The Holy Father´s Week: June 29, 2009

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

The world would be lost without the real presence of Christ. The Pope reflected on the role of the priest and his call to conform himself with Christ during the general audience held in St. Peter's Square. He dedicated his reflection to the Year for Priests, which he inaugurated Friday.
 The objective of this Year for Priests, the Holy Father explained, is “to help priests first of all -- and with them all of God's people -- to rediscover and reinvigorate their awareness of the extraordinary and indispensable gift of grace that the ordained ministry is for he who receives it, for the whole Church, and for the world, which would be lost without the real presence of Christ.”
 “Authentic service to the Word requires from the priest that he strains toward a deep abnegation of himself, until being able to say with the Apostle, 'It is not I who lives, but Christ who lives in me.'", the Pontiff said, "May this Year of the Priest bring all priests to identify themselves totally with Jesus, crucified and risen, so that in imitation of St. John the Baptist, we are willing to 'decrease' so that he increases; so that, following the example of the Curé d'Ars, they constantly and deeply understand the responsibility of their mission, which is sign and presence of the infinite mercy of God,"
 The Pope concluded entrusting to the Virgin, Mother of the Church, this Year for Priests and all the priests of the world. VATICAN CITY, JUNE 24, 2009

The Pauline Year ends and the Year for Priests begins. Benedict XVI thanked God for all the spiritual gifts that it has brought to us,before praying the Angelus together with the crowds gathered in St. Peter's Square,  
“It has truly been a time of grace in which, through many pilgrimages, catecheses, numerous publications and other initiatives, the figure of St. Paul was put forward again in the whole Church, and his vibrant message has revived everywhere, in Christian communities, a passion for Christ and the Gospel”, the Holy Father affirmed.

The Year for Priests was inaugurated on June 19;and “it is meant to contribute to the promotion of an interior commitment on the part of all priests to a more powerful and incisive evangelical witness in the world today.” The Holy Father explained, “ In this regard, the Apostle Paul constitutes a splendid model to imitate, not so much in the specifics of his life -- his life was, in fact, truly unique -- but in his love of Christ, in his zeal for the proclamation of the Gospel, in his dedication to the communities, in his elaboration of an effective synthesis of pastoral theology”.
The Pope asked for the intercession of the Virgin Mary to “help every priest to revive the gift of God that is in him by virtue of his holy Ordination, so that he grow in sanctity and be ready to bear witness, even to the point of martyrdom, to the beauty of his total and definitive consecration to Christ and the Church.”

Other Papal messages and activities.

Benedict XVI honoured a coherent politician.The Pope spoke about Alcide De Gasperi when he received in audience members of a foundation that bears his name, led by the statesman's daughter, Maria, and Giulio Andreotti, who was one of his close collaborators. He described De Gasperi as a statesman of "recognized moral uprightness" and "great faith" -- a model for politicians of today. VATICAN CITY, JUNE 22, 2009

The Pope asked seven cardinals to represent him for the closure of the Pauline Jubilee Year this Sunday in the Holy Land, Malta, Cyprus, Turkey, Greece, Syria and Lebanon. VATICAN CITY, JUNE 22, 2009

 The first in-depth documentary on Benedict XVI from his childhood in Bavaria, Germany, through the first years of his pontificate has been released. VATICAN CITY, JUNE 23, 2009

At the Red Cross 150th anniversary, the Holy Father noted how the "values of universality, neutrality and independence of service" have led millions of volunteers to offer their time to the Red Cross, and encouraged youth to volunteer. VATICAN CITY, JUNE 24, 2009

Benedict XVI is demanding an end to the abuse of children in armed conflicts, assuring his daily prayers for young victims of fear. At the end of the general audience, he greeted Radhika Coomaraswamy, U.N. undersecretary-general, special representative for children and armed conflict. VATICAN CITY, JUNE 24, 2009

The U.S. astronaut who carried relics of St. Thérèse of Lisieux into space and put them in orbit around the earth attended Benedict XVI's general audience today. VATICAN CITY, JUNE 24, 2009

Benedict XVI will receive in audience U.S. President Barack Obama next month. The director of the Vatican press office said to reporters today that "Benedict XVI is open to receive the president of the United States during the afternoon of July 10." VATICAN CITY, JUNE 24, 2009

Charity is the source, standard and strategy of all organizations that serve the Church. The Pope affirmed in an audience with some 70 members of the Assembly of Societies for Aid to Eastern Churches (ROACO), who is meeting in Rome this week. VATICAN CITY, JUNE 25, 2009

Benedict XVI will bestow the pallium on the 34 metropolitan archbishops named in the last year, including five from the United States, two from Canada and one from the United Kingdom, in a  ceremony that will take place in St. Peter's Basilica on Monday, feast of Sts. Peter and Paul. VATICAN CITY, JUNE 25, 2009

Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I will send a delegation to Rome to celebrate the solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul with Benedict XVI, and to close the Year of St. Paul. VATICAN CITY, JUNE 25, 2009

Peter’s pence collection to aid those most in need. This Sunday, many parishes worldwide will participate in the Pope's charity campaign which will distribute aid to those most in need during this economic recession. VATICAN CITY, JUNE 25, 2009

The Pope was visited by the master of the order of Malta, as the order celebrated the feast of its patron, St. John the Baptist. Benedict XVI lauded the work of the order and urged them to stay faithful to their charism of caring for the poor and sick, giving testimony of the faith. This group, made up of some 2,000 volunteers, provided medical assistance and food for the quake victims in L'Aquila. VATICAN CITY, JUNE 26, 2009

"We Have Been Called to One Hope" Benedict XVI affirmed to a delegation sent by the Orthodox patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, to celebrate with the Pope the solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul and the conclusion of the Pauline Year. He said their presence is a sign of ecclesial fraternity. “You already know, but again today I have the pleasure of confirming, that the Catholic Church intends to contribute in every possible way to the reestablishment of full communion” The Holy Father said, “This is in response to Christ's will for his disciples, and recalling Paul's teaching in which he reminds us that we have been called to "one hope." VATICAN CITY, JUNE 28,

The tomb of St. Paul may indeed contain the remains of the Apostle of the Gentiles, Benedict XVI affirmed in his homily at the closing of the Year of St. Paul. The Pope presided at first vespers this evening for the solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, which marked the conclusion of the Pauline Year. The celebration took place at the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, where it has traditionally been believed St. Paul was buried.

"An authentic scientific analysis" conducted on the sarcophagus conserved in the basilica, the Holy Father said, "seems to confirm the unanimous and uncontested tradition that these are the mortal remains of the Apostle Paul." VATICAN CITY, JUNE 28, 2009

Religion is not a threat to national unity, the Holy Father affirmed to Vietnamese Bishops and Church-state relations can be carried out in a spirit of cooperation. Benedict XVI explained that the Christian laity must play a special role and "demonstrate with their life based on charity, honesty and love for the common good, that a good Catholic is also a good citizen." VATICAN CITY, JUNE 28, 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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