» 05/04/2008, 00.00
The pope greets 100,000 from Catholic Action, at an open-air "cenacle"
The most widespread ecclesial association in Italy celebrates the 140th anniversary of its foundation. The Ascension of Jesus to heaven, an anchor for the men of our time. A greeting to the members of the Neocatechumenal Way of Mumbai (India).
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "Saint Peter's Square presents itself today almost as an open-air 'cenacle', crowded with faithful, many of them members of Italian Catholic Action": this is how Benedict XVI greeted the 100,000 members of the most widespread ecclesial association in Italy, in his reflection before the Regina Caeli today. The young and adults of Catholic Action (AC) were gathered in the square to celebrate the 140th anniversary of their foundation with a Mass presided over by Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, president of the Italian bishops' conference.
The pope gave an address to them after the Marian prayer.
Before the Regina Caeli, the pontiff emphasised the value of today's feast, the Ascension of Christ to heaven and his "return to the Father" with his and our humanity. "He", the pope explains, "in fact came to the world to bring men back to God, not on the level of ideas - like a philosopher or master of wisdom - but really, as a shepherd who wants to lead his sheep back to the fold . . . It is for us that he came down from Heaven, and it is for us that he ascended there after making himself like men in all things, humiliated to the point of death on the cross, and after touching the abyss of the greatest separation from God".
"God in man - man in God" are "not a theoretical truth, but a real one", an anchor for the life of all men. "And what does man need more in every age if not this: a solid anchoring for his existence?".
"After the Ascension", the pope further recalled, "the first disciples remained gathered together in the Cenacle around the Mother of Jesus, in fervent expectation of the gift of the Holy Spirit, promised by Jesus (cf. Acts 1:14)". From this arises the invitation "to remain united together in prayer, to invoke the gift of the Holy Spirit. In fact, only to those who 'are born again from above', meaning from the Holy Spirit, is opened the entrance to the Kingdom of heaven (cf. Jn. 3:3-5), and the first one 'born again from above' is precisely the Virgin Mary".
After the Marian prayer, the pope addressed a greeting in various languages to the faithful present. Among others, he greeted a group of the Neocatechumenal Way from Mumbai. The should have been in the square, but they were refused the entry visa in Italy and they are still in Mumbai.
To the members of the AC, the pope recalled the ample "ecclesial dimension" of the association, not a "sign of an uncertain or outdated identity", but "rather a great responsibility of our lay vocation".
He then urged all to mission in society: "In a missionary Church, placed before an educational emergency like the one found in Italy today, you who love and serve it should be tireless announcers and prepared, generous educators; in a Church called to trials of faithfulness that are sometimes very demanding, and tempted to adaptation, you must be courageous and prophetic witnesses of the radical nature of the Gospel; in a Church that faces the relativistic, hedonistic, and consumerist mentality on a daily basis, you must be able to make more room for rationality under the banner of a faith that is the friend of intelligence, both in the area of popular mass culture, and in that of more elaborate and reflective research; in a Church that calls to the heroism of sanctity, respond without fear, always trusting in the mercy of God".
Pope: prayer for missionary vocations, and for his visit to the United States
On the Sunday of the Good Shepherd, Benedict XVI asks for prayers so that vocations dedicated to life and mission may increase. In all the languages of his greetings, he entrusts himself to the prayers of the Church for his "apostolic pilgrimage" to the United States from April 15-20.
Pope: Social communications help us free children from hunger
The Pope spoke about the celebration of the World Day of Social Communications and an event by the UN World Food Programme against hunger. On Thursday, there is the feast of the Ascension, when Jesus unequivocally revealed his divinity and ascended into Heaven with the humanity he had assumed. On Thursday, the Pope will leave for Poland and on 3 June, he will meet church movements.
Pope: Ascension, Jesus left for Heaven; his disciples left to go into the world
At the Regina Caeli, the Pope Francis emphasizes that although Jesus ascended to the Father, He is still next to us "here in the square": His "gift" to the Father are his wounds, "the price of forgiveness " that the Father always gives . The Church is a "outward bound community; Even cloistered communities, the elderly and the sick. He recalls the victims of violence in Ukraine and the Central African Republic and entrusts them to Mary , Queen of Peace . The World Day of Social Communications and the beatification of Mother Speranza di Colvalenza .
Pope: entrusts to Mary followers of Christ, Good Shepherd, in priesthood, consecrated life
On the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, the pope reaffirmed that "God continues to call children, youth and adults to leave everything" to follow Christ. This morning, at Peter's, the pontiff celebrated the ordination to the priesthood of 15 deacons.
Pope: Pentecost, the Church of multiple languages and cultures, sacrament of peace
Benedict XVI emphasises catholicity and universality as characteristics of the Church born from the Spirit on the day of Pentecost. Its unity is not that of a federation. The pontiff recalls his message to the UN. The Church works for peace and reconciliation among peoples, with commitments "at the highest levels" and with daily life among the peoples. An appeal for Lebanon.
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul": A Christmas gift to survive winter
As Iraqi troops advance in the Nineveh Plain and Mosul, a new wave of refugees could overshadow the fate of other refugees who found hospitality in Kurdistan. People need kerosene, winter clothes, aid for children, and money for rent. The campaign AsiaNews launched two years ago is more urgent than ever. Give up a superfluous gift to offer refugees an essential gift for life.
Pastor of Amadiya: Mosul’s Christian refugees, torn between emergency aid and the longing to return home
P. Samir Youssef
In a letter Fr. Samir Youssef describes the situation of refugees, exiled from their home for more than two years. They are closely following the offensive to retake Mosul, although their homes and churches "are for the most part" burned or destroyed. With the arrival of winter there is a serve lack of heating oil, clothes, food and money to pay for their children’s school bus. An appeal to continue to support the AsiaNews campaign.
AsiaNews IS ALSO A MONTHLY!
AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is free.