Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Pope Benedict Reflects on his Trip to Our Country (Part IV)...

On April 30, Pope Benedict XVI delivered the following thoughts during the General Audience. Reading this is a good way for us to relive the inspirations of that joyful week.

Other moments of my stay in New York have remained firmly etched in my spirit. In St. Patrick's Cathedral, in the heart of Manhattan, truly a "house of prayer for all peoples," I celebrated holy Mass for the priests and consecrated persons who had come from all parts of the country. I will never forget the warmth with which they congratulated me for the third anniversary of my election to the See of Peter. It was a moving moment, in which I experienced in a tangible way all of the support of the Church for my ministry. I could say the same about my meeting with youth and seminarians, which was held precisely in the diocesan seminary, preceded by a very significant meeting with handicapped boys and girls and their families.

I proposed to youth—who by their nature are thirsting for truth and love—some figures of men and women who have given an exemplary testimony of the Gospel in the lands of the United States, the Gospel of the truth that frees in love, in service, in life given for others. In seeing the darkness that today threatens their lives, youth can find in the saints the light that dissipates it: the light of Christ, hope for all men.

This hope, stronger than sin and death, motivated the emotion-swelled moment that I spent in silence at the crater of ground zero where I lit a candle, praying for all the victims of that terrible tragedy. Finally, my visit culminated with the celebration of the Eucharist in Yankee Stadium in New York: I still carry in my heart that festival of faith and brotherhood, with which we celebrated the 200 years of the oldest dioceses of North America. The original little flock has progressed enormously, enriching itself with the faith and the traditions of successive waves of immigration. To this Church, which now faces the challenges of the present, I have had the joy of announcing anew "Christ Our Hope" of yesterday, today and forever.

Dear brothers and sisters, I invite you to unite yourselves with me in thanksgiving for the encouraging results of this apostolic trip and in the supplication to God, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, that it produces abundant fruits for the Church in the United States and in all parts of the world.

Next week is the conclusion.

It really is a blessing to have a day each year to remind us about the gift that each of our fathers is to us. May we respect and honor them each day. If we give a gift, may that gift be a manifestation of the love in our hearts. For those fathers who have departed this life, may they always be remembered by their children in their prayers and Masses. We hopefully pray for our fathers daily. These are ways that we can express our appreciation and our love for them.

Fr. Stanley