The Holy Father´s Week: May 16, 2011

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

"Let us learn to spend more time before God", the Holy Father urged during the general audience held in St. Peter's Square.

   "Our own age, marked by secularism, rationalism and an apparent eclipse of God, is showing signs of a renewed religious sense and a recognition of the inadequacy of a purely horizontal, material vision of life". He said in his catechesis on Christian prayer "Man is made in the image of God; a desire for God is present in every heart and man in some way knows that he is capable of speaking to God in prayer"

   "All religions bear witness to men's essential search for God" He affirmed, "Digital" man and the caveman alike seek in religious experience the ways to overcome his finitude and to ensure his precarious earthly adventure."

   "Saint Thomas Aquinas tells us that prayer is the expression of our desire for God, a desire which is itself God's gift." the Pope affirmed. "This attraction toward God, which God himself has placed in man, is the soul of prayer, which is cloaked in many forms and modalities according to the history, time, moment, grace and finally the sin of each one of those who pray."

   "Prayer is first and foremost a matter of the heart, where we experience God's call and our dependence on his help to transcend our limitations and sinfulness."

   "The posture of kneeling at prayer expresses this acknowledgment of our need and our openness to God's gift of himself in a mysterious encounter of friendship".

   "Let us resolve to pray more frequently, to listen in the silence of our hearts to God's voice, and to grow in union with the God who has revealed himself in Jesus Christ, with the One who is infinite Love."

   The Holy Father encouraged all to "intensify" the practice of praying the rosary during May, the month the Church dedicates to the Mother of God. He urged the youth present "to value this traditional Marian prayer, which helps to understand better and to assimilate the central moments of the salvation realized by Christ."  VATICAN CITY, MAY 11, 2011

On ZENIT's Web page: Full text:

No one can steal the sheep from the Good Shepherd's hands, the Holy Father affirmed before praying the midday Regina Caeli. "The sheep, in fact, are united to him by a bond of love and mutual knowledge, which guarantees them the incommensurable gift of eternal life".

   Listening and following: these terms designate the fundamental characteristics of those who live as followers of the Good Shepherd. "Only those who are attentive to the Lord’s voice are able to determine by their own conscience the right choices to act according to God" he explained. "From listening, then, is derived the following of Jesus: we act as disciples after we have listened and internalized the Master's teaching, to live it daily."

   On this Sunday, the Pope also noted, it is natural to remember the Shepherds of the Church of God, and those who are being formed to become Shepherds.

   He invited to "say a special prayer for bishops -- including the Bishop of Rome! -- for parish priests, for all those who have a responsibility in leading the flock of Christ, that they might be faithful and wise in carrying out their office".

   "In particular", he continued, "let us pray for vocations to the priesthood on this World Day of Prayer for Vocations, that authentic workers for the Lord’s harvest never be lacking." and let us "entrust our proposals and our intentions to the Virgin Mary, Mother of every vocation, that with her intercession she awaken and support numerous holy vocations in service to the Church and the world."  VATICAN CITY, MAY 15, 2011

Other papal messages and activities

New appointments. Benedict XVI appointed Archbishop Fernando Filoni, 65, as prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. He will succeed Cardinal Ivan Dias, 75, who resigned due to reasons of age after serving for five years as head of the dicastery that directs the missionary work of the Church.

   The Pope also named Archbishop Giovanni Angelo Becciu, 62, apostolic nuncio to Cuba, as undersecretary for general affairs of the Secretariat of State.

   The section of general affairs is similar to the ministry of the interior, and works closely with the daily business of the Holy Father.

   Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto, 59, apostolic nuncio to Chile,was appointed  as apostolic nuncio to the Philippines. For the Netherlands, the Holy Father named Bishop Johannes Harmannes Jozefus van den Hende of Breda, 47, as bishop of Rotterdam. VATICAN CITY, MAY 10, 2011

Benedict XVI addressed representatives of B'nai B'rith International, the oldest Jewish service organization in the world.

   "There are many ways in which Jews and Christians can cooperate for the betterment of the world in accordance with the will of the Almighty for the good of mankind." He affirmed and named practical works of charity and service to the poor and those in need.

   "Yet", he said "One of the most important things that we can do together is bear common witness to our deeply-held belief that every man and woman is created in the divine image and thus possessed of inviolable dignity." VATICAN CITY, MAY 12, 2011

Cardinal Robert Sarah will visit Japan. He "will carry Benedict XVI's embrace extended to all the family members of the victims, to all the displaced persons, and to all the volunteers who are working tirelessly on reconstruction,"

   The Cardinal is the President of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, which oversees the Church's charity work.  VATICAN CITY, MAY 12, 2011

Benedict XVI is praying for the victims of the earthquake Wednesday that killed nine people in Spain and left thousands homeless. VATICAN CITY, MAY 13, 2011

"The body is that place where the spirit can dwell" Benedict XVI said on the 30th anniversary of the foundation of the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family.

   "The flesh, received from God, is called to render possible the union of love between man and woman and to transmit life".

   The virtue of chastity, he recalled, " is not a "no" to pleasures and to the joy of life, but the great "yes" to love as profound communication between persons, that requires time and respect, as a journey together toward fullness and as love that becomes able to generate life and generously welcome the new life that is born."

   He also warned that "the body also contains a negative language: it speaks to us of the oppression of the other, of the desire to possess and exploit". This language does not pertain to God's original design, he noted, "but is the fruit of sin".

   "God also offers to man a journey of redemption of the body, whose language is preserved in the family" he affirmed.  VATICAN CITY, MAY 15, 2011

The Pope spoke today of the rebellions in Libya and Syria, calling for peace and solutions to the conflicts. VATICAN CITY, MAY 15, 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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