The Holy Father´s Week: March 16, 2009

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

Benedict XVI considered St. Boniface's Contribution to Europe. At the general audience in St. Peter's Square, the Pope spoke about the "apostle of the Germans," born in Great Britain around the year 675. “After centuries, what message can we take from the teaching and the prodigious activity of this great missionary and martyr?” The Holy Father asked “A first point is evident to one who approaches Boniface: the centrality of the Word of God, lived and interpreted in the faith of the Church, a Word that he lived, preached and gave testimony to unto the supreme gift of himself in martyrdom. He was so impassioned by the Word of God that he felt the urgency and the duty of taking it to others, even at his personal risk.”
“Transmitting the ancient patrimony of Christian values, he implanted in the German peoples a new style of life that was more human, thanks to which the inalienable rights of the person were better respected.”
“At 40 years old, he leaves a beautiful and fruitful monastic life, the life of a monk and a professor, to announce the Gospel to the simple, to the barbarians; at 80 years of age, once again, he goes to a zone where he foresaw his martyrdom.” The Holy Father added,
“Comparing this ardent faith of his, this zeal for the Gospel, to our faith so often lukewarm and bureaucratic, we see that we have to renew our faith and how to do it, so as to give as a gift to our times the precious pearl of the Gospel.” VATICAN CITY, MARCH 11, 2009

The Holy Father expressed deep sorrow at the murders of two young British soldiers and a policeman in Northern Ireland. At the end of the general audience, the Pope assured the families of the victims and the injured of his spiritual closeness, and condemned these abominable acts of terrorism. The Holy Father ended asking the Lord “that no one will again give in to the horrendous temptation of violence and that all will increase their efforts to continue building - through the patient effort of dialogue - a peaceful, just and reconciled society.” VATICAN CITY, MARCH 11, 2009

Benedict XVI wrote a letter to bishops of the world.  The letter comes weeks after Lefebvrite Bishop R. Williamson said on Swedish television that he didn't believe 6 million Jews died in gas chambers during World War II. The comments aired at about the same time as he and three other bishops of the Society of St. Pius X had their 20-year excommunication lifted.
The lifting of the excommunication is unrelated to the bishop's interview and occurred in the context of Benedict XVI's efforts to heal the schism with the Society of St. Pius X. . 
The Holy Father acknowledges that January's lifting of the 1988 excommunication of the four Society prelates caused a "discussion more heated than any we have seen for a long time." He recognizes the limitations and errors that had a negative influence on the affair, and speaks of inadequate information in the Williamson case and of insufficient clarity in explaining the procedure and significance of remitting excommunication.
Despite the turmoil caused by the lifting of the excommunication, the Holy Father made clear that seeking unity is a papal priority He expressed “the need for all those who believe in God to join in seeking peace, to attempt to draw closer to one another, and to journey together, even with their differing images of God, towards the source of Light -- this is interreligious dialogue. Whoever proclaims that God is Love "to the end" has to bear witness to love: in loving devotion to the suffering, in the rejection of hatred and enmity and forgiveness is one of Jesus´s commands.”
The Pope expressed his gratefulness to all those who in these days have given testimony of their constant fidelity to the Successor of Saint Peter “May the Lord protect all of us and guide our steps along the way of peace.” VATICAN CITY, MARCH 12, 2009
Full text of letter:

The Pope will travel to Africa. Before praying the midday Angelus, the Holy Father announced his trip to   Africa from Tuesday, March 17, to Monday, March 23. He will travel to Cameroon and to its capital, Yaoundé, and to Luanda, the capital of Angola, “a country that, after a long civil war, has found peace again and is now called to rebuild itself in justice.” His presence in the great Continent of Africa forms part of the preparation for the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops dedicated to the theme: "The Church in Africa in Service to Reconciliation, Justice and Peace". 
The Pontiff said he leaves for the continent knowing he has "nothing else to propose and give to those whom I will meet if not Christ and the Good News of his cross, mystery of supreme love, of divine love that defeats all human resistance and in the end makes forgiveness and love of enemies possible."
During the trip he will celebrate the feast of his patron St. Joseph, who is also the patron of the universal Church. “To the heavenly intercession of this great saint I entrust this upcoming pilgrimage and the peoples of all of Africa, with the challenges that face them and the hopes that animate them.” He said. “I think especially of the victims of hunger, disease, injustices, of the fratricidal conflicts and of every form of violence that, unfortunately, continues to strike adults and children, without sparing missionaries, priests, religious, and volunteers.” The Holy Father asked for prayers, invoking Mary, Mother and Queen of Africa. VATICAN CITY, MARCH 15, 2009

The Bishop of Rome visited the headquarters of the Rome's civil authorities; He was received by Mayor G. Alemanno. The Holy Father stressed the importance of rediscovering the "everlasting values" of man, especially in reference to God. To find the strength to bring out respect for the norms of civil coexistence and the rejection of all forms of intolerance and discrimination, the Pope encouraged going back to Rome's roots, shaped by ancient law and the Christian faith. After mentioning some important Roman saints, the Pope pointed out that their example "shows that when a person encounters Christ, he is not enclosed in himself, but is open to the needs of others and, in every realm of society, puts the good of all before his own interests." "Christianity is the bearer of a luminous message about the truth of man, and the Church, the keeper of this message, is conscious of her own responsibility toward contemporary culture," he affirmed. The Pontiff proposed collaboration with the Church, through parishes and educational institutions. ROME, MARCH 9, 2009

Other papal activities.

The Holy Father visited the Oblate Sisters of Santa F. Romana. After spending some time in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and in veneration of the saint's body, the Pope addressed the sisters and students that reside at the center. "Your community, together with the other communities of contemplative life, is called to be a sort of 'spiritual lung' of society, so that the performance, the activism of a city, is not devoid of spiritual 'respiration,' the reference to God and his plan of salvation. [...]” The Bishop of Rome told the nuns: ROME, MARCH 9, 2009

Benedict XVI appoints four  members to the Vatican Congregation for Eastern Churches. The Latin patriarch of Jerusalem, Archbishop Fouad Twal, is the newest member of the Vatican Congregation for Eastern Churches. The Holy Father also appointed Archbishop Jan Babjak of Presov, Slovakia, of Byzantine rite Catholics; Archbishop Berhaneyesus Demerew Souraphiel of Addis Abeba, Ethiopia; and Archbishop Basil Schott of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, also of the Byzantine rite. VATICAN CITY, MARCH 9, 2009

The Holy Father received delegation of Israel's Chief Rabbinate. The Pope said dialogue with Jews is, not only possible, but necessary, due to the common spiritual heritage shared by the two faiths. "Christians gladly acknowledge that their own roots are found in the same self-revelation of God, in which the religious experience of the Jewish people is nourished."
Benedict XVI also told them about his coming visit to the Holy Land "as a pilgrim". "My intention," he said, "is to pray especially for the precious gift of unity and peace both within the region and for the worldwide human family." VATICAN CITY, MARCH 12, 2009

Benedict XVI plans to visit Rome's Synagogue next Fall. In “an important gesture that confirms the will to continue an attitude of respect and friendship," as Rome's chief rabbi told Vatican Radio, Benedict XVI will be the second Pope to visit that temple. Pope John Paul II visited Rome's synagogue in 1986. VATICAN CITY, MARCH 13, 2009

Eucharistic adoration helps to bring about a "fundamental transformation." The Pope said upon receiving in audience participants in the plenary assembly of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments. The Pontiff said that in Cologne he also told the youth present that in the Eucharist "we experience the fundamental transformation of violence into love, of death into life. This brings other changes in its wake." VATICAN CITY, MARCH 13, 2009

Many precious spiritual and pastoral instruments contribute to the formation of conscience. Benedict XVI said in a message sent to the participants in the 20th Internal Forum, an annual course on matters of conscience, organized by the Tribunal of the Apostolic Penitentiary. Beside the sacrament of reconciliation, he also pointed to catechesis, preaching, homilies, spiritual direction and the celebration of the Holy Eucharist.  Benedict XVI called the administration of the sacrament of penance an "indispensable ministry" that aids the faithful along the "demanding road of sanctity." VATICAN CITY, MARCH 15, 2009

The Holy Father received letter of support. More than 70 bishops participating in a seminar organized by the Pontifical Council for Social Communications assure Benedict XVI of their fidelity and solidarity.The  prelates thanked the Pope for his explanatory letter, and expressed their "nearness," saying they take comfort "for the carrying out of our daily work" from the Pope's own letter  VATICAN CITY, MARCH 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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