to the city and the world) message Sunday.
ater Thursday, Benedict was to preside over another mass at Rome's Saint John in Lateran Basilica commemorating Christ's Last Supper with his disciples, during which he will perform a ritual "washing of the feet."
The Gospels say that Jesus, both God and man at the same time, washed the feet of the apostles on this occasion to signify that he was putting himself at the service of humanity.