The Holy Father´s Week: October 11, 2010

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

The Holy Father went for a day to the Italian island of Sicily.

He visited the faithful gathered there for a regional meeting of families and youth. He said family is fundamental because it is the first place where people learn the meaning of life.

   "This perception grows in the relationship with the mother and with the father, who are not the owners of the life of the children but the first collaborators with God in the transmission of life and the faith," he added.

   "We need fertile soil in which to put down our roots, a soil that is rich in nourishing elements that make the person grow." He noted "These are above all love and faith, the knowledge of the true face of God."

   The Pope observed that "this occurred in an exemplary and extraordinary way in the family of Blessed Chiara Badano," an Italian youth who died in 1990 before her 19th birthday and was beatified Sept. 25. "There were two years, her last, that were also full of suffering, but always in love and in light, a light that shown all about her and came from inside: from her heart full of God!" he noted. "Humanly speaking, she was without hope, but she spread love, serenity, peace and faith.

   "Evidently it was a grace from God, but this grace was also prepared and accompanied by human cooperation: Chiara's own cooperation, certainly, but also the cooperation of her parents and her friends. But first of all it was through the cooperation of her parents, the family." PALERMO, Italy, OCT. 4, 2010

Faith is the foundation of the Christian life and the fundamental thing to ask of God. Benedict XVI said during the homily in an outdoor Mass in Palermo's Foro Italico, "All of the texts of liturgy this Sunday speak to us of faith, which is the foundation of the whole Christian life." He explained, "The disciples do not ask for material goods, they do not ask for privileges, rather they ask for the grace of faith, that orients and illuminates life as a whole; they ask for the grace to recognize God and to be able to abide in an intimate relationship with him, receiving from him all his gifts, including those of courage, love and hope."

   Jesus expresses the incredible vitality of faith, that a "modicum of faith, is capable of accomplishing unthinkable, extraordinary things, such as uprooting a great tree and planting it in the sea" (Luke 17:6).

   "Faith -- trusting Christ, welcoming him, allowing him to transform us, following him completely -- makes humanly impossible things possible in every situation."

   Everything is his gift, "Accepting and doing his will is the way that we must live every day, in every moment of our life". We must be aware that we never do enough for God.  “We must say, as Jesus suggests: "We are useless servants. We did what we were obliged to do" (Luke 17:10).

   "If we do the Lord's will every day, with humility, without expecting anything from him, Jesus himself will serve us, help us, encourage us, give us strength and peace.” He said.

   "Those who stand firmly on faith, those who are full of trust in God and live in the Church, are able to unleash the explosive power of the Gospel."

   "Live the values of the Gospel with courage to make the light of the good shine! With the power of God all things are possible! May the Mother of Christ, the Virgin Odigitria greatly venerated by you, assist you and lead you to the profound knowledge of her Son. Amen!" PALERMO, Italy, OCT. 4, 2010

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St. Gertrude shows us that the center of a happy life, of a true life, is friendship with Jesus the Lord.  Benedict XVI's catechesis during the general audience in St. Peter's Square, focused on Saint Gertrude the Great.

   Born on Jan. 6, 1256, feast of the Epiphany, nothing is known about her parents or the place of her birth, at age 5 she entered the monastery of Hefta for formation and study, and spent all her life there.

   She is the only woman of Germanic descent to be called "Great", an honour due to her exceptional natural and supernatural gifts. Her youthful passions were: literature, music and singing, miniature art captivated her; she had a strong character, determined, decisive, impulsive; often negligent; she acknowledges her defects and humbly asks for forgiveness of them.

   "With humility she asked others for advice and prayer".
Eventually, she experienced a deep conversion: in her studies she passed from worldly pursuits to the sacred sciences, and in her monastic observance she moved from concern with external things to a life of intense prayer.

   "She filled her heart with the most useful and sweet sentences of sacred Scripture. Hence she always had at her disposal an inspired or edifying word with which to satisfy anyone who came to consult her, and at the same time the most appropriate scriptural texts to confute any erroneous opinion and silence the tongue of her opponents." the Holy Father explained.

   "To the prayers and penances of the monastic rule she added others with such devotion and confident abandonment in God, that she enkindled in those who met her an awareness of being in the Lord's presence."

   "The existence of St. Gertrude continues to be a school of Christian life, of the straight path, which shows us that the center of a happy life, of a true life, is friendship with Jesus the Lord." The Pope affirmed.

   "And this friendship is learned in love for sacred Scripture, in love for the liturgy, in profound faith, in love for Mary, so that one will increasingly really know God himself and thus true happiness, the goal of our life."

   May we learn from Saint Gertrude the Great how to love Christ and His Church with humility and faith, and to cultivate our personal prayer through an intense participation in the Holy Mass and the sacred liturgy. The Pope said.

   Benedict XVI concluded by inviting everyone to pray for the synod assembly, "invoking from God an abundant outpouring of the gifts of the Holy Spirit."VATICAN CITY, OCT. 6, 2010

The Rosary leads directly to Jesus, contemplated in his Misteries. Before praying the midday Angelus, Benedict XVI spoke about the Rosary. "In the footsteps of the venerable John Paul II (cf. Apostolic Letter "Rosarium Virginis Mariae), I would like to recall that the Rosary is a biblical prayer, completely interwoven with Sacred Scripture."

   The Pope said, "It is a prayer of the heart in which the repetition of the "Hail Mary" orients one's though and affection toward Christ, and thus one confidently supplicates his Mother and ours."

   "It is a prayer that aids meditation on the Word of God and is likened to Eucharistic communion on the model of Mary, who carries in her heart all Jesus did and said and his presence itself." VATICAN CITY, OCT. 10, 2010

Other papal messages and activities

The Pope spoke about Marian devotion in Palermo, Sicily. "Mary is the model of the Christian life." He said "I ask her above all to quicken your footsteps and fill you with joy on the path to holiness".

   He noted Anna Maria Adorni, who was called the "Living Rosary" because of her constant prayer, was being beatified that same day in Parma. She dedicated herself to charitable work among women in prison and in difficulty, for whose service she founded two religious institutes.

   "I am glad to mention her at the beginning of the month of the rosary". The Holy Father said, "May the daily meditation on the mysteries of Christ in union with Mary, the prayerful Virgin, strengthen us in faith, in hope and in charity." PALERMO, Italy, OCT. 4, 2010

Believers must pray for peace. The Holy Father's message to the International Meeting of Prayer for Peace, under way in Barcelona, Spain, affirmed that "selfless service to peace exacts from all believers the inescapable and priority commitment to prayer."

   Peace is a gift from God, he continued, citing John Paul II, and it is only possible to find and build it in relationship with him.

   "In prayer, we are also given the possibility to learn the language of peace and respect, strengthening that seed of peace that God himself has sown in men's hearts, and which constitutes, beyond differences of race, culture and religion, the most profound longing of the human being," VATICAN CITY, OCT. 4, 2010

"The Church "exists to make the Good News accessible to all people". Benedict XVI said to Brazilian bishops in Rome for their five-yearly visit. "The Church is catholic precisely because it invites every human being to experience the new existence in Christ".

   Jesus came "to show us, with his words and his life, the ordinary ways of salvation, and he ordered us to transmit this revelation to others with his own authority."

   The disappearance of the missionary spirit perhaps is due to forgetting that the mission must be nourished by a more profound nucleus, the Pontiff said. "This nucleus is the Eucharist."

   "For the Continental Mission to be really effective, it must begin from the Eucharist and lead to the Eucharist," he added, referring to the mission called for by Latin American and Caribbean bishops who gathered with Benedict XVI in 2007 in Aparecida, Brazil. VATICAN CITY, OCT. 5, 2010

"October is the month of the holy rosary, which invites us to appreciate this prayer so dear to the tradition of the Christian people," The Pope said at the conclusion of the general audience.

   He invited the youth "to make the rosary your daily prayer." He encouraged those suffering from illness to use the rosary "to grow in confident abandonment in God's hands." Finally, he exhorted newlyweds "to make of the rosary a constant contemplation of the mysteries of Christ." VATICAN CITY, OCT. 6, 2010

The task of the Catholic press is to "help contemporary man to orient himself to Christ, only Savior, and to keep burning the flame of hope in the world, to live worthily our today and to build the future appropriately." The Holy Father affirmed in his address to the participants to the World Press Congress, sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, which ended today in Rome. VATICAN CITY, OCT. 7, 2010

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Benedict XVI met with Chile's new ambassador to the Holy See. The Pontiff emphasized an appropriate relationship for Church and state, There should be "loyal and respectful collaboration" between the Church and state "independent and autonomous each in its own field," but both called "to serve the personal and social vocation of persons themselves." VATICAN CITY, OCT. 7, 2010

The group of 33 Chilean miners trapped 700 meters below ground sent a flag that was presented to Benedict XVI. The flag, signed by the miners was given to the director of communications of the Diocese of Copiapo, to be used as an offering in a national meeting of Chilean journalists last week in Santiago.

   At that gathering, the journalists decided to send the flag to Rome as a token of gratitude to the local Churches of the world that have shown solidarity with the plight of the miners, and prayed for them. VATICAN CITY, OCT. 7, 2010

The World Union of Catholic Women's Organizations received a message from the Pope in which he expressed "thanks for the many blessings that have been bestowed on the Church through the witness of faithful Catholic women living and working in the world, transforming it from within, and proclaiming the Gospel in word and deed."

   The union is currently celebrating 100 years with an assembly in Jerusalem. JERUSALEM, OCT. 7, 2010

Benedict XVI made new appointments. Archbishop Mauro Piacenza, 66, secretary of the Congregation for Clergy, was appointed as prefect of the same dicastery. Archbishop Robert Sarah, 65, secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, as president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum. VATICAN CITY, OCT. 7, 2010

Benedict XVI met with the president of Croatia, Ivo Josipovic. A Vatican communiqué noted that their "cordial discussions" included "a fruitful exchange of opinions on questions concerning the current situation in the region, with particular reference to the position of Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina." VATICAN CITY, OCT. 9, 2010

Benedict XVI is encouraging the Eastern Catholic Churches to conserve their identity, patrimony and traditions.

   The Pope stated this in an audience with participants in a congress marking the 20th anniversary of the promulgation of the Code of Canons of Eastern Churches. VATICAN CITY, OCT. 9, 2010

The Pope concelebrated with 177 Synodal Fathers, including 19 cardinals, 9 patriarchs, 72 archbishops, 67 bishops and 10 priests at the opening Mass of the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops. This synodal gathering, which will last two weeks, will see the meeting in Rome of the pastors of the Church that live in the Middle East. They will be reflecting on the following theme: "The Catholic Church in the Middle East: Communion and Witness."

   "The Church was established to be a sign and an instrument of the unique and universal saving project of God among men;" the Holy Father said in his homily. "She fulfils this mission simply by being herself, that is, "Communion and witness", as it says in the theme of this Synodal Assembly which opens today, referring to Luke's famous definition of the first Christian community: "The whole group of believers was united, heart and soul" (Acts 4:32)".

   Without communion there can be no witness: the life of communion is truly the great witness. Jesus said it clearly: "It is by your love for one another, that everyone will recognize you as my disciples" (Jn 13:35). Benedict XVI noted.

   "This communion is the same life of God which is communicated in the Holy Spirit, through Jesus Christ. It is thus a gift, not something which we ourselves must build through our own efforts. And it is precisely because of this that it calls upon our freedom and waits for our response: communion always requires conversion, just as a gift is better if it is welcomed and utilized." VATICAN CITY, OCT. 10, 2010

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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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