The Holy Father´s Week: May 9, 2011

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

"Prayer cannot be taken for granted", the Holy Father affirmed as he began a series of catecheses for the general audiences taking up the theme of prayer.

   "We must learn how to pray," He said, "almost as if acquiring this art anew; even those who are very advanced in the spiritual life always feel the need to enter the school of Jesus to learn to pray with authenticity."

   "The Gospels describe to us Jesus in intimate and constant dialogue with the Father" he explained, "It is a profound communion of the One who came into the world not to do his will but that of the Father who sent him for man's salvation."... "Virtually always and everywhere, people have turned to God."

   "The man of all times prays because he cannot fail to ask himself what is the meaning of his existence, which remains dark and discomforting, if he is not placed in relationship with the mystery of God and of his plan for the world."

   The Pope considered examples of prayer from various cultures. A testimony of the religious dimension and of the desire for God inscribed in the heart of every man, which, the Pope affirmed, "receive fulfillment and full expression in the Old and New Testaments".

   "Divine revelation, in fact, purifies and fulfills man's innate desire for God and offers us, through prayer, the possibility of a deeper relationship with our heavenly Father."

   The Pope invited the faithful to ask the Lord to "illumine our minds and hearts so that our relationship with him in prayer is ever more intense, affectionate and constant." Let us ask: "Lord, teach us to pray" he said.

   He ended the audience in St. Peter's Square with his customary greeting for youth, the sick and newlyweds.

   "Dear young people, place yourselves every day in the school of Mary Most Holy to learn from her to fulfill the will of God," the Pope said. VATICAN CITY, MAY 4, 2011

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If we follow Mary with docility, the Virgin will lead us to her Son, the Holy Father said before he prayed the Regina Caeli. 

   "With the dawn of Easter she became the Mother of the Risen One and her union with him is so profound that there where the Son is present, the Mother cannot fail to be present"

   "Let us invoke Mary Most Holy, who supported the first witnesses of her Son in preaching the Good News, that she might also today support the apostolic efforts of priests; make the witness of those in religious life fruitful; animate the daily work of parents in the first transmission of the faith to their children; illuminate the path of young people so that they might walk confidently in the way traced by their fathers; fill the hearts of the elderly with hope; comfort the sick and all of the suffering with her nearness; assist the work of numerous laypeople who actively collaborate in the new evangelization (…)"

   "I encourage everyone to work with the true spirit of communion in this great vineyard in which the Lord has called us to work. Mary, Mother of the Risen One and of the Church, pray for us!"

   The Pope made a two-day trip to the region of Venice.VENICE, Italy, MAY 8, 2011

Other papal messages and activities

The President of Poland grateful for the beatification of Blessed John Paul II. Bronislaw Komorowski met with Benedict XVI on Monday expressing the gratitude of the Polish nation for the beatification of Servant of God John Paul II.  VATICAN CITY, MAY 3, 2011

On the death of Cardinal Agustin Garcia-Gasco Vicente, retired archbishop of Valencia, Spain, Benedict XVI sent his condolences . The cardinal was in Rome for Pope John Paul II's beatification, and he died in the morning on Sunday of a heart attack. ROME, MAY 3, 2011

The Pope prays for the victims of a tornado outbreak that took the lives of more than 300 people in the southern United States last week. WASHINGTON, D.C., MAY 3, 2011

Benedict XVI sent a video-message to the Santo Domingo International Book Fair. The Holy See was invited to the book fair as a guest of honor.

   He recalled that the task of a good book is to educate to a more profound understanding of things, to think and to reflect, as the Venerable Pope Pius XII said. He reflected in his message that God himself "decided that the one and eternal Word should be expressed, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, in human words that could be written in the form of a book so that, through sacred Scriptures, the Good News of salvation would reach all"  VATICAN CITY, MAY 5, 2011

The Church is by her very nature a missionary Church the Pope noted as he received members of the U.S.-based "Papal Foundation."

   "I am most grateful for your involvement in projects aimed at integral human development", he affirmed, "your encouragement of the apostolic activities of dioceses and religious congregations throughout the world, your concern for the education of the Church’s future leaders and your support for the activities of the Holy See".

   The Papal Foundation was born in 1988 as a means of demonstrating practical solidarity with the Successor of Peter in his solicitude for the universal Church. VATICAN CITY, MAY 5, 2011

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the St. Anselm Liturgical Institute, Benedict XVI addressed its members.

   Benedict XVI called the liturgy: "privileged witness of the living Tradition of the Church," He stated that "Not infrequently tradition and progress are clumsily opposed," when, "In reality, the two concepts are integrated: tradition is a living reality, which because of this includes in itself the principle of development, of progress."

   "Subsisting in the liturgical action of the Church is the active presence of Christ: what he did as he went among men, he continues to make operative through his personal sacramental action, whose center is the Eucharist." VATICAN CITY, MAY 6, 2011

The Pontifical Biblical Commission received a message from the Pope. This year the commission will reflect on the topic : "Inspiration and Truth of the Bible."

   "I would like to refer to the fact that for a good interpretation, it is not possible to apply in a mechanical way the criterion of inspiration, nor that of absolute truth, extrapolating a single phrase or expression" the Holy Father wrote. "The context in which it is possible to perceive Holy Scripture as the Word of God is that of the unity of the history of God, in a totality in which individual elements are mutually illumined and opened to understanding."

   The Pontiff manifested his heartfelt appreciation "for the work carried out by the Biblical Commission to promote the knowledge, study, and reception of the Word of God in the world".  VATICAN CITY, MAY 6, 2011

Christian faith is not "'I believe something,' but 'I believe in Someone,' in the God who revealed himself in Jesus." The Pope said to the assistants to a Concert in honor of his 6th anniversary as the Successor of Peter. The orchestra and choir of the Opera Theatre of Rome performed Antonio Vivaldi's "Credo RV 591" and Gioachino Rossini's "Stabat Mater." The Holy Father reflected on the beginning and ending words of the creed: "Credo" and "Amen." VATICAN CITY, MAY 6, 2011

Benedict XVI expressed his gratitude to the Pontifical Swiss Guard for their physical protection, while warning against a "more dangerous" attack on a spiritual level. VATICAN CITY, MAY 6, 2011

The Pope  brought a message of the new evangelization to north-eastern Italy.
Faith is more than a cultural and social tradition, the Holy Father reminded in his homily and he proposed that the situation of the peoples of the region is similar to that of the disciples on the way to Emmaus.

   The depression and discouragement of those two disciples is seen "when the disciples of today distance themselves from the Jerusalem of the Crucified and Risen One, when they cease to believe in the power and the living presence of the Lord,"  "The problem of evil, of pain and suffering, the problem of injustice and abuse, of fear of others, of outsiders, and those who arrive to our lands from far away and seem to threaten who we are, [this] brings Christians of today to say with sadness: 'We had hoped that the Lord would free us from evil, from pain, from suffering, from fear, from injustice."

   The Pope invited these Christians to rediscover Christ, through the Word of God, and the sacrament of his Body and Blood, which "restores to us the eyes of faith, so as to see everything and everyone with the eyes of God and the light of his love."
"Be holy!" the Pontiff urged. "Put Christ at the center of your lives. Build the edifice of your existence upon him."

   "In Jesus you will find the strength to open yourselves to others and to make of yourselves, with his example, a gift for all of humanity."

   The Pope visited Venice and Aquilea Saturday and today, giving four addresses and a homily in just a few hours. Some 300,000 people attended the Mass.  VENICE, Italy, MAY 8, 2011

Christians need to bring the values of their faith into every sphere, including politics, Benedict XVI affirmed in an address to ecclesiastical representatives gathered in the Basilica of Aquileia during his pastoral visit to north-eastern Italy. He recommended "the commitment to create a new generation of men and women who are able to directly take on responsibility in various social spheres, especially in the political sphere," which "now more than ever needs to see people, young people above all, able to build a 'good life' for all and in the service of all."

   "Christians cannot shirk this task. They are pilgrims who set out for heaven but they already live here below in anticipation of eternity," he declared. "The mission that has priority," that God entrusts to the churches of north-eastern Italy today, "is that of bearing witness to the love of God for man."

   He said this witness should be manifested in "works of love and life choices on behalf of concrete people, beginning with the weakest, the most fragile, the most defenseless, those who are least self-sufficient, such as the poor, the elderly, the sick, the disabled.”
"Only in Christ in fact can humanity receive hope for the future; only from him can humanity draw the meaning and power of forgiveness, of justice, of peace." VENICE, Italy, MAY 8, 2011

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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