The Holy Father´s Week: February 23, 2009

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

On the Life of St. Bede. During the general audience the Pope reflected on the life of one of the most learned men of the early middle Ages and a prolific author, as well as a saintly person, St Bede, an English monk. The Holy Father concentrated on Bede's contribution to Scripture studies, the history of the Church, and liturgical theology.
Sacred Scriptures were the constant source of Bede's theological reflection, the Holy Father explained. Centred on the mystery of Christ and the Church, he highlights the unity of the Old and New Testaments.
He also traced the history of the Church from the Acts of the Apostles, through the age of the Fathers and Councils, and down to his own times. His Ecclesiastical History recounts the Church’s missionary expansion and growth among the English people.

Bede recommends taking care of the apostolate -- no one has the Gospel just for himself, but must regard it as a gift also for others; and also exhorts the lay faithful to be assiduous to the religious instruction, imitating those "insatiable evangelical multitudes who did not even give the Apostles time to eat."
The Holy Father continued saying that St. Bede contributed effectively to the making of a Christian Europe, in which the different populations and cultures amalgamated among themselves, conferring on them a uniform physiognomy, inspired by the Christian faith.
”Let us pray that also today there be personalities of Bede's stature, to keep the whole Continent united;” said the Pontiff, “ let us pray so that all of us are willing to rediscover our common roots, to be builders of a profoundly human and genuinely Christian Europe.” VATICAN CITY, FEB. 18, 2009

Feast of the Chair of Peter. This Sunday the Church celebrated this liturgical feast that highlights the office of the successor of the Prince of the Apostles. Before praying the midday Angelus, the Holy Father explained “Immediately after the martyrdom of St. Peter and St. Paul, the primacy of the Church of Rome in the Catholic community was recognized.” “The chair of Peter symbolizes the authority of the Bishop of Rome, who is called to perform a special service for the whole People of God.”
He asked for prayers for a successful fulfilment of his mission as the Bishop of Rome and invoked the Virgin Mary, whom was celebrated in Rome, under the title of Our Lady of Confidence. “May Mary open our hearts to conversion and to a docile listening to the Word of God.”
The Pope also meditated on today’s Gospel passage in which the paralytic is forgiven and healed (Mark 2:1-12).“This Gospel episode shows that Jesus has the power not only to heal the sick body but also to forgive sins; and indeed, the physical healing is a sign of the spiritual healing that his forgiveness produces.” “In effect,” he continued saying, “sin is a kind of paralysis of the spirit, from which only the power of the merciful love of God can liberate us, allowing us to pick ourselves up and set out again along the path of goodness.” VATICAN CITY, FEB. 22, 2009

Other papal messages and activities.

Benedict XVI saddened for the death of South Korean Cardinal. He offered condolences to his successor and to all the people of Korea at the loss of the retired archbishop of Seoul, Cardinal Stephen Kim Sou-Hwan, who died today at 86. VATICAN CITY, FEB. 16, 2009

Pope Urges Catholic US Legislators to Defend Life.  The Holy Father "took the opportunity to speak of the requirements of the natural moral law and the Church's consistent teaching on the dignity of human life from conception to natural death," when he received Nancy Pelosi and her entourage briefly today after the general audience, the Vatican reported afterward.
Benedict XVI urged legislators to uphold the sanctity of human life according to Church teaching. VATICAN CITY, FEB. 18, 2009

Support Latin America's Continental Mission. "Forge Your Heart as True Apostles" the Pope urged 150 members of the community of the Pius Pontifical Latin American College in Rome. He exhorted them to be “firmly anchored in the Lord, who must always be for you the foundation, compass and goal of your efforts “
The Holy Father invited them to support the "continental Mission," promoted in Aparecida , and invited them to fervently pray for it  “so that the faithful will know, dedicate themselves and increasingly imitate Jesus Christ, taking part frequently in the Sunday celebrations of each community and witnessing to Him” VATICAN CITY, FEB. 19, 2009

Benedict XVI met with the British Prime Minister. The meeting's "cordial conversations dealt with the present global economic crisis and on the duty to pursue initiatives benefiting the less developed countries, and to foster cooperation on projects of human promotion, respect for the environment and sustainable development." said a communiqué from the Vatican press office. Gordon Brown told reporters that in the meeting he invited the Pope to visit his country for the beatification of Cardinal John H. Newman, an Anglican convert to Catholicism in the 19th century. VATICAN CITY, FEB. 19, 2009

 “All human labour is a participation in the creative providence of Almighty God,” the Holy Father said, “but agricultural labour is so in a pre-eminent way. A truly humane society will always know how to appreciate and reward appropriately the contribution made by the agricultural sector. If properly supported and equipped, it has the potential to lift a nation out of poverty and to lay the foundations for increasing prosperity.” Benedict XVI told members of the U.N. International Fund for Agricultural Development. “I pray that IFAD's anniversary celebration will provide you with an incentive to pursue these worthy goals with renewed energy and determination in the years ahead.”VATICAN CITY, FEB. 20, 2009

Formation Is Key for Exemplary Priests “Today more than ever, it is necessary that seminarians, with the right intention and beyond any other interest, aspire to the priesthood moved solely by the will to be genuine disciples and missionaries of Jesus Christ who, in communion with his bishops, make him present with their ministry and witness of life.” Years spent in seminary are decisive for discernment and preparation, the Pope told the Pontifical Commission for Latin America who, in their plenary assembly, reflected on "the present situation of priestly formation in the seminaries"
“Of great importance for this is being very attentive to their human, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral formation, as well as the adequate choice of their formators and professors.” He said. “To have priests according to the heart of Christ, confidence must be placed in the action of the Holy Spirit, more than in human strategies and calculations, asking the Lord with great faith, "Lord of the harvest," to send numerous and holy vocations to the priesthood (cf. Luke 10:2),”.VATICAN CITY, FEB. 20, 2009

Man Is Greater Than the Sum of His Genes. The Holy Father addressed participants in a conference sponsored by the Pontifical Academy for Life on the theme "New Frontiers of Genetics and the Danger of Eugenics”
 “Every human being is much more than a singular combination of genetic information that is transmitted to him by his parents.” Benedict XVI said, “If we want to enter into the mystery of human life, then it is necessary that no science isolate itself, pretending to have the last word. Rather, the common vocation to arrive at the truth -- according to the different methodologies and contents proper to each science -- must be shared.”
 “Confidence in science” the Holy Father affirmed, “cannot forget the primacy of ethics when human life is at stake.” He continued, "It is necessary to reemphasize that discrimination exercised by any power in regard to persons, peoples or ethnic groups on the basis of differences that stem from real or presumed genetic factors is an act of violence against all of humanity."
The Pope ended expressing his hope that their research continue with due scientific care and the attention that ethical principles require in matters that are so important and decisive for the fitting development of personal existence. VATICAN CITY, FEB. 22, 2009
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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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