“I have come to Fatima to pray, in union with Mary and so many pilgrims, for our human family, afflicted as it is by various ills and sufferings.” The Holy Father said in his homily at a Mass in Fatima, during his 4-day visit to Portugal. “I have come to Fatima with the same sentiments as those of Blessed Francisco and Jacinta, and the Servant of God, Lucia, in order to entrust to Our Lady the intimate confession that "I love" Jesus, that the Church and priests "love" him and desire to keep their gaze fixed upon him.”
The Holy father explained that “in sacred Scripture we often find that God seeks righteous men and women in order to save the city of man and he does the same here, in Fatima.”
“At a time when the human family was ready to sacrifice all that was most sacred on the altar of the petty and selfish interests of nations, races, ideologies, groups and individuals, our Blessed Mother came from heaven, offering to implant in the hearts of all those who trust in her the Love of God burning in her own heart.”
The Pope spoke about the three shepherds: “An example and encouragement is to be found in the shepherd children, who offered their whole lives to God and shared them fully with others for love of God.” He said. “Our Lady helped them to open their hearts to universal love."
"Blessed Jacinta, in particular, proved tireless in sharing with the needy and in making sacrifices for the conversion of sinners."
"Only with this fraternal and generous love will we succeed in building the civilization of love and peace.”he affirmed.
“At that time it was only to three children, yet the example of their lives spread and multiplied, especially as a result of the travels of the Pilgrim Virgin, in countless groups throughout the world dedicated to the cause of fraternal solidarity.”
May the seven years which separate us from the centenary of the apparitions hasten the fulfilment of the prophecy of the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, to the glory of the Most Holy Trinity. FATIMA, Portugal, MAY 13, 2010
Recalling the "invisible hand" that saved the life of Pope John Paul II in 1981 when he was shot in St. Peter's Square, Benedict XVI paid homage to Our Lady of Fatima and gave her a Golden Rose.
Benedict XVI noted how John Paul II visited Fatima three times, attributing to the intercession of Mary the fact that the bullet wounds were not fatal. The assassination attempt took place on May 13, the anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady in Fatima. In 1982, the Polish Pope placed the bullet that shot him in the crown of the image of Our Lady.
"It is a profound consolation to know that you are crowned not only with the silver and gold of our joys and hopes, but also with the 'bullet' of our anxieties and sufferings," Benedict XVI said in his prayer before the image of Our Lady of Fatima. FATIMA, Portugal, MAY 12, 2010
Everyone is waiting for Jesus, even those who don't realize it, Benedict XVI stated in a Mass celebrated in front of the municipal palace, with the participation of 120,000 faithful, the final day of his apostolic trip to Portugal. “Christians are, in the Church and with the Church, missionaries of Christ sent into the world.”
The indispensable mission of every ecclesial community is “to receive from God and to offer to the world the Risen Christ, so that every situation of weakness and of death may be transformed, through the Holy Spirit, into an opportunity for growth and life.”
“To this end, in every Eucharistic celebration, we will listen more attentively to the word of Christ and devoutly taste the bread of his presence. This will make us witnesses, and, even more, bearers of the Risen Jesus in the world, bringing him to the various sectors of society and to all those who live and work there, spreading that "life in abundance" (cf. Jn 10:10) which he has won for us by his cross and resurrection, and which satisfies the most authentic yearnings of the human heart.”
"My brothers and sisters," he said, "you need to become witnesses with me to the resurrection of Jesus."
He warned against the temptation of restricting ourselves to what we already have, or think we have, safely in our possession: “It would be sure death in terms of the Church's presence in the world."
“May Our Lady help you to make yourselves a free and total "Yes" to the grace of God, so that you can be renewed and thus renew humanity by the light and the joy of the Holy Spirit.”
He ended and gave thanks to all present and to “those who worked in various ways preparing and realizing my visit, especially the preparations made in prayer”. PORTO, Portugal, MAY 14, 2010
Jesus remains close to us in order to guide us along our Christian path. The Pope stated before praying the Regina Caeli with the pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square, the day the Ascension of Jesus into heaven is celebrated.
"Christ remains in the plot of human history; he is near to each of us and guides our Christian path" he affirmed. "He is the companion of those who are persecuted because of their faith; he is in the heart of those who are marginalized; he is present in those to whom the right to life is denied."
"We can hear, see and touch the Lord Jesus in the Church, especially through the Word and the sacraments," Benedict XVI noted.
He concluded by thanking "the Virgin Mary, whom I was able to venerate at the shrine in Fatima a short time ago, for her maternal protection during the intense pilgrimage in Portugal."
"With confidence we address our prayer to her who watches over the witnesses of her beloved Son." VATICAN CITY, MAY 16, 2010
Other papal messages and activities
The Holy Father reflected on the mystery of death at the funeral of Cardinal Luigi Poggi.
"Jesus Christ is the Lord of life, and he came to raise on the last day all that the Father has entrusted to him." He said. Thus, the Pontiff affirmed, sorrow at death is "mitigated by hope in the resurrection, founded on the very word of Jesus." VATICAN CITY, MAY 10, 2010
In a message to the World Federation of Catholic Medical Associations, which concluded its 23rd World Congress, the Holy Father encouraged the health care providers to "lovingly serve the sick in their bodies, their souls and their spirits." Some 2,000 medical professionals from 50 countries took part in this congress-pilgrimage, held in Lourdes, France. It focused on "Our Faith as Doctors." LOURDES, France, MAY 10, 2010
Benedict XVI finished the second volume of "Jesus of Nazareth". The book is signed with the composite name Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI. Work on "Jesus of Nazareth" began in 2003, when Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. VATICAN CITY, MAY 10, 2010
Benedict XVI made a series of decisions regarding prelates in Germany, Poland and the Americas. He made two appointments for the special council for America of the general secretariat of the synod of bishops. One of the appointees is Archbishop José Gómez, coadjutor bishop of Los Angeles. The other is Archbishop Iván Marín López of Popayan, Colombia.
He appointed Archbishop Jozef Kowalczyk, 71, as the archbishop of Gniezno and primate of Poland. He succeeds Archbishop Henryk Muszynski, who presented his resignation for reasons of age.
The Pope accepted the resignation of a German bishop, Walter Mixa, 69, who was the ordinary in the Diocese of Augsburg.
Benedict XVI appointed Father Eduardo Nevares, 56, of the clergy of the Diocese of Tyler, Texas, as the first-ever auxiliary bishop for the Diocese of Phoenix.
He also appointed Msgr. Timothy Doherty as bishop of Lafayette in Indiana. VATICAN CITY, MAY, 2010
Press conference on board the plane that was taking him to Portugal. To one of the questions the Pope answered that the presence of secularism is something normal, but the separation and the opposition between secularism and a culture of faith is something anomalous and must be transcended. The great challenge of the present moment is for the two to come together, and in this way to discover their true identity. "This, as I have said, is Europe’s mission and mankind’s need in our history."he affirmed.
To the question about the “third secret”, the Holy Father explained that evil always attacks, “attacks from within and without” He spoke about the sins in the Church and that “the Church, therefore, has the profound need to learn penance again, to accept purification, to learn on one hand forgiveness, as well as the need for justice." "Forgiveness does not replace justice." he noted.
Still, the Pope confirmed that "the Lord is stronger than evil and the Virgin is, for us, the visible, maternal guarantee of the goodness of God, who is always the last word in history." LISBON, Portugal, MAY 11, 2010
The Virgin Mary came from heaven to remind us of Gospel truths. The Holy Father affirmed upon arriving at Portugal's Lisbon Portela Airport. He was received by President Aníbal Cavaco Silva, Cardinal José Policarpo, patriarch of Lisbon, and other ecclesiastical and civil authorities. The Pope spoke about secularism and the importance of recognition of religious freedom in public life. LISBON, Portugal, MAY 11, 2010
Portugal gives the Pope a warm welcome. Thousands lined the streets of Lisbon today to shout "Long live the Pope". Benedict XVI went in a closed car to the complex which includes the Jerónimos Monastery and the Tower of Belem. There, he was awaited by the president of Portugal, Aníbal Cavaco Silva, for the official welcome. After the welcome ceremony, the Pontiff entered the monastery for a few moments accompanied by Cardinal Policarpo, and paused to pray before the Blessed Sacrament in the ancient Church of Santa Maria de Belem. LISBON, Portugal, MAY 11, 2010
“Christ is always with us and always walks with his Church, accompanies her and guards her” Benedict XVI said in his homily in the Mass he celebrated in Lisbon's Palace Square. “Never doubt his presence!” he admonished.
“Always seek the Lord Jesus, grow in friendship with him, receive him in communion. Learn to listen to his word and also to recognize him in the poor. Live your lives with joy and enthusiasm, sure of his presence and of his unconditional, generous friendship, faithful even to death on the cross. Bear witness to all of the joy that his strong yet gentle presence evokes, starting with your contemporaries. Tell them that it is beautiful to be a friend of Jesus and that it is well worth following him.”
“Only Christ can fully satisfy the profound longings of every human heart and give answers to its most pressing questions concerning suffering, injustice and evil, concerning death and the life hereafter.”
“Seek daily the protection of Mary, Mother of the Lord and mirror of all holiness. She, the all-holy one, will help you to be faithful disciples of her Son Jesus Christ.” He ended. VATICAN CITY, MAY 11, 2010
The Holy Father thanked and blessed the youth who gathered at the Apostolic Nunciature in Lisbon to welcome him. He said he counts on them and their prayers that this Visit to Portugal may bear abundant fruit. VATICAN CITY, MAY 11, 2010.
"Produce beautiful things, but above all make your lives places of beauty” the Pope recommended representatives of the Portuguese world of art and culture gathered in the Belem Cultural Center in Lisbon. “Only truth can provide direction and trace the path of a fulfilled existence both for individuals and for a people.” Indeed,the pope affirmed, “ a people no longer conscious of its own truth ends up by being lost in the maze of time and history, deprived of clearly defined values and lacking great and clearly formulated goals.”
He explained that the most important mission in today’s culture for the Church is "to keep alive the search for truth, and consequently for God; to bring people to look beyond penultimate realities and to seek those that are ultimate.”
“ I invite you to deepen your knowledge of God as he has revealed himself in Jesus Christ for our complete fulfilment. Produce beautiful things, but above all make your lives places of beauty.” LISBON, Portugal, MAY 12, 2010 On ZENIT's Web page: www.zenit.org/article-29229?l=english
Fidelity, loyalty to one’s own vocation, as a disciple who wishes to follow the Lord, must be the greatest concern of every Christian, especially of every consecrated person or minister of the altar, the Pope said when he celebrated vespers with consecrated persons and priests at the Church of the Holy Trinity in Fatima. "Each one of us is called to be with Mary and like Mary, a humble and simple sign of the Church who offers herself constantly as a spouse into the hands of her Lord," he said and he cautioned against the "contradiction" of a "life of mediocrity, marked by a minimalistic ethic and a shallow religiosity." At the end of vespers, Benedict XVI made an Act of Entrustment and Consecration of Priests to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. FATIMA, Portugal, MAY 12, 2010
On ZENIT's Web page:Benedict XVI's address: www.zenit.org/article-29230?l=english
Act of Consecration: www.zenit.org/article-29233?l=english
Benedict XVI recommends the rosary as a method to contemplate Mary’s participation in our lives today. He encouraged the faithful to imitate her in her surrender to the will of God.
On his second day of his visit to Portugal, he went to the Fatima Shrine, where thousands lined the esplanade carrying candles. The Pope said that in our day, "in which the faith in many places seems like a light in danger of being snuffed out for ever," the highest priority is "to make God visible in the world and to open to humanity a way to God."
"Do not be afraid to talk of God and to manifest without fear the signs of faith, letting the light of Christ shine in the presence of the people of today," he urged.
The Pope led the pilgrims in praying the glorious mysteries of the rosary, beginning the prayers in Latin, as the faithful answered in their own languages, to highlight the Church's universality. FATIMA, Portugal, MAY 12, 2010
On ZENIT's Web page:www.zenit.org/article-29234?l=english
Benedict XVI thanked the children of Avola, Italy, for their message of support, and wished them a life full of joy and peace. The Holy Father sent a message responding to a letter that came from an initiative begun by Father Fortunato Di Noto and the Virgin of Carmel parish. ROME, MAY 12, 2010
“Suffering which is lived with Jesus assists in the salvation of your brethren.” The Holy Father told the sick gathered at the Fatima shrine after celebrating Mass for the feast of Our Lady of Fatima. “You can overcome the feeling of the uselessness of suffering”. In the eyes of God you are “worth so much to God that he himself became man in order to suffer with man in an utterly real way -- in flesh and blood -- as is revealed to us in the account of Jesus's Passion.”
The Holy Father invited those who suffer to entrust to Jesus “every setback and pain that you face, so that they become -- according to his design -- a means of redemption for the whole world. You will be redeemers with the Redeemer, just as you are sons in the Son”
“At the cross” he reminded all, “stands the mother of Jesus, our mother”. FATIMA, Portugal, MAY 13, 2010
The fundamental law of human perfection, and consequently of the transformation of the world, is the new commandment of love, the Holy Father affirmed during a meeting in Fatima with those who work in charities. “Anyone who learns from the God who is Love will inevitably be a person for others.”
“United to Christ in his consecration to the Father, we are seized by his compassion for the multitudes who cry out for justice and solidarity, and like the Good Samaritan in the parable, committed to providing concrete and generous responses”.
He urged charity workers to combine their action with prayer, and to keep their Catholic identity strong despite cultural pressures.
“The services you provide, and your educational and charitable activities, must all be crowned by projects of freedom whose goal is human promotion and universal fraternity.” he said. FATIMA, Portugal, MAY 13, 2010 On ZENIT's Web page:http://zenit.org/article-29245?l=english
Benedict XVI reflected on the role he carries as the Successor of Peter, saying a pope must live for the presence of God in the world. In a meeting with the bishops of Portugal he explained that as the Successor of Peter, he came to Fatima to pay a "debt of gratitude to the Virgin Mary" who in her appearances in Portugal transmitted "an intense love for the Holy Father which has borne fruit in a great multitude which prays, with Jesus as its guide: Peter, 'I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren.'"
Meditating on his mission, he said that "the Pope needs to open himself ever more fully to the mystery of the cross, embracing it as the one hope and the supreme way to gain and to gather in the Crucified One all his brothers and sisters in humanity."
Benedict XVI also affirmed he is comforted by the "determination with which [the Portuguese bishops] too follow me closely, fearing nothing except the loss of eternal salvation for your people."
On ZENIT's Web page: www.zenit.org/article-29251?l=english
At the farewell ceremony held at the International Airport of Porto, marking the end of his four-day trip to Portugal, Benedict XVI expressed his hope that this visit would serve to set in motion a renewed "spiritual and apostolic zeal”.
The pontiff said that while he was in Fatima, at the place where Mary had appeared to three shepherd children in 1917, he "prayed for the whole world, asking that the future may see an increase in fraternity and solidarity, greater mutual respect and renewed trust and confidence in God, our heavenly Father."
"May the Gospel be accepted in its entirety and witnessed with passion by every disciple of Christ, so that it may show itself to be a leaven of authentic renewal for the whole of society!" PORTO, Portugal, MAY 14, 2010
The Pope sent a message to participants in an ecumenical congress in Munich. This "Oecumenische Kirchentag," which gathered members of the German Christian churches, Catholic and Protestant, is the second of its kind. The first took place in 2003 in Berlin. In his message he notes the gathering motto: "So That You Might have Hope." And explained that in recent months we have been confronted with news that could take away the Church's joy,that darkened it as a place of hope. But, he observed, “God's light has not been extinguished; the good seed has not been destroyed by the bad seed."
The Lord continues to give us himself, he explained, “in the grace of the sacraments, in the word of reconciliation, in the many gifts of his contemplation.”
"Nothing can obscure or destroy all of that." The Holy Father pointed out, "We must be joyful for this in the midst of all tribulations." MUNICH, Germany, MAY 16, 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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