All the public audiences of the Pontiff were suspended till Saturday 7/march. Following a Lenten tradition, Benedict XVI and the Roman Curia are in a silence retreat, reflecting and praying on the role God has in their lives. Cardinal Francis Arinze, retired prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, is preaching on the theme of "The Priest Meets Jesus and Follows Him." VATICAN CITY, MARCH 2, 2009
The Holy Father thanked Cardinal Francis Arinze at Conclusion of Lenten Retreat. “You have not given us theological acrobatics, but you have given us sound doctrine, the good bread of our faith.” He affirmed. “What you said to us was sound, concrete for our life, for our comportment as priests. I hope that many will read these words and take them to heart.”
“You first began with this always fascinating and beautiful account of the first disciples who followed Jesus. Still a little uncertain and timid they ask: Master, where do you live?” The pope said “And the answer, which you commented on, is: "Come and see." To see we must come, we must walk with Jesus, who always precedes us. Only in walking with and following Jesus can we see. You have showed us where Jesus lives, where his dwelling is: in the Church, in his Word, in the most holy Eucharist.” VATICAN CITY, MARCH 8, 2009
On the occasion of International Women's Day, Benedict XVI affirmed, "Today I pledge my prayer for all women, that they be evermore respected in their dignity and valued in their positive possibilities." After praying the midday Angelus, He recalled Pope John Paul II's letter, "Mulieris Dignitatem" as well as various expressions of the magisterium in upholding this value for the dignity of women; and noted the importance of the saints’s testimony, particularly "that of Mother Teresa of Calcutta: humble daughter of Albania." The Holy Father pointed out: "How many other women work in a hidden way every day for the good of humanity and for the Kingdom of God! VATICAN CITY, MARCH 8, 2009
Prayer is needed for spiritual growth, The Holy father emphasized the need for prayer to unite one's will with God and immerse oneself in his love. He spoke about his retreat last week, noting that "it was a week of silence and prayer: the mind and heart were able to dedicate themselves entirely to God, to listening to his Word, to meditation on the mysteries of Christ.”
The Pontiff exhorted his listeners to "find in this time of Lent moments of prolonged silence, perhaps a retreat, to reflect again on your life in the light of heavenly Father's plan of love."
He continued: "Let the Virgin Mary, teacher and model of prayer, be your guide in this more intense listening to God." VATICAN CITY, MARCH 8, 2009
Benedict XVI Will Visit Holy Land. Today, in an address in St. Peter's Square after the midday Angelus, the Pope explained the reason of the trip: "to ask the Lord, while visiting the places sanctified by his life on earth, for the precious gift of unity and peace for the Middle East and for all of humanity."
He asked for the "spiritual support" of the faithful faced to his May 8-15 pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
The Holy Father also asked for prayers for his upcoming trip to Africa, planned for March 17-23. He explained that he will travel to Cameroon and Angola "to show my concrete nearness and that of the Church to the Christians and peoples of that continent, which is particularly dear to me." VATICAN CITY, MARCH 8, 2009
Other papal messages and activities
“This Beautiful Church Awakens in Us the Nostalgia for Full Unity”. Benedict XVI sent a message to a ceremony Sunday in which the president of Italy turned over the keys to a Russian Orthodox Church in southern Italy to the president of Russia. The Church of St. Nicolas in Bari, built at the beginnings of the past century, is a meeting point between East and West, to venerate the relics of the saint. The Holy Father hopes that this ceremony too will contribute so that Bari continues being, as Pope John Paul II of happy memory said, a "natural bridge to the East," offering its precious contribution to the path toward full communion among Christians. The message ended invoking the intercession of the Mother of God and St. Nicholas . VATICAN CITY, MARCH 2, 2009
Benedict XVI's message for World Youth Day 2009, to be celebrated at the diocesan level this Palm Sunday, was released today. The event theme is: "We have set our hope on the living God" (1 Tim 4:10). “We know that it is in God alone that a human person finds true fulfilment.” The Holy Father says, “The main task for us all is that of a new evangelization aimed at helping younger generations to rediscover the true face of God, who is Love. To you young people, who are in search of a firm hope, I address the very words that Saint Paul wrote to the persecuted Christians in Rome at that time: "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit" (Rom 15:13).The Pope’s message continues urging young people: “The Church depends on you for this demanding mission. Do not be discouraged by the difficulties and trials you encounter. Be patient and persevering so as to overcome the natural youthful tendency to rush ahead and to want everything immediately.”
The pontiff presented St. Paul’s example to be studied and followed, and concluded with a beautiful and well-known prayer by Saint Bernard that was inspired by one of Mary's titles, Stella Maris, Star of the Sea. VATICAN CITY, MARCH 4, 2009
Benedict XVI sent a message to Spanish pilgrims. In a message addressed to the Archbishop of Pamplona, Spain, Benedict XVI urged the faithful going to the birthplace of St. Francis Xavier, patron of the missions, to make their pilgrimage a faith-filled event. The "Javieradas" are two pilgrimages undertaken on two consecutive Sundays around the Novena of Grace dedicated to St. Francis Xavier. This year they will take place on March 8 and 14. The motto for this year's pilgrimage is "Missionaries Like Paul and Xavier: Woe to Me If I Do Not Evangelize!" PAMPLONA, Spain, MARCH 6, 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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