Life in the Spirit Seminar at St. Gabriel the Archangel, McKinney

November 7, 2010

McKinney, TX (MetroCatholic) -  Until recently the Holy Spirit was a complete mystery to me.  It is very easy for us to understand the Father and the Son in the Blessed Trinity because their stories and roles are made so clear to us… but, who is this Holy Spirit that makes up the third and very important part of the Trinity?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us in paragraph 691 that “the Holy Spirit” is the proper name of the one whom we adore and glorify with the Father and the Son.  The Church has received this name from the Lord and professes it in Baptism of her new children.   The term “Spirit” translates the Hebrew word ruah, which, in its primary sense, means breath, air, wind.”

The Holy Spirit gives us the gift of complete intimacy with our Lord.  It is the very air that we breathe to survive.  The Holy Spirit is calling to us to say yes to our Lord and live our lives for Him, with complete love and accepting of His will.  St. Augustine told us that the Spirit is to our souls what our souls are to our bodies.

If you are longing for a better relationship with our Lord, want a better prayer life, and/or a better understanding of the role that the Holy Spirit plays in that journey you will not want to miss the “Life in the Spirit Seminar” at St. Gabriel the Archangel in McKinney, TX.

The Life in the Spirit seminar will be a two-day Mission, which will be presented by The Disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ (www.dljc.org/english) and hosted by St. Gabriel’s Holy Spirit Prayer Group.  The seminar will be held on Friday, November 19th (7-9pm) and Saturday, November 20th (8am-4pm) followed by Mass at 5pm with music by the Praise Band, all our welcome!

This will be my first time attending so I have asked a couple of members of the Holy Spirit Prayer Group at St. Gabriel to tell us about their experiences attending the seminar.  Rob Karl, who attended last years seminar said,  “After attending the Life in the Spirit seminar it gave new meaning to Scripture, the Eucharist, and brought to life how the Holy Spirit works in and around us all the time.  The seminar is life changing and has helped me connect more with my Catholic faith and the prayer group that has formed from the weekend has been a source of joy and inspiration as well. This seminar should be done at all parishes.”  Rob’s enthusiasm was echoed by Tracy Stewart’s testimony as well, “The Life In the Spirit Seminar was a wonderful experience.  Not only did it educate me about the meaning of living a life in the Spirit;  it was also uplifting and fulfilling.  I truly felt the Holy Spirit was with us during the singing and praise and worship.  I would say that if you’ve never been to a Life in the Spirit Seminar, you should check it out because it can change your life.  If you have been, I’d recommend attending again to refresh yourself in the Spirit.  I’m personally looking forward to hearing the charismatic Franciscan nuns of the Disciples of Our Lord Jesus Christ speak.  They have dedicated their lives to teaching about the Holy Spirit’s gifts and the charismatic life.  You don’t want to miss this one!”

So please come learn how to make the Holy Spirit come alive in your daily life.  If you’ve been to a previous Life in the Spirit seminar, please come again.  There is always more. The cost is $15 in advance and $20 at the door and includes lunch on Saturday.   For more information, please contact Steven or Rita Auguirre at 972-562-1781, email [email protected]. or visit www.stgabriel.org to register.

Heads of Irish archdioceses, Apostolic Visitors hopeful for successful visitation

October 7, 2010

Rome, Italy (CNA/EWTN News) — The four metropolitan archbishops of Ireland met with the apostolic visitors chosen by the Holy Father to carry out visitations in their archdioceses for the first time this week. After two days of meetings, the participants are “hopeful” that their work will be a means to purify and heal the Catholic Church of Ireland and “help to restore the trust and hope of the faithful there.”

According to a statement from the Holy See’s Press Office, meetings took place from Oct. 5-6. The prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, Cardinal Marc Ouellet and the dicastery’s secretary, Archbishop Manuel Monteiro de Castro, held the meetings along with other Vatican representatives.

The visitors and the respective archdioceses subject to visitation are Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor to Armagh, Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley, O.F.M., to Dublin; Archbishop Thomas Christopher Collins to Cashel and Emly and Archbishop Terrence Thomas Prendergast, S.J., to Tuam.

The archbishops for these four jurisdictions are Cardinal Sean B. Brady for Armagh; Diarmuid Martin for Dublin; Dermot Clifford for Cashel and Emly and Michael Neary for Tuam.

During the first day’s preparatory meeting at which they were all present and “(m)indful of the tragic abuse of children that has taken place in Ireland,” participants discussed aspects of the visitation.

As per the Holy Father’s Letter to the Catholics of Ireland, it will be of a “pastoral” nature, “intended to assist the local Church on her path of renewal” and, read the statement, it “is a sign of the Holy Father’s desire, as the Successor of Peter, to offer his pastoral solicitude to the Church in Ireland.”

The communique also described the contact visitors will have with members of the Irish Church, affirming that they will be giving “particular attention to victims of abuse and their families, but will also meet with and listen to a variety of people, including ecclesiastical authorities, lay faithful and those involved with the crucial work of safeguarding of children.”

To begin to the second day, Irish archbishops celebrated the Mass of the Holy Spirit with the visitors and participating members of the Congregation for Bishops and the Holy See’s Secretariat of State. All met after Mass to summarize the first day’s discussions and decide how to organize the visitation to each of the archdioceses. According to the official statement, the meeting was “marked by fraternal warmth and mutual collaboration.”

Following the meetings, concluded the statement, all who took part asserted that they “are hopeful that this significant endeavor will be an instrument of purification and healing for the Church in Ireland and help to restore the trust and hope of the faithful there.”

HILDEGARD OF BINGEN: EXEMPLARY MINISTRY OF AUTHORITY

September 1, 2010

VATICAN CITY, 1 SEP 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father held his general audience this morning in the square in front of the Apostolic Place of Castelgandolfo, where he is spending the summer. His catechesis was dedicated to St. Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179), a great seer known as the “Teutonic prophetess”.

Before focusing on the saint the Pope turned his attention John Paul II’s 1988 Apostolic Letter “Mulieris dignitatem”, which examined “the precious role women have played and continue to play in the life of the Church”. The Church, that text states, “gives thanks for all the manifestations of the feminine ‘genius’ which have appeared in the course of history”.

“During the centuries we customarily call the Middle Ages”, said Benedict XVI, “certain female figures also stood out for the sanctity of their lives and the richness of their teachings”. One of these was Hildegard of Bingen, born to a noble family who chose to dedicate her to the service of God.

Having received an appropriate human and Christian formation at the hands of her teacher Jutta of Spanheim, Hildegard entered the Benedictine convent of St. Disibod where she received the veil from Bishop Otto of Bamberg. In 1136 she was elected as mother superior, a role she carried out using “her gifts as a cultured and spiritually elevated woman, capable of dealing with the organisational aspects of life in the cloister”, said the Pope.

Soon afterwards, due to the large number of vocations, Hildegard founded another community, located in Bingen and dedicated to St. Rupert, where she spent the rest of her life. “The manner in which she exercised the ministry of authority remains exemplary for all religious communities”, noted the Holy Father. “She aroused saintly emulation in the practice of good works”.

While still superior of the convent of St. Disibod the saint began to dictate her mystical visions to her spiritual advisor, the monk Volmar, and to her own secretary, Richardis of Strade. “As is always the case in the lives of true mystics, Hildegard wished to place herself under the authority of the wise, in order to discern the origin of her visions, which she was afraid could be the fruit of illusions and not from God”.

To this end she spoke with St. Bernard of Clairvaux who calmed her fears and encouraged her. In 1147, moreover, she received the crucial approbation of Pope Eugene III who, in the Synod of Trier, read out one of the texts dictated by Hildegard which had been presented to him by Archbishop Henry of Mainz.

“The Pope authorised the mystic to write her visions and to speak in public. From that moment Hildegard’s spiritual prestige grew to the point that her contemporaries gave her the title of the ‘Teutonic prophetess’”, said Benedict XVI.

“The sign of an authentic experience of the Holy Spirit, the source of all charisms”, the Pope concluded, “is that the individual possessing supernatural gifts never boasts of them, never shows them off and, above all, demonstrates complete obedience to ecclesiastical authority. All gifts distributed by the Holy Spirit are, in fact, intended for the edification of the Church and it is the Church, through her pastors, who recognises their authenticity”.

PRAYER IS NEVER DETACHED FROM REALITY

July 5, 2010

VATICAN CITY, 4 JUL 2010 (VIS) - Today at 4.30 p.m., before leaving the House for Clergy in Sulmona, the Holy Father greeted members of the committee that had organized his visit to that Italian town. He subsequently received a delegation from the nearby high-security prison made up of the director, chaplains, warders and a number of prisoners.

Benedict XVI then traveled to the cathedral for a meeting with local youth. On arrival he paused for a few moments of adoration before the Blessed Sacrament then, following some words of greeting from Bishop Angelo Spina of Sulmona-Valva, addressed the young people gathered in the building.

The Pope began by praising their “historical memory”, evident in their belief that Celestine V is a figure who still retains all his relevance today. “Without memory”, said the Holy Father, “there is no future. It used to be said that history is a teacher of life, but consumer culture tends to limit man to the present, to make him lose his sense of the past, of history. But by so doing, it also deprives him of the capacity to understand himself, to perceive problems and build the future. Therefore, dear young people, I wish to tell you that a Christian is someone who has a good memory, who loves history and seeks to understand it”.

Reflecting then on how to evaluate Pietro da Morrone’s life today in the twenty-first century, the Pope highlighted how certain things are perennial and enduring, “for example the capacity to listen to God in exterior silence, and above all in interior silence. … It is important to learn how to experience moments of interior silence in our daily lives in order to be capable of hearing the voice of the Lord”, he said.

“Be sure that if someone learns to listen to this voice and to follow it with generosity, he is afraid of nothing, he knows and feels that God is with him. … The secret of vocation lies in the relationship with God, in prayer. … And this remains true both before making the choice - in other words, at the moment of deciding to start on the journey - and afterwards, if we wish to be faithful and persevere. St. Celestine V was first and foremost… a man of prayer, a man of God”.

But “authentic prayer is not detached from reality. If prayer alienates you, removes you from real life, be aware that it is not authentic prayer. … It is not a question of simply multiplying the number of words”, the Pope explained, “but of being in God’s presence, making the expressions of the ‘Our Father’ present in our minds and our hearts, or adoring the Eucharist, … or meditating on the Gospel, … or participating in the liturgy. All this does not detach us from life; rather, it helps us truly to be ourselves in all environments, faithful to the voice of God which speaks to our conscience, free from the conditioning of the present moment”.

“Faith and prayer do not resolve problems, but enable them to be faced with a new light and a new strength, in a manner worthy of man, more serenely and more effectively. If we look at the history of the Church we see that it is rich in saints and blesseds who, on the basis of an intense and constant dialogue with God, illuminated by faith, were able to find creative and novel solutions to respond to the concrete human needs of all times: health, education, work, etc. Their resourcefulness was animated by the Holy Spirit and by a strong and generous love for their brothers and sisters, especially the weakest and most disadvantaged.

“Dear young people”, the Pope added, “allow yourselves to be conquered by Christ. Start decisively down the path of sanctity, the path (which is open to everyone) of contact with and conformity to God. Thus you too will become more creative in seeking solutions to the problems you encounter and in seeking them together; for this is another distinctive sign of Christians: they are never individualists”.

In this context, Benedict XVI explained that by choosing the hermit life Pietro da Morrone’s was not fleeing responsibility because, “in the experiences approved by the Church, the solitary life of prayer and penance is always at the service of the community, it is open to others, it never contrasts with the needs of the community. Hermitages and monasteries are oases and wellsprings of spiritual life from which everyone can draw. The monk lives not for himself, but for others. It is for the good of the Church and society that he cultivates the contemplative life, that the Church and society may be ever irrigated with new energies, with the action of the Lord”.

The Pope concluded by telling the young people to “love the Church: she gave you the faith, she brought you to know Christ. … Conserve your enthusiasm, your joy, the joy that comes from having met the Lord, and communicate this to your friends and peers. … In you, I feel, the Church is young. … Walk in the way of the Gospel; love the Church our mother: be simple and pure of heart; be mild and strong in the truth; be humble and generous”.

At the end of the meeting the Pope descended to the crypt where he venerated the relics of St. Panfilo and St. Celestine V. He then traveled to the nearby Pallozzi Stadium where he bid farewell to the authorities and, at 5.45 p.m., departed by helicopter for the Vatican.

DELEGATION FROM CONSTANTINOPLE PATRIARCHATE MEETS POPE

June 29, 2010

VATICAN CITY, 28 JUN 2010 (VIS) - The Pope today received in audience the members of a delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, who have come to Rome for the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul Apostles.

The delegation, sent by His Holiness Bartholomew I, is composed of His Eminence Gennadios (Limouris), metropolitan of Sassima, joint secretary of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, and vice moderator of the central committee of the World Council of Churches in Geneva, Switzerland; His Eminence Bartholomaios (Ioannis Kessidis), bishop of Arianzos, assistant to the metropolitan of Germany, and Deacon Theodoros Meimaris of the patriarchal see of Fanar.

At the start of his English-language address to the group, the Holy Father rendered thanks unto God “that the relations between us are characterised by sentiments of mutual trust, esteem and fraternity, as is amply testified by the many meetings that have already taken place in the course of this year”.

“All this gives grounds for hope that Catholic-Orthodox dialogue will also continue to make significant progress”, he added.

Referring to the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue, the Pope noted how it is now “at a crucial point, having begun last October in Paphos to discuss the ‘The Role of the Bishop of Rome in the Communion of the Church in the First Millennium’. With all our hearts we pray that, enlightened by the Holy Spirit, the members of the commission will continue along this path during the forthcoming plenary session in Vienna, Austria, and devote to it the time needed for thorough study of this delicate and important issue. For me it is an encouraging sign that Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I and the Holy Synod of Constantinople share our firm conviction of the importance of this dialogue”.

Benedict XVI then noted how the forthcoming Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East, due to be held in October, will dedicate particular attention to “the theme of ecumenical co-operation between the Christians of that region”. And he highlighted the fact that that “the difficulties that the Christians of the Middle East are experiencing are in large measure common to all: living as a minority, and yearning for authentic religious freedom and for peace. Dialogue is needed with the Islamic and Jewish communities”.

“In this context I shall be very pleased to welcome the fraternal delegation which the Ecumenical Patriarch will send in order to participate in the work of the Synodal Assembly”, the Pope concluded.

Pope calls for imitation of St. Thomas Aquinas’ devotion to Eucharist

June 23, 2010

Vatican City,  (CNA/EWTN News).- Basing his catechesis for a third and final time on the legacy of St. Thomas Aquinas, Pope Benedict highlighted Aquinas’ “masterpiece,” the “Summa Theologica.” He referred to the saint’s devotion to the Eucharist, making the call for all people to “fall in love” with the Blessed Sacrament.

An estimated 7,000 pilgrims and faithful joined the Pope in the Paul VI Hall for Wednesday’s general audience. Among those in attendance was a group from Malawi in tribal dress who performed a traditional dance for the Holy Father from their seats in the packed auditorium.

Referring to the “masterpiece” of the “Summa Theologica,” Benedict XVI noted the saint’s “serene confidence in the harmony of faith and reason, and in the ability of reason, enlightened by faith, to come to an understanding of God and his saving plan.”

Through the work, said the Pope, the saint “illustrates the working of divine grace, which perfects our natural gifts and enables us, through the practice of the virtues and the gifts of the Holy Spirit, to attain the eternal happiness for which we were created.”

In the collection of articles from which the “Summa” is composed, explained the Holy Father, the 13th century saint offers an extensive series of questions and answers through which he assists in deepening the teachings provided in Scripture and those from the Fathers of the Church, especially St. Augustine. He examines three elements of the being and essence of God: that He exists in Himself as the beginning and end of all things, that He is present in life through His Grace and in Christian activity, and that he is present in a special way in the Person of Christ, still present in the sacraments.

Benedict XVI recalled the importance the saint gives to the sacraments, in particular to the Eucharist. Noting Aquinas’ enormous devotion to the Eucharist, the Holy Father cited the saint’s words from another work in which he spoke of the Blessed Sacrament as that of the “Passion of our Lord, (which) contains in it Jesus Christ who suffered for us.”

“Therefore,” he went on, “all that is the effect of the Passion of our Lord, is also the effect of this sacrament, it not being but the application in us of the Passion of the Lord.”

Through these words, said the Pope, we “understand well why St. Thomas and other saints celebrated Mass while shedding tears of compassion, tears of joy and of gratitude, for the Lord, who offers himself in sacrifice for us.”

The Holy Father then exclaimed, “in the example of the saints, let us all fall in love with this Sacrament!

“Let us participate devotedly in Mass in order to obtain its spiritual fruits; let us feed from the Body and Blood of the Lord that we may be incessantly nourished by divine Grace; let us pause willingly and often in the company of the Blessed Sacrament.”

Pope Benedict XVI concluded the English-language portion of the catechesis by imploring that, “with the Angelic Doctor, let us pray for the grace to love the Lord with all our heart and to love our neighbor, ‘in God and for God.’”

THE PRIEST MUST GOVERN WITH THE AUTHORITY OF CHRIST

May 26, 2010

VATICAN CITY,  (VIS) - In today’s general audience, celebrated in St. Peter’s Square, the Pope focused his remarks on the duty of the priest to “govern and guide - with the authority of Christ, not with his own - that portion of the people which God has entrusted to his care”.

In the last of three catechesis on the essential tasks of priestly ministry, the Holy Father asked: “how, within contemporary culture, can we understand this dimension which implicates the concept of authority and has its origin in the Lord’s command to feed His sheep?”

“The regimes which spread death and terror last century are a powerful reminder that authority, in all fields, when exercised without reference to the transcendent, when it ignores the supreme authority that is God Himself, inevitably ends up by turning against man. It is important, then, to recognise that human authority is never an end but always and only a means, and that, necessarily and at all times, the end is always the person”.

“In order to be pastors after God’s heart, we need to be profoundly rooted in a living friendship with Christ (not only of our minds, but also of our freedom and will), clearly aware of the identity we received at priestly ordination, and unconditionally ready to lead our flock where the Lord wills, not in the direction which seems most convenient and easy. This requires, first and foremost, a continuous and progressive willingness to allow Christ Himself to govern the priestly lives of clergy. No-one, in fact, is truly capable of feeding the flock if they do not live in profound and authentic obedience to Christ and the Church; and the docility of the people towards their priests depends on the docility of priests towards Christ”.

Referring then to the concept of “hierarchy” in the Church, the Pope noted how a prevalent idea among the public is of “an element of subordination, … and for many people this contrasts with the flexibility and vitality of pastoral service. … This is an erroneous interpretation which has its origins in the abuses of history”, he explained. “The true meaning is of a sacred origin, it is an authority that comes from another, and subjects the person to the mystery of Christ, making him His servant. Only as His servant can he govern and guide, for Christ and with Christ”.

Thus “the Pope, who is a point of reference for the communion of all the pastors of the Church, cannot do as he pleases; quite the contrary, he is the custodian of obedience to Christ and His word”.

“Without this clear and explicit supernatural vision, priests’ duty to govern cannot be understood. It is however, when supported by true concern for the salvation of each member of the faithful, a particularly important and necessary duty, also in our own time”.

“Where”, the Pope asked, “can a priest today draw the strength to exercise his ministry in complete faithfulness to Christ and to the Church, with total dedication to his flock? There is”, he said, “only one answer: in Christ the Lord”.

Benedict XVI told priests: “Do not be afraid to guide to Christ each of the brothers and sisters He has entrusted to you, certain that each word, each action, if they come from obedience to God’s will, will bear fruit. Appreciate the advantages and recognise the limits of the culture in which we live, in the firm certainty that announcing the Gospel is the greatest service we can do mankind. In fact, there is no greater good in this earthly life than to lead man to God, to reawaken the faith, to raise mankind from inertia and desperation, and infuse the hope that God is close and guides the history of individuals and of the world. This is the profound and ultimate meaning of the task of government the Lord has entrusted to us”.

The Pope concluded by inviting priests to participate in the closing celebrations of the Year for Priests, due to take place in Rome from 9 to 11 June when, he said, “we will meditate on conversion and mission, on the gift of the Holy Spirit and on our relationship with the Blessed Virgin; and we will renew our priestly promises, supported by the entire People of God”.

WE MUST ALLOW OURSELVES TO BE TOUCHED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT

May 25, 2010

VATICAN CITY (VIS) - At 10 a.m. on Sunday in the Vatican Basilica, the Pope presided at Mass for the Solemnity of Pentecost.

Commenting on the Pentecost narrative in the Acts of the Apostles, the Holy Father explained how “from the Son of God - Who died, rose again then returned to the Father - the divine breath, the Holy Spirit, now descends on humankind with unprecedented energy. And what”, he asked, “does God’s new and powerful self-communication produce? Wherever there is rupture and estrangement, He brings unity and understanding.

“A process of reunification begins among the different and divided parts of the human family”, he added. “People, often reduced to competing and conflicting individuals, having been touched by the Spirit of Christ, open themselves to the experience of communion, which can envelop them to the point that they form a new organism, a new entity: the Church. The effect of God’s work is unity. Thus unity is the sign of recognition, the ‘calling card’ of the Church in the course of her universal history. Ever since the beginning, since the day of Pentecost, she has spoken all languages”.

“The Church”, Benedict XVI explained, “is never a prisoner of political, racial or cultural boundaries. She must not be confused with other States or with federations of States because hers is a different unity; it aspires to cross all human frontiers.

“From this, dear brothers and sisters derives a practical criterion of discernment for Christian life: when a person or a community close themselves inside their own way of thinking and acting, it is a sign they have distanced themselves from the Holy Spirit. Christians and particular Churches must always compare themselves, and seek harmony, with the one Catholic Church”.

The Holy Father went on: “The unity of the Spirit is expressed in the plurality of understanding. The Church is by her nature one and multiple, being destined to live in all nations, with all peoples, and in the most diverse social contexts. She fulfils her vocation of being a sign and instrument of unity of the entire human race, only if she remains independent of all States and all specific cultures. Always and everywhere the Church must be truly catholic and universal, a home with which everyone can identify”.

“At Pentecost the Holy Spirit appeared as a fire”, said the Pope, noting “how different this fire was from that of wars and bombs. How different is the immolation of Christ, as propagated by the Church, from the fires ignited by dictators of all ages, even last century, which left behind them only scorched earth”.

“The flame of the Holy Spirit burns but does not injure, and yet it achieves a transformation. … However this effect of the divine fire scares us, we are afraid of being ’scalded’ and would prefer to remain as we are. This depends on the fact that our lives often follow a logic of having, of possession and not of giving. … On the one hand we want to be with Jesus, to follow Him closely, on the other we are afraid of the consequences this brings”.

We must, Benedict XVI told the faithful, “be able to recognise that losing something, losing ourselves, for the true God, the God of love and life, is in fact a gain, it means rediscovering oneself more fully. Those who entrust themselves to Jesus experience peace and joy of heart already in this life, things the world cannot give, and cannot take away once God has given them to us. It is worthwhile, then, to allow ourselves to be touched by the fire of the Holy Spirit. The pain this brings is necessary for our transformation”.

The Pope concluded by calling on the Holy Spirit “to ignite the flame of your love in us. We know this is an audacious payer, with which we ask to be touched by the flame of God; yet we know that this flame alone has the power to save us. We do not want, in order to defend our lives, to lose the eternal life God wants to give us. We need the fire of the Holy Spirit, because only Love redeems”.

MARY, A PROTAGONIST OF THE EARLY CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY

May 10, 2010

VATICAN CITY,  (VSI) - The Virgin May, to whom the Church dedicates the month of May, was the focus of Benedict XVI’s remarks before praying the Regina Coeli on this sixth Sunday of Easter.

“For the liturgy”, the Pope told the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square, “May always coincides with Easter time, the time of the ‘Hallelujah’, of the revelation of the mystery of Christ in the light of the Resurrection and of Paschal faith. And it is the time of awaiting the Holy Spirit, Who descended powerfully on the nascent Church at Pentecost”.

Mary, the Holy Father went on, “is the most beautiful flower to bloom from creation, the ‘rose’ that appeared in the fullness of time when God, by sending His Son, gave the world a new spring. At the same time, she was the humble and discreet protagonist of the first steps of the Christian community. Mary was its spiritual heart, because her presence among the disciples was a living reminder of the Lord Jesus and a pledge of the gift of His Spirit”.

“When Jesus promised His friends that the Holy Spirit would help them to remember and understand His every word, how can we not think of Mary who, in her heart, that temple of the Spirit, faithfully meditated on and interpreted everything her Son did and said? In this way, before and above all after Easter, the mother of Jesus also became the mother and model of the Church”.

Benedict XVI then went on to mention his forthcoming trip to Portugal, the highlight of which will be his visit to the shrine of Fatima for the tenth anniversary of the beatification of the shepherd children Jacinta and Francisco. “For the first time as Peter’s Successor I will visit that Marian shrine so loved by the Venerable John Paul II”, he said. “I invite everyone to accompany me on this pilgrimage, participating actively through prayer. With one heart and one soul, let us invoke the Virgin Mary’s intercession for the Church, especially for priests and for peace in the world”.

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