06/19/2009, 00.00
VATICAN-MIDDLE EAST

Every day I pray for the Christians of Iraq and the Middle East says Pope

Receiving the Patriarch Ignace Youssif III Younan, Benedict XVI expresses his particular “concern” for the spiritual life of the priests and says he is sure that the Year dedicated to them which begins today, will be a “fruitful opportunity for the entire church”.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – The Pope prays everyday for peace in the Middle East especially for the Christians of Iraq.  Benedict XVI himself said so, during a meeting this morning with Ignace Youssif III Younan, Patriarch of Antioch of the Syrians (in Lebanon), and members of the Synod of the Syro-Catholic Church.  “I constantly pray – he said – for peace in the Middle East, in particular for the Christians who lived in the beloved nation of Iraq, every day, during the Eucharistic Sacrifice, I present their suffering to the Lord”.

On the day the Year for Priests officially begins the Pope revealed his “concern” for the spiritual life of priests.  “I wish to share with you – he said – another of my great concerns: that of the spiritual life of priests.  Today, the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the day of priestly sanctification, I will have the immense joy of opening the year for priests which coincides with the 150th anniversary of the death of the Curè d’Ars. I believe – he continued – that this special jubilee year, that begins as the Pauline year ends, will be a fruitful opportunity for the entire Church.  On Calvary, Mary was with the apostle John at the foot of the Cross.  Today we too gather spiritually around the cross, to lift our gaze up to He who was pierced and from whom we receive every grace”.

Benedict XVI concluded by recalling the value of the communion between the Apostolic See and the Syro-Catholic Patriarchate. “In the course of your history which stretches back down through the millennia, your communion with the Bishop of Rome proceeded hand in hand with your Eastern spiritual tradition and both form complimentary aspects of a unique patrimony of faith professed by your venerable Church”.

 
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