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Monday, March 5, 2012


Vatican City, 4 March 2012 (VIS) - This morning Benedict XVI, as Bishop of Rome, visited the Roman parish of "San Giovanni Battista de La Salle al Torrino", an area in the south of the city inhabited by many young families.

On arrival the Pope was welcomed by children who receive catechesis in the parish, who gave him a number of gifts they had prepared. He mentioned this meeting in his homily, saying: "We truly are the family of God, and the fact that you also think of the Pope as a father is something I find very beautiful and encouraging . But now we must remember that the Pope is not our ultimate recourse; our ultimate recourse is the Lord and we must look to Him in order to discern, to understand - insofar was we can - something of the message of this second Sunday of Lent".

In this context, Benedict XVI turned his attention to today's Gospel passage on the Transfiguration. "Jesus took the three disciples [Peter, James and John] with Him to help them understand that the path to glory, the path of dazzling love which vanquishes darkness, involves the total gift of self, it involves the scandal of the cross. ... The Transfiguration is a moment of light which helps us too to look to Jesus' passion with the eyes of faith. Yes, it is a mystery of suffering, but it is also a 'blessed passion' because it is essentially a mystery of God's extraordinary love. It is the definitive exodus which opens the door to the freedom and novelty of the Resurrection, the salvation from evil".

"Like the three Apostles in the Gospel, we too need to climb the mountain of the transfiguration and receive the light of God, so that His Face can illuminate our faces. It is in individual and community prayer that we encounter the Lord, not as an idea or as a moral concept, but as a Person Who wants to enter into a relationship with us, Who wants to be our friend and to renew our lives by making them like unto His".

Turning then to address the parishioners, the Pope said: "Let us not wait for others to bring different messages, which do not lead to authentic life. You yourselves must become missionaries of Christ to your brothers and sisters wherever they live, work, study or pass their free time. ... Faith must be lived together, and the parish is the place in which we learn to live our faith as part of the 'us' of the Church".

The Pope also dedicated some words to the forthcoming Year of Faith, expressing the hope that it would be "a favourable occasion ... to develop and consolidate the experience of catechesis on the great truths of Christian faith, is such a way as ... to make the Creed of the Church known, and to overcome that 'religious illiteracy' which is one of the greatest problems we face today".

"From Tabor, the mount of the Transfiguration, the Lenten journey leads us to Golgotha, the mount of the ultimate sacrifice of love of the one Priest of the new and eternal Covenant. That sacrifice encapsulates the greatest power for the transformation of man and history. Taking all the consequences of evil and sin upon Himself, Jesus arose on the third day as victor over death and the Evil One. Lent prepares us to participate personally in this great mystery of the faith, which we will celebrate in the Triduum of the passion, death and resurrection of Christ".


Vatican City, 4 March 2012 (VIS) - Having returned to the Vatican following his visit to the Roman parish of "San Giovanni Battista de La Salle al Torrino", the Holy Father appeared at the window of his study in the Apostolic Palace to pray the Angelus with faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.

Before the prayer, Benedict XVI recalled how the Gospel on this second Sunday of Lent recounts the episode of the Transfiguration of Christ. He noted that Matthew, Mark and Luke all agree on the essential elements of the narrative: Jesus climbed the mountain in the company of His disciples Peter, James and John, and was transfigured before their eyes. His face and clothing irradiated a dazzling light, then a cloud enveloped the summit of the mountain and the Father’s voice was heard saying: ''This is my Son, the Beloved, listen to him".

The Pope explained how the mystery of the Transfiguration must be seen in the context of the itinerary Jesus was following. At that time His mission was coming to its end, and He knew He would have to suffer the cross. He had announced as much to His followers but they had failed to understand and refused to accept. For this reason Jesus took three disciples with Him to the mountain, "to reveal His divine glory, splendour of Truth and of Love. Jesus wanted this light to illuminate the hearts of the people who would have to experience the black night of His passion and death, when the scandal of the cross would be unbearable to them.

"God is light", the Holy Father added, "and Jesus wanted His most intimate friends to experience this light, which dwelt within Him. Following that event, He would become an inner light in them, capable of protecting them from the onslaught of darkness. Even in the darkest night Jesus is the lantern which never goes out".

"We all need an inner light to overcome the trials of life. This light comes from God and it is Christ Who gives it to us. ... Let us climb the mountain of prayer with Jesus and, contemplating His face full of love and truth, let us allow ourselves to be filled from within which His light". After the Angelus prayer, Benedict XVI invited the faithful to dedicate a moment every day during Lent to silent prayer and listening to the Word of God.


Vatican City, 3 March 2012 (VIS) - This morning Benedict XVI and the Roman Curia concluded their annual Lenten spiritual exercises. The meditations this year were guided by Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, archbishop of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, who focused on the theme of: "the communion of Christians with God".

At the close the Holy Father, speaking in name of everyone who had participated in the retreat, addressed some words of thanks to the cardinal for having guided them "with great exegetical competence and spiritual and pastoral experience", and for having included stories and examples into his meditations "which helped us and brought us joy". The Pope made particular mention of a story involving a friend of the cardinal who, while in a coma, had had the impression of being in a dark tunnel at the end of which he saw light and heard music. "It seems to me", Pope Benedict said, "that this could be a parable for our own lives. Often we find ourselves in a dark tunnel in the dead of night, but, thanks to the faith, in the end we see light and hear music. We see the beauty of God, of earth and sky, of the Creator and the creature, and so it is true that in hope we are saved".

The Holy Father has also written a letter to Cardinal Monsengwo Pasinya thanking him for his service. "Commenting upon certain passages from the First Letter of St. John, you guided us on a journey of rediscovery of the mystery of communion, of which we are part by virtue of our Baptism. Thanks also to this itinerary you so wisely prepared, the silence of prayer of these days, and particularly the Eucharistic adoration, were filled with profound gratitude to God for the great love He has given us, the love with which He binds us to Himself in a filial relationship".

"For me, one particular cause for joy was to see, venerable brother, in your presence and your bearing, the specific witness of faith of the Church which believes, hopes and loves on the African continent. Her spiritual heritage is a great treasure for all the People of God, and for the whole world, especially in view of the new evangelisation. As a son of the Church in Africa, you enabled us to experience once again that exchange of gifts which is one of the most beautiful aspects of ecclesial communion, in which different geographical and cultural backgrounds find a way to express themselves harmoniously in the unity of the mystical Body".

The Pope concludes his letter by imparting an apostolic blessing upon both the cardinal and the priests and faithful entrusted to his pastoral care.

As of today the Holy Father resumes his normal activities. Tomorrow he is due to visit the Roman parish of "San Giovanni Battista de La Salle al Torrino", where he will preside at Mass.


Vatican City, 4 March 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience Archbishop Julio Murat, apostolic nuncio to Zambia, accompanied by members of his family.

On Saturday 3 March he received in audience Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, archbishop of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.


Vatican City, 5 March 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed as members of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples: Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments; Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, archbishop of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo; Archbishop Pier Luigi Celata, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue; Archbishop Jose Octavio Ruiz Arenas, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation, and Bishop Joseph Kalathiparambil, secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples.

On Saturday 3 March it was made public that he appointed Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, as his special envoy to the opening celebrations for the pilgrimage of the "Holy Robe", marking the fifth centenary of the first public display of the relic. The event will be held in the cathedral of Trier, Germany on 13 April.

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