» 06/21/2009, 00.00
Pope: a life of prayer and charity like Padre Pio, against activism and secularisation
Benedict XVI visits San Giovanni Rotondo and proposes the characteristics of the Saint from Pietrelcina to capuchin monks, Padre Pio spiritual groups and all faithful. The Pope prays before the body of the saint.
San Giovanni Rotondo (AsiaNews) – “Simplicity”, humility and having been “seized by Christ”, the characteristics of Padre Pio, part of the inheritance he left his brother capuchins, the prayer groups inspired by him and all Christians, to combat secularism and activism: this was the pope's message during his pastoral visit to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Graces, in San Giovanni Rotondo, the final resting place of the bodily remains of Padre Pio, who was canonized in 2002. At the beginning of the Year for Priests, Benedict XVI has launched another model for all priests showing to all the example of the friar from Pietrelcina: "A simple man of humble origins, 'seized by Christ' (Phil 3:12) ... to make of him an elected instrument of the perennial power of his Cross: the power of love for souls, forgiveness and reconciliation, spiritual fatherhood, effective solidarity with the suffering. The stigmata, that marked his body, closely united him to the Crucified and Risen Christ ".
From the Vatican, the pontiff travelled by plane to the sanctuary. Before the Eucharist, together with hundreds of thousands of faithful from all over the world, the Pope paused for a few minutes in the crypt which houses the body of the saint, lighting two lamps in memory of his visit.
In his homily, Benedict XVI reflected on the Gospel of the day, which recounts the miracle of the clamed storm (Mk 4, 35-41). “The solemn gesture of calming the stormy sea is clearly a sign of the lordship of Christ over the negative powers and it induces us to think of His divinity: "Who is He – ask the disciples in wonder - that even the wind and the sea obey him?" (Mk 4.41). Their faith is not yet steadfast, it is taking shape, is a mixture of fear and trust; rather Jesus trusting abandonment to the Father is full and pure. This is why He sleeps during the storm, completely safe in the arms of God - but there will come a time when Jesus will feel anxiety and fear: When His time comes, He shall feel upon himself the whole weight of the sins of humanity, as a massive swell that is about to fall upon Him. Oh yes, that shall be a terrible storm, not a cosmic one, but a spiritual one. It will be Evil’s last, extreme assault against the Son of God….. In that hour, Jesus was on the one hand entirely One with the Father, fully given over to him – on the other, as in solidarity with sinners, He was separated and He felt abandoned”.
Padre Pio too, said the pope, lived these “storms” together with Christ. “Remaining united to Jesus, - explains Benedict XVI - he always had his sights on the depths of the human drama, and this was why he offered his many sufferings, why he was able to spend himself in the care for and relief of the sick - a privileged sign of God's mercy, of his kingdom which is coming, indeed, which is already in the world, a sign of the victory of love and life over sin and death. Guide souls and relieving suffering: thus we can sum up the mission of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina: as the servant of God, Pope Paul VI said of him". “Padre Pio –he added - drew on the path of holiness by his own testimony, showing by example the "track" that leads to it: prayer and charity”. Benedict XVI recalls the intensity with which Padre Pio celebrated mass and how the hospital founded by him “the House for the Relief of Suffering”, is the fruit of his close bond with the Sacred Heart of Christ.
And speaking to the friars, the spiritual groups linked to Padre Pio and all those listening, he affirmed: “The risks of activism and secularization are always present, so my visit was also meant to confirm fidelity to the mission inherited from your beloved Father. Many of you, religious and laity, are so taken by the full duties required by the service to pilgrims, or the sick in the hospital, you run the risk of neglecting the real need: to listen to Christ to do the will of God. When you see that you are close to running this risk, look to Padre Pio: In his example, his sufferings, and invoke his intercession, because it obtains from the Lord the light and strength that you need to continue his mission soaked by love for God and fraternal charity”.
After the Mass, Benedict XVI led the Angelus prayer, recalling the devotion that Padre Pio had to the Madonna. "All his life - he said - and his apostolate took place under the maternal gaze of the Blessed Virgin and by the power of her intercession. Even the House for the Relief of Suffering he considered to be the work of Mary, 'Health of the sick'. "
"To the intercession of Our Lady and St Pio of Pietrelcina - he added - I would like to entrust the Special Year for Priests, which I opened last Friday on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. May it be a privileged opportunity to highlight the value of the mission and holiness of priests to serve the Church and humanity in the third millennium! "
Before beginning the Marian prayer, the pontiff briefly recalled the UN World Day for Refugees, held yesterday: "There are many people who seek refuge in other countries fleeing from situations of war, persecution and natural disasters, and hosting them poses many difficulties, but is nevertheless necessary. God grant that, with the commitment of everyone, we do as much as possible to remove the causes of such a sad phenomenon. "
The Tomb of Mother Teresa, a place of life and of peace
Ten years on from her death, a pilgrimage to the Home of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, where people of all religions, rich and poor, sick and healthy, gather to pray. The Archbishop of the city: Benedict XVI made her a symbol of universal Christian love.
A glass-covered coffin for Padre Pio’s remains
Thousands of faithful and TV crews from around the world take part in the unveiling ceremony. Now a new arrangement makes the ‘people’s saint’ more accessible, said Cardinal Saraiva Martins.
Pope: Charity is "the badge of a Christian"
Angelus, Benedict XVI invites prayers for peace in the Holy Land and thoughts for those who have lost their jobs in the economic crisis. World Day of Leprosy Suffers.
Pope: saints and martyrs, antithesis to hell death camps and contemporary nihilism
Edith Stein, Maximilian Kolbe, St. Pontian, St. Lawrence, all martyrs are a sign of the true face of God and the true face of man. Those who "forget God" build lagers and death camps, symbols of “hell on earth". The martyrs are models for everyone, but especially for priests in this Year dedicated to them.
Kersi of Mumbai, the Zoroastrian Padre Pio converted
Kersi Francesco Pio Mistry was 25 when he met the saint of Petralcina. After that, he decided to become a Christian. He calls Padre Pio, his ‘Star of Bethlehem’. The crucifix Kersi gave the saintly friar is still in his cell in San Giovanni Rotondo.
Pope Francis tells young people that “genuine love” is not a “soap opera”, but Christians’ real identity card
In his homily for the Jubilee of Teens, Pope Francis asked questions and gave answers to the 70,000 present. Stressing the great ideal of love as giving oneself “without being possessive”, he noted that freedom is “being able to choose the good”. He warned young people “who dare not dream,” telling them that “If you do not dream at your age, you are already ready for retirement”. He also received funds raised for the Ukraine, and appealed for the release of bishops and the priests held in Syria.
Odd alliance between the US and Iranian fundamentalists
Washington is still preventing the use of US dollars in transactions with Iranian banks, preventing business with the outside world in spite of the nuclear deal. This way, the US is helping Khamenei and the Revolutionary Guards, who want to torpedo the agreement in order to maintain their hold on power. Meanwhile, most Iranians hold down two or three jobs just to make ends meet. An unstable and bellicose Iran is a boon for arms sales. A report follows.
29/04/2016 NORTH KOREA- USA
26/04/2016 SYRIA - TURKEY
25/04/2016 HONG KONG - CHINA
AsiaNews IS ALSO A MONTHLY!
AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is free.