The Holy Father´s Week: April 18, 2010

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

We are absolutely certain of God’s infinite mercy. At the Regina Cæli prayer the Holy Father noted that Venerable John Paul II named this Sunday on the Octave of Easter for Divine Mercy.
The Gospel passage from St. John (20:19-31) for this Sunday is rich with divine mercy and goodness. Twice Jesus says to the disciples: "Peace be with you!" and he adds: "As the Father has sent me, so I send you." Having said this, he breathes upon them, saying: "Receive the Holy Spirit. Those whose sins you forgive shall be forgiven and those whose sins you do not forgive shall not be forgiven."
The mission of the Church perennially assisted by the Paraclete, the Holy Father affirmed, is to bring to all the joyous reality of the merciful Love of God.
In this Year for Priests, the Pope encouraged to follow the example of the saintly Curé d'Ars, who, "in his time was able to transform the hearts and the lives of so many people because he enabled them to experience the Lord's merciful love. Our own time urgently needs a similar proclamation and witness to the truth of Love"
“In this way we will render ever more familiar and close him who our eyes have not seen but whose infinite mercy we are absolutely certain of.” The Pontiff concluded by entrusting the mission of the Church to Our Lady, Queen of the Apostles, adding that "we invoke her exultant with joy." CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, APRIL 11, 2010

“In the Church, Christ is never absent” The Holy Father explained during the general audience in St. Peter's Square as he reflected on the priest's configuration to Christ.
He spoke about the three tasks of the priest -teaching, sanctifying and governing –which are in reality the three actions of the Risen Christ, who even today, through his priests, continues to teach, sanctify and govern his Church.
The first of the three, is that of teaching. “The Lord, moved by compassion, interpreted the word of God, he himself is the Word of God, and thus he gave guidance.” he said.
“This is the function in persona Christi of the priest: to render present, in the confusion and disorientation of our times, the light of the Word of God, the light that is Christ himself in this our world.”
 “The life of the priest must be identified with Christ and, in this way, the word that is not his own becomes, however, a profoundly personal word.” The Holy Father explained that the priest is always "docent," he teaches. “But not with the presumption of one who imposes his own truth, rather with the humble and happy certainty of one who has found the Truth, who has been gripped and transformed, and because of this, can do nothing less than proclaim it.”
The Lord entrusted a great task to priests, he noted, “to be heralds of his Word, of the Truth that saves.”
Following the example of the great Cure of Ars, may every priest proclaim Christ faithfully and speak in such a way that all can hear in him the voice of the Good Shepherd. VATICAN CITY, APRIL 14, 2010

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Other papal messages and activities.

Benedict XVI sent condolences to Poland shortly after being informed of the plane crash that took the lives of the president of Poland, Lech Kaczynski, his wife and more than 95 others. After praying the midday Regina Caeli, Benedict XVI also mentioned the tragedy. "In expressing my deepest condolences," he said, "from my heart I assure intercessory prayers for the victims and prayers of support for the beloved Polish nation." CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, APRIL 11, 2010

The Pope will visit the Shroud of Turin. The exhibition will last till May 24.  "I rejoice for this event, which once again is encouraging a large movement of pilgrims as well as studies, reflections and above all an extraordinary recollection of the mystery of Christ's suffering," he said. "I hope that this act of veneration will help all to seek the Face of God, which was the intimate aspiration of the Apostles and is [also] our own." CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, APRIL 11, 2010

Benedict XVI viewed the film "Sotto il Cielo di Roma" (Under the Roman Sky) which is set in 1940s Rome, and reflects the Church’s efforts to save people from the Nazis, as well as Adolph Hitler’s plot to kidnap the Pope. Benedict XVI welcomed the production, and said these types of works are “of particular value, especially for the new generations.” The Holy Father suggested that a key for interpreting the production is the theme of charity. CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, APRIL 12, 2010
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The Holy Father mourns victims of Brazil’s floods. He assured his spiritual closeness to the communities that have been affected by landslides and floods in and around Rio de Janeiro, where the death toll is at 229. VATICAN CITY, APRIL 13, 2010

Benedict XVI assured his prayers for those stricken by the series of earthquakes today in a Tibetan region of China. VATICAN CITY, APRIL 14, 2010

"Being alive and risen, Christ can become 'living bread' for humanity," said the Pope, because of this, the Eucharist is “the heart of Christian life, source and summit of the evangelizing mission of the Church.”
"Whoever wants to live, has where to do so and from what to live. Approach, believe, enter to be part of the Body of Christ and you will be vivified!" he concluded upon receiving in audience the bishops of the second northern region of the episcopal conference of Brazil, Benedict XVI urged them to promote the worship of the Eucharist. “Today Jesus Christ is alive and really present in the consecrated host and chalice." He affirmed. "May he truly be the heart of Brazil, source of the strength that allows Brazilian women and men to acknowledge one another and help each other as brothers, as members of the total Christ." VATICAN CITY, APRIL 15, 2010

The closing of the Year for Priests will be celebrated June 9-11. Cardinal Cláudio Hummes, prefect of the Congregation for Clergy sent a message to all priests encouraging them to come to Rome in those days and show themselves ready for the service of the humanity entrusted to them by Jesus Christ. VATICAN CITY, APRIL 15, 2010
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Benedict XVI turned 83 today, spending his birthday with normal activities punctuated by numerous congratulatory messages from around the world. He doesn't celebrate his birthday, but rather his name day, the feast of St. Joseph.
He received in audience the U.S.-based Papal Foundation, a charity group that supports papal initiatives, he asked them to “ pray for the needs of the universal Church and to implore a renewed outpouring of the Spirit's gifts of holiness, unity and missionary zeal upon the whole People of God" VATICAN CITY, APRIL 16, 2010

Papal donation to victims of the landslides caused by this month's torrential rains in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It was sent through the Pontifical Council Cor Unum and the apostolic nunciature in Brazil.The donation will be allocated "to all those who have been affected by the landslides caused by the torrential rains that devastated some favelas of the city of Rio de Janeiro. RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil, APRIL 16, 2010
Benedict XVI is visiting Malta for three reasons. During a brief press conference aboard the plane that carried him to Malta, where he will stay only one night, the Holy Father explained these reasons.
 The first is to celebrate the anniversary of St. Paul's shipwreck on the island. The apostle's shipwreck led to a very good result, he said, namely that "Malta was given to opportunity to have the faith."
"In this way," he added, "we can also think about how the shipwrecks of life can be part of God's project for us, and be useful for a new beginning in our life."
His second reason has to do with the vibrancy of the Church in Malta. "I know that Malta loves Christ, and loves his Church, which is his body," the Pope said. "And [Malta] knows that even if this body is wounded by our sins, the Lord still loves this Church, and its Gospel is the true strength that purifies and heals."
Finally, the Pope named a third point: Malta is the place where waves of refugees arrive from Africa and knock on the door of Europe. He called the immigration issue a "great challenge of our time," but recalled that "faith is the strength of charity -- as well as the imagination -- that allows us to respond well to these challenges."  ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE, APRIL 17, 2010

The Pope arrived in Malta as a Pilgrim celebrating the 1,950th anniversary of St. Paul's shipwreck. "Some might consider St. Paul's arrival in Malta by means of a humanly unforeseen event to be a mere accident of history," he reflected. "The eyes of faith, however, enable us to recognize here the workings of divine Providence." The Pontiff began today his two day trip to the island nation. Noting the island nation's geographical, cultural and even linguistic nearness to the East, the Pope encouraged the nation to "serve as a bridge of understanding between the peoples, cultures and religions which surround the Mediterranean." LUQA, Malta, APRIL 17, 2010

The word of the Gospel, still has the power to break into our lives and to change their course. Benedict XVI said and he encouraged Malta to keep alive the heritage of faith given to the island by St. Paul the Apostle. "I invite you to hear God’s word afresh, as your ancestors did, and to let it challenge your ways of thinking and the way you live your lives," the Pope urged. "I call upon each of you to take up the exciting challenge of the new evangelization. Live out your faith ever more fully with the members of your families, with your friends, in your neighbourhoods, in the workplace and in the whole fabric of Maltese society.”  He visited the Grotto of St. Paul in Rabat, where it is held that the apostle lived for more than three months when he was shipwrecked on the island. "I have come in the footsteps of those countless pilgrims down the centuries who have prayed in this holy place, entrusting themselves, their families and the welfare of this nation to the intercession of the Apostle of the Gentiles," the Pontiff affirmed. RABAT, Malta, APRIL 17, 2010
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President of Malta, welcomed Benedict XVI to the country for a two-day visit.
In his address,George Abela affirmed their pride, as a nation, to have inherited a Christian heritage. “We still cherish a code of values, nourished by our Faith, such as the cardinal value of marriage and the family.” He said. “The great majority of our young people, although not immune to certain negative tendencies of the modern world, harbour positive values and are seriously dedicated to preparing themselves to be the good citizens of tomorrow.”
The President explained that “Being situated at the centre of the Mediterranean, Malta is exposed to and faces the burden of illegal immigration which is stretching our financial and human resources. In spite of these difficulties, we should however, never shrink back from our traditional values of solidarity and hospitality towards these migrants during their stay in Malta in full respect of their rights and human dignity.” He affirmed that “We have made it our mission to work for peace and prosperity in our Mediterranean region” and promised to continue “upholding these values and our Faith which seemingly started off by mere chance but which we now cherish by our own choice as our firm belief”.
He offered a warm welcome to the Pope, as the successor of St. Peter, “As our ancestors did with St. Paul.” LUQA, Malta, APRIL 17, 2010

Before arriving at today's youth encounter, the Pontiff took a 20-minute ride on the "St. Paul," a catamaran that gave the Pope a view of the whole panorama of Valletta. It was escorted by a flotilla of nearly 100 small regatta boats, and the Pontiff was welcomed by some 10,000 young people who were singing and waving Vatican flags as he approached.
"What a joy it is for me to be with you today on your native soil," the Pope told the youth present. "On this significant anniversary, we thank God for sending the Apostle Paul to these islands, which were thus among the first to receive the Good News of Our Lord Jesus Christ."
He assured the young people that "God loves every one of us with a depth and intensity that we can hardly begin to imagine.”
"God rejects no one. And the Church rejects no one. Yet in his great love, God challenges all of us to change and to become more perfect," he stated.
Benedict XVI also encouraged the youth to "seek out the poor, the vulnerable, the marginalized; we should have a special care for those who are in distress, those suffering from depression or anxiety; we should care for the disabled, and do all we can to promote their dignity and quality of life; we should be attentive to the needs of immigrants and asylum seekers in our midst; we should extend the hand of friendship to members of all faiths and none." The Pope then added in Maltese, "Do not be afraid to be intimate friends of Christ." VALLETTA, Malta, APRIL 18, 2010

A small group of persons who were sexually abused by the clergy met with the Pope at the Apostolic Nunciature in Malta. The Pope was "deeply moved by their stories and expressed his shame and sorrow over what victims and their families have suffered." VALLETTA, Malta, APRIL 18, 2010

Benedict XVI gave a Golden Rose to Our Lady of Ta' Pinu today, and invited the Maltese to pray to her as the Queen of the Family. The Golden Rose is a papal decoration conferred on prominent Catholic personalities. The distinction was created by Pope Leo IX in 1049. Initially, kings and dignitaries received it, later it was conferred almost exclusively on queens and, more recently, on Our Lady. FLORIANA, Malta, APRIL 18, 2010

Of all the gifts brought to these shores, the gift of faith is the greatest of all. "The gift brought by Paul was the greatest of all, and it is much to your credit that it was immediately accepted and treasured." In his homily, given in front of the Church of St. Publius, the Pope recalled the events of the dramatic shipwreck of St. Paul that dropped him on the coasts of Malta some 1,950 years ago.
“It is tempting to think that today’s advanced technology can answer all our needs and save us from all the perils and dangers that beset us.”  Benedict XVI said and he mentioned how St. Paul urged the crew of the ship to place their trust in God alone, while the ship was tossed to and fro upon the waves. 
They did as Paul urged them to do, and so it was "that they all escaped safely to the land" (Acts 27:44).
“We too must place our trust in him alone” he said, “At every moment of our lives we depend entirely on God, in whom we live and move and have our being. Only he can protect us from harm, only he can guide us through the storms of life, only he can bring us to a safe haven, as he did for Paul and his companions adrift off the coast of Malta.”
The Pope then addressed the 700 priests present, and made special mention of St. George Preca (1880-1962), the Maltese priest and founder of the Societas Doctrinae Christianae who the Holy Father canonized in 2007. FLORIANA, Malta, APRIL 18, 2010

"Hope has been renewed in us and we have been strengthened to face our future more securely even in our daily lives," the Maltese President told the Pope at the end of the Pontiff's 26-hour visit to the country, "Your spirit will remain with us to continue nourishing our faith for a long time to come," he affirmed.
"Be an example, at home and abroad, of dynamic Christian living. Be proud of your Christian vocation. Cherish your religious and cultural heritage”. The Pontiff encouraged the people of Malta.
"Look to the future with hope, with profound respect for God’s creation, with reverence for human life, and with high esteem for marriage and the integrity of the family!"
 The Pope asked the Maltese to do what they can to alleviate the suffering of the immigrants in search of a better life who arrive on Malta’s shores. He affirmed that he is confident that, “on the strength of its Christian roots and its long and proud history of welcoming strangers, Malta will endeavor, with the support of other states and international organizations, to come to the aid of those who arrive here and to ensure that their rights be respected.” LUQA, Malta, APRIL 18, 2010

Czech Cardinal Tomas Spidlik died in Rome on Friday at age 90. Benedict XVI sent a telegram of condolence to the superior general of the Society of Jesus. The funeral service for the cardinal will be held in St. Peter's Basilica. Benedict XVI will be present at the end of the Mass to make an address and administer the rites of "Ultima Commendatio" and of "Valedictio." He will be buried in Velehrad, Check Republic. VATICAN CITY, APRIL 18, 2010

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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