Pope Benedict XVI on the missionary mandate


From Vatican Information Services. Here is the full text of the address from Zenit.


VATICAN CITY, APR 26, 2005 (VIS) - Yesterday evening, Pope Benedict XVI made his first trip outside the Vatican when he visited the basilica of St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls in southern Rome in order to demonstrate the Church of Rome's inseparable bond with the Apostle to the Gentiles. Thirty-five cardinals and representatives from other Christian confessions were present for the ceremony.

The Pope greeted and blessed the thousands of people who filled the basilica, pausing to kiss a number of children.

At the beginning of the ceremony, the Holy Father addressed those present using the words of St. Paul's Letter to the Romans (1: 1-6, 8-9, 11-12, 14-15). Then, after venerating the tomb of the Apostle, he delivered the homily.

Benedict XVI affirmed that his visit represented "a much longed-for pilgrimage, a gesture of faith that I undertake in my own name, but also in the name of the dear diocese of Rome, of which the Lord has made me bishop and pastor, and in that of the Universal Church which is entrusted to my pastoral care. A pilgrimage, so to speak, at the roots of the mission, the mission that the risen Christ entrusted to Peter, to the Apostles, and in a particular way also to Paul, urging him to announce the Gospel to the people until he reached this city where, after having long preached the Kingdom of God, he gave with his own blood the final witness to the Lord, who had 'conquered' and sent him."

After highlighting the fact that, as Peter's successor, he had come to the basilica "to revitalize in faith this 'grace of the apostolate'," about which the Apostle speaks, Benedict XVI recalled the example of John Paul II, "a missionary Pope, whose intense activity, as witnessed by more than 100 apostolic trips outside Italy, is truly inimitable. What impelled him to such dynamism if not that same love of Christ that transformed the existence of St Paul? May the Lord also nourish such a love in me, that I do not hold back before the urgent need of announcing the Gospel in the world today. The Church is missionary by nature, her primary task is evangelization."

"At the beginning of the third millennium the Church feels with renewed vitality that Christ's missionary mandate is more imperative than ever," said the Pope. Recalling the motto used by St. Benedict in his Rule, exhorting his monks "to put nothing before the love of Christ," the Holy Father emphasized that "the passion for Christ brought (St. Paul) to preach the Gospel not only with words but with life itself, ever more conformed to his Lord. In the end St. Paul announced Christ through martyrdom, and with his blood - together with that of St. Peter and of so many other witnesses to the Gospel - he bathed this land and made fruitful the Church of Rome, which presides over the universal communion of charity."

Pope Benedict XVI stressed that "the twentieth century was a time of martyrdom. This was much emphasized by Pope John Paul II who asked the Church 'to update the Martyrologium,' and who canonized and beatified numerous martyrs of modern history. If then, the blood of martyrs is the seed of new Christians, at the beginning of the third millennium we may expect a new flowering of the Church, especially where she suffered most for the faith and the witness of the Gospel."

"We entrust this desire to the intercession of St. Paul. May he obtain for the Church of Rome - especially her new bishop and all the people of God - the joy of announcing and bearing witness to the Good News of Christ the Savior."
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This page contains a single entry by Papa-Lu published on April 27, 2005 7:10 AM.

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