Sacred Liturgy & Sacraments: February 2012 Archives

The Pope, as you know created 22 new cardinals yesterday. He gave them the symbols of office: the cardinal's biretta, a new ring and the title of a church of which they are the "pastor of" in the Diocese of Rome. Today, the feast of the Chair of Saint Peter, the faithful gather around the Pope, the Bishop of Rome, to worship God. The Church celebrates the "throne of Truth", a fitting image of Christ passing onto us a true experience of faith, truth and love. The homily given by Benedict XVI is noted below.

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On this solemnity of the Chair of Saint Peter, we have the joy of gathering around the altar of the Lord together with the new Cardinals whom yesterday I incorporated into the College of Cardinals. It is to them, first of all, that I offer my cordial greetings and I thank Cardinal Fernando Filoni for the gracious words he has addressed to me in the name of all. I extend my greetings to the other Cardinals and all the Bishops present, as well as to the distinguished authorities, ambassadors, priests, religious and all the faithful who have come from different parts of the world for this happy occasion, which is marked by a particular character of universality.

In the second reading that we have just heard, Saint Peter exhorts the "elders" of the Church to be zealous pastors, attentive to the flock of Christ (cf. 1 Pet 5:1-2). These words are addressed in the first instance to you, my dear venerable brothers, who have already shown great merit among the people of God through your wise and generous pastoral ministry in demanding dioceses, or through presiding over the Dicasteries of the Roman Curia, or in your service to the Church through study and teaching. The new dignity that has been conferred upon you is intended to show appreciation for the faithful labour you have carried out in the Lord's vineyard, to honour the communities and nations from which you come and which you represent so worthily in the Church, to invest you with new and more important ecclesial responsibilities and finally to ask of you an additional readiness to be of service to Christ and to the entire Christian community. This readiness to serve the Gospel is firmly founded upon the certitude of faith. We know that God is faithful to his promises and we await in hope the fulfilment of these words of Saint Peter: "And when the chief shepherd is manifested you will obtain the unfading crown of glory" (1 Pet 5:4).

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The Church prays today,

O God, who teach us that you abide in hearts that are just and true, grant that we may be so fashioned by your grace as to become a dwelling pleasing to you.

What other grace do we need but the grace to abide in Christ? The priest's prayer at Mass in the anamnesis tells us and God that He lives hearts that are just and true.

The Gospel today relates something that calls to mind the work of Saint Damian of Molokai and Blessed soon-to-be-saint Marianne Cope who worked with and evangelized lepers in Hawaii. Their love was extroverted. No doubt the Lord's touch and the saints' humanity was likely the first substantial, real contact these "outcasts" experienced. The Lord's touch of the leper is as the Prayer over the Offering prays, it "cleanses and renews" for the sake of our salvation. So much for us, too. May the Lord touch our uncleanness and sinfulness so that we may be close to Him.

What other than love and compassion did the Lord have for the marginalized? The medical leper and the spiritual leper always have on their lips Psalm 32: "I turn to you, Lord, in time of trouble, and you fill me with the joy of salvation."

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]



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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Sacred Liturgy & Sacraments category from February 2012.

Sacred Liturgy & Sacraments: January 2012 is the previous archive.

Sacred Liturgy & Sacraments: April 2012 is the next archive.

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