THE CATHOLIC HERALD AUGUST 26 2011
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WORLD YOUTH DAY
Strive to be saints, Pope urges seminarians
PAPAL MASS FOR SEMINARIANS BY CINDY WOODEN
SEMINARIANS preparing seriously for the priesthood should devote themselves to becoming saints, Pope Benedict XVI said at World Youth Day.
He gave them a role model: St John of Avila, who will become the 34th Doctor of the Church.
At the end of a Mass with some 6,000 seminarians from around the world last Saturday the Pope announced he would soon add the 16thcentury Spanish saint to the short list of saints formally recognised for making a significant mark on Catholic theology through their teaching and writing. His remarks were greeted with sustained applause in Madrid’s Almudena Cathedral.
Pope Benedict entrusted all the seminarians, as well as priests and bishops, to the intercession of St John, a master of spirituality and a renowned preacher.
“As they persevere in the same faith which he taught, may they model their hearts on that of Jesus Christ the good shepherd,” the Pope prayed.
Pope Benedict did not say when he would make the formal proclamation.
The 33rd saint honoured with the title was St Thérèse of Lisieux. It was during World Youth Day in Paris in 1997 that Blessed John Paul II made the announcement: the formal ceremony was held at the Vatican two months later.
The Doctors of the Church are all saints and come from both the Eastern and Western Church traditions. They include early Church Fathers l ike St Jerome, St John Chrysostom and St Augustine, as well as major theologians l ike St Thomas Aquinas, St Bonaventure and St John of the Cross. In addition to St Thérèse of Lisieux, the women Doctors of the Church are St Catherine of Siena and St Teresa of Avila.
Jesuit Fr Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, said that a date for the ceremony has not been set.
He described St John of Avila (1500-1569) as “a great master of priestly spirituality” and an important influence on Spanish Catholic luminaries like St Ignatius of Loyola, St Francis Xavier, St Teresa of Avila and St John of the Cross.
“He was one of the important figures of the golden age of Spanish spirituality,” Fr Lombardi said.
During the Mass for seminarians attending World Youth Day Pope Benedict said the young men preparing for priesthood are “proof of how Christ continues to call young disciples and to make them his apostles”.
Pope Benedict told the students that their time in the seminary “should be years of interior silence, of unceasing prayer, of constant study” and gradual introduction into pastoral activities.
But prayer, study and pastoral activity are not enough, he said. Seminarians must strive for holiness.
Pope Benedict XVI celebrates Mass with seminarians in the Cathedral of Our Lady of Almudena, Madrid CNS photo/Alessia Giuliani
“The holiness of the Church is, above all, the objective holiness of the very person of Christ,” the Pope said, and “we have to be saints so as not to create a contradiction between the sign that we are and the reality that we wish to signify”. Seminarians must be open to the grace of the Holy Spirit that will help them decide to live a life of celibacy, s implicity and obedience, he said. “Approach the priesthood only i f you a r e f i rmly convinced that God is calling you to be his ministers, and if you are completely determined to exercise it in obedience to the Church’s precepts,” the Pope said.
THE MOOD at World Youth Day changed dramatically last Friday evening as Pope Benedict XVI and hundreds of thousands of young people turned their thoughts to suffering.
The vividly painted, graphic statues that illustrated each station of Jesus’s
Passion and death were accompanied by meditations focused on individuals, groups and nations enduring serious suffering today.
Many young people read along in special prayer books included in pilgrim backpacks.
Many had arrived hours early, standing in the hot sun to stake out a place near the papal platform in Plaza de Cibeles or in front of the paso or one of the station-statues set up along a main street leading to the plaza.
The meditations included
Benedict XVI walks Way of the Cross with young people POPE LEADS THE WAY OF THE CROSS BY CINDY WOODEN AND GRETCHEN ROWE
prayers for the defence of human life, for peace in the Holy Land and other areas where there is conflict, for the victims of natural disasters, for the unemployed, for those who suffer racial discrimination or religious persecution, for those with alcohol or drug addictions and for the victims of sexual abuse.
A cross was carried from one station-statue to another by young people from countries or situations where there is suffering.
They included Iraqis,
immigrants, recovering drug addicts, unemployed and people from Rwanda and Burundi.
The paso depicting the ninth station, Jesus Is Stripped of His Garments, included a prayer for victims of sexual abuse.
A few days earlier, Jenny McGuire, 18, of the Irish Diocese of Ferns, said that years of revelations of clerical abuse of children had caused most Irish Catholics to lose faith in the institution of the Church rather than their faith in God.
“It’s not that they don’t believe in Jesus or that they don’t have faith in Jesus,” she said, “but it’s the institution of the Church and the priests that they’re losing faith in. It’s not that they’re completely nonreligious. There still is strong faith in Ireland.”
Seamus Sutton of County Wexford agreed, adding that World Youth Day, including the Way of the Cross, was a healing opportunity for pilgrims.
“I see this as a reconciliation with the Church and with how these people are serving
God and what I’m following,” he said. Lauren O’Reilley, also from County Wexford, said that the abuse allegations had been especially hard for the Irish priests “that are so good”.
“People in Ireland are losing their faith, especially young people,” she said. “It’s nice to see all of us coming together to see that people still have faith.”
In his remarks at the end of the service Pope Benedict acknowledged that everyone knows suffering, but he urged the young people to focus on
Christ’s suffering out of love for all humanity and to imitate that love by committing themselves to alleviating the suffering of others.
Pope Benedict said that meditating on Christ’s Passion and death should lead Christians to ask: “What can we do for him?”
“Christ’s Passion urges us to take upon our own shoulders the sufferings of the world, in the certainty that God is not distant or far removed from man and his troubles” because Christ became human himself,
enduring suffering and death, the Pope told the young people.
The Pope prayed that Christ’s love would “increase your joy and encourage you to go in search of those less fortunate. You are open to the idea of sharing your lives with others, so be sure not to pass by on the other side” of the road “in the face of human suffering, for it is here that God expects you to give of your very best: your capacity for love and compassion.” Jack Valero: Page 12
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Scholars need humility, Pope tells professors
POPE MEETS YOUNG ACADEMICS BY CAROL GLATZ
POPE BENEDICT XVI’s meetings with young religious women and young university professors, held in the same complex, had very different tones.
The Sisters and nuns gathered in the sunny courtyard of the Basilica of St Lawrence, while the professors gathered inside the imposing stone basilica.
The young consecrated women were exuberant, singing and chanting. Most of them stood on their plastic chairs when the Pope entered. The young professors talked quietly before the Pope arrived and remained standing on the floor when the Pope entered; they were in a church, after all. The Pope was once a young professor himself, and much of his advice to the scholars was based on personal experience.
Too many universities are training the young for a profession without helping them to learn to seek and to love knowledge and truth and what it means to be created in God’s image, Pope Benedict said.
Catholics teaching in universities are part of a centuries-long chain of men and women committed to teaching the faith and making it credible to human reason, he said.
It’s not enough to be an expert in your subject, the Pope told the professors. The path to the fullness of truth calls for complete commitment: a path of understanding and love, of reason and faith.
Scholars must have humility, he said. “We must not draw students to ourselves, but set them on the path toward the truth; which we seek together.” While the mood was more effervescent in the courtyard with the Sisters and nuns, the Pope’s message was no less challenging.
Pope Benedict told the young religious: “In a world of relativism and mediocrity, we need that radicalism to which your consecration, as a way of belonging to God who is loved above all things, bears witness.”
Through their lives and vows religious become a “living exegesis” or explanation of God’s word of love and salvation.
“Your lives must testify to the personal encounter with Christ which has nourished your consecration, and to all the transforming power of that encounter,” he said.
“The Church needs your youthful fidelity, rooted and built up in Christ,” he told them before intoning the Lord’s Prayer in Latin. As the high, light voices of the Sisters filled the courtyard, the Pope sang more and more quietly.
EAST AFRICA CRISIS
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