TO BRAZILIAN BISHOPS: WE ALL NEED FORGIVENESS VATICAN CITY, 25 SEP 2010 (VIS REPORT) - The Holy Father today received prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil (East region 1), who have just completed their "ad limina" visit. Speaking about young people the Holy Father reminded the prelates how, during the Jubilee Year 2000, the Venerable John Paul II had described youth as "sentinels of the morning" whose "task it is to awaken their brothers and sisters as they sail in the vast ocean of the third millennium. As proof of this I recall the long queues of young people waiting to take Confession at the Circus Maximus, thus restoring the trust of many priests in the Sacrament of Penance", he said. "As you know", the Pope went on, "the core of the spiritual crisis of our time has its roots in the obscuration of the grace of forgiveness. If this is not recognised as being real and effective it tends to free people from guilt, and the conditions for the existence of guilt are never achieved. But people 'liberated' in this manner know in their hearts that it is not true, that sin exists and that they themselves are sinners". Benedict XVI highlighted how "we all need God as the Divine Sculptor Who removes the accumulation of dust and debris covering the image of God inscribed within us. We need forgiveness, which is the nucleus of all true reform. It rebuilds individuals from the depths of their hearts and is the core of the renewal of the community". "Only a profound renewal of the person can act as foundation for the growth of the Church, the community that unites and supports us in life and death", he explained. "This community is on an upward journey, seeking the purification which enables us to understand the authentic meaning of the human being, seeking the company of God. As purification is achieved the upward journey - which is hard to begin with - becomes more joyful. This joy must be increasingly reflected in the Church, infecting the world, because it is the youth of the world". "An undertaking such as this", Pope Benedict concluded, "cannot be completed with our own strength; rather, we need the light and grace that come from the Sprit of God and act in the depths of people's hearts and consciences. May that light and that grace help you and your dioceses in the formation of minds and hearts".AL/ VIS 20100927 (420)
LOVE IS THE PATH TO ETERNAL LIFE VATICAN CITY, 26 SEP 2010 (VIS) - Before praying the Angelus today Benedict XVI turned his attention to this Sunday's Gospel narrative of the rich man and the poor Lazarus. While the former lives in selfish luxury and, when he dies, goes to hell, Lazarus, who eats the crumbs from the rich man's table, at his death is carried by the angels to an eternal dwelling with God. "This parable", the Pope told faithful gathered in the courtyard of the Apostolic Palace at Castelgandolfo, "tells us two things: firstly, that God loves the poor and raises them from their abjection; secondly, that our eternal destiny is dependent upon our behaviour, it is up to us to follow the path God has shown us in order to achieve life, and this path is love, understood not as an emotion but as service to others in the charity of Christ". The Holy Father then went on to recall the fact that tomorrow marks the feast day and the 350th anniversary of the death of St. Vincent de Paul, patron of Catholic charity organisations. "In seventeenth-century France he personally experienced the great contrast between rich and poor. As a priest he was able to frequent aristocratic circles, the countryside and the deprived areas of Paris. Encouraged by Christ's love, Vincent de Paul organised regular forms of service to the marginalised, creating the ... 'Charitees'; that is, groups of women who dedicated their time and goods to helping the poorest". In this context, the Pope made specific mention of St. Louise de Marillac who, together with Vincent de Paul, founded the Daughters of Charity, "the first female congregation to live their consecration 'in the world', among the people, serving the sick and the needy". "Only Love with a capital 'L' brings true happiness!", the Holy Father exclaimed. "This was also made evident by another witness, who was proclaimed blessed here in Rome yesterday. I am talking about Chiara Badano, an Italian girl born in 1971 who died of an illness when she was just under nineteen, but who was a ray of light to everyone, as her nickname says: Chiara Luce". The beatification of Chiara Badano, who was a member of the Focolari Movement, the Pope concluded, "is a feast day for all young people, who may see in her an example of Christian coherence".ANG/ VIS 20100927 (400)
POPE BIDS FAREWELL TO AUTHORITIES OF CASTELGANDOLFO VATICAN CITY, 27 SEP 2010 (VIS) - Today in the Apostolic Palace of Castelgandolfo, Benedict XVI made his traditional farewells to the local civil and religious authorities prior to returning to the Vatican later this week. The Pope greeted Marcello Semeraro of Albano and the priests and religious accompanying him, and thanked the mayor of Castelgandolfo and the town authorities. He likewise expressed his gratitude to members of the Vatican Governorate, the Gendarmerie and the Swiss Guard, as well as to the police and the Italian air force. "As I leave you", he told them, "I would like you to ponder on the figure of St. Vincent de Paul, whose feast day falls today. This apostle of charity, so dear to Christian people and known especially through the orders of nuns he founded, was proclaimed by Pope Leo XIII as 'universal patron of all works of charity all over the world'". The Holy Father concluded: "With his unceasing apostolic activity, he made the Gospel an increasingly bright beacon of hope and love for the men and women of his time, especially for the poorest in body and in spirit. May his virtuous example and his intercession arouse in your communities, and in each one of you, a renewed commitment to solidarity so that all our efforts may come together in building the common good"..../ VIS 20100927 (240)
MESSAGE FOR WORLD CONGRESS ON PILGRIMAGES AND SHRINES VATICAN CITY, 27 SEP 2010 (VIS) - Made public today was a Message from the Pope to Archbishop Antonio Maria Veglio, president of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, and to Archbishop Julian Barrio Barrio of Santiago de Compostela, Spain, for the Second World Congress on the Pastoral Care of Pilgrimages and Shrines, which is being held in Santiago from 27 to 30 September. Extracts from the English-language version of the Message are given below: "With the theme, 'So he went in to stay with them', taken from the Gospel passage of the disciples of Emmaus, you are", the Holy Father writes, "preparing to study in depth the importance of pilgrimages to the shrines as a manifestation of Christian life and a space of evangelisation". "I will personally make a pilgrimage soon to the tomb of the Apostle St. James, the 'Lord's friend', in the same way that I have made my way to other places in the world which many of the faithful visit with fervent devotion. In this regard, from the beginning of my pontificate, I have wanted to live my ministry as the Successor of Peter with the sentiments of a pilgrim who travels over the roads of the world with hope and simplicity bringing on his lips and in his heart the saving message of the Risen Christ, and strengthening his brothers in faith. As an explicit sign of this mission, my coat-of-arms includes the pilgrim's shell, among other elements. "In these historic moments in which we are called, with greater force if possible, to evangelise our world, the riches offered to us by the pilgrimage to shrines should be highlighted. First of all, for its great ability to summon and bring together a growing number of pilgrims and religious tourists, some of whom are in complicated human and spiritual situations, somewhat distant from living the faith and with a weak ecclesial affiliation. Christ speaks to all of them with love and hope. "The desire for happiness that is imbedded in the soul finds its answer in Him, and human suffering together with Him has a meaning. With His grace, the noblest causes also find their complete fulfilment. As Simeon met with Christ in the temple, so too a pilgrim should have the opportunity to discover the Lord in the shrine. "For this purpose, efforts should be made so that visitors may not forget that shrines are sacred places in order to be in them with devotion, respect and propriety. In this way, the Word of Christ, the Son of the living God, can ring out clearly, and the event of His death and resurrection, the foundation of our faith, can be proclaimed completely. "Very careful attention should also be given to welcoming the pilgrims, by highlighting, among other elements, the dignity and beauty of the shrine, the image of 'God's dwelling... with the human race', the moments and spaces for both personal and community prayer, and attention to devotional practices. In the same way, it can never be stressed enough that shrines should be lighthouses of charity, with unceasing dedication to the neediest through concrete works of solidarity and mercy, and constant readiness to listen, favouring in particular the faithful's reception of the Sacrament of Reconciliation and taking part worthily in the Eucharistic celebration, making this the centre and apex of all the pastoral activity of the shrines. In this way it will be made manifest that the Eucharist is indeed the pilgrim's nourishment, the 'Sacrament of the God Who does not leave us alone on the journey but stays at our side and shows us the way'. "In fact, different from a wanderer whose steps have no established final destination, a pilgrim always has a destination, even if at times he is not explicitly aware of it. And this destination is none other than the encounter with God through Christ in whom all our aspirations find their response. For this reason, the celebration of the Eucharist can really be considered the culmination of the pilgrimage. "As 'God's co-workers', I exhort all of you to be dedicated to this beautiful mission so that through your pastoral care, you will favour in pilgrims the knowledge and imitation of Christ Who continues to walk with us, enlighten our lives with His Word, and share with us the Bread of Life in the Eucharist. In this way, the pilgrimage to the shrine will be a favourable occasion to strengthen the desire in those who visit it to share the wonderful experience with others of knowing they are loved by God and sent to the world to give witness to that love. "With these sentiments, I entrust the fruits of this Congress to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Apostle James as I direct my prayer to Jesus Christ, 'the Way and the Truth and the Life', to Whom I present all those who seek His face as they peregrinate through life: "Lord Jesus Christ, pilgrim of Emmaus,you make yourself close to us for love,even if, at times, discouragement and sadnessprevent us from discovering your presence.You are the flame that revives our faith.You are the light that purifies our hope.You are the force that stirs our charity. Teach us to recognise you in the Word,in the house and on the Table where the Bread of Life is shared,in generous service to our suffering neighbour. And when evening falls, Lord, help us to say:'Stay with us'. Amen".MESS/ VIS 20100927 (940)
AUDIENCES VATICAN CITY, 27 SEP 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences: - Two prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, on their "ad limina" visit: - Bishop Fernando Areas Rifan, apostolic administrator of the personal apostolic administration of Sao Joao Maria Vianney. - Wilson Tadeu Jonck, S.C.I. of Tubarao. - Bishop Marcello Semeraro of Albano, Italy. On Saturday 25 September he received in separate audiences: - Three prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, on their "ad limina" visit: - Bishop Elias James Manning O.F.M. Conv. of Valenca. - Archbishop Gil Antonio Moreira of Juiz de Fora. - Bishop Edgard Madi of Nossa Senhora do Libano em Sao Paulo of the Maronites. - Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.