02/22/2004, 00.00
Vatican

Lent: a time for rediscovering unity of Church around Bishop of Rome

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – The "Petrine ministry" Christ entrusted to the leader of the apostles serves to guide the Church in its "unity of faith". Before the Angelus Pope John Paul II reminded faithful of today's feast of St. Peter and urged them to pray so that the Church, which embraces various peoples, languages and traditions, may be "absolutely united in its beliefs and profession of the truths of faith and morality handed down by the Apostles."   

The pope also suggested that Lent, which begins on Wednesday, be a time of conversion to Christ and for rediscovering the mystery of the Church's unity, which rests firmly on the cornerstone of Christ.  

 Below we report the pope's words spoken before the Angelus: (translation by AsiaNews):  

 "Today, Feb. 22, one again we celebrate the liturgical feast of the Chair of St. Peter, which brings to light the unique ministry our Lord entrusted to the head of the Apostles to confirm and guide the Church in its unity of faith. This is his ministerium petrinum, that is, the special duty the Bishop of Rome is called to do in service of all Christians.

It is an indispensable mission which rests not on human prerogatives, but on Christ himself who acts as the ecclesial community's cornerstone.  

We pray that the Church, in embracing various cultures, languages and traditions, may be absolutely united in its beliefs and profession of the truths of faith and morality handed down by the Apostles

My dear brothers and sisters, in order to become aware of the Church as a ministry of unity, we must turn to our gaze toward Christ.

And this Wednesday we will begin Lent with the solemn and meaningful rite of placing of ashes on the foreheads of believers. It is a special time to intensify our commitment to conversion to Christ.    

Our Lenten journey will then become a suitable opportunity to make a truthful and sincere examination of conscience in order to put our lives back in order and in relation to others and God.

"Repent and believe in the Gospel." (Mark, 1, 15): such are the words of the liturgy which will accompany us during the upcoming weeks of Lent until the Church's Easter celebrations.

May Mary, the Virgin Mother of God,  support us on this demanding spiritual journey. May she make us calm so as to listen the Word of God and push us to personal conversion and reconciliation with our brothers and sisters. May Mary lead us to find Christ in the Pascal Mystery of his death and resurrection."
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