The Holy Father´s Week. (Nov. /23/2011)

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

The Pope recommended the psalms for personal prayer. He also suggested the Liturgy of the Hours as a useful method. At the general audience he concluded his series of catecheses on the Psalms with a reflection on Psalm 110, which he said is an invitation to contemplate the paschal mystery of Christ.
"The Lord said to my lord: "Sit at my right hand, until I make thy enemies thy footstool" (Verse 1).
Jesus Himself quotes this verse in order to show that the Messiah is more than David, that he is David's Lord (cf. Matthew 22:41-45; Mark 12:35-37; Luke 20:41-44). And Peter employs it in his speech on the day of Pentecost, announcing that the enthronement of the king has been realized in Christ's Resurrection, and that henceforth Christ stands at the right hand of the Father, as a sharer in God's Lordship over the world (cf. Acts 2:29-35).
“He rules over his enemies by transforming them -- he conquers them by his love.” The Holy Father affirmed.
"The Lord has sworn and will not repent: Thou art a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek." (verse 4)
The Pope explained that Melchizedek was the kingly priest of Salem who blessed Abram and offered bread and wine following the victorious military campaign conducted by the patriarch to save his nephew Lot from the hands of his enemies who had captured him (cf. Genesis 14).
The Letter to the Hebrews makes explicit reference to this verse (cf. 5:5-6, 10; 6:19-20),the Holy Father said, “ Jesus is the true and definitive priest, who brings to fulfilment the features of the priesthood of Melchizedek by rendering them perfect.”
“And the offering of bread and wine, accomplished by Melchizedek in the time of Abram, finds its fulfilment in the Eucharistic act of Jesus, who in the bread and wine offers Himself and who, having conquered death, brings life to all believers.”
“The final verses of the Psalm present the triumphant King as executing judgment over the nations.” He explained.
 “As we pray this Psalm, we acclaim the victory of our risen Lord and King, while striving to live ever more fully the royal and priestly dignity which is ours as members of his Body through Baptism.” VATICAN CITY, NOV. 16, 2011


On board the papal plane headed to Benin for the second Africa trip of this pontificate, Benedict XVI was asked what specific contribution the Church can make to a durable peace in Africa, the Holy Father recognized that in the political arena, "the words, the desires and good intentions [regarding Africa] are greater than what's been accomplished." He said that "fraternity demands renunciation." "It demands going beyond egoism, to be for the other. That's easy to say but hard to accomplish.”
Benedict XVI affirmed that only an awareness of a God who loves and gives himself can bring "a capacity to give ourselves away."
In other questions, the Holy Father addressed the issue of evangelical and pentecostal communities, offering three recommendations for the Catholic Church in the areas of the message, the institution and the liturgy.
He also recalled with fondness his personal friendship with a national hero of Benin, Cardinal Bernardin Gantin. ON BOARD THE PAPAL PLANE, NOV. 18, 2011


God trusts in man and desires his good. It is our task to respond, in honesty and justice, to his high expectations, Benedict XVI said in his address upon his arrival in Cotonou, the capital of Benin.
He said that a delicate transition is currently under way in the country, from tradition to modernity.
“Modernity need not provoke fear, but neither can it be constructed by neglecting the past.” He affirmed. “The transition to modernity must be guided by sure criteria based on recognized virtues, which are listed in your national motto, but equally which are firmly rooted in the dignity of the person, the importance of the family and respect for life. All of these values exist in view of the common good which must take first place, and which must constitute the primary concern of all in positions of responsibility.”
He said the Church “wants to make it understood that God is neither absent nor irrelevant as some would have us believe but that he is the friend of man. It is in this spirit of friendship and of fraternity that I come to your country”. COTONOU, Benin, NOV. 18, 2011


The Holy Father spoke about Divine mercy at the cathedral of Cotonou, Benin. He said it consists “not only in the remission of our sins; it also consists in the fact that God, our Father, redirects us, sometimes not without pain, affliction or fear on our part, to the path of truth and light, for he does not wish us to be lost (cf. Mt 18:14; Jn 3:16)”.
He affirmed that the Virgin Mary experienced to the highest degree the mystery of divine love. By her yes to the call of God, she contributed to the manifestation of divine love in the midst of humanity. “In this sense, she is the Mother of Mercy by her participation in the mission of her Son: she has received the privilege of being our helper always and everywhere.”

“As Mother of Mercy, she is a sure guide to the disciples of her son who wish to be of service to justice, to reconciliation and to peace. She shows us, with simplicity and with a mother’s heart, the one Light and Truth: her Son, Jesus Christ who leads humanity to its full realization in the Father.”
“Let us not be afraid to invoke, with confidence, her who ceaselessly dispenses to her children abundant divine graces” The Pope concluded with a prayer to Mary, Our Lady of Africa. COTONOU, Benin, NOV. 18, 2011

We must never give up the search for new paths of peace! Peace is one of our greatest treasures! To attain peace, we need to have courage and the reconciliation born of forgiveness, the will once more to live as one, to share a vision of the future and to persevere in overcoming difficulties.” The Holy Father said as he signed the postsynodal apostolic exhortation, "Africae Munus."

“Africa, land of a New Pentecost, put your trust in God! Impelled by the Spirit of the Risen Christ, become God’s great family, generous with all your sons and daughters, agents of reconciliation, peace and justice! Africa, Good News for the Church, become Good News for the entire world!” He exclaimed at the end.  COTONOU, Benin, NOV. 19, 2011

The Pontiff travelled west to the city of Ouidah, where he prayed at the tomb of his friend, a national hero of Benin, Cardinal Bernardin Gantin. COTONOU, Benin, NOV. 19, 2011

Dear priests, the responsibility for promoting peace, justice and reconciliation falls in a special way to you, the Pope said at a meeting with priests, seminarians, religious and lay faithful.
To the lay faithful he said that by having “love and forgiveness reign in your families, you will contribute to the upbuilding of a Church which is beautiful and strong, and to the advent of greater justice and peace in the whole of society.”
 He encouraged all to have an authentic and living faith, which is the unshakeable foundation of a holy Christian life and which is at the service of the building of a new world. COTONOU, Benin, NOV. 19, 2011

Do not deprive your peoples of hope! Do not cut them off from their future by mutilating their present! Adopt a courageous ethical approach to your responsibilities and, if you are believers, ask God to grant you wisdom! This wisdom will help you to understand that, as promoters of your peoples’ future, you must become true servants of hope. Benedict XVI made this appeal to all political and economic leaders of African countries and the rest of the world in his address at the presidential palace of Cotonou.
“Humanity is not alone before the challenges of the world.” He noted. “God is present. There is a message of hope, hope which generates energy, which stimulates the intellect and gives the will all its dynamism.” COTONOU, Benin, NOV. 19, 2011

 I wish to entrust to the Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Africa, the new chapter now opening for the Church on this continent, asking her to accompany the future evangelization of Africa as a whole and, in particular, of this land of Benin, Benedict said after he had consigned the Apostolic Exhortation Africae Munus and before praying the Angelus.
May she show us how to respond to the mission which God entrusts to us today! Mary is that earthly woman who received the privilege of becoming the Mother of the Saviour of the world. Who better than she knows the value and beauty of human life? May we never cease to be amazed before the gift of life! COTONOU, Benin, NOV. 20, 2011


“Good will and mutual respect not only aid dialogue, but are essential for building unity between individuals, ethnic groups and peoples.”  Benedict XVI said in his farewell address. “Living in unity as brethren, while respecting legitimate differences, is not something utopian. Why should an African country not show the rest of the world the path to be taken towards living an authentic fraternity in justice, based on the greatness of the family and of labour? May Africans be able to experience reconciliation in peace and justice!” COTONOU, Benin, NOV. 20, 2011


Christ reigns from the Cross and, with his arms open wide, he embraces all the peoples of the world and draws them into unity. Through the Cross, he breaks down the walls of division, he reconciles us with each other and with the Father. We pray today for the people of Africa, that all may be able to live in justice, peace and the joy of the Kingdom of God.”
The Holy Father said at the Mass for the feast of Christ the King, which he celebrated in Benin. Christ  “alone gives us the true life and can liberate us for all our fears and sluggishness, from all our anguish.” COTONOU, Benin, NOV. 20, 2011


Benedict XVI expressed his great joy at having returned to Africa, and in particular to Benin, for a double celebration: the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the evangelization of your Benin and the presentation of the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Africae Munus. In his address to the bishops of Benin he affirmed that n the course of the last hundred and fifty years, the Lord has done great things in the midst of the people of Benin. “Be assured that he will continue to accompany you from day to day in your commitment to the work of evangelization”. COTONOU, Benin, NOV. 20, 2011


The Pope visited the Home of Peace and Happiness, where six Missionaries of Charity look after dozens of abandoned and sick children, and feed may others from the area. The Pope was welcomed by the children with songs and dances. COTONOU, Benin, NOV. 20, 2011

The Holy Father spoke to the children about prayer when he visited St. Rita's Parish. With simple words: “Like Jesus, I too can find a calm place to pray where I can quietly stand before a Cross or a holy picture in order to speak to Jesus and to listen to him. I can also use the Gospels. That way, I keep within my heart a passage which has touched me and which will guide me throughout the day. To stay with Jesus like this for a little while lets him fill me with his love, light and life! This love, which I receive in prayer, calls me in turn to give it to my parents, to my friends, to everyone with whom I live, even with those who do not like me, and those whom I do not appreciate enough”.
At the end he prayed with them a Hail Mary for children throughout the world, especially for those who are sick, who are hungry and in places of war. COTONOU, Benin, NOV. 20, 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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