The Holy Father´s Week: November 29, 2010

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

Reflection on St. Catherine of Siena. "Even in the moments of greatest difficulty, the Lord does not cease to bless his People, raising men and women saints who stir minds and hearts, bringing about conversion and renewal." The Pope said during the general audience, St. Catherine of Siena "is one of these and still today she speaks to us and pushes us to walk courageously toward sanctity to be disciples of the Lord in an ever fuller sense".

   She was born in Siena in 1347. "At 16, moved by a vision of St. Dominic, she entered the Dominican Third Order. She stayed with her family and confirmed the vow of virginity she made privately when she was still an adolescent; she dedicated herself to prayer, penance, and works of charity, above all for the benefit of the sick."

   She became "the protagonist in an intense activity of spiritual counsel, dealing with all categories of persons: nobles and politicians, artists and ordinary people, consecrated persons, ecclesiastics, and including Pope Gregory XI, who at that time resided in Avignon and whom Catherine exhorted energetically and effectively to return to Rome." The Holy Father continued "She travelled a lot to solicit the interior reform of the Church and to foster peace between states."

   "Catherine suffered much, as have many saints." She truly lived St. Paul's words, "It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me" (Galatians 2:20).

   "Catherine also belongs to that rank of Eucharistic saints with which I concluded my apostolic exhortation "Sacramentum Caritatis" (cf. No. 94)." The Pontiff explained, "Dear brothers and sisters, the Eucharist is an extraordinary gift of love that God continually renews to nourish our journey of faith, reinvigorate our hope, inflame our charity, to make us ever more like him."

   "Her teaching is gifted with such richness that, in 1970, the Servant of God Paul VI declared her a doctor of the Church, a title that was added to that of co-patroness of the city of Rome, by the decision of Blessed Pius IX, and of patroness of Italy, by the decision of the Venerable Pius XII."

   Catherine's life also shows us the importance of the spiritual maternity exercised by so many women in every age. From this great saint let us learn to grow in holiness, love for the Lord and fidelity to his body, the Church. VATICAN CITY, NOV. 24, 2010

A Vigil for All Nascent Human Life, which was promoted by the Pontiff, was held before presiding at vespers for the first Sunday of Advent in St. Peter's Basilica. This vigil was also observed in union with the Holy Father in parishes, communities, movements and associations throughout the world.

   The Pope called on politicians, economists and the mass media to promote a culture that is ever more respectful of life. The Lord's incarnation and the beginning of human life, in fact, are intimately connected, Benedict XVI pointed out.

   He explained that the former reveals that every human life has an "incomparable dignity," to which the "great responsibility toward all" is linked. Unfortunately, the Pope noted, even after birth the lives of many children continue to be exposed to abandonment, hunger, misery, sickness, abuse, violence and exploitation. Reciting the prayer for life at the conclusion of the celebration, the Pontiff invoked the Creator's protection of children, spouses, of all those who suffer from the impossibility of having children, and of orphans.

   He asked for the light of the Holy Spirit to be shed on the decisions of legislative assemblies and the work of scientists and physicians, so that progress will contribute to the integral good of the person. VATICAN CITY, NOV. 28, 2010

"One could say that man is alive so long as he waits, so long as hope is alive in his heart.” Benedict XVI said at the Angelus in St. Peter's Square. "What he waits for and what he hopes for discloses something about his moral and spiritual "stature."

   One can ask oneself: What am I waiting for? "For what, in this moment of my life, does my heart long? And this same question can be posed at the level of the family, of the community, of the nation. What are we waiting for, together? What unifies our aspirations, what do they have in common?"

   "Today", he said "the first Sunday of Advent, the Church begins a new liturgical year, a new journey of faith that, on one hand, remembers the event of Jesus Christ and, on the other, opens onto its ultimate fulfillment."

   "It is precisely in this double perspective that the season of Advent is situated, both looking to the first coming of the Son of God, when he was born of the Virgin Mary, and to his glorious return, when he will come "to judge the living and the dead," as we say in the Credo."

   The Holy Father highlighted Mary's example "There is a mysterious correspondence between the waiting for God and the waiting for Mary, the creature "full of grace," totally transparent to the plan of love of the Most High."

   "Let us learn from her, the woman of Advent, to live with a new spirit in our daily gestures, with the sentiment of a profound expectation that only the coming of God can fulfil." VATICAN CITY, NOV. 28, 2010

Other papal messages and activities.

In God's eyes, greatness is not measured by a level of dominion, but rather the way a person serves, Benedict XVI affirmed in his homily during the consistory in which 24 new cardinals were created. He reminded the cardinals that Jesus tells his disciples, "Whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be the slave of all."

   "No one is boss in the Church," the Holy Father stated, "but all are called, all are sent, all are gathered and guided by divine grace." VATICAN CITY, NOV. 22, 2010

"Keep your look fixed on Christ, attributing to him every grace and spiritual comfort." The Pope said upon receiving in audience in Paul VI Hall the new cardinals who were created Saturday, as well as their friends and family. The Holy Father greeted each cardinal in his own language.  VATICAN CITY, NOV. 22, 2010

The Pope sent a message highlighting the primacy of God in the life and thought of Blessed John Henry Newman, and the continual conversion of the Englishman. The message was sent to participants in a symposium organized in Rome by the International Centre of Newman Friends together with the Pontifical Gregorian University. ROME, NOV. 22, 2010

Benedict XVI expressed his condolences for the death of Cardinal Urbano Navarrete Cortés, who died today. He was 90 years old. The Pontiff expressed "feelings of deep sympathy" to the Jesuits and to the family of the cardinal.  VATICAN CITY, NOV. 22, 2010

The Pope sent one of his closest collaborators to visit some of the wounded on the Oct. 31 attack on the Syrian Catholic cathedral of Baghdad. They are being treated in Rome.
   Italy's Episcopal conference convoked a Day of Prayer for Iraqi Christians on Sunday, and the Holy See is organizing a Mass in St. Peter's Basilica on Thursday for the victims of the attack. VATICAN CITY, NOV. 22, 2010 

Regret over the illicit Episcopal ordination in China. The Holy Father received the news "with deep regret, because the above-mentioned episcopal ordination was conferred without the apostolic mandate and, therefore, constitutes a painful wound upon ecclesial communion and a grave violation of Catholic discipline," a Vatican communiqué stated. It noted that "the Holy See intends to carry out a detailed evaluation of what has happened, including consideration of the aspect of validity and the canonical position of the bishops involved." VATICAN CITY, NOV. 24, 2010

The Holy Father and the association of Memores Domini mourn the death of a member of the association who was killed when she was struck by a car. Manuela Camagni was one of the four Memores Domini who look after the papal apartments. VATICAN CITY, NOV. 26, 2010

"The consecrated life is a plant with a wealth of branches that has its roots in the Gospel," the Holy Father said to participants in a biannual general assembly of the Union of Superiors General of religious congregations. He thanked religious congregations for what they do in the Church and with the Church on behalf of evangelization and of man.

   "I think of the multiple pastoral activities in the parishes, in the shrines and the centers of worship, for the catechesis and Christian formation of children, of young people and of adults, manifesting your passion for Christ and for humanity. I think of the great work in the field of education, in the universities and in the schools; of the multiple social works, through which you encounter the brothers who are most in need with God's love itself. I think also of the witness, at times dangerous, of the evangelical life in the missions "ad gentes," in often difficult circumstances." VATICAN CITY, NOV. 28, 2010

Benedict XVI exhorted Catholic communicators to serve the truth, giving the reasons of the faith and helping to interpret reality from the evangelical point of view. 

   He made this appeal last Friday on receiving in audience participants in the assembly of the Italian Federation of Catholic Weeklies (FISC).


   "The truth, for which man thirsts, is a person: the Lord Jesus. In the encounter with this Truth, in knowing it and loving it, we find true peace, true happiness," the Holy Father explained. "The specific function of Catholic newspapers is to "proclaim the Good News through the narration of the concrete events that Christian communities live and of the real situations in which they are inserted." VATICAN CITY, NOV. 29, 2010

Benedict XVI stated the need to give a voice to the Church in the realm of social communications and the media upon receiving in audience the Filipino bishops who are in Rome for their five-yearly "ad limina" visit. "It is important that the Catholic laity proficient in social communications take their proper place in proposing the Christian message in a convincing and attractive way," he said.

    The Pontiff commended "the Church in the Philippines for seeking to play its part in support of human life from conception until natural death, and in defence of the integrity of marriage and the family." He particularly noted "with appreciation the Church's work to abolish the death penalty in your country." VATICAN CITY, NOV. 29, 2010

On the 65th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki the Pope called for increased efforts in favour of nuclear non-proliferation. Upon receiving in audience the new ambassador of Japan to the Holy See, Hidekazu Yamaguchi, the Pope noted the "memory of this dark episode of the history of humanity," and said that it "reminds us insistently how necessary it is to persevere in efforts in favor of nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament." VATICAN CITY, NOV. 29, 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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Published by: Dominic Sternhagen, LC
Date: 2010-12-02 04:24:21
These are great! I forward them to everyone I know. I felt I should acknowledge this somehow. Keep up the great work!

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