Friday, February 29, 2008

Pope's visit spurs ticket frenzy

Hunt is on for tickets to papal mass in Washington on April 17

Osservatore Romano / Reuters file
Pope Benedict XVI, seen with missionaries at the Vaitcan on Jan. 4, will be holding Mass in Washington, D.C., on April 17.
View related photos

By Jacqueline L. Salmon and Michelle Boorstein
updated 2:37 a.m. ET, Fri., Feb. 29, 2008

Washington - With seven weeks until Pope Benedict XVI lands in Washington, the hunt is on for one of the hottest tickets of the year: to the Mass he will offer at Nationals Park on April 17.

Pleading letters and e-mails are flooding into the offices of parish priests. Requests for tickets are appearing on eBay and Craigslist. Diocese officials are fielding phone calls from desperate Catholics as far away as Australia. All to be one of the 45,000 people who will crowd into the stadium for his celebration of the Eucharist.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Papal visit to Holy Land depends on situation Christians face in the region

ROME, Feb 28, 2008 / 02:08 pm (CNA).- The Apostolic Nuncio to the Holy Land, Archbishop Antonio Franco, reiterated his hope this week that Pope Benedict XVI would visit the region, but said the trip would only be possible if the difficulties being experienced by the Christian community are overcome and if progress is made on the Palestinian issue.

In an interview with, the archbishop said, “Our hope is that that day will arrive (the papal visit), and I am convinced that this trip would be beneficial for all. But what our negotiators keep repeating is that the Pope should be able travel in a positive atmosphere. If the Catholic Christian community is experiencing difficulties and is in a state of permanent tension, it will be more difficult for the Pope to visit us, because we want the most serene atmosphere possible.”

“Insofar as the practical problems are resolved and progress is made on the core problem of the Palestinian issue, which in the end is the root of all other problems, the climate and the groundwork is created for a papal visit,” the archbishop said.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

God is thirsty for our faith and love, Pope Benedict says

Pope Benedict visiting a parish in Rome just before the Angelus

Vatican City, Feb 24, 2008 / 11:44 am (CNA).- St. Peter’s Square was filled to overflowing on Sunday as pilgrims awaited Pope Benedict XVI's Sunday Angelus. Before praying the noon-time prayer, the Pope called on all Christians to imitate the Samaritan woman who responds to God’s thirst for her faith and love.

Students, parents and educators, who came to hear the Holy Father's discourse on education on Saturday listened as the Pope began his reflection on today's gospel.

Benedict XVI urged all those present to personally read and mediate on the story of Samaritan woman by identifying themselves with her and discovering the meaning of the passage for them. St. Augustine, he added, was fascinated by this text and wrote many notable commentaries on it.

The Holy Father then offered his own insights into the story of the Samaritan woman.

Jews, he said, did not recognize Samaritans, and much less so women. Thus, when Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman, it was indeed highly unusual. But even more unusual was that he demonstrated to the woman that he knew her, and then revealed himself to her.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Nothing Compares to the Good Book, Says Preacher

Delivers 1st Lenten Meditation for Pope and Curia

VATICAN CITY, FEB. 22, 2008 ( Although other books may be better written from a literary standpoint, nothing compares to the revealed word of God in sacred Scripture that often "acts beyond human explanation," said the preacher of the Pontifical Household.

Capuchin Father Rainero Cantalamessa said this today in the Lenten meditation he delivered to Benedict XVI and the Roman Curia in the Redemptoris Mater Chapel of the Apostolic Palace.

The sermon titled "Jesus Began to Preach: The Word of God in the Life of Christ" was the first in a series of Lenten meditations the preacher will give this Lent.

The series, titled "The Word of God Is Living and Effective," reflects the theme of the next Synod of Bishops on the word of God, to be held in October.

The preacher of the pontifical household began with a consideration of the preaching of Christ, which was a proclamation of the Gospel "understood as the good news 'of' Jesus -- that is, received from Jesus and of which Jesus is the subject, which is different from the good news 'about' Jesus of the subsequent apostolic preaching, in which Jesus is the object."

Father Cantalamessa's complete sermon...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

St. Augustine’s teachings are relevant even today, says Pope Benedict

Vatican City, Feb 20, 2008 / 10:59 am (CNA).- At today's general audience Pope Benedict XVI returned to his catechesis on St. Augustine of Hippo saying that his works are able to teach Catholics even now. Before going into the Paul VI audience hall, the Pope greeted an overflow crowd of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Basilica.

St. Augustine, the Holy Father began, was "a great witness of Christ, much loved by my predecessors and whom I also have studied and meditated upon often. He is the Father of the Church who has left us the most works, some of which are of vital importance for the history of Christianity."

Benedict XVI turned to Augustine’s "Confessions" first, saying that in them "we can follow, step by step, the inner journey of this extraordinary man who was passionate about God".

"On the City of God" was "a decisive work for the development of Western political thought and in the history of Christian theology". It was written between 413 and 416 to respond to the accusations made by pagans who ascribed the sack of Rome in 410 to the Christian God and the apostles who could not protect the city, while under the pagan divinities Rome was the "head of the world" (“caput mundi”) and it was unthinkable that it could have fallen into enemy hands.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

President and Mrs. Bush to Welcome His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI to the White House

White House News

President and Mrs. Bush will welcome His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI to the White House on April 16, 2008, during his first visit to the United States as Pope. The President and the Holy Father will continue discussions, which they began during the President's visit to the Vatican in June 2007, on their common commitment to the importance of faith and reason in reaching shared goals. These goals include advancing peace throughout the Middle East and other troubled regions, promoting inter-faith understanding, and strengthening human rights and freedom, especially religious liberty, around the world.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Jesus washing Peter’s feet “was always before me”, says the Pope

Vatican City, Feb 18, 2008 / 10:51 am (CNA).- On Sunday morning, Pope Benedict and the Roman Curia came to the end of their six day retreat that they took as a way of making Lent a time of true conversion. Following its conclusion, Benedict XVI thanked Cardinal Vanhoye S.J. for leading the retreat, saying, you “helped us to listen to the voice of the Lord, to relearn the meaning of His priesthood and of ours.”

With all of the prelates gathered in the Redemptoris Mater chapel, the Holy Father spoke about what he meditated on during the Spiritual Exercises. He recalled how Jesus knelt before Peter to wash his feet. This image, he said, "was always before my eyes" and "spoke to me.”

The theme of the retreat focused on the Christ as the model of priests and this caused the Pope to reflect on how the washing the disciples’ feet was "an act of extreme humility” and how through it “Jesus' new priesthood was fulfilled. It was fulfilled precisely in the act of solidarity with us, with our weaknesses, our suffering, our trials, even unto death.”

"With new eyes I also saw Jesus' red clothing, which speaks to us of His blood", the Pope added. And addressing Cardinal Vanhoye he went on: "You showed us how Jesus' blood was, through His prayer, 'oxygenated' by the Holy Spirit. And thus it became a force of resurrection and a source of life for us".

Thursday, February 14, 2008

A Memo to the Pope: Please Address Crisis of Faith with the Bishops

A memo from Spirit Daily to the Pope:


Holy Father, as everyone knows, you'll soon be among us!

In April -- just a couple months away -- you will be visiting the U.S.

Thank God for that!

No doubt you'll handle this with your characteristic insight, prayerfulness, courage, and aplomb.

We look forward to it.

Thank you for being prayerful.

Thank you for being faithful to the legacy of John Paul.

Thank you so much for nudging our Church back to the right kind of music.

Thank you for the call for protection of God's Creation.