Today is the seventh anniversary of Pope Benedict’s election. Let us pray for him and all his intentions as we read part of the address he gave a year after he became Pope.
At the beginning of today's General Audience which is taking place in the joyful atmosphere of Easter, I would like to thank the Lord together with you. After calling me, exactly a year ago, to serve the Church as the Successor of the Apostle Peter - thank you for your joy, thank you for your applause - he never fails to assist me with his indispensable help.
How quickly time passes! A year has already elapsed since the Cardinals gathered in Conclave and, in a way I found absolutely unexpected and surprising, desired to choose my poor self to succeed the late and beloved Servant of God, the great Pope John Paul II. I remember with emotion my first impact with the faithful gathered in this same Square, from the central Loggia of the Basilica, immediately after my election. That meeting is still impressed upon my mind and heart. It was followed by many others that have given me an opportunity to experience the deep truth of my words at the solemn concelebration with which I formally began to exercise my Petrine ministry: "I too can say with renewed conviction: I am not alone. I do not have to carry alone what in truth I could never carry alone".
And I feel more and more that alone I could not carry out this task, this mission. But I also feel that you are carrying it with me: thus, I am in a great communion and together we can go ahead with the Lord's mission. The heavenly protection of God and of the saints is an irreplaceable support to me and I am comforted by your closeness, dear friends, who do not let me do without the gift of your indulgence and your love. I offer very warm thanks to all those who in various ways support me from close at hand or follow me from afar in spirit with their affection and their prayers. I ask each one to continue to support me, praying to God to grant that I may be a gentle and firm Pastor of his Church.