At the Regina Caeli, Benedict XVI says that with the ascension, Jesus "has separated from us." A remembrance for victims of attack on Brindisi school and the earthquake in Emilia. An encouragement for the pro-life movement.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Pope Benedict's prayer at the Regina Caeli today, was for Chinese Catholics, who on Thursday venerate "the Blessed Virgin Mary, Help of Christians, venerated with great devotion at the Shrine of Sheshan in Shanghai" (pictured), "so that they may announce with humility and joy the Risen Christ, be faithful to his Church and the Successor of Peter and live their daily life in a manner consistent with the faith we profess. "

"Mary, Virgin most faithful, support the path of Chinese Catholics, render their prayer them ever more intense and precious in the eyes of the Lord, and advance the affection and the participation of the universal Church in the journey of the Church in China."

Benedict XVI's thoughts for Chinese Catholics came after the Marian prayer, that in this period replaces the Angelus, when the Pope addressed his greeting to the faithful of different languages. Thus, in Italian recalled both the bombing yesterday in a school in Brindisi, southern Italy, and the earthquake that this morning in struck the north east region of Emilia. "Unfortunately, - he said - I have to remember the girls and boys of the school in Brindisi, who yesterday were involved in a cowardly attack. Let us pray together for the wounded, some very seriously, especially for young Melissa, an innocent victim of brutal violence and for her family, who are in pain. My affectionate thoughts go also to the dear people of Emilia Romagna affected by an earthquake a few hours ago. I am spiritually close to those who are suffering from this calamity: we implore God's mercy for those who are dead and relief from suffering for the injured".

Before reciting the Regina Caeli, to 20 thousand people in St. Peter's Square, Benedict XVI had spoken of the Ascension - which is celebrated in many countries today - and how Jesus " in fact, in his humanity, he took mankind with him in the intimacy of the Father, and so has revealed the final destination of our earthly pilgrimage. Just as he came down from heaven for us, and for us suffered and died on the cross, so for us he rose again and ascended to God, who therefore is no longer distant, but "Our God", "Our Father" (cf. Jn 20:17). The Ascension is the ultimate act of our deliverance from the yoke of sin, as the Apostle Paul writes: "He ascended on high, and took prisoners captive" (Eph. 4.8). St. Leo the Great says that with this mystery " not only is the immortality of the soul proclaimed, but also that of the flesh. Today, in fact, not only are we confirmed possessors of paradise, but in Christ we also penetrated the heights of heaven".

Benedict XVI then greeted "the thousands of members of the Italian Movement for Life, meeting in Paul VI Hall. Dear friends, your movement has always been committed to defending human life, according to the teachings of the Church. In this line you have announced a new initiative called "One of us," to uphold the dignity and rights of every human being from conception. I encourage and urge you to always be witnesses and builders of a culture of life".