Sunday, June 30, 2013






Vatican Radio REPORT: Pope Francis prayed the Angelus on Sunday with faithful gathered in St Peter’s Square. In remarks before the traditional prayer of Marian devotion, the Holy Father spoke of the conscience as the interior space in which we can listen to and hear the truth, the good, the voice of God. Pope Francis praised his predecessor, Benedict XVI, as a model of docile attention to the voice of one’s conscience. “Pope Benedict XVI has given us a great example in this sense,” he said. “When the Lord had made it clear, in prayer, what was the step he had to take, he followed, with a great sense of discernment and courage, his conscience, that is the will of God speaking to his heart.” Below, please find Vatican Radio’s translation of the Holy Father’s remarks. 


Dear brothers and sisters,

This Sunday's Gospel (Lk 9:51-62) shows a very important step in the life of Christ: the moment in which, as St Luke writes, "[Jesus] steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem. (9:51 )” Jerusalem is the final destination, where Jesus, in his last Passover, must die and rise again, and so to fulfill His mission of salvation.

From that time, forth, after the steadfast decision, Jesus aims straight for the finish line, and even to the people he meets and who ask to [be allowed to] follow Him, He says clearly what are the conditions: not having a permanent abode; knowing how to detach oneself from familiar affections; not succumbing to nostalgia for the past.

Jesus also said to his disciples, charged with preceding Him on the way to Jerusalem to announce His coming, not to impose anything: if they do not find willing welcome, they are [simply] to proceed further, to move on. Jesus never imposes. Jesus is humble. Jesus extends invitations: “If you want, come.” The humility of Jesus is like this: He always invites us. He does not impose. 

All this makes us think. It tells us, for example, the importance, even for Jesus, of conscience: listening in his heart to the Father's voice, and following it. Jesus, in his earthly life, was not, so to speak, “remote-controlled”: He was the Word made flesh, the Son of God made man, and at one point he made a firm decision to go up to Jerusalem for the last time - a decision taken in His conscience, but not on His own: ​​with the Father, in full union with Him! He decided in obedience to the Father, in profound intimate attunement to the Father’s will. For this reason, then, was the decision was steadfast: because it was taken together with the Father. In the Father, then, Jesus found the strength and the light for His journey. Jesus was free. His decision was a free one. Jesus wants us Christians to be free as he is: with that liberty, which comes from this dialogue with the Father, this dialogue with God. Jesus wants neither selfish Christians, who follow their egos and do not speak with God, nor weak Christians, without will: “remote-controlled” Christians, incapable of creativity, who seek ever to connect with the will of another, and are not free. Jesus wants us free, and this freedom – where is it found? It is to be found in the inner dialogue with God in conscience. If a Christian does not know how to talk with God, does not know how to listen to God, in his own conscience, then he is not free – he is not free. 

So we also must learn to listen more to our conscience. Be careful, however: this does not mean we ought to follow our ego, do whatever interests us, whatever suits us, whatever pleases us. That is not conscience. Conscience is the interior space in which we can listen to and hear the truth, the good, the voice of God. It is the inner place of our relationship with Him, who speaks to our heart and helps us to discern, to understand the path we ought to take, and once the decision is made, to move forward, to remain faithful.

Pope Benedict XVI has given us a great example in this sense. When the Lord had made it clear, in prayer, what was the step he had to take, he followed, with a great sense of discernment and courage, his conscience, that is, the will of God that spoke to his heart – and this example of our father does much good to all of us, as an example to follow.

Our Lady, with great simplicity, listened to and meditated deep within herself upon the Word of God and what was happening to Jesus. She followed her Son with deep conviction, with steadfast hope. May Mary help us to become more and more men and women of conscience – free in our conscience, because it is in conscience that the dialogue with God is given – men and women able to hear the voice of God and follow it with decision.

After the Angelus, the Holy Father had these remarks:

Dear brothers and sisters,

Today in Italy we celebrate the Day of charity of the Pope. I desire to thank the bishops and all the parishes, especially the poorest ones, for the prayers and offerings that support the many pastoral initiatives and charitable activities of the Successor of Peter in every part of the world. Thank you all!

I extend my heartfelt greetings to all the pilgrims present, particularly to the many faithful from Germany. I also greet the pilgrims from Madrid, Augsburg, Sonnino, Casarano, Lenola, Sambucetole and Montegranaro, the group of lay Dominicans, the Apostolic Fraternity of Divine Mercy in Piazza Armerina, the Friends of the Missions of the Precious Blood, UNITALSI of Ischia di Castro and the children of Latisana.

I wish you all a good Sunday!


Today we have the pleasure of presenting an original Catholic-link production: “Meet Pope Francis”. Our idea is to help Catholics and non-Catholics alike get to know the life and story of Pope Francis. While it is true that the Holy Father represents all Catholics, he is still only one man and therefore does this in a way which reflects who he is and where he comes from. Being from Argentina, it is natural that many people know little about him, especially in Europe, Africa, and Asia. That’s why we have decided to translate the video into 15 languages.

Such a project has required the generosity and collaboration of a large number of people. It has been exciting to see so many young Catholics who have wanted to offer this service for Pope Francis, and for the Church in general. For all of us, it has been a moment to recall and appreciate the marvel of a universal faith that is truly capable of speaking all languages and reaching all peoples. We are reminded of this in the words of Jesus which have been chosen as the theme for this year’s World Youth Day which will soon be held in Rio, Brazil: “Go and make disciples of all nations!” (cf. Mt 28:19)
We would like to give a special thanks to the video’s editor, Canva Ma, who has been extremely generous in putting his time and gifts at the service of this mission. We would also like to thank all those who have helped with the translations and narrations. (Their names are found next to the video titles.)


Peter and Paul (1981) Poster
PART 2 of 2 - 1981 - TV movie - Peter and Paul assume leadership of the Church as they struggle against violent opposition to the teachings of Christ and their own personal conflicts.


  Robert Day


  Christopher Knopf 


  Anthony Hopkins, Robert Foxworth, Eddie Albert


+Brother Daniel, Franciscan deacon, who is trying to be a beacon.
*Our Love is Like a Yellow Rose

Preface: For many years friends have been asking my wife and I to write down our story of faith: how I received the call to live on God’s providence under the guidance of Saint Francis of Assisi, how Mary and I met, got married, how music became an important part of our life and how we became a musical family living a missionary life style while home schooling our four children, as we moved from place to place throughout Canada.  
We’ve shared bit and pieces of our story but it could never be completely told in one evening or even two evenings was not enough to recount all the wonders God had done for us. I started writing our story but Mary was slow in taking up the challenge too. Family life was very busy but we managed to write one book, Walking on the Waters describing a 18 day pilgrimage of faith we made to the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City. Mary found it hard to be stuck in front of a computer when the sun was shining outside. She preferred working in her garden,  getting  her hands dirty and growing flowers for the several little shrines we had around the house and caring for a small vegetable garden. Though Mary was a good writer, I was the one with the most motivation. 
This new project would include our life’s story. It promised to be quite a challenge and we hesitatingly started writing it. Then Mary got cancer and she  became the first priority.  Being hospital visits and doctors appointment we had time for little else except for a period of eight or nine month when her cancer seemed to have disappeared. But it came back with vengeance. After four years of in her heroic battle to stay alive Mary passed away. Since she and I had been so close--we did everything together--I went into deep morning. Writing hurt too much. The four children all got married and moved away to different parts of the world: Ireland, Spain, Oregon and Texas. I couldn’t deal with the loneliness and the memories that were still like an unhealed wound. The project was abandoned for the next eight years.
After my dear wife, Mary, passed away on April 17, 2002 in our living room surrounded by most of her children, I became a hermit visiting my children now and then. I also took long trips across Canada and the US to revisit friends and communities in which we had worked as a missionary family for over three decades.  During these long journeys by car or plane I often shared our way of life and people kept asking me to write it down. I felt guilty not sharing the wonderful things the Lord had done for us and our family because I felt I owed it to Mary’s memory. Nevertheless, writer’s block caused by a broken heart kept me from writing it. I found life hard and too depressing at times, though I tried to start writing.
It was a special friend from Grand Rapids, Michigan, Barry Feldpausch, who prodded me to do it, He said he wanted to read our whole story before he “ kicked the bucket” and “what was I waiting for?” With the hopes that I would began writing he had even sent me an audio copy of an evening of sharing by Mary and I had done on July 8, 1997 in his parish of St. Thomas the Apostle Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA.  That evening Mary and I had taken turns giving our testimony and so I decided to use incorporate this format in writing this book. 

Introduction  Tonight we’re not here just to talk down to you. We’re here to share our life with you:  our experiences of God and our vocation as a Franciscan missionary family. Many of the experiences shared, you will identify with in your own lives because we are all on a search for the meaning of our lives here on earth and we all have to make that sometimes difficult pilgrimage to our Father’s House. This life is the testing ground through which we pass on our way to Heaven, traveling together and helping each other along the way.
Mary and I will be skipping back and forth taking turns telling you our story as the Spirit inspires us. It will not necessarily be completely well-organized or well ordered. Bear with us. We feel however that God wants us to give this personal sharing about a very special calling. In doing this, we don’t consider ourselves any better or worse than anyone else. It is just that God calls us each in his own way to enter His plan and He wants to share our gifts with others. Each vocation is different whether we are single or married, widowed, old or young. The call is always the same: the call to unite ourselves to Him. It is always there in our hearts whether we realize it or not, or whether we accept it or deny it. We all have that feeling of restlessness and emptiness inside that can only be satisfied by God, though we often try to fill it with the things of the world. We hope that you will derive inspiration and new insights as we speak of our walk in faith, living on God’s loving Providence.
Daniel J Dauvin
1. Union with God and joyous confidence in Divine Providence.

2. Childlike abandonment of yourself in the hands of our   Heavenly Father.

3. Poverty welcomed, loved and lived.
4. Modesty, love of solitude, the desire to keep out of   public notice. Humility. The life of prayer. Gospel sincerity.
5. Practical supernatural love toward your brothers and   sisters everywhere and towards God's creatures, who are   our brothers and sisters.  The sentiment of universal   brotherhood.
6. A generous apostolate, with total staking of your heart.
7. It is an atmosphere of cheerfulness and holy peace.  Love   of the Holy Eucharist and the Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph.
8. It is a love of suffering, of our daily crosses, of   sacrifice, of Christ crucified.  It is a devotion to the   Church.  It is childlike affection for the Holy Father.
9. It is love of work and disregard of money.
10. It is, in fine, happiness in spreading peace and blessings among mankind.


Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.          
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon,
Where there is doubt, faith,               
Where there is despair, hope,             
Where there is darkness, light, and                 
Where there is sadness, joy.       
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek            To be consoled, as to console;             
To be understood, as to understand;                   
To be loved, as to love;              
For it is in giving that we receive,           
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned     
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.


Sister Elizabeth, Mother Damian and Sister Juliana of the community of Poor Clare Colettines in HawardenA nun describes her dramatic journey from atheism to religious life
By  on Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Sister Elizabeth, Mother Damian and Sister Juliana of the community of Poor Clare Colettines in Hawarden
My father was the intelligent sort of atheist who took his unbelief from life and literature. My mother, on the other hand, was the practical sort of atheist who threw salt over her shoulder, read the stars and consulted mediums in a crisis. Once asked if God existed she replied: “Well, I suppose so dear; does it make any difference?”
My father’s work included a lot of travel and I had the bracing experience of going to 11 different schools. But, on the whole, education reinforced my parent’s position. Inside myself I felt that God existed, but I didn’t have arguments with which to confront my father – and I suppose I would have needed miracles to convince my mother.
This is an uncompromisingly grim way to bring up a child and, purely as an aside, my parents were not a very happy pair. By the time I was nine, in a godless and quarrelling universe, I had had enough; there really was so little to live for. So I wrote a kindly suicide note explaining to my parents (wrongly, as it happened) that it could not be their fault that there was no God and, leaving a lock of my hair, I headed for the 70ft drop at the top of the local clay pit and stood there crumbling the edge with my toes. From, as it seemed, nowhere, a completely new idea came into my mind: if I went on trying to be alive perhaps Somebody would love me. I had no idea who Somebody might be. I went home, quietly disposed of my suicide note and went on living – partially.
Into this vacuum, and denied by almost everything and everyone around me, a relationship started to grow. As a small child I had seen a television repeat of the ancient film Love and the Perfect Stranger, in which a journalist (played by Jack Lemmon), waking up after a particularly unmemorable party, discovers that he is in bed with a lady. He does not find this odd until he perceives pinned to the bed head a marriage certificate and his beautiful bedfellow opens her eyes and addresses him in a language he does not speak. This describes, as far as it is possible, my growing relationship with a God of no name whom everyone insisted did not exist, or had recently died.
I had a gap year between school and university and as soon as I could decently do so after my 18th birthday I left home. When I told my father I was going to do some sort of social work in the interim with the Missionaries of Charity in London he cut me off with the original shilling (to be strictly truthful, £10 in the bank).
Without warning, I was dropped into a world of both apparent and genuine faith. It was a shock, but not anything like so big a shock as attending Mass for the first time. I did not understand what the words “This is my body” meant or, indeed, if it meant anything. I firmly told myself to avoid further Catholic rituals, but I was hooked – and whatever it was I wanted it.
Working beside the Missionaries of Charity with the destitute and helping to lay out my first corpse, I could see that life was too urgent to spare time taking up a university place.
One hot day in Notting Hill, west London, an old Irish prostitute who had seen me with the Sisters called me in. She had cancer of the bowel and was dying. I tried to help tidy her up and she said to me: “Pray for me!”
I said: “I don’t know any prayers.”
She ignored me: “Say the rosary.”
I said: “I don’t know the rosary.”
“You know the Our Father,” she insisted, truly.
She taught me the Hail Mary and I repeated it after her. She died the following day.
Later, I was holding the hand of one of many drug addicts who drifted in and out of the Sisters’ care she told me her heart-rending life story and said to me: “What can I do?” I did not have any answers of my own so I said: “I suppose, as the Sisters would say, you will have to trust God.”
There is nothing like giving advice for having to take it oneself! The Sisters’ “chapel” had a life-sized altar crammed into what had been a big bedroom. The only window was covered by a saffron curtain. We sat on the floor. The furthest place from the altar was scarcely 10 feet away. I was in the furthest place. Presently, I took to sneaking of to attend the Eucharist, in the security of the back row of Our Lady off the Angels in London and later, daily, in the back row of Blackfriars, Leicester. No one spoke to me – and I did not want to be spoken to; it was all too new.
After my time with the Missionaries of Charity I was looking for somewhere to think and pray – whatever that might be. The Sisters suggested that, purely as I did not eat meat, I should go to stay for a while with the Poor Clare Colettines. I did not “think” about a religious vocation: the Lord said (to borrow a phrase from Aesop): “Here is Rhodes, jump!”
Someone had given me a much outdated copy of the Penny Catechism and there were about 100 unexplained assertions which struck me as unlikely. But I wanted God and unnervingly, even shockingly, God wanted me. So I was received into the Catholic Church shortly after my 19th birthday.
I became a Colettine and, to come out of my world and land on a Franciscan planet governed by openness, affection, forgiveness and understanding, was an experience I cannot describe with adequate gratitude and humbled amazement, even now. My novice mistress said to me: “You will weep more and you will laugh more and every day will be new in a way that you would never experience in any other form of life…”
Sister Juliana is one of the community of Poor Clare Colettines in Hawarden, North Wales. For more information,
This article first appeared in the print edition of The Catholic Herald dated 14/6/13


Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 99

Reading 1                   1 KGS 19:16B, 19-21 

The LORD said to Elijah:
“You shall anoint Elisha, son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah,
as prophet to succeed you.”

Elijah set out and came upon Elisha, son of Shaphat,
as he was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen;
he was following the twelfth.
Elijah went over to him and threw his cloak over him.
Elisha left the oxen, ran after Elijah, and said,
“Please, let me kiss my father and mother goodbye,
and I will follow you.”
Elijah answered, “Go back!
Have I done anything to you?”
Elisha left him, and taking the yoke of oxen, slaughtered them;
he used the plowing equipment for fuel to boil their flesh,
and gave it to his people to eat.
Then Elisha left and followed Elijah as his attendant.

Responsorial Psalm                PS 16:1-2, 5, 7-8, 9-10, 11

R. (cf. 5a) You are my inheritance, O Lord.
Keep me, O God, for in you I take refuge;
I say to the LORD, “My Lord are you.
O LORD, my allotted portion and my cup,
you it is who hold fast my lot.”
R. You are my inheritance, O Lord.
I bless the LORD who counsels me;
even in the night my heart exhorts me.
I set the LORD ever before me;
with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.
R. You are my inheritance, O Lord.
Therefore my heart is glad and my soul rejoices,
my body, too, abides in confidence
because you will not abandon my soul to the netherworld,
nor will you suffer your faithful one to undergo corruption.
R. You are my inheritance, O Lord.
You will show me the path to life,
fullness of joys in your presence,
the delights at your right hand forever.
R. You are my inheritance, O Lord.

Reading 2              GAL 5:1, 13-18

Brothers and sisters: For freedom Christ set us free; so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery. For you were called for freedom, brothers and sisters. But do not use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh; rather, serve one another through love. For the whole law is fulfilled in one statement, namely, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. But if you go on biting and devouring one another, beware that you are not consumed by one another. I say, then: live by the Spirit and you will certainly not gratify the desire of the flesh.  For the flesh has desires against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you may not do what you want. But if you are guided by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

Gospel          LK 9:51-62

When the days for Jesus’ being taken up were fulfilled,
he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem,
and he sent messengers ahead of him.
On the way they entered a Samaritan village
to prepare for his reception there,
but they would not welcome him
because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem.
When the disciples James and John saw this they asked,
“Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven
to consume them?”
Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they journeyed to another village.

As they were proceeding on their journey someone said to him,
“I will follow you wherever you go.”
Jesus answered him,
“Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests,
but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.”

And to another he said, “Follow me.”
But he replied, “Lord, let me go first and bury my father.”
But he answered him, “Let the dead bury their dead.
But you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
And another said, “I will follow you, Lord,
but first let me say farewell to my family at home.”
To him Jesus said, “No one who sets a hand to the plow
and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.”


Protomartyrs of Rome
Feast: June 30

Feast Day:June 30
Many martyrs who suffered death under Emperor Nero (r. 54-68). Owing to their executions durin the reign of Nero, they are called the Neronian Martyrs, and they are also termed "the Protomartys of Rome," being honored by the site in the Vatican City called the Piazza of the Protomartyrs. These early Christians were disciples of the Apostles, and they endured hideous tortures and ghastly deaths following the burning of Rome in the infamous fire of 62. Their dignity in suffering, and their fervor to the end, did not provide Nero or the Romans with the public diversion desired. Instead, the faith was firmly planted in the Eternal City.

(Taken from Our Sunday Visitor's Encyclopedia of Saints)

Saturday, June 29, 2013


Vatican Radio report:  Pope Francis marked the Solemnity of Sts Peter and Paul with Mass in St Peter’s Basilica, during which he imposed the pallium on thirty-four of the metropolitan archbishops installed over the past year. The pallium is the white, shawl-like woolen liturgical vestment worn over the shoulders of a metropolitan archbishop, which is the peculiar sign of a metropolitan’s office: it specifically symbolizes authority and union with the Holy See. Each year on the feast, the Metropolitan archbishops installed during the course of the preceding year travel to Rome to receive the vestment. The solemnity is also one of the two days in the liturgical year in which the ancient bronze statue of St Peter in the basilica is symbolically vested in an ornate red silk cope and crowned with the triple tiara.

After processing into the basilica with the thirty-four new metropolitans and hearing the readings, Pope Francis delivered a homily in which he focused on the mystery of the Petrine ministry as one particularly ordered to confirming all Christians everywhere in faith, love and unity. “Faith in Christ,” said Pope Francis, “is the light of our life as Christians.“ Addressing himself to the new metropolitans, the Pope said, “To confess the Lord by letting oneself be taught by God; to be consumed by love for Christ and his Gospel; to be servants of unity. These, dear brother bishops, are the tasks which the holy apostles Peter and Paul entrust to each of us, so that they can be lived by every Christian.”

This was a theme to which the Holy Father returned after Mass, in remarks to the faithful gathered in St Peter's square for the Angelus prayer. “What a joy it is to believe in a God who is all Love, all Grace,” he said. Also at the Angelus, Pope Francis also greeted the delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, led by Metropolitan Ioannis Zizoulas. “Let us not forget that Peter had a brother, Andrew,” said Pope Francis, “who met Jesus first, spoke of Him to Peter and took Peter to meet [the Lord].”

Then Pope Francis asked all the gathered faithful to join him in praying a Hail Mary for Patriarch Bartholomew.

In conclusion, the Holy Father greeted all the pilgrim faithful who, from every part of the world, were come to celebrate the feast in Rome.

Below, please find a list of the thirty-four metropolitans to receive the pallium:

    Patriarch Manuel Jose Macario do Nascimento Clemente of Lisbon, Portugal;
    Archbishop Dieudonne Nzapalainga of Bangui, Central African Republic;
    Archbishop Carlo Roberto Maria Redaelli of Gorizia, Italy;
    Archbishop Claudio Dalla Zuanna of Beira, Mozambique;
    Archbishop Prakash Mallavarapu of Visakhapatnam, India;
    Archbishop Antonio Carlos Altieri of Passo Fundo, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil;
    Archbishop Marek Jedraszewski of Lodz, Poland;
    Archbishop Philip Tartaglia of Glasgow, Scotland;
    Archbishop Salvatore Joseph Cordileone of San Francisco, California;
    Archbishop Rolando Joven Tria Tirona of Caceres, Philippines;
    Archbishop Rogelio Cabrera Lopez of Monterrey, Mexico;
    Archbishop Joseph William Tobin of Indianapolis, Indiana;
    Archbishop Carlos Maria Franzini of Mendoza, Argentina;
    Archbishop Lorenzo Ghizzoni of Ravenna-Cervia, Italy;
    Archbishop George Antonysamy of Madras and Mylapore, India;
    Archbishop Anil Joseph Thomas Couto of Delhi, India;
    Archbishop John Wong Soo Kau of Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia;
    Archbishop Murray Chatlain of Keewatin-Le Pas, Manitoba;
    Archbishop Sérgio Eduardo Castriani of Manaus, Brazil;
    Archbishop Peter Loy Chong of Suva, Fiji Islands;
    Archbishop Alfonso Cortes Contreras of Leon, Mexico;
    Archbishop Alexander King Sample of Portland, Oregon;
    Archbishop Joseph Effiong Ekuwem of Calabar, Nigeria;
    Archbishop Jesus Juarez Parraga of Sucre, Bolivia;
    Archbishop Fabio Martinez Castilla of Tuxtla Gutierrez, Mexico;
    Archbishop Ramon Alfredo Dus of Resistencia, Argentina;
    Archbishop Mario Aurelio Poli of Buenos Aires, Argentina;
    Archbishop Gintaras Linas Grusas of Vilnius, Lithuania;
    Archbishop Michael Owen Jackels of Dubuque, Iowa;
    Archbishop Duro Hranic of Dakovo-Osijek, Croatia;
    Archbishop Moacir Silva of Ribeirao Preto, Brazil;
    Archbishop Jozef Piotr Kupny of Wroclaw, Poland;
    Archbishop Sergio Alfredo Gualberti Calandrina of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia;
    Archbishop Giuseppe Petrocchi of L’Aquila, Italy.

In addition, Archbishop Francois Xavier Le Van Hong of Hue, in Vietnam, was unable to make the trip. He is to receive the pallium in his archdiocese.
Below, please find the English text of his homily.


Homily of the Holy Father
Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles
(Saturday, 29 June 2013)

Your Eminences,
My Brother Bishops and Priests,
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

We are celebrating the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles, principal patrons of the Church of Rome: a celebration made all the more joyful by the presence of bishops from throughout the world. A great wealth, which makes us in some sense relive the event of Pentecost. Today, as then, the faith of the Church speaks in every tongue and desire to unite all peoples in one family.

I offer a heartfelt and grateful greeting to the Delegation of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, led by Metropolitan Ioannis. I thank Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomaios I for this renewed gesture of fraternity. I greet the distinguished ambassadors and civil authorities. And in a special way I thank the Thomanerchor, the Choir of the Thomaskirche of Leipzig – Bach’s own church – which is contributing to today’s liturgical celebration and represents an additional ecumenical presence.

I would like to offer three thoughts on the Petrine ministry, guided by the word “confirm”. What has the Bishop of Rome been called to confirm?

1. First, to confirm in faith. The Gospel speaks of the confession of Peter: “You are Christ, the Son of the living God” (Mt 16:16), a confession which does not come from him but from our Father in heaven. Because of this confession, Jesus replies: “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church” (v. 18). The role, the ecclesial service of Peter, is founded upon his confession of faith in Jesus, the Son of the living God, made possible by a grace granted from on high. In the second part of today’s Gospel we see the peril of thinking in worldly terms. When Jesus speaks of his death and resurrection, of the path of God which does not correspond to the human path of power, flesh and blood re-emerge in Peter: “He took Jesus aside and began to rebuke him ... This must never happen to you” (16:22). Jesus’ response is harsh: “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me” (v. 23). Whenever we let our thoughts, our feelings or the logic of human power prevail, and we do not let ourselves be taught and guided by faith, by God, we become stumbling blocks. Faith in Christ is the light of our life as Christians and as ministers in the Church!

2. To confirm in love. In the second reading we heard the moving words of Saint Paul: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Tm 4:7). But what is this fight? It is not one of those fights fought with human weapons which sadly continue to cause bloodshed throughout the world; rather, it is the fight of martyrdom. Saint Paul has but one weapon: the message of Christ and the gift of his entire life for Christ and for others. It is precisely this readiness to lay himself open, personally, to be consumed for the sake of the Gospel, to make himself all things to all people, unstintingly, that gives him credibility and builds up the Church. The Bishop of Rome is called himself to live and to confirm his brothers and sisters in this love for Christ and for all others, without distinction, limits or barriers.

3. To confirm in unity. Here I would like to reflect for a moment on the rite which we have carried out. The pallium is a symbol of communion with the Successor of Peter, “the lasting and visible source and foundation of the unity both of faith and of communion” (Lumen Gentium, 18). And your presence today, dear brothers, is the sign that the Church’s communion does not mean uniformity. The Second Vatican Council, in speaking of the hierarchical structure of the Church, states that the Lord “established the apostles as college or permanent assembly, at the head of which he placed Peter, chosen from their number” (ibid., 19). And it continues, “this college, in so far as it is composed of many members, is the expression of the variety and universality of the people of God” (ibid., 22). In the Church, variety, which is itself a great treasure, is always grounded in the harmony of unity, like a great mosaic in which every small piece joins with others as part of God’s one great plan. This should inspire us to work always to overcome every conflict which wounds the body of the Church. United in our differences: this is the way of Jesus! The pallium, while being a sign of communion with the Bishop of Rome and with the universal church, also commits each of you to being a servant of communion.

To confess the Lord by letting oneself be taught by God; to be consumed by love for Christ and his Gospel; to be servants of unity. These, dear brother bishops, are the tasks which the holy apostles Peter and Paul entrust to each of us, so that they can be lived by every Christian. May the holy Mother of God guide us and accompany us always with her intercession. Queen of Apostles, pray for us! Amen.

Shared from Radio Vaticana