The Holy Father's Week: January 19, 2009

A report on Pope Benedict XVI's messages and activities
by Maribel de Torres | Source:

Education needed to confront crisis. Benedict XVI affirmed that formation in values is needed to confront the current global crisis. He said that the current economic crisis is linked to another "structural, cultural [crisis] of values."
Particularly among youth, "the human and Christian values that give meaning to daily life and that form a vision of life open to hope are weakened." "Instead, ephemeral desires and fleeting hopes rise up, which in the end cause boredom and failure," the Pontiff stated.
The Pope noted that the Church, "with an intuition that I would like to call prophetic, has concentrated her efforts for some years now on the theme of education."
He went on to say that the Church "is called to make her contribution, stimulating reflection and forming the consciences of the faithful and of all citizens of good will."
The Pope said this today during a traditional beginning-of-the-year address to representatives from the Latium Region and the Province and City of Rome. VATICAN CITY, JAN. 12, 2009

Christ as head. During the general audience, Benedict XVI  looked at this title given to Jesus in St Paul´s epistles.  “This title is used on two levels.” He explained, “In the first sense, Christ is understood as the head of the Church (cf. Colossians 2:18-19 and Ephesians 4:15-16). This means two things: that he is the governor, the one in charge who guides the Christian community as its leader and lord; and “the other meaning is that it is as the head that he raises and vivifies all the members of the body of which he is head” “from whom comes also the strength to act in an upright way."
Then, in a second sense, Christ is considered not only as head of the Church, but as head of the celestial powers and the entire cosmos. The Pope explained that this is  a highly positive and fruitful message. “Christ need not fear any eventual competitor, because he is superior to any type of power that would try to humiliate man. Only he has "loved us and handed himself over for us as a sacrificial offering to God" 5:2). That's why, if we are united to Christ, we should fear no enemy and no adversity; but, this also means that we should remain closely united to him, without letting go!”
The Holy Father mentioned that these letters are also notable for the spousal image they use to describe how Christ has "won" his bride - the Church - by giving his life for her (cf. Eph 5:25). “What demonstration of love can be grander than this one?” the Pope asked.
“And if we think that the Church is the body of Christ, that Christ has given himself for her, we learn how to live with Christ in reciprocal love, the love that unites us to God and that makes us see the other as an image of Christ, as Christ himself.” The Pope said,  “Let us pray to the Lord so that he helps us to meditate well on sacred Scripture, his Word, and thus truly learn to live well.”
At the end of the general audience the Holy father expressed his hope that the 6th World Meeting of families. will bring a rediscovery of the beauty of society's fundamental cell. VATICAN CITY, JAN. 14, 2008

 In the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, the Holy Father chose the theme "St. Paul Migrant, Apostle of the Gentiles." for the address he delivered before praying the Angelus.
He said Saul, his Jewish name, was born into a family of immigrants in Tarsus and grew up in three cultures -- Jewish, Hellenistic, and Roman -- and with a cosmopolitan mentality.
“When he converted from being a persecutor of Christians to being an apostle of the Gospel,” the Pontiff said “Paul became the "ambassador" of the risen Christ to make him known to all, in the conviction that in him all peoples are called to form the great family of the children of God.”
”This is also the Church's mission, more than ever in this time of globalization”
He expressed his wish that the Christian community work in every part of the world for peaceful coexistence of men and women of different ethnicities, cultures and religions.
He asked to give value to the phenomenon of migration as an occasion of the meeting of civilizations, and that each one of us bears witness to the Gospel, with a greater concern for those brothers and sisters who have come from different countries for various reasons to live among us. “Let us pray and act so that this always takes place in a peaceful and constructive way,” the Holy Father said “in respect and dialogue, preventing every temptation to conflict and abuse.”
The Pontiff also expressed his concern for sailors and fisherman who, besides the usual difficulties, are also suffering from the restrictions of bringing chaplains on board, as well as from the dangers of pirates and the damage of illegal fishing,
Finally, Benedict XVI mentioned the World Meeting of Families, which is concluding in Mexico City, and the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which begins today. He invited to pray for all these intentions, invoking the maternal intercession of the Virgin Mary. VATICAN CITY, JAN. 18, 2009

Families as a living Gospel. In a video message he sent to VI World meeting of Families, Benedict XVI encouraged  families in Mexico and around the world to mobilize themselves to promote a culture and politics of the family. "To work for the family is to work for the dignified and luminous future of humanity and for the building of the Kingdom of God." The Holy father affirmed.  He urged families to unite themselves to the associations that promote the identity and rights of the family, according to an anthropologic vision that is coherent with the Gospel and invited "these associations to coordinate themselves and collaborate with each other so that their actions be more incisive."
The Holy Father said the Christian family, "living with confidence and in filial obedience to God, with fidelity and in generously accepting children, caring for the weakest and ready to forgive, becomes a living Gospel that all can read." and asked families to present their testimony of life and their explicit profession of faith in the various spheres of their environment.
Likewise, he asked that families commit themselves "to the catechetical formation of their children, and the pastoral activities of their parochial community, especially those related to marriage preparation or directly related to family life." The family, he concluded, is called "to be evangelized and evangelizer, humane and humanizing."
At the close of the VI World Meeting of Families in Mexico City, Benedict XVI announced that the next encounter of the family will be held in Milan, Italy. MEXICO CITY, JAN. 18, 2009

Other Papal messages and activities

Neocatechumenal Way celebrated 40 years.  The Pope addressed some 25,000 members of the Way along with the group's founders, Kiko Argüello, Carmen Hernández and Father M. Pezzi, and gave thanks to God for the fruits of their evangelical efforts.
The Bishop of Rome recognized that the recent approval of the statutes of the Neocatechumenal Way by the Pontifical Council for the Laity "has sealed the esteem and benevolence with which the Holy See follows this work that the Lord has stirred up through the initiators [of the Way]."
During the event, Argüello presented some of the fruits of the Neocatechumenal Way and the Holy Father gave thanks to God for the "great number of priests and consecrated persons that the Lord has risen up in your communities." VATICAN CITY, JAN. 12, 2009

Pontiff Mourns Death of Cardinal Laghi . Upon receiving news of the death of Cardinal Pio Laghi, who died Sunday at age 86. Benedict XVI expressed his sorrow. The cardinal's funeral was celebrated today by Cardinal A. Sodano. The Pope gave the homily, during which he read some phrases from the spiritual testament of the Italian cardinal, written last November: "I again offer to God my life for the Church, for the Holy Father and for the sanctification of my brothers in the priesthood.
"I want already now to accept the death that Divine Providence has reserved for me: I only ask him that the days of my suffering be brief, if it is possible, in part so as not to be a burden for those who help me."
Cardinal Laghi, former prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education, also performed various key diplomatic missions entrusted him by Pope John Paul II. Among his missions were visits to U.S. President George H.W. Bush in an attempt to ward off the war in Iraq, service as the apostolic nuncio in Argentina and the United States, and apostolic delegate to Jerusalem and Palestine. VATICAN CITY, JAN. 13, 2009

Benedict XVI called a weeklong synod for the Syrian Catholic Church. In conformity with the Code of Canon Law for Eastern Churches, the Pope called a weeklong synod for the Syrian Catholic Church to take place in Rome starting this Saturday, so that a new patriarch can be elected, the Vatican reported today. VATICAN CITY, JAN. 15, 2009

Police Work as a service to others through order and security. The Pope received in audience the members of the General Inspectorate for Public Security in the Vatican. He said that “Accomplishing one's duty with love, especially when it is difficult, can be a prayer that leads to holiness” "It is by doing their duty well that each of the baptized achieves his or her vocation of sanctity." VATICAN CITY, JAN. 15, 2009

A prayer for the Holy Father 

Christ Jesus, King and Lord of the Church, in your presence I renew my unconditional loyalty to your Vicar on earth, the Pope. In him you have chosen to show us the safe and sure path that we must follow in the midst of confusion, uneasiness, and unrest. I firmly believe that through him you govern, teach, and sanctify us; with him as our shepherd, we form the true Church: one, holy, catholic, and apostolic. Grant me the grace to love, live, and spread faithfully our Holy Father’s teachings. Watch over his life, enlighten his mind, strengthen his spirit, defend him from calumny and evil. Calm the erosive winds of infidelity and disobedience. Hear our prayer and keep your Church united around him, firm in its belief and action, that it may truly be the instrument of your redemption. Amen.


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