Vatican II: October 2012 Archives

In the presence of  hundreds of bishops, the Eastern Catholic Patriarchs, ecumenical partners and laity, Pope Benedict prayed the Mass and preached on the meaning of both the Second Vatican Council and the Year of Faith through the lens of conversion. Benedict is clear: the Year of Faith is not celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council. The Church needs not a special forum for this anniversary; it is all an invitation to conversion and to deepen one's faith in the Christ. The homily Pope Benedict delivered today follows.

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Today, fifty years from the opening of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, we begin with great joy the Year of Faith. I am delighted to greet all of you, particularly His Holiness Bartholomaois I, Patriarch of Constantinople, and His Grace Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury. A special greeting goes to the Patriarchs and Major Archbishops of the Eastern Catholic Churches, and to the Presidents of the Bishops' Conferences. In order to evoke the Council, which some present had the grace to experience for themselves - and I greet them with particular affection - this celebration has been enriched by several special signs: the opening procession, intended to recall the memorable one of the Council Fathers when they entered this Basilica; the enthronement of a copy of the Book of the Gospels used at the Council; the consignment of the seven final Messages of the Council, and of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which I will do before the final blessing. These signs help us not only to remember, they also offer us the possibility of going beyond commemorating. They invite us to enter more deeply into the spiritual movement which characterized Vatican II, to make it ours and to develop it according to its true meaning. And its true meaning was and remains faith in Christ, the apostolic faith, animated by the inner desire to communicate Christ to individuals and all people, in the Church's pilgrimage along the pathways of history.

Pope Benedict went to the Shrine of Our Lady of Loreto, his 30th trip in Italy, to commemorate the visit Blessed John XXIII made when he called the Second Vatican Council entrusting her with the needs the Church and the Council. The Pope's homily follows.

On 4 October 1962, Blessed John XXIII came as a pilgrim to this Shrine to entrust to the Virgin Mary the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, due to begin a week later. On that occasion, with deep filial devotion to the Mother of God, he addressed her in these words: "Again today, and in the name of the entire episcopate, I ask you, sweetest Mother, as Help of Bishops
, to intercede for me as Bishop of Rome and for all the bishops of the world, to obtain for us the grace to enter the Council Hall of Saint Peter's Basilica, as the Apostles and the first disciples of Jesus entered the Upper Room: with one heart, one heartbeat of love for Christ and for souls, with one purpose only, to live and to sacrifice ourselves for the salvation of individuals and peoples. Thus, by your maternal intercession, in the years and the centuries to come, may it be said that the grace of God prepared, accompanied and crowned the twenty-first Ecumenical Council, filling all the children of the holy Church with a new fervour, a new impulse to generosity, and a renewed firmness of purpose" (AAS 54 [1962], 727).

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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 Vatican II category from October 2012.

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