The Holy Father´s Week: September 30, 2010

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

During the general audience the Pope spoke about St. Matilda of Hackeborn,
one of several important thirteenth-century figures of the convent of Helfta in Saxony.

   Entering there at an early age, Matilda was formed in an intensely spiritual and intellectual atmosphere founded upon Sacred Scripture, the liturgy, and the patristic tradition.

   Matilda, the Pope explained, was outstanding for her "humility, fervor, kindness, purity and innocence of life, the familiarity and intensity with which she lived her relationship with God, the Virgin and the saints."

   She was called "God's nightingale" for her wonderfully soft voice. When she sang in the choir, she was completely absorbed in God.

   In one of her visions, Jesus himself recommended the Gospel; opening to her the wound of his most gentle heart, he said to her: "Consider how great is my love: If you want to know it well, you will not find it expressed more clearly anywhere than in the Gospel.

   Allowing herself to be guided by sacred Scripture and to be nourished by the Eucharistic Bread, she followed a path of intimate union with the Lord, always in full fidelity to the Church.

   The Pope affirmed "This is for us also a strong invitation to intensify our friendship with the Lord, above all through daily prayer and attentive, faithful and active participation in the holy Mass. The liturgy is a great school of spirituality."

In her long life spent in the monastery, Matilda endured constant and intense sufferings, to which she added the very harsh penances chosen for the conversion of sinners. In this way she took part in the Lord's passion until the end of her life." The Holy Father said "Prayer and contemplation were the vital soil of her existence".

   "When the hour arrived in which the Lord wanted to take her with him, she asked him to be able to live a bit longer in suffering for the salvation of souls, and Jesus was pleased with this further sign of love."

   St. Matilda of Hackeborn entrusts us to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and to the Virgin Mary, the Pope affirmed, she invites us to praise the Son with the heart of the Mother and to praise Mary with the heart of the Son. VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 29, 2010

After his near three-month stay at the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, Benedict XVI is returning to the Vatican. Besides working to prepare the speeches and other activities of the two trips he already made this summer (Sept. 16-19 to the United Kingdom, and a day-trip Sept. 5 to Carpineto Romano, Italy), the Holy Father also worked on the third volume of his book "Jesus of Nazareth." CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, SEPT. 27, 2010

Papal prayer intentions for October. His general prayer intention is: "That Catholic universities may increasingly become places where, in light of the Gospel, people may experience the unity of faith and reason."

   The apostolic intention in October is: "That World Mission Day may help Christians realize that the task of proclaiming Christ is a necessary service to which the Church is called for the benefit of humanity." VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 30, 2010

Benedict XVI is calling on all Catholics to join in a Vigil for All Nascent Human Life, to be celebrated in local parishes and dioceses Nov. 27.

   The Pope will celebrate the vigil in St. Peter's Basilica on the eve of the First Sunday of Advent. VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 30, 2010
Vigil information:

Other papal messages and activities

"Different from a wanderer whose steps have no established final destination, a pilgrim always has a destination, even if at times he is not explicitly aware of it," the Pope observed in the message he sent  to the 2nd World Conference on the Pastoral Care of Pilgrimages and Shrines. He continued: "And this destination is none other than the encounter with God through Christ in whom all our aspirations find their response.

   "For this reason, the celebration of the Eucharist can really be considered the culmination of the pilgrimage." the Pope affirmed and he noted that "From the beginning of my pontificate, I have wanted to live my ministry as the Successor of Peter with the sentiments of a pilgrim who travels over the roads of the world with hope and simplicity bringing on his lips and in his heart the saving message of the Risen Christ, and strengthening his brothers in faith."

   The Holy Father said that he will soon make a pilgrimage to the tomb of the Apostle St. James. VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 27, 2010

The Pope assured his spiritual closeness to all those affected by severe flooding in Nigeria. A combination of unusually heavy rains and issues with dams has turned the northern region into muddy, dirty lakes, and as the Holy Father noted, "some 2 million people have been forced to flee their homes." VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 29, 2010

On the feasts of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael and the coming feast of the Guardian Angels (Oct.2), the Pope spoke of "the provident care with which God looks after each human person."  He recommended that youth should "feel the presence of the angels beside you" and "let yourselves be guided by them, so that your whole life is enlightened by the Word of God."

   He encouraged the sick to avail of the help of their guardian angels and thus "unite your sufferings to those of Christ for the spiritual renewal of human society."

   Finally, the Pontiff suggested that newlyweds should "often take recourse to your guardian angels, so that you can grow in the constant witness of an authentic love." VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 29, 2010

Benedict XVI expressed his appreciation for the ecumenical commitment of Monsignor Eleuterio Fortino, 72, who died due to illness on Sept. 22. Ordained a priest in 1963, he took part in the last session of the Second Vatican Council as an assistant to the ecumenical observers. Since then he has collaborated with the Holy See in the dialogue with the Orthodox Churches. VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 29, 2010

"Truth, Proclamation and Authenticity of Life in the Digital Age" is the theme chosen by the Pope for World Communications Day 2011. The text of Benedict XVI's message for the 45th World Communications Day will be released Jan. 24, on the feast of St. Francis De Sales, patron of journalists.

   The World Communications Day is the only worldwide celebration established by the Second Vatican Council. It is observed in most countries the Sunday before Pentecost. VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 29, 2010

Work for the defense of the family and human life,
the Holy Father urged the bishops of Europe participants in a plenary assembly of the Council of European Bishops' Conferences.

   The Pope sent a telegram encouraging the prelates "to continue the important work undertaken and inspire in the Church communities the necessary commitment so that the faithful might be free from intolerance and discrimination and to promote the family and the defense of human life."

   He assured the participants of his prayers. The theme of the assembly is, "Demographics and the Family in Europe." ZAGREB, Croatia, SEPT. 30, 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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