The Holy Father´s Week: June 22, 2009

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

The Pope reflected on the example of the "apostles to the Slavs" during the general audience in St. Peter's Square. "Cyril and Methodius were convinced," the Pope affirmed, "that the various peoples could not consider that they had fully received Revelation until they had heard it in their own language and read it with the characters proper to their own alphabet."
The two brothers were born in Tessalonica, but they won great affection among the Slav people and helped shaping their culture. They invented an alphabet for the Slavonic language, and, together with their disciples, translated the Liturgy, the Bible and texts of the Fathers. This, the Pontiff affirmed, is "a classic example of what is today referred to with the term 'inculturation'
 Each people should make the revealed message penetrate into their culture, and express the salvific truth with their own language." the Holy Father said.
 When Cyril died in Rome in 869, Methodius continued the mission in spite of persecution. After his death in 885, some of his disciples, providentially released from slavery, spread the Gospel in Bulgaria and in "the Land of the Rus".
 In recognition of the brothers’ vast influence, they were named Co-Patrons of Europe by Pope John Paul II. VATICAN CITY, JUNE 17, 2009

The Holy Father urged priests to learn from St. John Mary Vianney to "put our unfailing trust in the Sacrament of Penance, to set it once more at the center of our pastoral concerns, and to take up the 'dialogue of salvation,' which it entails."
He noted that "those who came to his confessional drawn by a deep and humble longing for God's forgiveness found in him the encouragement to plunge into the 'flood of divine mercy' which sweeps everything away by its vehemence."
He quoted the saint who said: "It is not the sinner who returns to God to beg his forgiveness, but God himself who runs after the sinner and makes him return to him." Benedict XVI stated, "He awakened repentance in the hearts of the lukewarm by forcing them to see God's own pain at their sins reflected in the face of the priest who was their confessor,"
The Pontiff noted the saint's sacrifices on behalf of the souls who came to him in confession, quoting his words to another confrere: "I will tell you my recipe: I give sinners a small penance and the rest I do in their place."
Over time, the Pope said, penitents started coming from all over the country, and the priest would be in the confessional for up to 16 hours a day. Thus, his parish became known as "a great hospital of souls." 
The Pope stated this in a letter to the priests of the world, on the occasion of the Year for Priests, which begins Friday in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the death of St. John Mary Vianney, the Curé d'Ars.  VATICAN CITY, JUNE 18, 2009
The letter is available on ZENIT's Web page.
Full text:

"Faithfulness of Christ, Faithfulness of Priests." is the theme for the priestly year convoked by the Pontiff. The Pope launched a yearlong celebration of the priesthood during a celebration of vespers at the Basilica of St. Peter's on the solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It coincides with the 150th anniversary of the death of St. John Mary Vianney, known as the Curé d'Ars; the relics of the French saint were brought to Rome for the inauguration Mass.
”The Church needs holy priests," the Pope said in his homily. "[It needs] ministers to help the faithful experience the merciful love of the Lord and to be convinced witnesses."
The greatest suffering of the Church is the sin of its priests, Benedict XVI affirmed. "We should also appeal, humbly and incessantly, to the heart of Jesus so that he preserves us from the terrible risk of damaging those whom we should save." He said to the numerous priests and bishops present. He invited the faithful to pray "that the Lord inflame the heart of each priest" with the love of Jesus.
The Year for Priests will conclude with an International Convention in Rome, to be held June 9-11, 2010. VATICAN CITY, JUNE 19, 2009

"God Never Annuls That Which Is Human, but He Transforms it with his Spirit" The Pontiff said as he presided over a Mass at the Church of San Pio de Pietrelcina, “Padre Pio kept his natural gifts, and even his own temperament, but he offered everything to God, who has been able to freely use them to extend the work of Christ: to proclaim the Gospel, forgive sins and heal the sick in body and spirit.”
 "Padre Pio attracted others to the path of holiness by his own testimony, showing by example the track that leads to it: prayer and charity," the Holy Father affirmed in his homily. "From prayer, as from an ever-living source, love flowed”. He added: "The love that he bore in his heart and transmitted to others was full of tenderness, always attentive to the real situations of individuals and families."
The Holy Father encouraged people to follow this path and not to neglect, because of activism and secularization, that which is truly needed: “to listen to Christ to do the will of God.”
The Pope spent the day in San Giovanni Rotondo, the city where Padre Pio is buried. SAN GIOVANNI ROTONDO, Italy, JUNE 21, 2009

"Love the Blessed Virgin and help others love her." The Pope said before praying the midday Angelus with those gathered at the Church of San Pio de Pietrelcina, with the same words Padre Pio kept saying to everyone. Speaking about the saint, the Pontiff affirmed: “All his life and his apostolate took place under the maternal gaze of the Madonna and the power of her intercession; he even considered the Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza the work of Mary, "Health of the Sick." Therefore, dear friends, in the example of Padre Pio, today I also want to entrust you all to the maternal protection of the Mother of God.”
The Holy Father entrusted to the intercession of Our Lady and of St. Pio of Pietrelcina this Priestly Year, which he inaugurated last Friday.SAN GIOVANNI ROTONDO, Italy, JUNE 21, 2009

Other papal messages and activities.

Benedict XVI encouraged Nuns who try to stop human trafficking. The Pope sent a telegram to a four-day international conference being held in Rome on what various congregations of women religious are doing to oppose human trafficking and rebuild the lives of those victimized by this phenomenon.
The Pontiff expressed his "deeply-felt appreciation for the laudable initiative" that has gathered together not only religious and experts, but also members of the International Organization for Migration. VATICAN CITY, JUNE 15, 2009

The Pope appointed a new president for the Pontifical Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas in Vatican City. The Vatican press office announced the appointment of Monsignor Lluis Clavell of Opus Dei. The St. Thomas Aquinas academy was founded in 1879 by Pope Leo XIII and has the objective of carrying out research, explaining and disseminating the teaching of its patron. VATICAN CITY, JUNE 15, 2009

Benedict XVI named new consultors for both the Congregation for Saints' Causes and the Pontifical Council for Social Communications. VATICAN CITY, JUNE 15, 2009

Benedict XVI asked for authentic fidelity to the Second Vatican Council and the magisterium. During the meetings with Bishops of Austria, "characterized by a lively collegial affection" themes that "affect the situation of the Diocese of Linz and the Church in Austria" were taken up "with fraternal dialogue and a constructive spirit […] presenting solutions for the current problems," according to a statement from the Vatican.  VATICAN CITY, JUNE 16, 2009

The Holy father named a secretary for the Divine Worship Congregation. He appointed Dominican Father Joseph Di Noia, elevating him at the same time to the dignity of archbishop. The archbishop-designate wrote "The Diversity of Religions," and co-authored "The Love That Never Ends: A Key to the Catechism of the Catholic Church" with Gabriel O'Donnell, Romanus Cessario and Peter Cameron. VATICAN CITY, JUNE 16, 2009

Cardiologist to be Pontiff's new Doctor. Benedict XVI appointed Dr. Patrizio Polisca as vice director for the Vatican's health care and hygiene, which will include the position of the Pope's personal physician. He replaces Doctor Renato Buzzonetti, 85, who served in the Vatican through the last four pontificates. Buzzonetti is retiring to a private life after working for 44 years in Vatican City. VATICAN CITY, JUNE 16, 2009

More than 80 religious leaders who have gathered in Rome for an International Conference of interreligious dialogue were greeted by the Holy Father. “I commend this initiative organized by the Italian Bishops’ Conference in collaboration with the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Pontiff said, “I am confident that it will do much to draw the attention of world political leaders to the importance of religions within the social fabric of every society and to the grave duty to ensure that their deliberations and policies support and uphold the common good.” VATICAN CITY, JUNE 17, 2009

Benedict XVI received a visit from the new president of Malta, George Abela, who took office in April.Malta is a Mediterranean island with a 98% Catholic population VATICAN CITY, JUNE 18, 2009

Eucharist is the key to unity.  Benedict XVI said in an audience with the patriarch of Antioch of the Syrians and some members of the Syriac synod. "The Eucharist is the Bread of Life that nourishes our communities and makes them grow in unity and charity," the Pontiff affirmed.
The Syriac Catholic Church separated from Rome after the Council of Chalcedon in 451, but returned to full communion more than a millennium later. VATICAN CITY, JUNE 19, 2009

"Be faithful friends of the Lord Jesus, cultivating a daily relationship through prayer and through listening to his word, the diligent practice of the sacraments and the cordial membership in his family, which is the Church."  The Pontiff said in a meeting with priests, religious and youth at the Church of San Pio de Pietrelcina in San Giovanni Rotondo.
He put Saint Pio as an example, “From his love for the Eucharist there arose in him as the Curé d'Ars a total willingness to welcome the faithful, especially sinners.”
The Holy Father mentioned the phenomenon of unemployment, which affects so many young people:"The Church does not abandon you. Do not abandon the Church!" he said. “Your input is necessary in order to build living Christian communities, and societies that are more just and open to hope. And if you want to have "great hearts," seek the school of Jesus.”  SAN GIOVANNI ROTONDO, Italy, JUNE 21, 2009

In hospitals one touches with one's hands the preciousness of our existence, but also its fragility” The Holy Father affirmed in his visit to the hospital established by Padre Pio. “Following the example of Jesus, who travelled throughout Galilee, "healing every disease and every infirmity among the people" (Mt 4:23), the Church, from its very beginnings, moved by the Holy Spirit, has considered it her duty and privilege to stand beside those who suffer, cultivating a preferential attention for the sick.” He said.
The Holy Father recalled Padre Pio's desire, when he launched the hospital the Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza, the "Home to Relieve Suffering", that "the commitment of science in treating the patient never be separated from a filial trust in God, infinitely tender and merciful." “Precisely for this reason he wanted to entrust it to the material and spiritual support of the prayer groups, who here have the center of their mission to serve the Church”.  SAN GIOVANNI ROTONDO, Italy, JUNE 21, 2009

Benedict XVI called for an end to conflicts that cause people to flee their homes, and underlined the duty to welcome these displaced persons.
"It was just yesterday that we celebrated World Refugee Day, sponsored by the United Nations.” "There are many people who seek refuge in other countries fleeing from situations of war, persecution and disasters, and their acceptance poses many difficulties, but it is nevertheless a duty."
 "God grant that, with the commitment of all, we will do as much as possible to remove the causes of so sad a phenomenon." He said.  SAN GIOVANNI ROTONDO, Italy, JUNE 21, 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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