Friday, April 16, 2010
Thank God for Il Papa Benedetto XVI, UPDATED Malta Arrival
Pope Benedict XVI is presented with a birthday cake by members of the Papal Foundation, an American Catholic fundraising organization for papal charities, during a private audience at the Vatican, Friday, April 16, 2010. The Vatican doesn't officially celebrate popes' birthdays. But on Monday, the fifth anniversary of Benedict's election as pope, cardinals who live in Rome will offer him a luncheon in an ornate hall of the papal palace. (Daylife Photos)
Catholic Culture's Papal Birthday prayer:
Today, April 16th, marks the 83rd birthday of our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI.
V. Let us pray for Benedict, our Pope.
R. May the Lord preserve him, and give him life, and make him blessed upon the earth, and deliver him not up to the will of his enemies. [Ps 40:3]
Our Father, Hail Mary.
O God, Shepherd and Ruler of all Thy faithful people, look mercifully upon Thy servant Benedict, whom Thou hast chosen as shepherd to preside over Thy Church. Grant him, we beseech Thee, that by his word and example, he may edify those over whom he hath charge, so that together with the flock committed to him, may he attain everlasting life. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
On Friday, Pope Benedict XVI met with members of the Papal Foundation during their annual pilgrimage to Rome. He thanked them for their contributions to the charities that he supports and reminded them that our future is in God's hands.
The occasion, which saw the attendance of approximately 120 donors, took place just after noon in the Clementine Room of the Apostolic Palace.
Noting the joy of the Easter season present at their meeting, the Holy Father recalled his words before the empty tomb of Christ on his visit to the Holy Land last May.
In rising to new life, said Pope Benedict, the Lord teaches "that evil never has the last word, that love is stronger than death, and that our future, and the future of all humanity, lies in the hands of a faithful and provident God."
He stressed that the Church is always called "to proclaim this message of hope and to confirm its truth by her practical witness of holiness and charity."
The Holy Father went on to express his appreciation to the Papal Foundation for advancing this mission through its charitable support that assists those in developing countries, educates future leaders of the Church and promotes missionary work worldwide.
The Papal Foundation supports projects based on requests of the Holy Father, including everything from the construction of religious institutions in Eastern bloc countries to food relief, education and health clinics in Africa. In addition to lay faithful, the membership of the Pennsylvania-headquartered foundation also counts 10 American cardinals.
L'Osservatore Romano reported that the total gift from the Foundation this year was $6.2 million for a total of 97 different projects. The group also provides scholarships for priests, religious and lay people attending pontifical universities or institutes.
Since 1990, the group has donated more than $60 million to charity.
Before imparting the Apostolic Blessing upon those present and their families, the Holy Father asked the donors to pray for the "the needs of the universal Church" and to "implore a renewed outpouring of the Spirit’s gifts of holiness, unity and missionary zeal upon the whole People of God."
At the end of the audience, Papal Foundation members sang "Happy Birthday" and presented the Pope with a cake. Pope Benedict also received a copy of Eric Hansen's book "Peter's Partner," which speaks of the commitment of the Foundation's creator, Cardinal John Joseph Krol, and his successor, Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua.
Maltese abuse victims could perhaps meet with Pope
Archbishop Paul Cremona of Malta stated on Vatican Radio that the people are awaiting the Pope's arrival with "great enthusiasm, many expectations and a sense of gratitude."
New Papal book by Msgr. Georg Gänswein
Pope arrives in Malta
Italian government demonstrates support for the Pope
Pope's latest remarks in Malta
As the Pope was preparing to leave for Malta Saturday afternoon, an outline of his schedule for the coming five months was released by the Vatican. Peppered among the four trips the Holy Father is scheduled to make by the end of September are a number of other events in Rome and the surrounding area.
The month of May will see the Holy Father in Turin to meet with the faithful and to venerate the Shroud (May 2) which is on temporary exposition. A pastoral visit will be made to Portugal from May 11-14, during which time he will be in Lisbon, Oporto and Fatima. Planned festivities include celebrations to mark the 10th anniversary of the beatification of Jacinta and Francisco Marto. Later in the month, on May 23, he will preside over Mass at St. Peter's Basilica on Pentecost Sunday.
In June, in addition to his trip to Cyprus (June 4-6) to present the Instrumentum Laboris working document for the October's Special Synod for the Middle East, the Pope will preside over six other celebrations, according to the official agenda. Among the most notable of these are a prayer vigil and Mass with priests taking part in the International Theological Convention for the conclusion of the Year for Priests (June 9-11) and a Mass for priestly and deaconate ordinations for the Diocese of Rome (June 20).
July and August have only one announced event each. On Sunday, July 4 the Holy Father will make a Pastoral Visit to Sulmona, Italy, in the Abruzzo region, to celebrate the 800th year since the birth of Pope St. Peter Celestine V. The local parish of St. Thomas of Villanova will host Pope Benedict on August 15, where he will preside over Mass.
During the month of September, he is planning one local and one international visit. On Sept. 5, Benedict XVI will go to Carpineto Romano, about 220 miles southeast of Rome, in observation of the 200th year since the birth of Pope Leo XIII. Later, from the 16-19 of the same month, he will travel to Great Britain to beatify Cardinal John Henry Newman, spending time in England and Scotland, where he will meet with Queen Elizabeth II.
Dear Brother Bishops,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Jien kuntent ħafna li ninsab fostkom! [I am delighted to be here with you!]
It gives me great joy to be here in Malta with you today. I come among you as a pilgrim to worship the Lord and to praise him for the wonders he has worked here. I come also as the Successor of Saint Peter to confirm you in the faith (cf. Lk 22:32) and to join you in prayer to the one living and true God, in the company of all the Saints, including the great Apostle of Malta, Saint Paul. Though my visit to your country is short, I pray that it will bear much fruit.
I am grateful, Mr President, for the kind words with which you have greeted me in your own name and on behalf of the Maltese people. I thank you for your invitation and for the hard work that you and the Government have done in order to prepare for my visit. I thank the Prime Minister, the civil and military authorities, the members of the Diplomatic Corps and everyone present, for honouring this occasion by your presence and for your cordial welcome.
I greet in a special way Archbishop Paul Cremona, Bishop Mario Grech and Auxiliary Bishop Annetto Depasquale, as well as the other Bishops present. In greeting you, I wish to express my affection for the priests, deacons, men and women Religious and all the lay faithful entrusted to your pastoral care.
The occasion of my visit to these islands is the nineteen hundred and fiftieth anniversary of Saint Paul’s shipwreck off the island of Malta. Saint Luke describes this event in the Acts of the Apostles, and it is from his account that you have chosen the theme of this visit: "Jeħtieg iżda li naslu fi gżira" ["But we are to be stranded on some island"] (Acts 27:26). Some might consider Saint Paul’s arrival in Malta by means of a humanly unforeseen event to be a mere accident of history. The eyes of faith, however, enable us to recognize here the workings of divine Providence.
Malta, in fact, has been at the crossroads of many of the great events and cultural exchanges in European and Mediterranean history, right up to our own times. These islands have played a key role in the political, religious and cultural development of Europe, the Near East, and North Africa. To these shores, then, in the mysterious designs of God, the Gospel was brought by Saint Paul and the early followers of Christ. Their missionary work has borne much fruit over the centuries, contributing in innumerable ways to shaping Malta’s rich and noble culture.
On account of their geographical position, these islands have been of great strategic importance on more than one occasion, even in recent times: indeed, the George Cross upon your national flag proudly testifies to your people’s great courage during the dark days of the last world war. Likewise, the fortifications that feature so prominently in the island’s architecture speak of earlier struggles, when Malta contributed so much to the defence of Christianity by land and by sea. You continue to play a valuable role in the ongoing debates on European identity, culture and policy. At the same time, I am pleased to note your Government’s commitment to humanitarian projects further afield, especially in Africa. It is greatly to be hoped that this will serve to promote the welfare of those less fortunate than yourselves, as an expression of genuine Christian charity.
Indeed, Malta has much to contribute to questions as diverse as tolerance, reciprocity, immigration, and other issues crucial to the future of this continent. Your Nation should continue to stand up for the indissolubility of marriage as a natural institution as well as a sacramental one, and for the true nature of the family, just as it does for the sacredness of human life from conception to natural death and for the proper respect owed to religious freedom in ways that bring authentic integral development to individuals and society.
Malta also has close links to the near East, not only in cultural and religious terms, but even linguistically. Allow me to encourage you to put this ensemble of skills and strengths to ever greater use so as to serve as a bridge of understanding between the peoples, cultures and religions which surround the Mediterranean. Much has still to be done to build relationships of genuine trust and fruitful dialogue, and Malta is well placed to hold out the hand of friendship to her neighbours to north and south, to east and west.
The Maltese people, enlightened for almost two millennia by the teachings of the Gospel and continually fortified by their Christian roots, are rightly proud of the indispensable role that the Catholic faith has played in their nation’s development. The beauty of our faith is expressed in various and complementary ways here, not least in the lives of holiness which have led Maltese to give of themselves for the good of others. Among these we must include Dun Ġorɍ Preca, whom I was pleased to canonize just three years ago (3 June, 2007). I invite all of you to invoke his intercession for the spiritual fruitfulness of this, my first pastoral visit among you.
I look forward to praying with you during my time in Malta and I wish, as a father and as a brother, to assure you of my affection for you and my eagerness to share this time with you in faith and friendship. With these thoughts, I entrust all of you to the protection of Our Lady of Ta’ Pinu and your father in the faith, the great Apostle Paul.
Il-Mulej ibierek lill-poplu kollu ta’ Malta u ta’ Għawdex! [God bless all the people of Malta and Gozo!].