Wednesday, February 27, 2013






Vatican Radio REPORT - SHARE - Pope Benedict XVI held the final General Audience of his pontificate on Wednesday in St Peter's Square. 
Below, please find Vatican Radio's English translation of the Holy Father's remarks.


Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate and in the Priesthood!
Distinguished Authorities!
Dear brothers and sisters!

Thank you for coming in such large numbers to this last General Audience of my pontificate.

Like the Apostle Paul in the biblical text that we have heard, I feel in my heart the paramount duty to thank God, who guides the Church and makes her grow: who sows His Word and thus nourishes the faith in His people. At this moment my spirit reaches out to embrace the whole Church throughout the world, and I thank God for the “news” that in these years of Petrine ministry I have been able to receive regarding the faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and the charity that circulates in the body of the Church – charity that makes the Church to live in love – and of the hope that opens for us the way towards the fullness of life, and directs us towards the heavenly homeland.

I feel I [ought to] carry everyone in prayer, in a present that is God’s, where I recall every meeting, every voyage, every pastoral visit. I gather everyone and every thing in prayerful recollection, in order to entrust them to the Lord: in order that we might have full knowledge of His will, with every wisdom and spiritual understanding, and in order that we might comport ourselves in a manner that is worthy of Him, of His, bearing fruit in every good work (cf. Col 1:9-10).

At this time, I have within myself a great trust [in God], because I know – all of us know – that the Gospel’s word of truth is the strength of the Church: it is her life. The Gospel purifies and renews: it bears fruit wherever the community of believers hears and welcomes the grace of God in truth and lives in charity. This is my faith, this is my joy.

When, almost eight years ago, on April 19th, [2005], I agreed to take on the Petrine ministry, I held steadfast in this certainty, which has always accompanied me. In that moment, as I have already stated several times, the words that resounded in my heart were: “Lord, what do you ask of me? It a great weight that You place on my shoulders, but, if You ask me, at your word I will throw out the nets, sure that you will guide me” – and the Lord really has guided me. He has been close to me: daily could I feel His presence. [These years] have been a stretch of the Church’s pilgrim way, which has seen moments joy and light, but also difficult moments. I have felt like St. Peter with the Apostles in the boat on the Sea of ​​Galilee: the Lord has given us many days of sunshine and gentle breeze, days in which the catch has been abundant; [then] there have been times when the seas were rough and the wind against us, as in the whole history of the Church it has ever been - and the Lord seemed to sleep. Nevertheless, I always knew that the Lord is in the barque, that the barque of the Church is not mine, not ours, but His - and He shall not let her sink. It is He, who steers her: to be sure, he does so also through men of His choosing, for He desired that it be so. This was and is a certainty that nothing can tarnish. It is for this reason, that today my heart is filled with gratitude to God, for never did He leave me or the Church without His consolation, His light, His love.

We are in the Year of Faith, which I desired in order to strengthen our own faith in God in a context that seems to push faith more and more toward the margins of life. I would like to invite everyone to renew firm trust in the Lord. I would like that we all, entrust ourselves as children to the arms of God, and rest assured that those arms support us and us to walk every day, even in times of struggle. I would like everyone to feel loved by the God who gave His Son for us and showed us His boundless love. I want everyone to feel the joy of being Christian. In a beautiful prayer to be recited daily in the morning says, “I adore you, my God, I love you with all my heart. I thank You for having created me, for having made me a Christian.” Yes, we are happy for the gift of faith: it is the most precious good, that no one can take from us! Let us thank God for this every day, with prayer and with a coherent Christian life. God loves us, but He also expects that we love Him!

At this time, however, it is not only God, whom I desire to thank. A Pope is not alone in guiding St. Peter’s barque, even if it is his first responsibility – and I have not ever felt myself alone in bearing either the joys or the weight of the Petrine ministry. The Lord has placed next to me many people, who, with generosity and love for God and the Church, have helped me and been close to me. First of all you, dear Brother Cardinals: your wisdom, your counsels, your friendship, were all precious to me. My collaborators, starting with my Secretary of State, who accompanied me faithfully over the years, the Secretariat of State and the whole Roman Curia, as well as all those who, in various areas, give their service to the Holy See: the many faces which never emerge, but remain in the background, in silence, in their daily commitment, with a spirit of faith and humility. They have been for me a sure and reliable support. A special thought [goes] to the Church of Rome, my diocese! I can not forget the Brothers in the Episcopate and in the Priesthood, the consecrated persons and the entire People of God: in pastoral visits, in public encounters, at Audiences, in traveling, I have always received great care and deep affection; I also loved each and every one, without exception, with that pastoral charity which is the heart of every shepherd, especially the Bishop of Rome, the Successor of the Apostle Peter. Every day I carried each of you in my prayers, with the father's heart.

I wish my greetings and my thanks to reach everyone: the heart of a Pope expands to [embrace] the whole world. I would like to express my gratitude to the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See, which makes present the great family of nations. Here I also think of all those who work for good communication, whom I thank for their important service.

At this point I would like to offer heartfelt thanks to all the many people throughout the whole world, who, in recent weeks have sent me moving tokens of concern, friendship and prayer. Yes, the Pope is never alone: now I experience this [truth] again in a way so great as to touch my very heart. The Pope belongs to everyone, and so many people feel very close to him. It’s true that I receive letters from the world's greatest figures - from the Heads of State, religious leaders, representatives of the world of culture and so on. I also receive many letters from ordinary people who write to me simply from their heart and let me feel their affection, which is born of our being together in Christ Jesus, in the Church. These people do not write me as one might write, for example, to a prince or a great figure one does not know. They write as brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, with the sense of very affectionate family ties. Here, one can touch what the Church is – not an organization, not an association for religious or humanitarian purposes, but a living body, a community of brothers and sisters in the Body of Jesus Christ, who unites us all. To experience the Church in this way and almost be able to touch with one’s hands the power of His truth and His love, is a source of joy, in a time in which many speak of its decline.

In recent months, I felt that my strength had decreased, and I asked God with insistence in prayer to enlighten me with His light to make me take the right decision – not for my sake, but for the good of the Church. I have taken this step in full awareness of its severity and also its novelty, but with a deep peace of mind. Loving the Church also means having the courage to make difficult, trying choices, having ever before oneself the good of the Church and not one’s own.

Here allow me to return once again to April 19, 2005. The gravity of the decision was precisely in the fact that from that moment on I was committed always and forever by the Lord. Always – he, who assumes the Petrine ministry no longer has any privacy. He belongs always and totally to everyone, to the whole Church. His life is, so to speak, totally deprived of the private sphere. I have felt, and I feel even in this very moment, that one receives one’s life precisely when he offers it as a gift. I said before that many people who love the Lord also love the Successor of Saint Peter and are fond of him, that the Pope has truly brothers and sisters, sons and daughters all over the world, and that he feels safe in the embrace of their communion, because he no longer belongs to himself, but he belongs to all and all are truly his own.

The “always” is also a “forever” - there is no returning to private life. My decision to forgo the exercise of active ministry, does not revoke this. I do not return to private life, to a life of travel, meetings, receptions, conferences and so on. I do not abandon the cross, but remain in a new way near to the Crucified Lord. I no longer wield the power of the office for the government of the Church, but in the service of prayer I remain, so to speak, within St. Peter’s bounds. St. Benedict, whose name I bear as Pope, shall be a great example in this for me. He showed us the way to a life which, active or passive, belongs wholly to the work of God.

I thank each and every one of you for the respect and understanding with which you have welcomed this important decision. I continue to accompany the Church on her way through prayer and reflection, with the dedication to the Lord and to His Bride, which I have hitherto tried to live daily and that I would live forever. I ask you to remember me before God, and above all to pray for the Cardinals, who are called to so important a task, and for the new Successor of Peter, that the Lord might accompany him with the light and the power of His Spirit.

Let us invoke the maternal intercession of Mary, Mother of God and of the Church, that she might accompany each of us and the whole ecclesial community: to her we entrust ourselves, with deep trust.

Dear friends! God guides His Church, maintains her always, and especially in difficult times. Let us never lose this vision of faith, which is the only true vision of the way of the Church and the world. In our heart, in the heart of each of you, let there be always the joyous certainty that the Lord is near, that He does not abandon us, that He is near to us and that He surrounds us with His love. Thank you!




Share - Novena Prayers for Pope Benedict and the Election of a New Pontiff
Heavenly father, Your Providence guides the Church and the successor to St. Peter, Pope Benedict XVI. May he be protected at all times from spiritual attacks so that he may lead Your Church to greater holiness and unity through your Holy Spirit.
We invoke our Mother Mary, united in prayer with the disciples in the Upper Room, to intercede for our cardinals to select the next Holy Father in docility to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, her divine Spouse. With Mary, Mother of God and of the Church, we entrust this conclave to your maternal and Immaculate Heart, and offer these prayers for your guidance and protection over the choosing of the next Vicar of your Son. (Section from Dr. Miravelli)
Prayer for the Pope:
Let us pray for Benedict, the pope.
May the Lord preserve him,
give him a long life,
make him blessed upon the earth,
and not hand him over
to the power of his enemies.
May your hand be upon your holy servant.
And upon your son, whom you have anointed.
Prayer of St. Benedict
Gracious and holy Father,
please give to our Pope, his successor and 
to we the faithful:
intellect to understand you;
reason to discern you;
diligence to seek you;
wisdom to find you;
a spirit to know you;
a heart to meditate upon you;
ears to hear you;
eyes to see you;
a tongue to proclaim you;
a way of life pleasing to you;
patience to wait for you;
and perseverance to look for you.
Grant your servant the 
Pope, his successor and we the faithful:
a perfect end,
your holy presence.
A blessed resurrection,
And life everlasting.
Our Father...
Hail Mary...
Glory Be...


by Card. Oswald Gracias
The archbishop of Mumbai thanks the pope who led the Church in implementing the Second Vatican Council with wisdom and clarity. The Year of Faith and the New Evangelisation are his gifts, which the new pontiff will have to continue.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - As I prepare to leave for Rome, emotions of gratitude, love and affection fill my heart for our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI. Hopefully, I will be present for the last public appearance of His Holiness. My imminent thoughts are for Pope Benedict XVI whose deep knowledge of the mystery, humility, life of prayer, deep appreciation of beauty in the Church and in the world marked his significant but short pontificate. I also carry with me the gratitude, love and prayers of India's 18 million Catholics for our Beloved Holy Father.
It is very humbling to be at the conclave. I have been spending many hours in personal prayer and meditation, asking for God's most Holy Spirit to instruct my heart to be an instrument of the Lord's grace and providence to fulfil faithfully this service, entrusted upon me as a cardinal, and upon the College of Cardinals, to elect the next Pope after discerning together the signs of the times for the Church and the world.
In a very special way, I have been interceding with St Francis Xavier and the Blessed Mother Teresa of Kolkata-both loved by hundreds of millions and whose mortal remains are in our beloved country-and with the Blessed John Paul II, whom I knew personally.
I have written to all the churches in India, asking them to have a special Mass during the days of the conclave. I asked all convents, monasteries and religious houses of contemplative life to pray especially for the election of the next pope.
Peter is the rock. Peter is vital to the Church. Our Lord entrusted the keys to Peter. Peter is Jesus' gift to the Church, a teacher who guards the faith, a sign of unity that confirms the brothers in faith.
Continuity in the teachings of Vatican II will be the main thrust of the new pontiff, just as it was for Pope Benedict XVI who clearly stood in continuity with his predecessors.
Both the New Evangelisation and the Year of Faith are gifts to the Church that clearly show Pope Benedict XVI's convictions about the need for renewal in the Church. But they are also in continuity with the Second Vatican Council to be carried through to the next pontificate. These are treasures for the Church universal.
It is fundamental that we are completely open to the Spirit. It is vital, essential and meaningful that there should be no distractions during the days of the conclave, that as one heart and mind, we serve the Church to elect the new pope.
Our Lord's assurance, that "I am with you always", dismisses any concern that might arise. In faith, I know that the Holy Spirit is ever-present to guide the Church. We have always had popes according to the need of the times to guide the Church through the Grace of the Holy Spirit.
Finally and more importantly, I recall and I am strengthened by the Holy Father's own words during the Mass for the election of the Roman Pontiff: 'Let us ask our Lord insistently tha the will again give us a pastor according to his heart, a pastor who will lead us to the knowledge of Christ, to his love, to true joy."
(Nirmala Carvalho contributed to this article)




ADDIS ABABA, February 26, 2013 (CISA) -East African leaders have signed an accord at the African Union headquarters, in Addis Ababa, for peace in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The accord which was signed in the presence of United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon was aimed at bringing peace DRC after armed years of rebellion.
The 11 Heads of State and officials of the Great Lakes region who signed the accord expressed their commitment to restoring peace and justice in the region.
The accord foresees a strategic review of the UN peacekeeping mission in DR-Congo (MONUSCO) and a series of political and diplomatic steps toward restoring security in the territory. Among the main points agreed by the leaders is that of “no tolerance or support for any type of armed group” in the nation.
Rwanda and Uganda were repeatedly accused of financing and arming the M23 (March 23 Movement) rebels, who in December 2012 launched an offensive in DR-Congo, even seizing the capital of North Kivu Goma, then agreeing to withdraw in exchange for talks with the Kinshasa government. Kigali and Kampala have always denied their backing of the rebels.
Based on the accord, an “intervention brigade” will be integrated to the 17,000 strong MONUSCO force with a mandate of “imposing peace”. This international force will be deployed along the border with Rwanda to neutralize all armed groups in the area: aside from the M23, also the FDLR (Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda), the ADF-Nalu (Democratic Alliance-National Army for the Liberation of Uganda) and the Burundian FNL (National Liberation Force).
The neighboring nations and international community will also be called to monitor and verify the peace process in the territory through a special envoy to be named by the UN.
The Kinshasa government pledged to introduce reforms, in particular concerning internal security, promoting national reconciliation, tolerance and democratization.
“The time has come to abandon the law of the strongest, rather than strength of the law”, said Congolese President Joseph Kabila at the ceremony for the signing of the deal.
“This is just the start of a path, a global approach that needs constant commitment from all parts”, said the UN chief Ban Ki-Moon, expressing hope for a future of “peace and stability” for the Kivu region.


Catholic People’s Weeks in 2013 | Catholic People’s Weeks, CPW
 For nearly 70 years Catholic People’s Weeks (CPW) have provided 'holidays with a difference', with plenty of food for thought, exploring faith, and time for recreation. Some events are for people of all ages - families with children, as well as people (of any age) without children. Others are for those aged 18 and over. All events - whether weekend, long weekend or week-long - offer engaging talks and activities, prayer and socialising, and liturgy in a community setting.
In 2013, CPW offers nine events, varying between two and seven days, on a range of themes. You can consider the nature of God, get closer to the prophetic voices of the Old Testament, or learn about the spirituality of the early Christians of the Middle East. Or you can engage with ideas and action on social justice, or how we should envisage and renew our lives at home.
There are two new centres in 2013. One is at Elim in Malvern, a really well appointed centre in beautiful countryside. Belsey Bridge in East Anglia has 20 acres of grounds. Both centres have heated outdoor pools and a reputation for excellent food.
The winter weekends will return to the familiar and very popular settings of Boars Hill, Oxford and Hyning in Lancashire. Hyning is also booked for June. Downside School in Somerset, which has its own pool and extensive grounds, is on the summer schedule, along with the lovely Noddfa centre in Penmaenmawr, North Wales. The autumn reunion weekend, including the annual Dora Turbin Lecture, will be at Boars Hill.
CPW is very good value for money - prices include food, accommodation, childcare, the centre facilities and the educational programme - but a Friendship Fund is there to help those who would otherwise not be able to afford to come.
There is a 5% discount on all bookings for summer events received by the end of February.
Details can be found at
Full brochure at


Agenzia Fides REPORT РAs the time approaches for the start of the electoral campaign for 2014 presidential elections, Archbishop Jos̩ Luis Escobar Alas, Archbishop of San Salvador, says the local Catholic Church trusts that this event will take place without violence and with maximum transparency.
The Archbishop also said that the candidacy of former President Tony Saca should not cause conflict, because like all the politicians wishing to take part, he has the right to do so if the law so allows. “Whether a campaign is or is not violent, should not depend on the presentation or non presentation of a certain candidate” said Archbishop Escobar Alas who expressed the certainty that “this campaign will not be a source of conflict or violence, because society today is highly sensitive to the issue”. Lastly the Archbishop underlined that the use of violence on the part of politicians can provoke immediate response from the people through the vote. “This is not a threat, it is simply due the fact that the people have matured and simple refuse any abuse of power", concluded Archbishop Escobar Alas.
(CE) (Agenzia Fides, 25/02/2013)


Matthew 20: 17 - 28

17And as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside, and on the way he said to them,18"Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man will be delivered to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death,19and deliver him to the Gentiles to be mocked and scourged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day."20Then the mother of the sons of Zeb'edee came up to him, with her sons, and kneeling before him she asked him for something.21And he said to her, "What do you want?" She said to him, "Command that these two sons of mine may sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom."22But Jesus answered, "You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?" They said to him, "We are able."23He said to them, "You will drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father."24And when the ten heard it, they were indignant at the two brothers.25But Jesus called them to him and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them.26It shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be your servant,27and whoever would be first among you must be your slave;28even as the Son of man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."


St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows
Feast: February 27

Feast Day:February 27
March 1, 1838, Assisi, Italy
Died:February 27, 1862, Gran Sasso, Italy
1920, Rome, Italy by Pope Benedict XV
Major Shrine:San Gabriele, Teramo, Abruzzi
Patron of:Students, Youth, Clerics, Seminarians, Abruzzi
On a summer day a little over a hundred years ago, a slim figure in a black cassock stood facing a gang of mercenaries in a small town in Piedmont, Italy. He had just disarmed one of the soldiers who was attacking a young girl, had faced the rest of the band fearlessly, then drove them all out of the village at the point of a gun. The young man was Francesco Possenti, whose father was lawyer for the Papal States and who had recently joined the Passionist Order, taking the name of Brother Gabriel.

He became very sick during his school years and had promised that if he got better, he would dedicate his life to God. St. Gabriel Possenti got better and forgot about it. He got sick again and made the same promise, but again got well and forgot his promise. Once, during a church procession in which a great banner of Our Lady, Help of Christians, was being carried, the eyes of Our Lady looked straight at him and he heard the words: "Keep your promise." Shaken, he remembered his promise, changed his life completely, and entered the Passionists.
He hoped to be sent to the missions after his ordination to the priesthood, but at the young age of twenty-four, he died. Canonized in 1920, he is, along with St. Aloysius, one of the patrons of youth. He was very fond of his family and is particularly remembered as a remarkable young man who, at the age of twenty, threw all aside for God, determined to become a saint.

From 'The Catholic One Year Bible': . . . Suddenly his face began to shine with glory, and his clothing became dazzling white, . . . a cloud covered them, blotting out the sun, and a voice from the cloud said, "This is my beloved Son. Listen to him."—Mark 9:2-3, 7

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