The Holy Father´s Week: June 13, 2011

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

Benedict XVI spoke about his trip to Croatia during the general audience held in St. Peter's Square. The occasion of his visit was the First National Day of Croatian Catholic Families. The motto of this trip was "together in Christ"

   "Nations with a strong Christian tradition have a special responsibility to defend and promote the value of the family founded on marriage, which remains decisive both within the field of education as well as in the social sphere." he affirmed, "In our own day, while we unfortunately see an increase in separations and divorces, the fidelity of spouses has itself become a meaningful witness to the love of Christ, which permits marriage to be lived out for what it truly is: the union of one man and one woman who, with the grace of God, love one another and help one another for a lifetime, in joy and in sorrow, in sickness and in health".

   "Faith in the God who is Love is handed on first of all by the witness of a fidelity to spousal love, which translates naturally into love for the children who are the fruit of this union." But, he added, "This faithfulness is not possible without God's grace, without the support of the faith and of the Holy Spirit"... "This is why the Virgin Mary unceasingly intercedes with her Son, so that -- as at the Wedding Feast of Cana -- He might continually renew spouses in the gift of the "good wine"; that is, of Grace, which enables them to live as "one flesh" through the various seasons and situations of life".

In the Vigil with young people, the Pope affirmed, he was able to meet the new generation of Croatians, and there, he said, "I felt all the strength of their youthful faith, animated as it was by a great impetus toward life and its meaning, toward the good, toward freedom -- that is to say -- toward God."

   In his meeting with representatives of civil society, of the political, academic, cultural and entrepreneurial world, with the diplomatic corps and with religious leaders, who gathered in Zagreb's National Theatre, he said he had the joy of paying homage to the great Croatian cultural tradition, which is inseparable from its history of faith and the presence of the Church that, throughout the centuries, has been a promoter of numerous institutions and, above all, a teacher of illustrious seekers of truth and the common good.

   He recalled in particular the Jesuit Father Ruðer Boškoviæ, "a great scientist whose anniversary we celebrate this year on the occasion of the third centenary of his birth".
He spoke of the importance of renewing a humanism rooted in Christianity which can contribute much to the growth of a sound democratic system based on universal ethical values.

   The Holy Father thanked all and commended the nation and its families to the prayers of Mary, Queen of Croatia. VATICAN CITY, JUNE 8, 2011

In the Solemnity of Pentecost, during the Regina Caeli at St. Peter's Square, Benedict XVI spoke about the "baptism of the Church," a baptism in the Holy Spirit. "God's voice divinized the human language of the Apostles, who became able to proclaim the one divine Word polyphonically," he noted. "The breath of the Holy Spirit fills the universe, generates faith, brings truth, preparing unity among the nations."

   The Holy Father spoke of the Holy Spirit's power as the "breath of [God's] mouth" with the "power to sanctify, to abolish divisions, to resolve the confusion wrought by sin."... "He, incorporeal and immaterial, bestows the divine goods, assisting living beings, so they act in conformity with the good. As intelligible Light he gives meaning to prayer, he gives vigour to the evangelizing mission, he makes the hearts of those who hear the glad tidings burn, he inspires Christian art and liturgical melody." The Holy Spirit, "who creates faith in us in the moment of our baptism, allows us to live as children of God, conscious and obliging, according to the image of the Only Begotten Son".

   "The power to remit sins is a gift of the Holy Spirit too; in fact, appearing to the Apostles on Easter night, Jesus breathes upon them and says: "Receive the Holy Spirit. Those whose sins you forgive shall be forgiven"
Benedict XVI ended entrusting the Church to the Virgin Mary, temple of the Holy Spirit. VATICAN CITY, JUNE 12, 2011.

Other papal messages and activities

The Holy Father appointed Archbishop Bottari de Castello, 68, apostolic nuncio to Hungary, he has served as nuncio to Japan, Gambia.

   He also appointed Benedictine Father Hugh Gilbert, abbot of Pluscarden Abbey, as the bishop of Aberdeen, Scotland. And Cardinal Carlos Amigo Vallejo, the retired archbishop of Seville, Spain, was appointed as the Pope´s special envoy to Aug. 7-8 closing celebrations of a jubilee in the Caribbean.

   Benedict XVI is urging the government of Syria to respect its citizens' efforts for reform and to seek a solution to the current conflict in an environment of tolerance, co-existence and reconciliation.

   The Pope stated this in a letter he hand delivered Thursday to Hussan Edin Aala of Syria, the new ambassador of Syria to the Holy See, upon receiving the envoy's letters of credence. VATICAN CITY, JUNE 10, 2011.

   Benedict XVI affirms the Church's closeness to the citizens of Equatorial Guinea as the country continues to work toward its social and moral development. He stated this upon receiving the credential letters of Narciso Ntugu Abeso Oyana, the country's new ambassador to the Holy See. VATICAN CITY, JUNE 10, 2011.

   Benedict XVI urges Moldova  to be careful not to lose its Christian values in the process as the country seeks entry in the European Union. The Holy Father hand delivered a letter to Stefan Gorda, the new ambassador of Moldova to the Holy See.

The Pope entrusted the cause of world peace to victims of concentration camps: "heroic witnesses of the faith".

   He expressed this intention after praying the midday Regina Caeli in St. Peter's Square. "I am happy to recall that tomorrow in Dresden, Germany"May the Spirit, who is the bond of communion, rectify hearts twisted by egoism and help the human family to rediscover and carefully safeguard its fundamental unity," he prayed. VATICAN CITY, JUNE 12, 2011

The Holy Spirit is first of all the Creator Spirit and so Pentecost is the feast of creation. Benedict XVI said in his homily at the Mass for the feast of the Holy Spirit in St. Peter's Square. The Holy Spirit is he who helps us recognize the Lord.

   The Pope referred to the Gospel passage where the Holy Spirit is represented as the breath of the risen Jesus Christ (cf. John 20:22). "The Evangelist John borrows an image here from the account of creation, where it says that God breathed into man's nostrils a breath of life", he explained, " The breath of God is life. Now the Lord breathes into our soul the new breath of life, the Holy Spirit, his most intimate essence, and in this way we are welcomed into the family of God."

   "It is the New Covenant that the Holy Spirit "writes" in the hearts of those who believe in Christ. The extension of the Covenant to all the nations of the earth is represented by St. Luke through the considerable list of peoples of that time (cf. Acts 2:9-11)".

   With this the Holy Father noted, we are told something very important: that the Church is catholic from the very first moment. "She embraces the whole world, she transcends all frontiers of race, class, nation; she razes all the bastions and unites men in the profession of God one and triune."

   "From the very beginning the Church is one, catholic and apostolic: This is her true nature and as such she must be recognized. She is holy, not due to the capacity of her members, but because God himself, with his Spirit, always creates her, purifies her and sanctifies her." VATICAN CITY, JUNE 12, 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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