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From the National Director
April 20, 2005
On April 19, 2005, just before 6:00 p.m. Rome time (noon EDT), a plume of white smoke from the Sistine Chapel’s chimney and the tolling of bells in St. Peter’s square signaled that the conclave of Cardinals had elected a new pope. Shortly thereafter, Jorge Cardinal Arturo Medina Estevez proclaimed to the Church and the world, “I announce to you a great joy. Habemus Papam! (We have a Pope!)” Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger had just been elected the 265 th Pontiff, the leader of more than 1 billion Catholics.
My last National Director’s Corner was posted on April 2, 2005, the day of our beloved Pope John Paul II’s death. After a sorrowful goodbye, we now joyfully welcome and embrace our new Pope, Benedict XVI. We have every reason to believe that he will be a wonderful shepherd and will follow in the footsteps of his close friend and confidante, Pope John Paul II, who appointed him as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 1981. He has been a wonderful guardian of the faith as head of this Vatican office that oversees matters of doctrine. Pope John Paul II had great faith in him, so much so that, when the then Cardinal Ratzinger turned 75 and reached the retirement age for bishops, our now deceased Holy Father asked to stay on, with no age limit. Pope John Paul II had referred to him as his “trustworthy friend.”
Speaking of the late Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI said during his message after the first Mass celebrated by him as pontiff (April 20, 2005): “ I seem to feel his strong hand holding mine, I feel I can see his smiling eyes and hear his words, at this moment particularly directed at me: ‘Be not afraid.’ ”
Pope Benedict XVI was born on April 16, 1927 in Marktl (Germany), a small town located in the German Catholic heartland of Bavaria. He was ordained in 1951 and then spent several years teaching theology. After continuing his teaching at several German universities, he was appointed by Pope Paul VI in March 1977 as Archbishop of Munich and Freising. He was elevated to Cardinal three months later, in June 1977.
Pope John Paul II summoned Cardinal Ratzinger to Rome in November 1981, and named him Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He is the first German Pope since the 11 th century.
His Faithful Continuity with Church Tradition
“I too … want to affirm with decisive willingness to follow in the commitment of carrying out the Second Vatican Council, in the wake of my predecessors and in faithful continuity with the 2,000-year-old tradition of the church.
“… His (Peter’s) current successor (Pope Benedict XVI) takes as his primary task that of working — sparing no energies — to reconstitute the full and visible unity of all Christ’s followers. This is his ambition, this is his pressing duty. He is aware that showing good sentiments is not enough for this. Concrete acts that enter souls and move consciences are needed.
“In the wake of his predecessors, he (Pope Benedict XVI) is fully determined to cultivate any initiative that might seem appropriate to promote contacts and understanding with representatives of different churches and ecclesial communities.
“I address everybody, even those who follow other religions or who simply look for an answer to life’s fundamental questions and still haven’t found it. To all, I turn with simplicity and affection, to ensure that the church wants to continue weaving an open and sincere dialogue with them, in the quest for the real good for man and society.
“I will spare no efforts and dedication to continue the promising dialogue with different civilizations that was started by my cherished predecessors, so that a better future for everybody originate from mutual comprehension.
“I am thinking especially about the youths. My affectionate thought goes to them, Pope John Paul II’s privileged interlocutors, while, God willing, I wait to meet with them in Cologne on the occasion of the next World Youth Day. I will continue the dialogue with you, dear youths, future and hope of the church and mankind.” (Pope Benedict XVI, April 20, 2005) – (Excerpts from his message given after the first Mass celebrated by him as pontiff.)
His First Address to the World
After being introduced by the Chilean Cardinal, Pope Benedict XVI delivered his first address to the world from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica:
Dear brothers and sisters,
After the Great Pope John Paul II, the cardinals have elected me, a simple, humble worker in the Lord’s vineyard. I am comforted by the fact that the Lord knows how to work and act even with insufficient instruments. And above all, I entrust myself to your prayers. With the joy of the risen Lord and confidence in his constant help, we will go forward. The Lord will help us and Mary his most holy mother will be alongside us. Thank you. (Pope Benedict XVI, April 19, 2005)
“And above all, I entrust myself to your prayers.”
And indeed, as members of the Marian Movement of Priests, this is what we will do… pray for the new Pope! It is one of our commitments as members of her cohort. Pope Benedict XVI will need our prayers to sustain him in his mission as the Vicar of Christ on earth. He will need our prayers to continue fighting, as did Pope John Paul II, against all of the machinations of the evil one.
Not all Catholics will embrace his teaching of the truth, and this will be a source of great heartache for him, as it was for Pope John Paul II. His papacy is sure to continue in line with John Paul II’s strongly traditional interpretation of the Catholic faith, including opposition to abortion, priestly marriage and women priests. As the Vicar of Christ on earth, it is his duty and obligation to proclaim the truth of the Gospel in all its fullness. And we, as obedient Catholics, must accept the Gospel, whole and entire. The Church is not a democracy whereby people can choose certain articles of the faith and reject others.
And in our cenacles , we are given this gift of contemplation and prayer to penetrate into the mystery of the truth of the Gospel – to seek, welcome, love and live it!
I read an email last week and thought that the person summed it up beautifully:
“We care deeply about our faith – and now that our beloved Pope has gone – we want to continue the work he has given his life to. Though we are just individuals (lay people), we want the leaders of our church to know that we CARE and are supportive, and we want the TRUTH .”
Our Lady tells us,
“Let yours be an interior silence, which leads you to listen, with love and faith, to the word of God alone. Penetrate into the deep mystery of truth and beauty, which is revealed to you in the Gospel. Let the Gospel of Jesus be the only word of life which you seek, welcome, love and live. Let yours be that interior silence which leads you to contemplation and prayer. Let your prayer become more intense. Let it be a true prayer of the heart, which you make with me and by means of me.
“For this, let the cenacles of prayer which I have asked of you flourish everywhere, like fragrant flowers which blossom in the desert of a great aridity and general dissipation.” (494de)
THE GOLDEN KEY TO THE “WHOLE AND ENTIRE TRUTH”
In the year 2000, we published the booklet “The Spiritual Power of my Cenacles.” Therein, we compiled excerpts from Our Lady’s messages to underline the spiritual benefits and power of the cenacles of prayer.
Throughout her messages to Fr. Gobbi, Our Lady repeatedly asks for the formation of cenacles: “Multiply your cenacles of prayer!” Why are they so important to her? Why are they so dear to her Heart? The answer is simple. It is because of their many spiritual benefits, and also because they are the golden key that unlocks her tremendous power of intercession.
- The cenacle is a powerful tool in Our Lady’s hands to lead many to salvation.
- In the cenacle, we allow her to prepare us spiritually for Our Lord’s second coming.
- The cenacles bring us security, peace, consolation and hope.
- They are our protection against confusion and apostasy.
- They are a protection from the evils which are threatening the families of today.
- The cenacles act as “lightning rods” which will protect us from the chastisement.
- The cenacles will be our safe havens in the hour of the great trial.
- In the cenacles, we will come to understand “the whole and entire truth.”
- The cenacles prepare us to become “apostles of these last times.”
- Children’s cenacles, in particular, give great spiritual power to Our Lady.
- The cenacles are the spiritual force which, in the end, will release in Our Lady the power given her by Jesus to crush the head of Satan!
- In the cenacles, the Holy Spirit will come down to lead us to the second Pentecost.
Please do not abandon your cenacles. They are needed, NOW more than ever! They are the key to “the whole and entire truth”…to understanding the times through which we are living!!! In the cenacles, all of us – bishops, priests, religious and laity – will obtain the light of wisdom to understand the Gospel, and the Holy Spirit will enlighten us to understand the signs of our times:
“You have now entered into the times of the second Pentecost. For this reason, it is necessary that these cenacles be multiplied in every part of the world. I ask that all the Church be gathered together in the spiritual cenacle of my Immaculate Heart. Then the Holy Spirit will bring you to the understanding of the whole and entire truth.
“He will bring you into the secret of the word of God and will give you the light of wisdom to understand all the Gospel and whatever is described in it concerning the times through which you are living. The Holy Spirit will make you understand the signs of your time. (…) (450cd) (the above is taken from booklet, “ The Spiritual Power of My Cenacles .” (pp. 15-16)
“The Lord will help us and Mary his most holy Mother will be alongside us”
As a priest consecrated to Mary, how comforting it was for me to hear our new Pontiff utter these words…to acknowledge the important role that Mary will have in his Pontificate.
And he need not worry because our Blessed Mother promises to be at the side of each of her priests, her beloved sons:
m My place is here: near my risen Son. n When Jesus comes to me in the light of his glorified body, receives me in his divine arms and bends down to kiss the wounds of my great sorrow, I understand that my mission on his behalf has been accomplished. o am beginning my maternal mission for you, for the Church which has been born of his great suffering and mine. p Today my place is again here: near all my sons. q Till the end of the world, I will always be close to you, sons begotten of the death of my only Son. r Above all, I am with you during these moments of darkness and suffering, when you are being called to live out what Jesus endured during his redemptive passion. s I am always near you to help you to suffer, to die and to rise again, until the plan of the Father be fulfilled, and with Jesus, you too may rejoice in the glory of his kingdom of life.” (April 13, 1979, 174m-s)
May Our Lady always be with our new Pope and with each one of us.
Sincerely yours in the Hearts of Jesus and Mary,
Rev. Albert G. Roux