(Roma NE) Even before Sunday April 27th tens of thousands of people rushed to St. Peter’s Square, which on Sunday morning the Church through the voice of Pope Francisco declared that Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII have reached the glory. By 3am the ample Via de la Conciliazione, which leads to the Square was already taken over by at least three hundred thousand people. Because of the grand form in which the Square was prepared for this great occasion, it was prepared to accommodate upwards of 500,000, including space in the adjacent Piazza Pio XII. The pilgrims had come from all over the world. Flags of various countries announced as much, although the predominant flag was the red and white Polish flag, with Poland being the native country to Karol Jozef Wojtyla, who ascended to the papal throne under the name of John Paul II. St John Paul II was born in the town of Wadowice on May 18, 1920 and his death occurred in the Vatican City on April 2, 2005. Juan Pablo was the 264th Pope of the Catholic Church, and at the same time head of state of the Vatican City from October 16, 1978 until his painful death in 2005.
After the death of the beloved Pius XII, few thought that Cardinal Roncalli, the then Patriarch of Venice would be elected Pope. Not even he believed it, as he had in his pocket a return ticket to Venice. After several ballots the College of Cardinal electors, showing an impasse probably for two candidates, gave rise to a temporary solution in Angelo Roncalli, who was already aging and with health issues at the time. As the Holy Spirit surprises beyond human calculations Pope John XXIII surprised the world by convening the Second Vatican Council. The number of people who have followed the canonization of the two Vicars of Christ, one being the first Pope of the XXI century was estimated at over one billion, being transmitted all over the world by different media.
Just three months after his election, in 1959, John XXIII announced in St. Paul Outside the Walls Church the convening of a pastoral council that would be a continuation of the important First Vatican Council which addressed numerous dogmatic challenges. In the time of Pius XI there were surveys to see the possibility of a council, and in the time of Pius XII, towards 1950, a preparatory committee for conducting a council was established, but their jobs were terminated after three years of work. The Second Vatican Council which culminated under Pope Paul VI constitutes an important opportunity for the renewal of the Church in this time.
Karol Wojtyla became known world-wide at the time of the completion of the Council. His interventions illuminate many passages of various conciliar documents, especially the Gaudium et Spes. The interior life of St. John XXIII is particularly known by his “Journal of a Soul.” The inner life of John Paul II is known through the many public events of his life: his depth, his devotion, the intensity of his prayer, especially before the Eucharistic Jesus, his filial love for the Virgin, his great intelligence, his closeness to all people, especially the sick and the poor, his knowledge, the scope of his proposed anthropology, the scope of his theology, which was particularly expressed in his testimony of the suffering caused by the disease which became increasingly visible in his final years in which he adhered to the Cross of Christ.
In Heaven there are no caricatures, only realities
Both priests were persecuted and slandered. There was even an attempt on the life of John Paul II in 1971, who according to the Pope himself was saved through the intercession of Our Lady of Fatima. Superficial opinions abound. The world does not cease to seek to dominate the Church, even in thought. Even today a digital media outlet spoke of both Saints as “two souls (a reformist and a conservative) of the Church through its two icons: Pope Roncalli and Pope Wojtyla.” The repetition of this enormous misrepresentation, which is repeated again and again, runs the risk of ideologizing the figure of both popes by rash judgments. Anyone who has read the “Diary of a Soul” by John XXIII, his messages, speeches, encyclicals and who has observed his gestures, cannot fall victim to such a great caricature. The same goes for Pope John Paul II, whose novel teachings in defense of the human being, his dignity, freedom and rights goes hand in hand with his proposals for a more just, peaceful and reconciled world. In Heaven there are no caricatures, only realities. Ideological judgments and those that seek rupture speak of a world that wants to take away the freedom of the Church and of the children of the Church who remain.
Pope Francis’ voice is clear for those who desire to hear it, as he said in his homily in the historic canonization of two Holy Fathers together: “Saint John XXIII and Saint John Paul II were not afraid to look upon the wounds of Jesus, to touch his torn hands and his pierced side. They were not ashamed of the flesh of Christ, they were not scandalized by him, by his cross; they did not despise the flesh of their brother (cf. Is 58:7), because they saw Jesus in every person who suffers and struggles. These were two men of courage, filled with the parrhesia of the Holy Spirit, and they bore witness before the Church and the world to God’s goodness and mercy.” It is a beautiful summary of the reality of two intense followers of Jesus.
The video of the canonization of St. John Paul II and St. John XXIII For those who wish to see the complete video of the canonization, which lasted more than three hours, they can enter the following links:
For the original in Latin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CoftCRiuPCY
With subtitles in English: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CoftCRiuPCY&feature=player_detailpage
If need be, the user can click the button at the lower right-hand corner for English subtitles.
(NE Vaticano) Before millions of faithful who followed the double canonization, Pope Francis in his homily said the following:
“At the heart of this Sunday, which concludes the Octave of Easter and which John Paul II wished to dedicate to Divine Mercy, are the glorious wounds of the risen Jesus.
He had already shown those wounds when he first appeared to the Apostles on the very evening of that day following the Sabbath, the day of the resurrection. But, as we heard, Thomas was not there that evening, and when the others told him that they had seen the Lord, he replied that unless he himself saw and touched those wounds, he would not believe. A week later, Jesus appeared once more to the disciples gathered in the Upper Room, and Thomas was present; Jesus turned to him and told him to touch his wounds. Whereupon that man, so straightforward and accustomed to testing everything personally, knelt before Jesus with the words: “My Lord and my God!” (Jn 20:28).
The wounds of Jesus are a scandal, a stumbling block for faith, yet they are also the test of faith. That is why on the body of the risen Christ the wounds never pass away: they remain, for those wounds are the enduring sign of God’s love for us. They are essential for believing in God. Not for believing that God exists, but for believing that God is love, mercy and faithfulness. Saint Peter, quoting Isaiah, writes to Christians: “by his wounds you have been healed” (1 Pet 2:24, cf. Is 53:5).
Saint John XXIII and Saint John Paul II were not afraid to look upon the wounds of Jesus, to touch his torn hands and his pierced side. They were not ashamed of the flesh of Christ, they were not scandalized by him, by his cross; they did not despise the flesh of their brother (cf. Is 58:7), because they saw Jesus in every person who suffers and struggles. These were two men of courage, filled with the parrhesia of the Holy Spirit, and they bore witness before the Church and the world to God’s goodness and mercy.
They were priests, bishops and popes of the twentieth century. They lived through the tragic events of that century, but they were not overwhelmed by them. For them, God was more powerful; faith was more powerful – faith in Jesus Christ the Redeemer of man and the Lord of history; the mercy of God, shown by those five wounds, was more powerful; and more powerful too was the closeness of Mary our Mother.
In these two men, who looked upon the wounds of Christ and bore witness to his mercy, there dwelt a living hope and an indescribable and glorious joy (1 Pet 1:3,8). The hope and the joy which the risen Christ bestows on his disciples, the hope and the joy which nothing and no one can take from them. The hope and joy of Easter, forged in the crucible of self-denial, self-emptying, utter identification with sinners, even to the point of disgust at the bitterness of that chalice. Such were the hope and the joy which these two holy popes had received as a gift from the risen Lord and which they in turn bestowed in abundance upon the People of God, meriting our eternal gratitude.
This hope and this joy were palpable in the earliest community of believers, in Jerusalem, as we read in the Acts of the Apostles (cf. 2:42-47), as we heard in the second reading. It was a community which lived the heart of the Gospel, love and mercy, in simplicity and fraternity.
This is also the image of the Church which the Second Vatican Council set before us. John XXIII and John Paul II cooperated with the Holy Spirit in renewing and updating the Church in keeping with her pristine features, those features which the saints have given her throughout the centuries. Let us not forget that it is the saints who give direction and growth to the Church. In convening the Council, John XXIII showed an exquisite openness to the Holy Spirit. He let himself be led and he was for the Church a pastor, a servant-leader, led by the Spirit. This was his great service to the Church; he was the pope of openness to the Spirit.
In his own service to the People of God, John Paul II was the pope of the family. He himself once said that he wanted to be remembered as the pope of the family. I am particularly happy to point this out as we are in the process of journeying with families towards the Synod on the family. It is surely a journey which, from his place in heaven, he guides and sustains.
May these two new saints and shepherds of God’s people intercede for the Church, so that during this two-year journey toward the Synod she may be open to the Holy Spirit in pastoral service to the family. May both of them teach us not to be scandalized by the wounds of Christ and to enter ever more deeply into the mystery of divine mercy, which always hopes and always forgives, because it always loves.”
Rio de Janeiro/ Santiago de Chile (NE – eclesiales.org) – At the beginning of April, in the Nossa Senhora da Guía Church on the north side of Rio de Janeiro, Dom Orani João Tempesta, Cardinal and Metropolitan Archbishop of San Sebastian de Rio de Janeiro, ordained Eliezer Gomes, a Brazilian Sodalit, deacon.
Deacon Eliezer prepared for his ordination, with a recent 6-month retreat in the Sodalit Formation House in the Diocese of Nemi, Rome, where he reviewed the studies he had previously completed in philosophy and theology. Many were able to accompany the ordination celebration, including many members of the CLM, as well as many parishioners and friends. Fr. Juan Mendoza, the representative member of the Superior Council responsible for Spirituality and all Sodalit priests, was also present. Deacon Eliezer has already begun his new service in his native city of Rio de Janeiro.
A few weeks earlier, in the vespers of the Feast of St. Joseph, Sebastián Correa Ehlers of the Sodalitium of Christian Life, was ordained deacon the urban region of Maipu, Chile in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, which was presided over by Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati, S.D.B. Metropolitan Archbishop of Santiago de Chile. Many family members, friends and Sodalit brothers, as well as members of the Sodalit Family in Chile and local parishioners, all came together in the Madre de los Apóstoles Church of Maipu in order to celebrate, in an emotional Eucharistic ceremony, the deacon ordination.
During the homily, Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati underlined Sebastian’s fidelity to respond to God’s Call, by referring to the example of St. Joseph, saying that he “had learned that what God promises will be fulfilled. He had learned that trusting in God means to put one’s own life in a certainty that won’t deceive. He wouldn’t be left confused by placing his trust in the Lord... The Christian life, like that of the Church, is a life trusted, and Joseph teaches us how to live entrusted to the hands of God our Father, who is always provident and good.”
Ministerial deaconship is the step which precedes priestly ordination. It is an ordination which emphasizes service, as in the case of the first deacons in the early Church. Service both to God, as well as to our brother men and women.
Rome, 16 (NE – eclesiales.org) Pope Benedict XVI highlighted last Sunday the need to enter into “the logic of giving” and help those in need. The Holy Father made this call during his address to the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square to pray the Angelus. "God can conquer the heart of a person with many possessions and lead him towards solidarity and sharing with the poor and needy, so that he can enter into the logic of giving", said the Pope commenting on the Gospel reading which narrates Jesus' meeting with a rich young man.
"Jesus teaches that it is very difficult but not impossible for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God", said the Holy Father in his remarks before praying the Angelus. "Indeed, through the 'the logic of giving', a person may follow the path of Jesus Christ Who, as the Apostle Paul wrote, 'for your sake ... became poor although he was rich, so that by his poverty you might become rich'".
The Pope also recalled words from St. Clement of Alexandria, who wrote: "Let it teach the prosperous that they are not to neglect their own salvation, as if they had been already condemned, nor, on the other hand, to cast wealth into the sea, or condemn it as a traitor and an enemy to life, but learn in what way and how to use wealth and obtain life".
"The history of the Church", the Pope concluded, "is full of examples of rich people who have used their wealth evangelically, even attaining sainthood”.
Rome, 5 (NE – eclesiales.org) This morning in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received prelates from the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Cuba, who have recently completed their "ad limina" visit, and encouraged the life of the Church in this country. "At this historic moment, the Church in Cuba is called to offer all Cuban society the only true hope: Our Lord Jesus. ... This means that the fomentation of ecclesial life must be given a central role in your aspirations and your pastoral projects".
In his speech the Holy Father expressed the hope that "an increase in vocations and the simultaneous adoption of appropriate measures in this field, may soon enable the Cuban Church to have a sufficient number of priests, as well as the churches and places of worship necessary to accomplish her strictly pastoral and spiritual mission".
It is necessary", he went on, "to continue promoting a specific form of vocational pastoral care, one that is not afraid of encouraging the young to follow the footsteps of Christ, Who alone is capable of satisfying their longing for love and happiness". At the same time he encouraged the prelates to ensure seminarians have "the best possible spiritual, intellectual and human formation" so that, "identifying themselves with the Heart of Christ", they can shoulder "the commitment to the priestly ministry".
The Pope also stressed how, with an "intense spiritual life and the support of a solid religious education", the laity "will be able to offer convincing testimony of their faith in all areas of society, illuminating them with the light of the Gospel. In this context, it is my hope that the Church in Cuba, in keeping with her legitimate aspirations, may enjoy normal access to the social communications media".
Benedict XVI concluded by expressing the hope that the forthcoming beatification of Servant of God Fr. Jose Olallo Valdes "may give fresh impulse to your service to the Church and the people of Cuba, always being a leavening for reconciliation, justice and peace".
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