VATICAN CITY, 4 MAY 2010 (VIS) - Benedict XVI has sent a message of congratulation to Elio Toaff, former rabbi of Rome, for his ninety-fifth birthday, which fell yesterday 3 May. The Message was read out by Msgr. Georg Gaenswein, personal secretary of the Pope, in the course of the inaugural ceremony of the Elio Toaff Foundation for Hebrew Culture.

"I think", the Holy Father writes, "using the expressions of the Psalm, how the Lord restored your soul, leading you along the right path, even through the darkest valley, at the time of the persecution and extermination of the Jewish People. The Lord, in His mysterious plans, wished you to have a unique experience of His salvation, becoming a sign of hope for the rebirth of many of your brothers and sisters.

"I am particularly happy to recall", the Pope adds, "your commitment to promoting fraternal relations between Catholics and Jews, and the sincere friendship that bound you to my venerated predecessor Pope John Paul II".
MESS/                                                                      VIS 20100504 (180)

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