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".
Washington, 18 (NE - eclesiales.org) Before a crowd of over 45 thousand people Pope Benedict XVI presided over a massive Eucharistic Celebration, in which he invited catholics American to know how to give reason to their hope". The pope was received by the Archbishop Donald William Wuerl, of Washington D.C. in the "Nationals Park Stadium", the most modern baseball stadium in the U.S.,.
At the beginning of his homily the Holy Father remembered the anniversary of the division performed by Pius VII of the dioceses of Baltimore, the instauration of the diocese of Boston, Bardstown, now Louisville, New York and Philadelphia, and affirmed that "two hundred years later, the Church in America can rightfully praise the accomplishment of past generations in bringing together widely differing immigrant groups within the unity of the Catholic faith and in a common commitment to the spread of the Gospel".
Following that, Pope Benedict XVI asked that in this anniversary, and his visit likewise, may be for all the catholics "an occasion for all Catholics to reaffirm their unity in the apostolic faith, to offer their contemporaries a convincing account of the hope which inspires them and to be renewed in missionary zeal for the extension of God's Kingdom".
"The world needs this witness! –said the Holy Father- Who can deny that the present moment (…) is a time of great promise, as we see the human family in many ways drawing closer together and becoming ever more interdependent. Yet at the same time we see clear signs of a disturbing breakdown in the very foundations of society: (…); increased violence; a weakening of the moral sense; a coarsening of social relations; and a growing forgetfulness of Christ and God.
"The fidelity and courage with which the Church in this country will respond to the challenges raised by an increasingly secular and materialistic culture will depend in large part upon your own fidelity in handing on the treasure of our Catholic faith. (…). The challenges confronting us require a comprehensive and sound instruction in the truths of the faith. But they also call for cultivating a mindset, an intellectual "culture", which is genuinely Catholic, confident in the profound harmony of faith and reason, and prepared to bring the richness of faith's vision to bear on the urgent issues which affect the future of American society."
Through the surpassing power of Christ's grace, entrusted to frail human ministers, the Church is constantly reborn and each of us is given the hope of a new beginning. Let us trust in the Spirit's power to inspire conversion, to heal every wound, to overcome every division, and to inspire new life and freedom. How much we need these gifts! And how close at hand they are, particularly in the sacrament of Penance!
"The liberating power of this sacrament, (…) needs to be rediscovered and reappropriated by every Catholic. To a great extent, the renewal of the Church in America and throughout the world depends on the renewal of the practice of Penance and the growth in holiness which that sacrament both inspires and accomplishes".
"In hope we were saved!" exclaimed the Holy Father. And later on he added: "I urge you to continue to be a leaven of evangelical hope in American society" and "by the witness of your faith", "may you point the way towards that vast horizon of hope which God is even now opening up to his Church, and indeed to all humanity: the vision of a world reconciled and renewed in Christ Jesus"
At the end of his homily, the Pope addressed members of the Spanish speaking community. "The Church in the United States, welcoming in her bosom so many of her immigrant children- he said- has bee growing also thanks to the witness of the faithful of Spanish language. (…) Do not let yourselves be beat by pessimism, the inertia or the problems. (…) The Lord calls you to keep contributing to the future of the Church in this country and for the diffusion of the Gospel"
After the mass the pope blessed the first stone of the altar of the Catholic School "John Paul the Great" from the diocese of Arlington and the first stone of the new chapel of the Saint Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula (California).
Mexico, 27 (NE - eclesiales.org) The Archbishop of Mexico, Card. Norberto Rivera, called faithful in his archdiocese to evangelize with renewed ardor and using new means to respond the spiritual needs of today's world. "We have not walked at the same rhythm of the changes in society, we have forgotten how to evangelize with new means, new ardor and new methods", affirmed the cardinal in the Mass celebrated in the Metropolitan cathedral.
Rome 12 (eclesiales.org - NE) - "'Magnificenze Vaticane'. Masterpieces of Art from the Collections of the Fabric of St. Peter's" is the title of an exhibition due to be inaugurated this afternoon at Palazzo Incontro in Rome. It will remain open until 25 May. The exhibition promoted by the Province of Rome and by the European Centre for Tourism includes more than 130 works on display for the first time, recovered from storage in the Vatican Basilica, restored and examined by experts. "Magnificenze Vaticane" is divided into various interrelated but autonomous sections including architecture, painting and sculpture.
"The aim of such a meticulous distinction", says a communique announcing the initiative, "is to show the plurality of interventions on a single site (the basilica of St. Peters) and to bear witness to the quality of workmanship even in fields usually held to be of lesser importance". Above all, the communique continues, the aim is to reveal "the variety and creative ability of the main figures on the Roman artistic scene who in all times - from the 14th to the 20th century - aspired to leave their mark on the Vatican Basilica".
"The papal basilica of St. Peter's in the Vatican, universally known as the centre of Christianity, houses a vast number of important monuments, the fruit of the abilities and creativity of the greatest artists of all ages. Yet before their sparks of genius were immortalised in stone or bronze, there was a phase in which the work of art was planned and assessed. The rediscovery of traces of this precious heritage of the past ... is the theme of this great and unique exhibition". The communique also recalls that the Fabric of St. Peter's was established by Julius II in 1506 to oversee the various phases of the building of the new basilica and to guarantee its subsequent maintenance.
Among the little-known works on display will be a roll of damask with the arms of Pope Alexander VII, pyramidal reliquaries by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, candelabra and crosses purchased by Pope Pius IX from the king of Naples, and a series of eighteenth-century altar hangings in silk and gold used in the 18th Century at the Main Altar of the Saint Peter's Basilica.
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