The Pope reflected on the priestly mission of sanctifying. In the general audience the Holy Father explained that "to sanctify a person means to put him in contact with God, with his being light, truth, pure love."
“An essential part of the grace of priesthood is the gift, the task to create this contact," he reflected. “As ministers of Christ, priests bring us into life-giving contact with the mystery of God's holiness”
“Thanks to the priest's preaching of the Gospel and his celebration of the sacraments, we are enabled to approach God and to be transformed gradually into the divine image”
“In the celebration of the sacraments and in particular the Eucharist and the Sacrament of Reconciliation,” he explained, “Christ's sanctifying work is constantly made present and effective.”
Benedict XVI affirmed that it is "Christ himself who makes us saints, namely, who attracts us to the sphere of God." "But," he said, "as an act of his infinite mercy he calls some to 'be' with him and to be converted, through the sacrament of Holy Orders, despite human poverty, into participants in his own priesthood, ministers of this sanctification, dispensers of his mysteries, 'bridges' of the encounter with him, of his mediation between God and men and between men and God."
In their devout celebration of the sacraments, priests sanctify the faithful and are themselves sanctified and configured ever more closely to Christ.
The Pope encouraged the faithful to be conscious of the great gift that priests are for the Church and for the world.
“Know how to thank God, and above all be close to your priests with your prayer and support, especially in difficulties”, that they may be true shepherds according to God's heart. VATICAN CITY, MAY 5, 2010
On ZENIT's Web page: Full text: www.zenit.org/article-29150?l=english
Mary is "the most beautiful flower to blossom in creation, the 'rose' that appeared in the fullness of time, when God, sending his Son, gave the world a new spring." Before praying the Regina Caeli, and ahead of his May 11-14 trip to Portugal, The Pope said that : Mary is "the first and perfect disciple of Jesus. Mary in fact observed first and fully the word of her Son, thus demonstrating that she loved him not only as his mother, but first still as humble and obedient handmaid." "Because of this God the Father loved her and the Most Holy Trinity made its dwelling in her," he added.
The Holy Father said that this Sunday's Gospel, taken from Chapter 14 of St. John, offers us an implicit spiritual portrait of the Virgin Mary, where Jesus says: "If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him" (John 14:23).” These expressions are addressed to the disciples, but they can be applied precisely to her who is the first and perfect disciple of Jesus.”
He announced his trip to Portugal: "For the first time as Successor of Peter I will go to that Marian shrine, so dear to the Venerable John Paul II. I invite everyone to accompany me on this pilgrimage, participating actively with prayer: with only one heart and one soul we invoke the intercession of the Virgin Mary for the Church, in particular for priests, and for peace in the world.”
VATICAN CITY, MAY 9, 2010
Other papal messages and activities
Benedict XVI sent a message of congratulations to the former chief rabbi of Rome, Elio Toaff, for his 95th birthday. Toaff was the chief rabbi of Ancona, Italy, during World War II. He nearly lost his life at the hands of the Nazis on various occasions. VATICAN CITY, MAY 4, 2010
Benedict XVI mourns the death of Cardinal Luigi Poggi, who passed away at the age of 92. Although retired since 1998, the cardinal had served as archivist of the Vatican Secret Archives, librarian of the Vatican Library, and apostolic nuncio to several countries, including Peru and Italy. VATICAN CITY, MAY 4, 2010
The Holy Father was profoundly saddened by the attack on Christian university students in Iraq. Two bombs hit three buses filled with Christian students en route to the University of Mosul, leaving at least one passenger dead, and some 120 injured. He renewed his "appeal to all men and women of good will to remain firm in the ways of peace and to reject all the acts of violence that have caused so much suffering." VATICAN CITY, MAY 4, 2010
The Holy Father praised the sacrament of marriage saying it is "truly an instrument of salvation," not only for the couple, but also for society. The Pontiff noted how human beings are made for love: "Indeed at the core of our being, we long to love and to be loved in return."
"Only God's love can fully satisfy our deepest needs”, he affirmed, “and yet through the love of husband and wife, the love of parents and children, the love of siblings for one another, we are offered a foretaste of the boundless love that awaits us in the life to come."
Like any "worthwhile goal," he said, marriage "places demands upon us, it challenges us, it calls us to be prepared to sacrifice our own interests for the good of the other. It requires us to exercise tolerance and to offer forgiveness. It invites us to nurture and protect the gift of new life."
At the end of the general audience, he greeted participants in a family conference to be held in Sweden this month. VATICAN CITY, MAY 5, 2010
Benedict XVI made an appeal to pursue a progressive disarmament and the creation of areas free of nuclear arms, in the prospect of their complete elimination form the planet. After the general audience he addressed the participants in the conference under way in the United Nations to review the 1970 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Finally, he exhorted the participants to “surmount the conditionings of history and to knit patiently the political and economic fabric of peace, to help integral human development and the authentic aspirations of peoples” VATICAN CITY, MAY 5, 2010
The Pope received a visit from the new president of Switzerland, who also attended the swearing-in of 30 Swiss Guards. VATICAN CITY, MAY 6, 2010
Benedict XVI spoke of peace in the Middle East and interreligious dialogue upon receiving in audience Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the emir of Kuwait. VATICAN CITY, MAY 6, 2010
Heart Speaks Unto Heart. The Pope's September 16-19 visit to the United Kingdom will center on this theme, which was chosen by Cardinal Newman for his coat of arms when he became a cardinal in 1879.
Cardinal John Henry Newman´s beatification will take place during this visit. The cardinal thought that "true communication between us speaks from our heart to the heart of others around us -- much more than just clever talking." LONDON, MAY 6, 2010
Monsignor Liam MacDaid was appointed as bishop of the Diocese of Clogher, Ireland, he is to succeed Bishop Joseph Duffy, 76, who retired for reasons of age. Also today, the Vatican announced that the Pope accepted the resignation of Bishop Francis Lagan, 75, auxiliary of the Diocese of Derry, who retired for reasons of age. MONAGHAN, Ireland, MAY 6, 2010
The newest members of the Papal Swiss Guard, who were sworn in Thursday, were recived in audience by the Pope, together with their families and the rest of the Swiss Guard. He addressed the group in German, Italian and French, which are the three official languages of Switzerland. VATICAN CITY, MAY 7, 2010
Benedict XVI received in audience the president of Georgia, Mikhail Saakashvili. A communiqué published by the Vatican after the meeting noted that the meetings "provided an opportunity to examine various bilateral questions, and other important matters concerning life in Georgia, restating the commitment of the parties in favor of intercultural exchange." VATICAN CITY, MAY 7, 2010
The heart of Brazil is the Eucharist, Benedict XVI said ahead of the 16th National Eucharistic Congress to be held May 13-16 in Brasilia. "It is in the Most Holy Sacrament of the altar where Jesus shows his will to be with us, to live with us, to give himself to us," the Pontiff affirmed.
Cardinal Cláudio Hummes was appointed to attend the Eucharistic Congress .VATICAN CITY, MAY 6, 2010
The Church “cannot do without the ministry of priests. Hence, it is necessary and urgent to give them their appropriate place and to acknowledge their irreplaceable sacramental character” Benedict XVI said when receiving the bishops of Belgium on their five-yearly "ad limina" visit.
The Pope encouraged the members of the episcopal conference to promote vocations to the priesthood and to consecrated life, amid the difficulties that the Church has gone through in this country in the past weeks. The Bishop of Rome remembered the great sons of the Church, as is the case of Father Damien De Veuster (1840-1889), a Belgian missionary of the Congregation of the Sacred Heart. VATICAN CITY, MAY 9, 2010.
The Holy Father will visit Fatima to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the beatification of the little shepherds, Jacinta and Francisco Marto who, together with their cousin Lucia dos Santos, who died in 2005, were the witnesses of Our Lady's apparitions in 1917. According to a Vatican spokesman, Benedict XVI is going to Fatima to show how God acts in history, which is one of the key lessons of the Virgin Mary's apparitions to the three Portuguese little shepherds. VATICAN CITY, MAY 9, 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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