The Holy Father´s Week: May 24, 2010

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

Mary invites us to walk with great hope. The Pope said as he reviewed his trip to Portugal at the general audience in St. Peter's Square. He noted that the pilgrimage was in gratitude "to the Virgin Mary, who in Fatima transmitted to her visionaries and to pilgrims an intense love for the Successor of Peter."

   "Throughout the whole trip, which occurred on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the beatification of the little shepherds Jacinta and Francisco [two of the three visionaries]," the Holy Father said, "I felt sustained spiritually by my beloved predecessor, the Venerable John Paul II."

   "I give praise to the Lord because Mary, appearing to the three little shepherds, opened to the world a privileged space to find divine mercy that heals and saves."

   The Holy Father reflected on the rosary, saying that "this prayer, so dear to the Christian people, has found in Fatima a propelling centre for the whole Church and the world."

   "We can say that Fatima and the rosary are almost a synonym." He affirmed.

   "Our Lady's exhortation to prayer, penance and conversion is essentially a summons to hope in God's merciful love and trust in his saving plan, which triumphs over the threats and calamities of history." He explained.

   In this Year for Priests, Benedict XVI said "I did not fail to entrust and consecrate to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the true model of a disciple of the Lord, the priests of the whole world."

   The Pontiff concluded with a reflection "In Fatima, the Holy Virgin invites all to consider the earth as the place of our pilgrimage to our definitive homeland, which is heaven. In fact, we are all pilgrims, we are in need of the Mother who guides us." VATICAN CITY, MAY 19, 2010

"Wherever Christians gather in prayer with Mary, the Lord grants his Spirit." The Pope said after praying the midday Regina Caeli with those gathered in St. Peter's Square. "The Church in fact lives constantly from the effusion of the Holy Spirit, without which she would exhaust her own powers, like a ship with sails and no wind," he said.

   "Pentecost is renewed in a special way in certain powerful moments, whether this be at the local or the universal level, whether it be in small assemblies or in great convocations."

   "There is no Church without Pentecost. And I would like to add: There is no Pentecost without the Virgin Mary."

   The Holy Father explained that this is how it was at the beginning in the Cenacle, as the Acts of the Apostles says (1:14). "And this is how it always is, in every place and in every time. I witnessed it a short time ago at Fatima." He affirmed.

   On this feast of Pentecost, the Pope added, "we too would like to be spiritually united with the Mother of Christ and of the Church, invoking a renewed effusion of the Paraclete with faith."

   "We invoke this for the whole Church, in particular, in this Year for Priests, for all the ministers of the Gospel, that the message of salvation be announced to all the nations."


"This is the effect of God’s work: unity" the Pope affirmed at a Mass he celebrated in St. Peter's Basilica for the feast of Pentecost.  "…Unity is the sign of recognition, the "business card", of the Church in the course of her universal history."

   "The universal Church precedes the particular Churches, and the latter must always conform to the former according to a criterion of unity and universality."

   "When a person or a community, limits itself to its own way of thinking and acting, it is a sign that it has distanced itself from the Holy Spirit. The path of Christians and of the particular Churches must always confront itself with the path of the one and Catholic Church, and harmonize with it"

   Benedict XVI drew another reflection from Pentecost, recalling how the Holy Spirit came as fire.

   "How different this fire is from that of wars and bombs," he exclaimed. "How different is the fire of Christ, spread by the Church, compared with those lit by the dictators of every epoch, of last century too, who leave a scorched earth behind them. [...] It is a flame that burns but does not destroy, that, in burning, brings forth the better and truer part of man."

   Yet, the Pope affirmed, the Holy Spirit's fire does cause a transformation. It takes away the waste that corrupts and hinders his relations with God and neighbour. This is frightening, the Holy Father acknowledged, because "we are afraid of being 'burned,' we prefer to stay just as we are."

   "Many people believe in God and admire the person of Jesus Christ, but when they are asked to lose something of themselves, then they retreat, they are afraid of the demands of faith. There is the fear of giving up something nice to which we are attached"

   "On one hand, we want to be with Jesus, follow him closely, and, on the other hand, we are afraid of the consequences that this brings with it."

   In this context, the Pontiff recommended that "we always need to hear the Lord Jesus tell us what he often repeated to his friends: 'Be not afraid.'" VATICAN CITY, MAY 23, 2010

Other papal messages and activities.

Benedict XVI received in audience Bolivian President Evo Morales. They exchanged opinions on questions concerning the current international and regional situation, and on the need to develop greater social awareness for the protection of the environment, VATICAN CITY, MAY 17, 2010

New rector of the Pontifical Oriental Institute. Benedict XVI appointed Jesuit Father James McCann, head of the U.S. bishops' conference Office to Aid the Church in Central and Eastern Europe.

   The institute was established for the study of Eastern Christianity in 1917 by Pope Benedict XV, and entrusted to the Society of Jesus in 1922 by Pope Pius XI. WASHINGTON, D.C., MAY 17, 2010

Strategies for proclaiming the Gospel to Europe are being considered by Benedict XVI and the leaders of the Council of European Bishops' Conferences. The Pope received in audience the president, vice presidents and secretary-general of the council. ROME, MAY 18, 2010

Benedict XVI appointed Father Kieran O'Reilly as bishop of Killaloe, Ireland. Born in Cork, Ireland, Kieran O'Reilly joined the Society of African Missions in 1970. He was ordained a priest in 1978 and served in Liberia and Nigeria before he was named to serve within the society as a member of the Irish provincial council, then as vicar general and finally as superior general. KILLALOE, Ireland, MAY 18, 2010

Benedict XVI met with the first ambassador from the United Arab Emirates to the Holy See, commending her nation for its openness to immigrants. The Emirates has in fact the highest net migration rate in the world (the United States comes in 25th and the United Kingdom at 40th).

   Hissa Abdulla Ahmed Al-Otaiba, who also serves as the UAE's ambassador to Spain, is taking up her post in the Holy See after diplomatic relations were established between the two countries in 2007. VATICAN CITY, MAY 20, 2010

The Pope received the letters of credence of Mongolia's new ambassador to the Holy See, Luvsantseren Orgil. The Holy Father noted the northern Asian's 20th anniversary of passage to democracy, expressing his confidence "that the great progress made in these years will continue to bear fruit in the consolidation of a social order which promotes the common good of your citizens, while furthering their legitimate aspirations for the future."

   He also expressed his "solidarity and concern" for those who "suffered as a result of the harsh winter and the effects of last year’s torrential rains and flooding."

   The prolonged period of paralyzing cold in Mongolia wreaked havoc on nomadic herders in the country, killing as many as 8 million livestock. VATICAN CITY, MAY 20, 2010

The prime minister of the South Pacific Kingdom of Tonga, Feleti Vaka'uta Sevele was received in audience by the Pope. Tonga is an archipelago comprised of 169 islands that stretches over a distance of about 500 miles. It has a population of 120,898.

   The presence of the Catholic Church in Tonga goes back to 1837 when Bishop Jean-Baptiste-François Pompallier led seven French Marist priests to the islands, thus becoming the first Catholics ever to enter Tonga. VATICAN CITY, MAY 20, 2010

"The preaching of the Gospel is an inestimable service that the Church can offer to the whole of humanity that travels through history." The Holy Father said when he received participants in the ordinary assembly of the Supreme Committee of the Pontifical Missionary Societies. 

   "We are convinced, in fact," he affirmed, "that the Lord Jesus Christ, faithful witness of the love of the Father, "with his Death and Resurrection, is the main propelling force for the true development of every human person and of the whole of humanity"

   Quoting his words from the beginning of his pontificate, he said: "The purpose of our lives is to reveal God to men. And only where God is seen does life truly begin."

   The Pope recalled that "evangelization needs Christians with arms raised to God in a gesture of prayer, Christians moved by the awareness that the conversion of the world to Christ is not done by us, but is given." VATICAN CITY, MAY 21, 2010

"It is up to the laity to show concretely in personal and family life, in social, cultural and political life, that the faith enables one to read reality in a new and profound way and to transform it."

   The Pope affirmed as he addressed participants in the 24th Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Laity. The theme of the meeting was "Witnesses of Christ in the Political Community."

   The Church concentrates particularly on educating the disciples of Christ," Benedict XVI explained, "so that, increasingly, they will be witnesses of his presence, everywhere."

   Benedict XVI acknowledged that politics is an opportunity for charity, which "asks Christians for a strong commitment to the citizenry, for the construction of a good life in nations, as also for an effective presence in the headquarters and programs of the international community."

   He affirmed, "Genuinely Christian politicians are necessary, but even more so lay faithful that are witnesses of Christ and of the Gospel in the civil and political community."

   "The times we are living in place us before great and complex problems. [...] The spread of a confused cultural relativism and of utilitarian and hedonist individualism weakens democracy and fosters the dominance of the strong powers.

   "A genuine political wisdom must be recovered and reinvigorated." He affirmed. "A real 'revolution of love' is necessary,"

   The new generations have before them great demands and challenges in their personal and social life. The Pope affirmed and mentioned the World Youth Days, which for 25 years have produced rich apostolic fruits among young people.   VATICAN CITY, MAY 21, 2010

On ZENIT's Web page:Full text:

A concert to celebrate the Pontiff's April birthday and anniversary of election was sponsored by Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill. The concert featured some of the great works of 19th and 20th century Russian composers.

   Benedict XVI warmly thanked him and  reflected that the concert opened a window to the "soul of the Russian people and with it the Christian faith, which find an extraordinary expression precisely in the divine liturgy and the liturgical singing that always accompanies it." VATICAN CITY, MAY 21, 2010

To understand a people, it is necessary to listen to its music. And this applies not only to Orthodox liturgical music [...] but also to the work of the Russian composers written for concert halls." Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill affirmed in a message to the Pope before the concert. "Music is a particular language that gives us the possibility to communicate with our hearts."

   The Orthodox leader reflected how during the years of state-imposed atheism, Russian music was key for evangelization.

   Patriarch Kirill concluded by praying for God's support for the Pope and other concert guests. VATICAN CITY, MAY 21, 2010

Benedict XVI thanked Malta's imprisoned for their prayers during his visit to the island last month.  He expressed his spiritual closeness and sent them his blessing "as a sign of the strength and peace in the Lord.  VATICAN CITY, MAY 21, 2010

Benedict XVI received in audience the president of the Dominican Republic, Leonel Antonio Fernández.

   Highlighted during this visit was the importance of continuing to promote human life, the Church's contribution to the country's development, the authorities' commitment to address the country's social problems and the country's contribution to the organization of humanitarian aid in Haiti. VATICAN CITY, MAY 21, 2010

"Let us thank God for this luminous witness to the Gospel!" After praying the Angelus, the Holy Father mentioned Teresa Manganiello, who was proclaimed "blessed" in Benevento on May 22, A Third Order Franciscan filled with love for her neighbour, she lived a simple and humble life between house work and spiritual work in the church of the Capuchins. She spent herself for all, especially for the poor and the sick, offering up sufferings and penances in reparation for sins. Teresa "departed for heaven, where her heart was already living, when she was only 27" the Pope said.

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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