(IMAGES: SOURCE: CATHOLIC HERALD, WIKIPEDIA
POPE PRESENTS ELDERLY PEOPLE WITH EXAMPLE OF JOHN PAUL II VATICAN CITY, 18 SEP 2010 (VIS) - At 4.40 p.m. today the Holy Father travelled to St. Peter's old people's home which lies eleven kilometres from the apostolic nunciature in London. The institution, which houses seventy-six elderly people including nine priests and religious, is run by the Little Sisters of the Poor, an order that has been active in England since 1851. The nuns are assisted in their duties by volunteers and members of the Association of Jeanne Jugan (1792-1879), foundress of the Little Sisters of the Poor which today has a presence in thirty-two countries. Benedict XVI was greeted by Archbishop Peter Smith of Southwark, the chaplain of the old people's home, the superior general of the order, and the religious of the community. He then went on to meet the residents of the institution to whom he delivered an address. "The Church", he said, "has always had great respect for the elderly. The fourth Commandment, 'Honour your father and your mother as the Lord your God commanded you', is linked to the promise, 'that your days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with you, in the land which the Lord your God gives you'. This work of the Church for the aging and infirm not only provides love and care for them, but is also rewarded by God with the blessings He promises on the land where this commandment is observed. God wills a proper respect for the dignity and worth, the health and wellbeing of the elderly and, through her charitable institutions in Britain and beyond, the Church seeks to fulfil the Lord's command to respect life, regardless of age or circumstances". The Pope went on: "Life is a unique gift, at every stage from conception until natural death, and it is God's alone to give and to take. One may enjoy good health in old age; but equally Christians should not be afraid to share in the suffering of Christ, if God wills that we struggle with infirmity. My predecessor, the late Pope John Paul, suffered very publicly during the last years of his life. It was clear to all of us that he did so in union with the sufferings of our Saviour. His cheerfulness and forbearance as he faced his final days were a remarkable and moving example to all of us who have to carry the burden of advancing years. "In this sense", he added, "I come among you not only as a father, but also as a brother who knows well the joys and the struggles that come with age. Our long years of life afford us the opportunity to appreciate both the beauty of God's greatest gift to us, the gift of life, as well as the fragility of the human spirit. Those of us who live many years are given a marvellous chance to deepen our awareness of the mystery of Christ, who humbled Himself to share in our humanity. "As the normal span of our lives increases, our physical capacities are often diminished; and yet these times may well be among the most spiritually fruitful years of our lives. These years are an opportunity to remember in affectionate prayer all those whom we have cherished in this life, and to place all that we have personally been and done before the mercy and tenderness of God. This will surely be a great spiritual comfort and enable us to discover anew His love and goodness all the days of our life", Pope Benedict concluded. The Pope greeted some of the elderly inhabitants of the home, then went to visit a number of sick people on the first floor of the building before signing the institution's visitor's book.PV-UNITED KINGDOM/ VIS 20100919 (640)
MEETING WITH PEOPLE RESPONSIBLE FOR CHILD PROTECTION VATICAN CITY, 18 SEP 2010 (VIS) - Following his visit to elderly people at St. Peter's old people's home, the Holy Father met with a group of professionals and volunteers responsible for child protection in Church environments. "The Church has a long tradition of caring for children from their earliest years through to adulthood, following the affectionate example of Christ, Who blessed the children brought to Him and Who taught His disciples that to such as these the Kingdom of heaven belongs", he told them. "Your work", the Holy Father went on, "carried out within the framework of the recommendations made in the first instance by the Nolan Report and subsequently by the Cumberlege Commission, has made a vital contribution to the promotion of safe environments for young people. It helps to ensure that the preventative measures put in place are effective, that they are maintained with vigilance, and that any allegations of abuse are dealt with swiftly and justly. On behalf of the many children you serve and their parents, let me thank you for the good work that you have done and continue to do in this field. "It is deplorable that, in such marked contrast to the Church's long tradition of care for them, children have suffered abuse and mistreatment at the hands of some priests and religious", he added. "We have all become much more aware of the need to safeguard children, and you are an important part of the Church's broad-ranging response to the problem. "While there are never grounds for complacency, credit should be given where it is due: the efforts of the Church in this country and elsewhere, especially in the last ten years, to guarantee the safety of children and young people and to show them every respect as they grow to maturity, should be acknowledged. I pray that your generous service will help to reinforce an atmosphere of trust and renewed commitment to the welfare of children, who are such a precious gift from God". At the conclusion of the meeting, Benedict XVI travelled by popemobile to Hyde Park where he presided at a prayer vigil for tomorrow's beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman.PV-UNITED KINGDOM/ VIS 20100919 (380)
PRAYER VIGIL FOR BEATIFICATION OF CARDINAL NEWMAN VATICAN CITY, 18 SEP 2010 (VIS) - Before this evening's prayer vigil for the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman, the Pope travelled in his popemobile around Hyde Park, one of London's largest public parks (142 hectares), where thousands of people were gathered to greet him. Following the readings the Holy Father pronounced his address: "We are gathered here in prayerful vigil to prepare for tomorrow's Mass, during which a great son of this nation, Cardinal John Henry Newman, will be declared blessed", he said. "How many people, in England and throughout the world, have longed for this moment! It is also a great joy for me, personally, to share this experience with you. As you know, Newman has long been an important influence in my own life and thought, as he has been for so many people beyond these isles". Benedict XVI referred to certain aspects of Newman's life which, he said, "I consider very relevant to our own lives as believers and to the life of the Church today". "Newman, by his own account, traced the course of his whole life back to a powerful experience of conversion which he had as a young man. ... At the end of his life, Newman would describe his life's work as a struggle against the growing tendency to view religion as a purely private and subjective matter, a question of personal opinion. Here is the first lesson we can learn from his life: in our day, when an intellectual and moral relativism threatens to sap the very foundations of our society, Newman reminds us that, as men and women made in the image and likeness of God, we were created to know the truth, to find in that truth our ultimate freedom and the fulfilment of our deepest human aspirations. In a word, we are meant to know Christ Who is Himself 'the way, and the truth, and the life'. "Newman's life", the Holy Father added, "also teaches us that passion for the truth, intellectual honesty and genuine conversion are costly. The truth that sets us free cannot be kept to ourselves; it calls for testimony, it begs to be heard, and in the end its convincing power comes from itself and not from the human eloquence or arguments in which it may be couched. Not far from here, at Tyburn, great numbers of our brothers and sisters died for the faith; the witness of their fidelity to the end was ever more powerful than the inspired words that so many of them spoke before surrendering everything to the Lord. In our own time, the price to be paid for fidelity to the Gospel is no longer being hanged, drawn and quartered but it often involves being dismissed out of hand, ridiculed or parodied. And yet, the Church cannot withdraw from the task of proclaiming Christ and His Gospel as saving truth, the source of our ultimate happiness as individuals and as the foundation of a just and humane society". The Pope continued: "Finally, Newman teaches us that if we have accepted the truth of Christ and committed our lives to Him, there can be no separation between what we believe and the way we live our lives. Our every thought, word and action must be directed to the glory of God and the spread of His Kingdom. Newman understood this, and was the great champion of the prophetic office of the Christian laity. He saw clearly that we do not so much accept the truth in a purely intellectual act as embrace it in a spiritual dynamic that penetrates to the core of our being. Truth is passed on not merely by formal teaching, important as that is, but also by the witness of lives lived in integrity, fidelity and holiness; those who live in and by the truth instinctively recognise what is false and, precisely as false, inimical to the beauty and goodness which accompany the splendour of truth, 'veritatis splendor'". Newman "taught that the 'kindly light' of faith leads us to realise the truth about ourselves, our dignity as God's children, and the sublime destiny which awaits us in heaven. ... Without the life of prayer, without the interior transformation which takes place through the grace of the Sacraments, we cannot, in Newman's words, 'radiate Christ'; we become just another 'clashing cymbal' in a world filled with growing noise and confusion, filled with false paths leading only to heartbreak and illusion". The Holy Father laid emphasis on "Newman's fine Christian realism, the point at which faith and life inevitably intersect", expressing the view that "no-one who looks realistically at our world today could think that Christians can afford to go on with business as usual, ignoring the profound crisis of faith which has overtaken our society, or simply trusting that the patrimony of values handed down by the Christian centuries will continue to inspire and shape the future of our society. "We know that in times of crisis and upheaval God has raised up great saints and prophets for the renewal of the Church and Christian society; we trust in His providence and we pray for His continued guidance. But each of us, in accordance with his or her state of life, is called to work for the advancement of God's Kingdom by imbuing temporal life with the values of the Gospel. Each of us has a mission, each of us is called to change the world, to work for a culture of life, a culture forged by love and respect for the dignity of each human person". Finally, the Pope addressed some words to the young people present. "Christ has need of families to remind the world of the dignity of human love and the beauty of family life", he said. "He needs men and women who devote their lives to the noble task of education, tending the young and forming them in the ways of the Gospel. He needs those who will consecrate their lives to the pursuit of perfect charity, following Him in chastity, poverty and obedience, and serving Him in the least of our brothers and sisters. He needs the powerful love of contemplative religious, who sustain the Church's witness and activity through their constant prayer. And He needs priests, good and holy priests, men who are willing to lay down their lives for their sheep. Ask our Lord what He has in mind for you! Ask Him for the generosity to say 'yes!' Do not be afraid to give yourself totally to Jesus. He will give you the grace you need to fulfil your vocation". Benedict XVI concluded by inviting young people to join him at World Youth Day in Madrid, Spain in August 2011. "It is always a wonderful occasion to grow in love for Christ and to be encouraged in a joyful life of faith along with thousands of other young people. I hope to see many of you there!". The Pope's address was followed by the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and the Litany of the Sacred Heart. Then, following Newman's prayer of "Irradiating Christ" and his hymn "Lead, Kindly Light", the vigil continued as the Holy Father left to travel back to the apostolic nunciature where he dined and spent the night.PV-UNITED KINGDOM/ VIS 20100919 (1230)
BEATIFICATION OF CARDINAL JOHN HENRY NEWMAN VATICAN CITY, 19 SEP 2010 (VIS) - Benedict XVI left the apostolic nunciature in London this morning and, at 8.30 a.m., boarded a helicopter which took him to Birmingham for the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman. John Henry Newman, one of the great Christian intellectuals of the nineteenth century, was born in London in 1801. His spiritual quest having begun in adolescence, he later went on to study theology at Oxford University. Subsequently he became an Anglican pastor, a fellow of Oriel College, and leader of the Oxford Movement which studied the Catholic roots of the faith in England. In 1842, while writing his "Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine", he began to mature his conversion to Catholicism. He was admitted into the Catholic Church in 1845 and ordained a Catholic priest in Rome on 1 June 1847. Following his ordination, and with the encouragement of Pope Pius IX, he founded the first Oratory of St. Philip Neri in England. In 1852 he was appointed rector of the Catholic University of Dublin, Ireland, a post he held until 1854. Pope Leo XIII made him a cardinal in 1879 and he died in 1890 at the Oratory of Edgbaston. The process for his beatification began in 1958. Newman's miraculous intercession in the cure of dean Jack Sullivan, who suffered a serious complaint of the spinal column, was officially recognised and approved by Benedict XVI in July 2009. The Pope's helicopter landed in Birmingham at 9.30 a.m. He then travelled by car to Cofton Park in the city's Rednal district, very near Cardinal Newman's tomb. Having travelled round the area by popemobile, greeting the 70,000 people present, the Holy Father listened to a greeting from Archbishop Bernard Longley of Birmingham then celebrated Mass for the beatification of John Henry Newman. In his homily, before turning his attention to the new blessed, the Pope recalled how "this particular Sunday also marks a significant moment in the life of the British nation, as it is the day chosen to commemorate the seventieth anniversary of the Battle of Britain. For me as one who lived and suffered through the dark days of the Nazi regime in Germany, it is deeply moving to be here with you on this occasion, and to recall how many of your fellow citizens sacrificed their lives, courageously resisting the forces of that evil ideology. ... Seventy years later, we recall with shame and horror the dreadful toll of death and destruction that war brings in its wake, and we renew our resolve to work for peace and reconciliation wherever the threat of conflict looms. "Yet there is another, more joyful reason why this is an auspicious day for Great Britain, for the Midlands, for Birmingham", he added. "It is the day that sees Cardinal John Henry Newman formally raised to the altars and declared blessed". "England has a long tradition of martyr saints, whose courageous witness has sustained and inspired the Catholic community here for centuries. Yet it is right and fitting that we should recognise today the holiness of a confessor, a son of this nation who, while not called to shed his blood for the Lord, nevertheless bore eloquent witness to Him in the course of a long life devoted to the priestly ministry, and especially to preaching, teaching, and writing. He is worthy to take his place in a long line of saints and scholars from these islands, St. Bede, St. Hilda, St. Aelred, Blessed Duns Scotus, to name but a few". "Cardinal Newman's motto, 'Cor ad cor loquitur', or Heart speaks unto heart, gives us an insight into his understanding of the Christian life as a call to holiness, experienced as the profound desire of the human heart to enter into intimate communion with the Heart of God. He reminds us that faithfulness to prayer gradually transforms us into the divine likeness". "Today's Gospel tells us that no one can be the servant of two masters, and Blessed John Henry's teaching on prayer explains how the faithful Christian is definitively taken into the service of the one true Master, Who alone has a claim to our unconditional devotion. Newman helps us to understand what this means for our daily lives: he tells us that our divine Master has assigned a specific task to each one of us, a 'definite service', committed uniquely to every single person". "The definite service to which Blessed John Henry was called involved applying his keen intellect and his prolific pen to many of the most pressing 'subjects of the day'. His insights into the relationship between faith and reason, into the vital place of revealed religion in civilised society, and into the need for a broadly-based and wide-ranging approach to education were not only of profound importance for Victorian England, but continue today to inspire and enlighten many all over the world". The Holy Father continued his homily by paying "particular tribute" to Cardinal Newman's "vision for education, which has done so much to shape the ethos that is the driving force behind Catholic schools and colleges today. Firmly opposed to any reductive or utilitarian approach, he sought to achieve an educational environment in which intellectual training, moral discipline and religious commitment would come together. The project to found a Catholic University in Ireland provided him with an opportunity to develop his ideas on the subject, and the collection of discourses that he published as 'The Idea of a University' holds up an ideal from which all those engaged in academic formation can continue to learn. ... On this day, ... I pray that, through his intercession and example, all who are engaged in the task of teaching and catechesis will be inspired to greater effort by the vision he so clearly sets before us". Finally, Benedict XVI mentioned the "warmth and humanity underlying" the new blessed's "appreciation of the pastoral ministry. ... He lived out that profoundly human vision of priestly ministry in his devoted care for the people of Birmingham during the years that he spent at the Oratory he founded, visiting the sick and the poor, comforting the bereaved, caring for those in prison. "No wonder that on his death so many thousands of people lined the local streets as his body was taken to its place of burial not half a mile from here. One hundred and twenty years later, great crowds have assembled once again to rejoice in the Church's solemn recognition of the outstanding holiness of this much-loved father of souls". Following Mass the Pope prayed the Angelus, expressing a special greeting to "the people of Seville, Spain, where, just yesterday, Madre Maria de la Purisima de la Cruz was beatified". May she, he said, "be an inspiration to young women to follow her example of single-minded love of God and neighbour". He continued: "When Blessed John Henry Newman came to live in Birmingham, he gave the name 'Maryvale' to his first home here. The Oratory that he founded is dedicated to the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin. And the Catholic University of Ireland he placed under the patronage of Mary, 'Sedes Sapientiae'. In so many ways, he lived his priestly ministry in a spirit of filial devotion to the Mother of God". At 12.40 the Pope left Cofton Park and travelled by car to the Oratory of St. Philip Neri in Birmingham, where the cardinal lived from his conversion until his death on 11 August 1890. There Benedict XVI visited the blessed's room, which has now been transformed into a museum. He then went on to Birmingham's Oscott College where he had lunch.