The Holy Father´s Week: June 6, 2011

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

Moses, the man of prayer, was the subject of the Pope’s reflection during the general audience. He explained that Moses carried out his role as mediator between God and Israel especially by praying.

   "He sees God and speaks with him "face to face, as a man speaks to his friend" the Holy Father said, as he highlighted several moments when Moses prayed for others.
We see this clearly in the episode of the golden calf (Ex 32), when Moses, after fasting for forty days went to the mountain awaiting the gift of the tablets of the Law. "But while the Lord, upon the mountain, gives the Law to Moses, at the foot of the mountain the people transgress it."

   "Tired of a journey with an invisible God, now that Moses, the mediator, has also disappeared, the people ask for a tangible, touchable presence of the Lord, and find in the molten calf made by Aaron, a god made accessible, maneuverable, within man's reach."

   "It is a constant temptation on the journey of faith: to elude the divine mystery by constructing a comprehensible god, corresponding to one's own plans, to one's own projects." Moses  confronts both the infidelity of the people, who now worship an idol of gold, and God's wrath. He intercedes for his people, fully acknowledging the gravity of their sin. He also pleads with God to remember his mercy, to forgive their sin and thus to reveal his saving power. Moses' prayer of petition is an expression of God’s own desire for the salvation of his people and his fidelity to the covenant.The Pope affirmed.
"Through his intercessory prayer Moses grows in deeper knowledge of the Lord and his mercy, and becomes capable of a love which extends to the total gift of self."

   In Moses the Fathers of the Church saw a prefiguration of Christ, who on the heights of the cross truly stands before God, not only as a friend but as Son. "I think we should meditate upon this reality. Christ stands before the face of God and prays for me. His prayer on the cross is contemporaneous with all men, contemporaneous with me: He prays for me, he suffered and suffers for me, he identified himself with me by taking on our human body and soul."

   Benedict XVI noted that Jesus, the Son of God, is the perfect intercessor who "brings about the new and eternal covenant in his blood, shed for the forgiveness of sin and the reconciliation of all God’s children".
 The Holy Father reflected that Christ "invites us to enter into this identification, to be united with him in our desire to be one body, one spirit with him. Let us pray to the Lord that this identification may transform us, may renew us, since forgiveness is renewal -- it is transformation." VATICAN CITY, JUNE 1, 2011 

The Christian family is a special sign of the presence and love of Christ and it is called to give a specific and irreplaceable contribution to evangelization. The Holy Father said this at the Mass to mark the National Day of Croatian Catholic Families at the Zabgreb Hippodrome.

   He recommended parents "always to teach your children to pray, and pray with them; draw them close to the Sacraments, especially to the Eucharist, as we celebrate the 600thanniversary of the Eucharistic miracle of Ludbreg; and introduce them to the life of the Church; in the intimacy of the home do not be afraid to read the sacred Scriptures, illuminating family life with the light of faith and praising God as Father. Be like a little Upper Room, like that of Mary and the disciples, in which to live unity, communion and prayer!"

   During the celebration, in which some 1,000 priests and 60 bishops from Croatia and neighboring countries participated, the Pope encouraged Catholic families to love without reservations and to not be afraid of committing themselves for life in marriage. ZAGREB, Croatia, JUNE 5, 2011

Papal prayer intentions for June. Benedict XVI's general intention is: "That priests, united to the Heart of Christ, may always be true witnesses of the caring and merciful love of God."

   The Pontiff's apostolic intention for June is: "That the Holy Spirit may bring forth from our communities many missionaries who are ready to be fully consecrated to spreading the Kingdom of God." VATICAN CITY, MAY 31, 2011

Other papal messages and activities

Benedict XVI addressed members of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization, who are concluding the council's first plenary assembly. Modern man is "often distracted and insensitive," he observed. "Because of this, the New Evangelization will have to be responsible for finding the methods to make the proclamation of salvation more effective."

   "To proclaim Jesus Christ the only Savior of the world seems more complex today than in the past; but our task remains the same as at the dawn of our history." The Holy Father said.VATICAN CITY, MAY 30, 2011 

The Holy Father received the visit of a Marian group he joined in his youth. He spoke about the Nazi power in those times, and how his participation in the Marian organization was hampered by the dissolution of the seminary, when the "war began against Russia" and the group "was already scattered to the four winds."

   Nevertheless, the Marian bond continued, he affirmed, since, he said, "it has always been clear that Catholicity cannot exist without a Marian expression, that to be Catholics means to be Marian, that this means love for the Mother, that in the Mother and by the Mother we find the Lord." VATICAN CITY, MAY 30, 2011

"Love is God's gift to humanity, it is his promise and it is our hope" The Pope told the Indian bishops who are concluding their five-yearly "ad limina" visit. "Christians of all times and places have striven to serve their fellow human beings selflessly and to love them with all their heart."The word of God not only "consoles but also challenges believers, as individuals and in community, to advance in justice, reconciliation and peace among themselves and in society as a whole".

   The Holy Father reminded the prelates that "among the more important responsibilities of bishops, the proclamation of the Gospel is pre-eminent." VATICAN CITY, MAY 30, 2011

Benedict XVI appointed Archbishop Diego Causero, 71, as apostolic nuncio in Switzerland and the Principality of Liechtenstein. He succeeds Archbishop Francesco Canalini, who has retired at age 75. The Holy Father called on Monsignor Antonio Neri, an official of the Congregation for Clergy, to be the under secretary of the same congregation.

   He also named as members of the Congregation for Bishops: Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, prefect of the Congregation for Clergy, and retired Bishop Lorenzo Chiarinelli of Viterbo, Italy. VATICAN CITY, MAY 30, 2011

The "essential continuity of the teaching on sacred music in the liturgy" was highlighted by Benedict XVI on the centenary of the Pontical Institute of Sacred Music. Pius X founded the institute in 1911. VATICAN CITY, MAY 31, 2011

"Mary truly believed that "with God nothing will be impossible" the Holy Father affirmed during the celebration in the Vatican Gardens to mark the end of the month of May, which is traditionally dedicated to Mary "As conclusion of the month of May, we wish to join our voices to Mary's, in her own canticle of praise. With her we wish to praise the Lord for the wonders he continues to do in the life of the Church and of each one of us". Benedict XVI expressed gratitude that the Marian month began with the beatification of Pope John Paul II, who he called "a great gift of grace for the whole Church." VATICAN CITY, JUNE 1, 2011

Benedict XVI received in audience the governor-general of Australia, Quentin Bryce, who is in Rome to represent Australia at celebrations marking the 150th anniversary of the Italian republic. VATICAN CITY, JUNE 1, 2011

Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, visited the Pope at the Vatican. According to a Vatican communiqué, the "central issue of the cordial conversations" was peace in the Holy Land. VATICAN CITY, JUNE 3, 2011

NBC's  show “Today” showed images of Benedict XVI's daily life, with images of his morning Mass, his meals complete with vegetables from the Vatican's gardens, and an end-of-the-day viewing of Italy's evening news. . The host of the show asked the Bishop of Rome for a message for Americans and the Holy Father responded: "Confidence in God and continue in the faith of Christ." ROME, JUNE 2, 2011

Benedict XVI gave a press conference aboard the plane en route for Croatia. Asked about the possible entrance of that nation to the European Union he said that : the process of entrance into Europe is a reciprocal process of giving and receiving. Croatia gives with its history, with its human and economic capacity, and naturally receives by broadening its horizon and living in this great commerce, which is not only economic but especially cultural and spiritual. ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE, JUNE 4, 2011

The Pope arrived at Zagreb and in his address remarked that he came as a pilgrim and to join in the celebration of the First National Day of Croatian Catholic Families. "May this important event serve as an opportunity for proposing afresh the values of family life and the common good, for strengthening unity, renewing hope and leading people to communion with God, the foundation of fraternal sharing and social solidarity" he said. ZAGREB, Croatia, JUNE 4, 2011

If conscience is rediscovered as "the place in which to listen to truth and good, the place of responsibility before God and before fellow human beings -- in other words, the bulwark against all forms of tyranny -- then there is hope for the future." The Holy Father said as he met with representatives of civil society, the political, academic, cultural, and business worlds, the diplomatic corps, and religious figures in the National Croatian Theater of Zagreb.

   "The quality of social and civil life and the quality of democracy depend in large measure on this "critical" point -- conscience, on the way it is understood and the way it is informed. If, in keeping with the prevailing modern idea, conscience is reduced to the subjective field to which religion and morality have been banished, then the crisis of the West has no remedy and Europe is destined to collapse in on itself." ZAGREB, Croatia, JUNE 4, 2011

Lodged in the heart of every person is a strong desire for happiness. Benedict XVI said at the prayer vigil with the Croatian youth in Zagreb. "But all too often we realize that we put our trust in things that cannot fulfil that desire, things that turn out to be shifting sands. At such moments we recognize our need for something "greater", capable of giving meaning to our daily lives".

   While fully respecting your freedom, Jesus "approaches each one of you and offers himself as the authentic and decisive response to the longing deep within your hearts, to your desire for a life worth living. Let him take you by the hand! Let him become more and more your friend and companion along life’s journey. Put your trust in him and he will never disappoint you!"

   "As you grow in friendship with the Lord through his word, the Eucharist and life in the Church, you will be able, with the help of your priests, to testify to the complete joy of having encountered the One who always stands at your side and enables you to live in confidence and hope"
The Holy Father named several young catholic saints, among them Blessed Ivan Merz. .ZAGREB, Croatia, JUNE 4, 2011

Benedict XVI celebrated vespers with bishops, priests, religious and seminarians at the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Stephen in Zagreb.

   He remembered blessed Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac, a fearless Pastor and an example of apostolic zeal and Christian fortitude. Because of his strong Christian conscience, the Pope affirmed, he knew how to resist every form of totalitarianism, becoming, in a time of Nazi and Fascist dictatorship, a defender of the Jews, the Orthodox and of all the persecuted, and then, in the age of communism, an advocate for his own faithful, especially for the many persecuted and murdered priests.

   Blessed A. Stepinac expressed himself in this way: "One of the greatest evils of our time is mediocrity in the questions of faith. Let us not deceive ourselves… Either we are Catholic or we are not. If we are, this must be seen in every area of our life"
Benedict XVI noted that during the life of Cardinal Stepinac, "Croatian Catholics, and in particular the clergy, were objects of oppression and systematic abuse, aimed at destroying the Catholic Church, beginning with its highest authority in this place."

   The Pontiff said that the "particularly difficult period was characterized by a generation of bishops, priests and religious who were ready to die rather than to betray Christ, the Church and the Pope. The people saw that the priests never lost faith, hope and charity, and thus they remained always united.

   "This unity explains what is humanly inexplicable: that such a hardened regime could not make the Church bow down." ZAGREB, Croatia, JUNE 5, 2011

   The Pope returned to Rome today at the end of his 16th international trip, which he said gave him the opportunity to "confirm the faith of the pilgrim Church in Croatia in Jesus Christ, our only Savior." ZAGREB, Croatia, JUNE 5, 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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