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City news, 17.03.2006 12:53

Via Satellite, Russian Catholics Pray With Pope

vatican Hundreds of Catholics in Russia joined Benedict XVI in praying the rosary last Saturday when a dozen European and African cities were linked via satellite with the Vatican.

The Saturday event at the Vatican, a Marian vigil, was attended by university students.

It marked the second time that Russia took part in an event of this type. On this occasion, the Church of St. Ekaterina in St. Petersburg was the venue where the connection took place. Some 600 people gathered for the event.

After the celebration of Mass, at 7 p.m. local time the five screens installed in the upper church began to transmit live, from Paul VI Hall at the Vatican, the procession of the cross.

Young people were the focus of the rosary. But older people and a number of children also attended the event in St. Petersburg, some standing for more than four hours.

St. Petersburg was chosen to lead the fifth mystery of the rosary. Unlike groups in other participating cities, which prayed the first part in their native language and the second in Latin, in the Russian city each of the 10 Hail Marys was prayed entirely in Latin.

Not alone

Benedict XVI addressed his message to the city of St. Petersburg in Russian.

"This is the second time that His Holiness addresses us in Russian and this fills us with immense joy," said Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz of the Archdiocese of the Mother of God of Moscow, who presided at the meeting in St. Petersburg.

Father Machei Rysetski, rector of the Church of St. Ekaterina and responsible for organizing the rosary, told ZENIT: "It is difficult to count the number of people who took part in the preparation of this event. It was primarily the students of our community and the staff of Channel 5 that collaborated with us."

How did the faithful in St. Petersburg feel about the event?

Nadia Petrujova, a university student in that city, summarized it thus: "The union of Catholics from different countries helps us very much. In this way, we know we are not alone, that there are many people who feel like we do, and that is brilliant!"

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