General Audiences: Christ and the Church
Pope Benedict XVI  Bookmark and Share
1. Christ and the Church
On 15 March 2006, the Holy Father announced that in the coming weeks, his Catecheses will focus on the mystery of Christ and the Church. This week he drew attention to Christ's evident intention to found a Church in the commissioning of His Apostles. Jesus without His Church is an "imaginary Jesus."

2. Witnesses of Christ
On 22 March 2006, the Holy Father spoke to the faithful gathered for the weekly General Audience in St. Peter's Square about the Apostles as witnesses sent out by Christ. Today's Christians are called to follow their example, in building the unity of all people in communion with the Lord Jesus Christ.

3. The Gift of Communion
On 29 March 2006, the Holy Father reflected with the faithful gathered for the weekly General audience in St. Peter's Square on the gift of "communion" or fellowship, the great gift of the Holy Spirit.

4. Safeguarding the Gift
On 5 April 2006, the Holy Father continued his reflections on the origins of the Church, in order to "understand Jesus' original plan and thereby grasp the essential of the Church that lives on through the changing times." Again his topic was the "communion" whose source is the Holy Spirit.

From Darkness to Light!
At the General Audience in St. Peter's Square on Wednesday, 12 April 2006, the Holy Father commented on the Sacred Triduum and the role of these holy days in preparing the faithful spiritually for the celebration of Easter.

Pastor of God's Church
At the General Audience in St Peter's Square on 19 April 2006, the anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI's election, the Holy Father commented on his first moments as Pope and reflected on the lingering joy of the Resurrection in the Octave of Easter.

5. Communion in Time
At the General Audience in St. Peter's Square on 26 April 2006, the Holy Father continued his catechesis on communion, focusing this week on Tradition, which embraces all generations and all epochs. "Tradition", the Holy Father said, "is the communion of the faithful around their legitimate Pastors down through history, a communion that the Holy Spirit nurtures".

6. The Apostolic Tradition of the Church
At the General Audience in St. Peter's Square on 3 May 2006, the Holy Father continued to focus on the Apostolic Tradition of the Church. Citing Dei Verbum, the Pope emphasized that "What was handed on by the Apostles comprises everything that serves to make the People of God live their lives in holiness and increase their faith."

7. Having a Vision from on High
At the General Audience in St. Peter's Square on 10 May 2006, the Holy Father explained the origin of Apostolic Succession and the meaning of episcopal ministry.

8. Peter the Fisherman
On 17 May 2006, in St. Peter's Square, the Holy Father continued his Catechesis on the Church, reflecting in particular on the spiritual journey of Peter, the fisherman. The Pope focused on St. Peter, the first of the Twelve Apostles to whom the Lord entrusted this new reality, the Church.

9. Peter the Apostle
On 24 May 2006, at the General Audience in St. Peter's Square, the Holy Father continued his Catechesis on the figure of St. Peter, this time as "Apostle". Peter's road to faith in Jesus contained many bumps and detours, but through it all he became the trusted witness and "rock" of the Church.

10. Peter the Rock
At the General Audience in St. Peter's Square, 7 June 2006, the Holy Father reflected on Peter, the "rock" on which Christ founded the Church and leader of the Apostles. "Thus, Peter is responsible for guaranteeing communion with Christ, with the love of Christ, guiding people to fulfil this love in everyday life."

11. Andrew the Protoclete
At the General Audience in St. Peter's Square, 14 June 2006, continuing his Catechesis on the Church's apostolic ministry, the Holy Father reflected on the Apostle Andrew, the Protoclete, who has a Greek name and, according to some ancient traditions, preached the Gospel among the Greeks until his crucifixion.

12. James the Greater
At the General Audience, 21 June 2006, the Holy Father, continuing his portraits of the Apostles, reflected on St. James the Greater, whose famous Shrine at Santiago de Compostela is still honoured as a pilgrimage destination. St. James, the Pope said, was one of the three "privileged disciples" who Jesus allowed to witness important events in his life, including his Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane and his Transfiguration.

13. James the Lesser
At the General Audience on 28 June 2006, in St. Peter's Square, continuing his Catecheses on the Church's apostolic ministry, the Holy Father commented on St. James, "the son of Alphaeus" but often identified as "James the Lesser" and "James, the brother of the Lord".

14. John, Son of Zebedee
At the General Audience on 5 July 2006, in St. Peter's Square, continuing his Catecheses on the Church's apostolic ministry, the Holy Father commented on John, "son of Zebedee" and "disciple whom Jesus loved", who teaches "an important lesson for our lives: the Lord wishes to make each one of us a disciple who lives in personal friendship with him".

Mary, Exemplar
At the General Audience on 16 August 2006, the faithful gathered in the courtyard of the Papal Summer Residence at Castel Gandolfo for the Pope's Catechesis on the Assumption. "From on high, Mary follows our footsteps with gentle concern, dispels the gloom in moments of darkness and distress, reassures us with her motherly hand.

15. John the Theologian
On 9 August 2006, the Holy Father arrived by helicopter from the Papal Summer Residence at Castel Gandolfo for the General Audience in the Paul VI Audience Hall in Rome. The Pope continued his Catecheses on the Church's apostolic ministry, speaking this week on the Apostle John, the theologian, and highlighting the distinctive Christian doctrine in his writings: "God is love".

16. John, the Seer of Patmos
On 23 August 2006, the Holy Father arrived from Castel Gandolfo for the General Audience in the Vatican's Paul VI Audience Hall. The Pope continued his Catecheses on the Church's apostolic ministry, this week dwelling on the Apostle John's teaching in the Book of Revelation (Apocalypse) and leading up to the ultimate meaning of history in God's providential plan: Christ's triumph over persecution and death.

17. Matthew, the Tax Collector
On 30 August 2006, the Holy Father continued his Catecheses on the Church's apostolic ministry, commenting this time on St. Matthew, the tax collector. This Apostle illustrates the truth that "those who seem to be the farthest from holiness can even become a model of the acceptance of God's mercy."

18. Philip the Apostle
At the General Audience in St. Peter's Square, 6 September 2006, the Holy Father continued his Catechesis on the Church's apostolic ministry. Today the Pope reflected on the Apostle Philip, a clear-headed, practical man, who acted as intermediary between Greek and Hebrew cultures.

Strengthening the Faith
At the General Audience on 20 September 2006, the Holy Father spoke to the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square about his Pastoral Visit to Germany. The Pope recounted the highlights of his Trip, giving special attention to his Address at the University of Regensburg.

19. Thomas, the Twin
At the General Audience, 27 September 2006, the Holy Father spoke to the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square, continuing his Catechesis on the Apostles. This week he reflected on Thomas, "the twin", who, the Pope said, shows us that "the most important thing is never to distance oneself from Jesus".

20. Bartholomew
At the General Audience on 4 October 2006, the Holy Father continued his Reflections on the Apostles for the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square by commenting on St. Bartholomew. The Apostle Bartholomew shows the followers of Christ that attachment to Jesus can be lived daily without doing sensational, extraordinary deeds.

21. Judas and Matthias
At the General Audience on 18 October 2006, the Holy Father continued to reflect on the Church's Apostolic Ministry for those gathered in St. Peter's Square by speaking of the Apostles Judas Iscariot and Matthias. There is no lack of traitorous Christians like Judas in the Church; it is up to each of us to counterbalance this treachery with the fidelity of Matthias.

22. Paul the Apostle
On 25 October 2006, the Holy Father continued his catechesis on the Apostolic Ministry, reflecting on St Paul, the man and the Apostle. In light of his own conversion, the Apostle taught that "what counts is to place Jesus Christ at the centre of our lives, so that our identity is marked essentially by the encounter, by communion with Christ and with his Word."

23. St. Paul's New Outlook
At the General Audience on 8 November 2006, the Holy Father continued his Reflection on St. Paul in his Catecheses series on the Apostles. There are two components to Paul's new relationship with Christ: being justified by grace through faith in Him, and identifying with Christ, to share His life and death.

24. St. Paul and the Spirit
At the General Audience on Wednesday, 15 November 2006, the Holy Father, continuing his Reflections on St. Paul, focused on the Apostle's teaching on the Holy Spirit. St. Paul explained the Spirit's influence not only on the action of Christians, but on their being.

25. St. Paul and the Church
At the General Audience on 22 November 2006, the Holy Father discussed for the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square St. Paul's teaching on the Church. The Apostle identified the Church closely with Christ Himself, likening the Church to His Body, the Blessed Sacrament, and calling her the Bride of Christ.

26. Timothy and Titus
At the General Audience on Wednesday, 13 December 2006, in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall, the Holy Father continued his Catechesis on the Church's apostolic ministry, focusing this time on St. Timothy and St. Titus, St. Paul's closest collaborators.

The Meaning of Christmas
At the General Audience on 20 December 2006, in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall, the Holy Father focused on Holy Christmas and the meaning of Christ's birth, asking: "Is the humanity of our time still waiting for a Saviour?"

Why Did God Do It?
In the Holy Father's Catechesis, given during the General Audience 27 December 2006, he explained God's motive for the Incarnation. The birth of the Savior was a gift of love.

Making Room for Christ
On 3 January 2007, at the first General Audience of the New Year, the Holy Father reflected on the joyful event of Christ's birth, but also on "the power of darkness that attempts to dim the splendour of the divine light" and the consequent rejection of God by many in the world today.

27. Stephen, the Proto-Martyr
At the General Audience on Wednesday, 10 January 2007, in the Vatican's Paul VI Audience Hall, the Holy Father commented on St Stephen, the first martyr and "a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit".

Christian Unity
At the General Audience on Wednesday, 17 January 2007, in the Vatican's Paul VI Audience Hall, the Holy Father commented on the upcoming Week of Prayer for Christian Unity and encouraged everyone to join in praying for this important, deeply desired grace.

Listening to Each Other
At the General Audience on Wednesday, 24 January 2007, in the Vatican's Paul VI Audience Hall, the Holy Father continued his Commentary on the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity and reviewed the most important events of the year.

28. Barnabas, Silas and Apollos
At the General Audience on 31 January 2007, in the Vatican's Paul VI Audience Hall, the Holy Father resumed his Catecheses on the Apostles of the Church. He focused on the most important missionary companions of St. Paul: Barnabas, Silas (also called Silvanus), and Apollos.

29. Priscilla and Aquila
At the General Audience on 7 February 2007, the Holy Father continued his series of Catecheses on the Apostles of the Church. He focused on the married couple Priscilla and Aquila, who played an active part in the early Church and particularly in the ministry of St. Paul.

30. Women in the Early Church
At the General Audience on 14 February 2007, in the Vatican's Paul VI Audience Hall, the Holy Father concluded his series of Catecheses on the Apostles of the Church with the following Commentary on women at the service of the Gospel.

Seek God with Greater Tenacity
At the General Audience on Ash Wednesday, 21 February 2007, the Holy Father commented on the graced period of Lent and on his annual Message for this season. The Pope explained that the whole of Lent was "a journey towards this important encounter with Christ", enabled by true conversion, so that for us today Lent is "an opportunity to 'become' Christian 'anew'".

31 Clement of Rome
At the General Audience on 7 March 2007, in the Vatican's Paul VI Audience Hall, the Holy Father delivered an address on the third successor of St. Peter. In the early Church, almost canonical authority was ascribed to his Letter to the Corinthians.

32 Ignatius of Antioch
At the General Audience on 14 March 2007, in St. Peter's Square, the Holy Father delivered his Catechesis on the third Bishop of Antioch, 70-107 AD. St. Ignatius, on his way to martyrdom, from Syria to Rome, reinforced the faith of Christians wherever he stopped.

33. Justin, Philosopher and Martyr
On 21 March 2007, in St. Peter's Square, continuing his Catecheses on the Fathers of the early Church, the Holy Father reflected on St. Justin (c. 100-165), "the most important of the second-century apologist Fathers."

34. St. Irenaeus of Lyons
On 28 March 2007, at his General Audience in St. Peter's Square, the Holy Father focused on St. Irenaeus' repudiation of Gnostic heresies. There is no secret tradition known only to an intellectual elite, but the clear teaching handed down by the succession of Bishops, in conformity with the teaching of the Church of Rome.

The Easter Triduum
In his General Audience, 4 April 2007, in St. Peter's Square, the Holy Father focused on the key moments in the Easter Triduum. He reminds us that the Paschal Mystery is not only a memory, but a reality today, when Christ still conquers sin and death by His love.

34a. St Benedict
On 9 April 2008, at the General Audience in St Peter's Square, the Holy Father commented on St Benedict, the Father of Western Monasticism. For his role in the formation of the civilization and culture of Europe, St Benedict was proclaimed "Patron of Europe" by Pope Paul VI.

Octave of Easter 2007
On 11 April 2007, the Holy Father arrived in the Vatican by helicopter from Castel Gandolfo for the General Audience in St Peter's Square. The Pope reflected with the faithful on the Risen Lord's appearances to the disciples after his crucifixion and burial in the tomb.

35. Clement of Alexandria
On 18 April 2007, in St. Peter's Square, the Holy Father resumed his General Audience Catecheses on the early Church Fathers by commenting on St. Clement of Alexandria. For this great catechist, faith and reason are the two "wings" by which we reach intimate knowledge of Christ, the Logos.

36. Origen: Life and Work
On 25 April 2007, at his General Audience, the Holy Father examined the life and literary opus of the great Alexandrian teacher, identifying his threefold interpretation of the Bible as the "life-giving nucleus of all his work."

37. Origen: the Teaching
On 2 May 2007, at his General Audience in St. Peter's Square, the Holy Father continued his catechesis on Origen, by concentrating on the Alexandrian Father's teachings on prayer and the Church.

It Is Love That Gives Life
At the General Audience on 23 May 2007, in St. Peter's Square, the Holy Father commented on his recent Pastoral Visit to Brazil. The various stops during his recent Apostolic Journey to Brazil became a pilgrimage for the Pope to carry Gospel hope to Latin America and the world.

38. Tertullian
On 30 May 2007, at the General Audience in St. Peter's Square, the Holy Father continued his catechesis on the Fathers of the Church by commenting on Tertullian, the African writer who inaugurated the use of Latin in Christian literature. In his apologetical writings, Tertullian addressed pagan objections to Christianity and entered into dialogue with the culture of the time.

39. St. Cyprian
On 6 June 2007, at the General Audience in St. Peter's Square, the Holy Father commented on St. Cyprian, the third-century Bishop of Carthage, focusing on his teachings of unity and prayer. On Church unity, Cyprian especially emphasized the Chair of Peter.

40. Eusebius of Caesarea
On 13 June 2007, at the General Audience in St. Peter's Square, the Holy Father commented on Eusebius of Caesarea, the first historian of the Church and best known for his Ecclesiastical History, an invaluable source of information about the Church in the early centuries.

41. St. Athanasius
On 20 June 2007, in the Paul VI Auditorium, the Holy Father continued his Catecheses on the Teachers of the early Church, commenting this week on St. Athanasius of Alexandria. One of the most revered of the early Fathers, St. Athanasius was an "impassioned theologian of the Incarnation," upholding the fully deity of Christ, the Logos, against the Arian heresy.

42. St. Cyril of Jerusalem
At his General Audience on 27 June 2007, in the Paul VI Auditorium, the Holy Father continued his commentary on the great Teachers of the early Church, focusing this week on the 4th century Bishop, St. Cyril of Jerusalem. He is best known for his "Catecheses," 24 of which have been preserved.

43. St. Basil
At his General Audience on 4 July 2007, the Holy Father continued to comment on the great Teachers of the early Church, focusing this week on the fourth-century Bishop, St. Basil of Caesarea. St. Basil is honored for his contributions to Byzantine liturgy and for his monastic rule, on which St. Benedict drew for monastic life in the Western Church.

44. St. Basil
On 1 August 2007, in the Paul VI Auditorium, the Holy Father resumed his commentary on St Basil the Great of Caesarea, a fourth-century Doctor of the Church, whose concern for the poor, care for youth and stress on the Eucharist, teaches us much today about growth in holiness.

45. St. Gregory Nazianzus
On 8 August 2007, in the Paul VI Auditorium, the Holy Father commented on St. Gregory Nazianzus (Gregory the Theologian), who was a distinguished fourth-century theologian and orator and came from Cappadocia, like his friend, St. Basil.

46. St. Gregory Nazianzus
On 22 August 2007, in the Paul VI Auditorium, the Holy Father continued his commentary on St. Gregory Nazianzus, a fourth-century Bishop who felt called to put his literary talents at the service of the Gospel. The Pope said that in defending the faith proclaimed at the Council of Nicea, Gregory described the Trinity as "a triple light gathered into one splendour".

47. St. Gregory of Nyssa
At his General Audience on 29 August 2007, having commented on the other Cappadocian Fathers, St. Basil and St. Gregory Nazianzus, the Holy Father reflected on St. Gregory of Nyssa, St. Basil's younger brother and spiritual heir.

Look to Christ
On 12 September 2007, the Holy Father commented on his recent Apostolic Visit to Austria during the General Audience in St. Peter's Square. The Pope recalled the distinctly Marian tone of his Visit, noting that meeting Mary leads us all to her Son.

48. St. Gregory of Nyssa
On 5 September 2007, in St. Peter's Square, the Holy Father continued his Commentary on St Gregory of Nyssa, one of the great fourth-century Cappadocian Fathers. The Pope focused on St Gregory's teaching on the journey to perfection.

49. St. John Chrysostom
On 19 September 2007, the Holy Father commented on St. John Chrysostom during the General Audience in St. Peter's Square. Known as "golden-mouthed" for his eloquence, he was Bishop of Constantinople before being exiled by his enemies. He was among the most prolific writers of the early Church.

50 St. John Chrysostom
On 26 September 2007, at the General Audience in St. Peter's Square, the Holy Father continued his Commentary on St. John Chrysostom, who became Bishop of Constantinople in 397 A.D. St. John suffered much at the hands of his enemies, being exiled from the city, and hounded to his death.

51. St. Cyril of Alexandria
On 3 October 2007, during the General Audience in St. Peter's Square, the Holy Father delivered the following Catechesis on St. Cyril of Alexandria. He was involved in the Christological controversy, which led to the Council of Ephesus in 431.

52. St. Hillary of Poitiers
On 3 October 2007, during the General Audience in St. Peter's Square, the Holy Father commented on the fourth-century Bishop, St. Hilary of Poitiers, who spent his whole life defending the divinity of Christ against the Arians.

53. St. Eusebius of Vercelli
On 17 October 2007, during the General Audience in St. Peter's Square, the Holy Father commented on Bishop St. Eusebius of Vercelli. "With his sound formation in the Nicene faith, Eusebius did his utmost to defend the full divinity of Jesus Christ."

54. St. Ambrose
On 24 October 2007, at the General Audience in St. Peter's Square, the Holy Father commented on Bishop St Ambrose of Milan. The example of courage and fidelity of this great Father of the Church helped bring about the conversion of another great Father, St. Augustine.

55. St. Maximus of Turin
On 31 October 2007, at the General Audience in St. Peter's Square, the Holy Father commented on the fourth-fifth century Bishop, St. Maximus of Turin. In his sermons, St. Maximus gives evidence of the Church's increasing political authority, in the vacuum left by civil magistrates.

56. St. Jerome
On 7 November 2007, at the General Audience in St. Peter's Square, the Holy Father commented on St. Jerome, who made the Bible the focus of his life and was responsible for the Latin version of Scripture, known as the "Vulgate".

57. St. Jerome
On 14 November 2007, at the General Audience in St. Peter's Square, the Holy Father continued his Talks on the Church Father St. Jerome. The priest-scholar responsible for the Latin translation of the Bible urged daily, prayerful study of God's Word, always in the context of the Church.

58. St. Aphraates, the Sage
On 21 November 2007, at the General Audience in St. Peter's Square, the Holy Father continued his Talks on significant early Church figures by discussing the life of Aphraates, a fourth-century sage. Aphraates is an important representative of Syriac Christianity, of the Semitic world from which the Bible itself had come.

59. St. Ephrem
On 28 November 2007 at the General Audience in St. Peter's Square, the Holy Father continued his Catechesis on the Fathers of the Church. St. Ephrem the Deacon was the greatest Syriac Father and most renowned Patristic poet. He is an example of liturgical fidelity and charitable service to all.

60. St. Chromatius
On 5 December 2007, at the General Audience in the Vatican's Paul VI Auditorium, the Holy Father delivered the following Catechesis on St Chromatius, Bishop of Aquileia in northern Italy. This fourth-century bishop, a wise teacher and zealous pastor, teaches us to have prayerful confidence in the mercy and victory of the Lord Jesus.

61. St. Paulinus of Nola
On 12 December 2007, at the General Audience in the Vatican's Paul VI Auditorium, the Holy Father spoke on the contemporary and friend of St. Augustine, Paulinus of Nola. In the spiritual development of this Saint from southern Italy, there are three key aspects: asceticism, charity, and God's Word.

Advent: Awaiting God's Justice
On 19 December 2007, at the General Audience in the Vatican's Paul VI Auditorium, the Holy Father delivered the following instruction on the Birth of Christ. Waiting for the Judge, hoping for justice to be done, means doing justice ourselves, preparing ourselves and the world for His justice.

Mother of God
On 2 January 2008, at the General Audience in the Vatican's Paul VI Auditorium, the Holy Father commented on Mary's ancient title of "Theotokos" or "Mother of God", confirmed at the Council of Ephesus in the fifth century, which expresses her special mission in the history of salvation.

62. St. Augustine of Hippo
On 9 January 2008, at the General Audience in the Vatican's Paul VI Auditorium, the Holy Father commented on St. Augustine of Hippo. The Rhetorician's tormented interior journey which led to his moral and intellectual conversion remains a model of perseverance for the faithful.

63. St. Augustine of Hippo
On Wednesday, 16 January 2008, at the General Audience in the Vatican, the Holy Father delivered part two of his Commentary on St. Augustine of Hippo. The Pope described the Saint's last days, when his See was under siege from the Vandals.

Pray Without Ceasing
On 23 January 2008, at the General Audience held in the Vatican's Paul VI Audience Hall during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (18-25 January), the Holy Father stressed the importance of prayer for unity, since human effort alone will not be enough.

64. St. Augustine
On 30 January 2008, at the General Audience held in the Vatican's Paul VI Audience Hall, the Holy Father continued his Commentary on St. Augustine and his teachings. The experience of God by the great sinner of Hippo turned him into a great Saint, and shows us that our hearts too will be restless until they rest in the Lord.

Conversion, Renewal for the Baptized
On Ash Wednesday, 6 February 2008, at the General Audience held in the Vatican's Paul VI Audience Hall, the Holy Father commented on the liturgical Season of Lent. In our need for infinite joy, we take our Lenten journey to make room for the God who satisfies beyond the material horizons of success, prestige and commodities.

65. Augustine the Writer
On 20 February 2008, after greeting pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Basilica, the Holy Father went to the Paul VI Auditorium for the General Audience. The Pope continued his catechesis on St. Augustine, commenting on select titles from the Father's enormous literary opus.

66. Augustine's Conversion
On 27 February 2008, after greeting pilgrims in St. Peter's Basilica, the Holy Father proceeded to the Paul VI Audience Hall where he concluded his Catechesis on St. Augustine. The great convert of Hippo learned that conversion is a lifelong process and encountering Christ is the only answer to the restlessness of a human heart.

67. St. Leo the Great
On 5 March 2008, the Holy Father conducted his General Audience in the Paul VI Hall, commenting on Pope St. Leo the Great. He is remembered in particular for his role in defining the relation between the humanity and divinity of Christ for the Council of Chalcedon.

68. Boethius and Cassiodorus
On 12 March 2008, during the General Audience in the Paul VI Hall, the Pontiff continued his catechesis on the early Church, focusing on two sixth-century Christian writers who helped preserve the heritage of Greek and Roman learning handed down by generations of Christians.

The Holy Triduum
On 19 March 2008, at his General Audience, in the Paul VI Hall, the Holy Father delivered his Catechesis on the Easter Triduum, in which the Passion, death, and Resurrection of Christ are commemorated.

Octave of Easter
At the General Audience in St. Peter's Square, 26 March 2008, the Holy Father focused on the Risen Jesus and the events of the Octave of Easter. The Resurrection of Christ is fundamental to Christianity, which established that all He taught was the truth.

U.S.A. and U.N. Visit in Retrospect
On 30 April 2008, at the General Audience in St Peter's Square, the Holy Father commented on his recent Apostolic Visit to the United States of America, from 15 to 21 April 2008, and the the United Nations Organization on 18 April. The Pope described the U.S. as the "homeland of religious freedom."

Come, Holy Spirit
On 7 May 2008, at the General Audience in St. Peter's Square the Holy Father welcomed His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians. In his Catechesis, the Holy Father asked the faithful to pray more fervently for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon all Christians, as we seek to "advance on the path of ecumenism".

69. Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite
On 14 May 2008, at the General Audience in St. Peter's Square, the Holy Father commented on an anonymous sixth-century author whose writings have been attributed to a first-century disciple of St. Paul, Dionysius the Areopagite. Author of the first great mystical theology, he taught that our concepts of God always fall short of Him, but that love of God in Christ is an eye that sees more clearly.

70. Romanus the Melodist
On 21 May 2008, at the General Audience in the Paul VI Auditorium the Holy Father commented on St. Romanus Melodus, 6th century Syrian theologian, poet, and composer. When the Mother of God appeared to him in a dream, St. Romanus received a charism of poetry, after which he wrote hundreds of kontakia, liturgical hymns, still sung in Eastern liturgies today.

71. Pope St. Gregory the Great
On 28 May 2008, the Holy Father met with the faithful in St. Peter's Square for the General Audience. He continued his catechesis on significant figures in the Church, speaking on Pope St. Gregory the Great. In the complex circumstances of his pontificate, he strove to "to promote understanding on the diplomatic-political level and to spread the proclamation of the true faith among the peoples."

72. Pope St. Gregory the Great
On 4 June 2008, the Holy Father continued his catechesis for the faithful and visitors gathered in St. Peter's Square on St. Gregory the Great. The Pope reflected on some of Gregory's writings, in particular, his exegetical works on Job, Ezekiel, and the Gospel, and a hagiographical work, The Dialogues.

73. St. Columban
On 11 June 2008, at the General Audience in St. Peter's Square, the Holy Father commented on St. Columban, one of the many Irish monks who contributed to the evangelization of Europe in the early Middle Ages. He was a "man of great culture," a penitential preacher, and a tireless builder of monasteries.

74. St. Isidore of Seville
On 18 June 2008, at the General Audience in St. Peter's Square, the Holy Father commented on the seventh century Saint, Isidore of Seville, St. Leander's youngest brother and a contemporary and friend of St Gregory the Great. St. Isidore's writings reveal an "encyclopaedic knowledge of pagan classical culture and a thorough knowledge of Christian culture."

75. St. Maximus the Confessor
On 25 June 2008, at the General Audience in St. Peter's Square, the Holy Father commented on St. Maximus the Confessor, a heroic defender of the Church's faith in the true humanity of Christ, amid the bitter theological controversies of the seventh century, namely monothelitism.

76. St. John Climacus
On 11 February 2009, at the General Audience in the Paul VI Audience Hall, resuming his Catecheses on the great Christian writers of both East and West, the Holy Father commented on St John Climacus. This 7th century eastern hermit became famous for his spiritual work, the Ladder of Divine Ascent.

77. St. Bede: Venerable for His Wisdom and Holiness
On 18 February 2009, at the General Audience in St. Peter's Square, the Holy Father commented on St. Bede the Venerable, best known for his historical writings, in which he traced the history of the Church from the Acts of the Apostles to his own times.

78. St. Bonaface / Lead Us Not into the Temptation of Violence
On 11 March 2009, at the General Audience in St. Peter's Square, the Holy Father continued his Catecheses on early Christian writers of the East and West, commenting this week on St Boniface, the Apostle of the Germans. Speaking of the Saint's "ardent zeal for the Gospel," the Pope urged us to renew our faith in order to give the "precious pearl of the Gospel" to our time.

His Recent Journey to Africa
On 1 April 2009, at the General Audience in St. Peter's Square, the Holy Father spoke of his first Apostolic Visit to Africa, referring to the days he spent in Yaoundé, Cameroon, and in Luanda, Angola.

On the Meaning of Holy Week
On 8 April 2009, at the General Audience in St. Peter's Square, the Holy Father spoke on the significance of the rites of Holy Week, from the Chrism Mass on Holy Thursday through the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday.

Rejoice! Christ is Risen! Alleluia
On 15 April 2009, in the Octave of Easter, at the General Audience in St. Peter's Square the Holy Father commented on the beginning of the liturgical Season of Easter, the joyful celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead.

79. Ambrose Autpert
On 22 April 2009, at the General Audience in St Peter's Square the Holy Father dwelled on Ambrose Autpert, an eighth-century Benedictine monk and abbot. Although many of his writings were ascribed to better known people, he is remembered for his most important work, the first Latin commentary on last book of the Bible, the Apocalypse.

80. St. Germanus I
On 29 April 2009, at the General Audience in St Peter's Square the Holy Father commented on St Germanus Bishop and Patriarch of Constantinople in the eighth century. St Germanus is honored today for championing the use of sacred images in worship, in face of the iconoclastic controversy.

81. St. John Damascene
On 6 May 2009, at the General Audience in St Peter's Square the Holy Father commented on St John of Damascus, a wealthy man of prime importance in Byzantine history. St John, who defended the veneration of icons, was among the first to distinguish proskynesis, veneration, due to the Saints, from latreia, adoration, due only to God.

Nothing Is Impossible to God
On 20 May 2009, at the General Audience in St Peter's Square the Holy Father, commented on his recent Apostolic Journey to the Holy Land. In expressing his hope for an end to the spiral of violence in the Middle East, the Pope said, "Nothing is impossible to God and to those who trust in him."

82. St. Theodore the Studite
On 27 May 2009, at the General Audience in St Peter's Square the Holy Father spoke about St Theodore the Studite, a monk of the medieval Byzantine period who vigorously opposed the iconoclastic movement. He was distinguished in Church history as a defender of the veneration of icons and one of the great reformers of monastic life.

83. Bl. Rabanus Maurus
On 3 June 2009, at the General Audience in St Peter's Square the Holy Father focused on another great monk of the High Middle Ages, Bl. Rabanus Maurus, Abbot of Fulda and then Archbishop of Mainz. He was credited with "keeping alive that theological, exegetic and spiritual culture" of the Fathers who had preceded him.

84. John Scotus Erigena
On 10 June 2009, at the General Audience in St Peter's Square the Holy Father commented on John (Johannes) Scotus Erigena, an influential Christian thinker of the Carolingian period who had a profound knowledge of the Christian Fathers of both East and West.

85. Sts Cyril and Methodius
On 17 June 2009, at the General Audience in St Peter's Square, the Holy Father spoke about Sts Cyril and Methodius, the brothers also known as "the Apostles to the Slavs." They invented an alphabet for the Slavonic language, into which they translated the Bible and liturgical texts.

On the Meaning of the Year for Priests
On 24 June 2009, at the General Audience in St Peter's Square, the Holy Father reflected on the Apostle Paul and St John Mary Vianney, the humble Cure d'Ars, at the end of the Pauline Year and the beginning of the Year for Priests.

Importance of Prayer in the Year for Priests
On 1 July 2009, at the General Audience in St Peter's Square, the Holy Father spoke to the faithful on the most essential elements of the priestly ministry, Word and Sacrament. They are rooted in the priest's own communion with Christ, which depends on prayer.

Justice and the Common Good
On 8 July 2009, at the General Audience in the Paul VI Audience Hall, the Holy Father commented on his new social Encyclical, Caritas in Veritate — charity in truth. The Pope's third Encyclical was officially presented on 7 July and is dated 29 June.

86. St John Mary Vianney
On 5 August 2009, at the General Audience at his Summer Residence in Castel Gandolfo, the Holy Father commented on the Holy Curé d'Ars the day after the 150th anniversary of his birth in Heaven. The Pope stressed several features of the Saint that can serve as examples to priests today, in this Year of Priests.

Mary as the Mother of Priests
On 12 August 2009, at the General Audience held at the Papal Summer Residence in Castel Gandolfo, in the context of upcoming Solemnity of the Assumption the Holy Father reflected on the connection between Our Lady and the priesthood.

87. St John Eudes
On 19 August 2009, during the General Audience held at the Papal Summer Residence in Castel Gandolfo on the Memorial of St John Eudes, the Holy Father commented on this French Saint of the 17th century, who spread the devotion to the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, and on the formation of the clergy.

Protection of the Environment: A Step Towards Integral Human Development
At the General Audience on 26 August 2009, at Castel Gandolfo the Holy Father spoke to the faithful gathered in the courtyard of the Papal Summer Residence on the relationship between the Creator and ourselves as guardians of his creation.

88. St Odo of Cluny
At the General Audience on 2 September 2009, in the Paul VI Audience Hall, the Holy Father resumed his Catecheses on important figures of the Church in the Middle Ages, commenting on St Odo of Cluny, "an authentic spiritual guide for his troubled times". He followed in the steps of St Benedict, in his zeal for souls and contempt for the world.

89. St Peter Damian
At the General Audience on Wednesday, 9 September 2009, in the Paul VI Audience Hall, the Holy Father spoke about St Peter Damian, an accomplished writer and Latinist in the 11th century, who described his hermit's cell as the "parlour in which God converses with men."

90. Symeon the New Theologian
At the General Audience on 16 September 2009, in the Paul VI Audience Hall, the Holy Father commented on Symeon, an Eastern monk known as the "New Theologian" who lived in the 10th century. According to Symeon, "true knowledge of God does not come from books but rather from spiritual experience."

Apostolic Visit to the Czech Republic
At the General Audience on 30 September 2009, in St Peter's Square, the Holy Father commented on his recent Apostolic Visit to the Czech Republic. The Pope described it as a pilgrimage, because of the lands' history of faith and holiness, and a mission, because Europe needs to be recalled to its foundation in God.

91. St John Leonardi
At the General Audience on 7 October 2009, in St Peter's Square, the Holy Father talked about St John Leonardi (1541-1609), Founder of the Clerks Regular of the Mother of God in Lucca, and, with others, of the institution known today as the Congregation of Propaganda Fide.

92. Peter the Venerable
At the General Audience on 14 October 2009, in St Peter's Square, the Holy Father commented on Peter the Venerable, Abbot of Cluny, an outstanding churchman of the early 12th century. He was known for his love of the Eucharist and his devotion to the Mother of God.

93. St Bernard of Clairvaux
At the General Audience on 21 October 2009 in St Peter's Square, the Holy Father commented on St Bernard of Clairvaux, one of the most important theologians of the Middle Ages, called "the last of the Fathers."

94. Monastic and Scholastic Theology
On 28 October 2009, at the General Audience in St Peter's Square, the Holy Father reflected on the flourishing of Latin theology in the 12th century. It developed along two lines, according as it was monastic or scholastic in method.

95. St Bernard of Clairvaux and Peter Abelard
At the General Audience on 4 November 2009, in St Peter's Square, the Holy Father spoke of the theological controversy between St Bernard of Clairvaux (for monastic theology) and Peter Abelard (for scholastic theology) and of what we can learn from it today.

96. The Monastic Order of Cluny
At the General Audience on 11 November 2009, in the Vatican's Paul VI Audience Hall, the Holy Father commented on the Order of Cluny, an important monastic movement in the Middle Ages whose reputation for holiness and learning caused its influence to spread throughout Europe.

97. Encountering God Through Beauty
At the General Audience on 18 November 2009, in the Vatican's Paul VI Audience Hall the Holy Father focused on how the Christian faith of the Middle Ages inspired some of the greatest works of art of all time: the cathedrals of Europe.

98. Hugh and Richard of Saint-Victor
At the General Audience on 25 November 2009, in the Vatican's Paul VI Audience Hall, the Holy Father commented on two outstanding 12th-century theologians associated with the Monastery of Saint-Victor in Paris: Hugh of Saint-Victor and Richard of Saint-Victor, one of Hugh's disciples.

99. William of Saint-Thierry
At the General Audience on 2 December 2009, in St Peter's Square, the Holy Father reflected on William of Saint-Thierry, a close friend and biographer of Bernard of Clairvaux, who taught that love goes beyond reason in the knowledge of God.

100. Rupert of Deutz
At the General Audience on 9 December 2009 in the Paul VI Hall, the Holy Father commented on Rupert of Deutz, an outstanding theologian of the 12th century, who was noteworthy for his devotion to the Blessed Virgin and his defense of the Real Presence in the Eucharist.

101. John of Salisbury
At the General Audience on 16 December 2009, in the Paul VI Hall, the Holy Father talked about John of Salisbury, an outstanding philosopher and theologian in the 12th century. John supported St Thomas Becket in opposing the attempt of Henry II to control the Church in England, and he taught the proper subjection of the juridical order to natural law.

On the Meaning of Christmas
On 23 December 2009, in the Paul VI Audience Hall, the Holy Father reflected on the meaning of Christmas. In Christ, God came to us without weapons or force, in defenseless love, asking to be received.

102. Peter Lombard
At the General Audience on 30 December 2009, in the Paul VI Audience Hall, the Holy Father commented on Peter Lombard. This outstanding theologian of the 12th century died as Bishop of Paris. He is best known for his work, the "Book of Sentences," which was the standard theological text for over three centuries.

103. Franciscan and Dominican Orders in the Middle Ages
At the General Audience on 13 January 2010, in the Paul VI Audience Hall, the Holy Father continued his Catecheses on medieval Christian culture, commenting on the movement of ecclesial reform promoted by the two great Mendicant Orders — the Franciscans and the Dominicans.

Ecumenism a Result of Divine Action and Human Responsibility
At the General Audience in the Paul VI Audience Hall on 20 January 2010, the Holy Father commented on the ecumenical goal of visible unity among Christians. He spoke of great progress and new difficulties along this path.

104. St Francis of Assisi
On 27 January 2010, during his General Audience Catechesis Benedict XVI spoke to the faithful gathered in the Paul VI Audience Hall about St Francis of Assisi. Giving an overview of the Saint's life, the Pope gave insight into Francis' spirituality, shaped by his desire to follow Christ so closely as to be like Him.

105. St Dominic
On 3 February 2010, at the General Audience in the Paul VI Audience Hall, the Holy Father commented on St Dominic, Founder of the Order of Preachers, and the great contribution he made to the renewal of the Church in the Middle Ages.

106. St Anthony of Padua
On 10 February 2010, at the General Audience in the Paul VI Audience Hall, the Holy Father commented on St Anthony of Padua, a contemporary of St Francis who helped lay the foundations of the Franciscan theological and spiritual tradition.

On the Meaning of Ash Wednesday
On Ash Wednesday, 17 February 2010, at the General Audience in the Paul VI Audience Hall, the Holy Father commented on this day that introduces the Lenten Season. Though we must return to the dust from which we were made, we are destined to immortality through the death and resurrection of Christ.

107. St Bonaventure
At the General Audience in the Paul VI Audience Hall on Wednesday, 3 March 2010, the Holy Father spoke of St Bonaventure, a distinguished theologian and Master at the University of Paris and for 17 years Minister General of the Friars Minor. As a young man the Pope wrote his second doctoral thesis on this Saint.

108. St Bonaventure: Literary Work and Doctrine
At the General Audience in the Paul VI Audience Hall on 10 March 2010, the Holy Father continued the commentary on St Bonaventure, which he began the previous week, focusing on the the Seraphic Doctor's "remarkable theology of history and progress". Although the Church cannot be superseded, she herself progresses.

109. St Bonaventure & St Thomas Aquinas
On 17 March 2010, at the General Audience, held for the first time this year in St Peter's Square, the Holy Father spoke on St Bonaventure, a contemporary of St Thomas Aquinas and a great master of prayer for the third time.

110. St Albert the Great
On 24 March 2010, at the General Audience in St Peter's Square, continuing his Catecheses on the Christian culture of the Middle Ages, the Holy Father commented on St Albert the Great (Albertus Magnus), for his encyclopedic studies called "Universal Doctor" by Pius XII.

Catechesis on the Easter Triduum
On Wednesday, 31 March 2010, at the General Audience in St Peter's Square the Holy Father reflected on the celebration of the Easter Triduum and the Liturgies of these days that "invite us to ponder Christ's saving sacrifice and his promise of new life".

On the Joy of the Resurrection
On 7 April 2010, at the General Audience in St Peter's Square the Holy Father reflected on the spiritual joy of Easter and on Christ's glorious Resurrection. All believers are obliged by their words and actions consistent with Gospel to bear witness to the Risen Jesus.

The Priest's Three Duties
On 14 April 2010, at the General Audience in St Peter's Square the Holy Father reflected on the priest's configuration to Christ through the exercise of the three "munera" of teaching, sanctifying and governing. At this Audience, the Pope focused on teaching.

Catechesis on His Pastoral Visit to Malta
On 21 April 2010, at the General Audience in St Peter's Square the Holy Father reviewed his recent Apostolic Visit to Malta for the 1,950th anniversary of St Paul's shipwreck off Malta and the Apostle's three-month stay there.

111. St Leonard Murialdo & St Joseph Cottolengo
On 28 April 2010, at the General Audience in St Peter's Square, the Holy Father talked about St Leonard Murialdo, Founder of the Congregation of St Joseph, and St Joseph Cottolengo, Founder of the "Little House of Divine Providence", both outstanding priests and apostles of charity in the 19th century.

The Duty of Priests to Sanctify
On 5 May 2010, at the General Audience in St Peter's Square, the Holy Father mentioned briefly the highlight of his recent Pastoral Visit to Turin on Sunday, 2 May, his opportunity to pray before the Holy Shroud. With the end of the Year for Priests in sight, the Pope then returned to the specific ministry of priests and their ministry of sanctification, which brings priests "into life-giving contact with the mystery of God's holiness".

Stages of His Apostolic Trip to Portugal
At the General Audience in St Peter's Square on 19 May 2010, the Holy Father outlined his recent Trip to Portugal from 11-14 May. The highlight of his Trip was Fatima where the Blessed Virgin invites us to "walk with great hope, letting ourselves be guided by the wisdom from on high." 

The Essential Tasks of a Priest
On 26 May 2010, in St Peter's Square, the Holy Father spoke about the priest's ministry of governing, in the name of Christ, the flock entrusted to his care, a service for the ultimate good of the person.

Visit to Cyprus Recalled
On 9 June 2010, at the General Audience in St Peter's Square, the Holy Father spoke of his recent Apostolic Journey to Cyprus, from 4-6 June, in the footsteps of St Paul and St Barnabas.

112. St Thomas Aquinas
At the General Audience on 16 June 2010, in St Peter's Square the Holy Father continued his Reflection on the Christian culture of the Middle Ages with comments on the teaching of St Thomas Aquinas, "which the Church has consistently upheld as a model of sound theological method".

113. St Thomas Aquinas, Conclusion
At the General Audience in the Paul VI Audience Hall on 23 June 2010, the Holy Father continued his Reflection on the Christian culture of the Middle Ages reflecting once again, in his third Catechesis on St Thomas Aquinas, on the Summa Theologiae, the Saint's masterpiece.

114. St Joseph Cafasso
On 30 June 2010, at the General Audience in St Peter's Square, as he had announced at the previous General Audience, the Holy Father commented on St Joseph Cafasso, a priest of Turin in northern Italy who lived in the 19th century and was known as an educator and formator of priests.

115. Bl John Duns Scotus
On 7 July 2010, at the General Audience in St Peter's Square, the Holy Father reflected on Blessed John Duns Scotus, a distinguished Franciscan theologian in the Middle Ages, noted for his teaching on the Immaculate Conception and on the Incarnation as the centerpiece of God's plan, independent of the fall of man.

116. St Tarcisius, Patron of Altar Servers
To communicate fearlessly to their peers the gift of friendship with the Lord was Benedict XVI's invitation to more than 55,000 people, mainly young altar servers, who filled St Peter's Square at the General Audience on 4 August 2010. At the end of the Audience the Holy Father blessed the statue of St Tarcisius, brought by the altar servers to be placed at the Catacombs of St Calixtus.

117. Several Holy Martyrs
On 11 August 2010, at the General Audience at Castel Gandolfo the Holy Father spoke of several Saints recently commemorated and reflected on the meaning of martyrdom. In a single definitive act, a martyr gives his whole life to God, the "supreme act of faith, hope, and charity."

118. St Pius X
At the General Audience on 18 August 2010, at the Papal Summer Residence in Castel Gandolfo, the Holy Father commented on Pope St Pius X, whose "Pontificate left an indelible mark on the Church's history and was distinguished by a considerable effort for reform."

119. St Augustine as Travelling Companion of Christians
On 25 August 2010, at the Papal Summer Residence in Castel Gandolfo, the Holy Father commented on the importance of having "travelling companions" on the journey of spiritual life. He then commented on St Augustine, one of the Saints to whom he himself is deeply attached.

120. St Hildegard of Bingen
On 1 September 2010, the General Audience was held in the square in front of the Papal Summer Residence in Castel Gandolfo. The Pope commented this week on St Hildegard of Bingen, the "Teutonic prophetess," a great German religious and mystic with many gifts who lived in the 12th century.

121. Further Reflection on St Hildegard of Bingen
On 8 September 2010, the Holy Father came into Rome from Castel Gandolfo for the General Audience in the Paul VI Audience Hall. The Pope's Catechesis focused once again on St Hildegard of Bingen, the gifted German religious and mystic who lived in the 12th century.

122. St Clare of Assisi
On 15 September 2010, at the General Audience held in the Paul VI Audience Hall in the Vatican, the Holy Father commented on St Clare of Assisi, a great mystic, friend to St Francis and the Foundress of the Poor Clare Nuns.

An Historic Event
On 22 September 2010 at the General Audience in the Paul VI Audience Hall, the Holy Father reflected on his Visit to the United Kingdom from which he had just returned.

123. St Matilda of Hackeborn
On 29 September 2010, at the General Audience in St Peter's Square the Holy Father commented on St Matilda of Hackeborn (Mechthild von Hackeborn), a great 13th-century mystic who lived in the convent of Helfta in Saxony.

124. St Gertrude the Great
On 6 October 2010, at the General Audience in St Peter's Square the Holy Father commented on St Gertrude the Great, a remarkable religious woman of the 13th century, associated like St Matilda of Hackeborn with the Cistercian Monastery of Helfta.

125. Angela of Foligno
On 13 October 2010, at the General Audience in St Peter's Square the Holy Father commented on Blessed Angela of Foligno, a 13th-century mystic. The Pope described the stages of her conversion, from repentance based on fear of hell, to loving union with Christ Crucified.

126. St Elizabeth of Hungary
On 20 October 2010, at the General Audience, the Holy Father met groups of the faithful in St Peter's Square. This week the Pope commented on another great medieval Saint, Elizabeth of Hungary, also known as Elizabeth of Thuringia.

127. St Bridget of Sweden
On 27 October 2010, at the General Audience in St Peter's Square, the Holy Father dwelled on St Bridget of Sweden whom Pope John Paul II declared Co-Patroness of Europe. The Pope spoke of the two stages of her life, married and widowed, and of her famous revelations.

128. Marguerite d'Oingt
On 3 November 2010, at the General Audience in the Paul VI Audience Hall, the Holy Father spoke about the Medieval French Saint, Marguerite d'Oingt, and how she considered the Lord as a book, a mirror, from which light entered her soul.

Visit to Santiago de Compostela and Barcelona
On 10 November 2010, the Holy Father first greeted the pilgrims from Carpineto Romano and from the Czech Republic in St Peter's Basilica, and others of the faithful, for whom there was no room in the Paul VI Audience Hall, where the Pope then went to reflect on his recent Visit to Santiago de Compostela and to Barcelona, Spain.

129. St Juliana of Cornillon
On 17 November 2010, at the General Audience in St Peter's Square the Holy Father commented on St Juliana of Cornillon, better known as Juliana of Liège, who lived in the 12th century. St Juliana played a crucial role in the institution of the Feast of Corpus Christi.

130. St Catherine of Siena
On 24 November 2010, at the General Audience in the Paul VI Hall, the Holy Father commented on St Catherine of Siena, in the world Catherine Benincasa, who lived in the 14th century. She was declared Doctor of the Church by Paul VI, and Co-Patroness of Europe by John Paul II.

131. Julian of Norwich
At the General Audience on 1 December 2010, held in the Paul IV Audience Hall, the Holy Father talked about Dame Julian of Norwich. This English anchoress who lived in the late 14th and early 15th centuries is best known for her book "Revelations of Divine Love in Sixteen Showings".

132. St Veronica Giuliani
On 15 December 2010, at the General Audience in the Paul VI Audience Hall, the Holy Father commented on St Veronica Giuliani, a Capuchin Poor Clare and mystic who was born 350 years ago. She is known for having united her sufferings to the Passion of Christ, to give herself for the salvation of mankind.

General Audience Before Christmas
On Wednesday, 22 December 2011, at the General Audience in the Paul VI Hall, the Holy Father invited the faithful to let themselves be "surprised and illumined by this act of God which is totally unexpected: God makes himself a Child."

133. St Catherine of Bologna
At the last General Audience of the year 2010, held on 29 December, in the Paul VI Audience Hall, the Holy Father commented on St Catherine of Bologna, a Poor Clare, an abbess in the 15th century and "a woman of great wisdom and culture".

134. Pope St Leo the Great on Christmas
The Holy Father asked the faithful to "recover the meaning of this Christmas Season, divesting it of excessive moralistic sentimentality" at the first General Audience of the New Year on 5 January 2011, in the Paul VI Audience Hall. The Pope reflected on the meaning of Christmas in light of the teaching of St Leo the Great.

135. St Catherine of Genoa
On 12 January 2011, at the General Audience in the Paul VI Audience Hall, the Holy Father commented on St Catherine of Genoa — in the world, Caterina Fieschi Adorn — a 15th-century Saint best known for her vision of purgatory. It is not an exterior fire, but interior, a response of love to God's love for the soul.

Christian Unity Abides in Prayer
During the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (1/18-25/2011), "communion with God, expressed as brotherly communion, lived out in practice in social commitment, in Christian charity and in justice" was the Holy Father's focus at the General Audience on 19 January 2011.

136. St Teresa of Jesus
Praying does not mean wasting time but rather discovering God's love, the very essence of our life, said the Holy Father in his General Audience of 2 February 2011, given in the Paul VI Audience Hall. The Pope's catechesis was on St Teresa of Avila, the 16th century Spanish mystic and Doctor of the Church.

137. St Peter Canisius
Catechists and preachers must be able "to combine harmoniously fidelity to dogmatic principles with the respect that is due to every person" the Pope said. He was speaking to the faithful at the General Audience on Wednesday, 9 February 2011, in the Paul VI Audience Hall of St Peter Canisius, SJ, a Dutch theologian of the 16th century.

138. St John of the Cross
At the General Audience on 16 February 2011, in the Paul VI Audience Hall, the Holy Father commented on St John of the Cross (1542-1591), a Discalced Carmelite friar and priest and a Doctor of the Church. He is traditionally known as Doctor mysticus, for his elevated mystical doctrine.

139. St Robert Bellarmine
At the General Audience on 23 February 2011, the Holy Father commented on St Robert Bellarmine, the great Jesuit theologian and Doctor of the Church (1542-1621), whose teaching helped to clarify and reinforce Catholic doctrine for the faithful after the Protestant Reformation.

140. St Francis de Sales
In an epoch such as ours that seeks freedom even with violence and unrest, the "fascination and full message on the reality of love that St Francis de Sales has bequeathed to us remains very up to date". So said the Holy Father at the General Audience on Wednesday, 2 March 2011, in the Paul VI Audience Hall. This Saint was "an outstanding Bishop and master of the spiritual life in the period following the Council of Trent".

About Lent 2011
On Ash Wednesday, 9 March 2011, at the General Audience in the Paul VI Audience Hall, the Holy Father reflected on the spiritual journey which started on this day and is traditionally marked by fasting, almsgiving and prayer.

141. St Lawrence of Brindisi
On 23 March 2011, at the General Audience in St Peter's Square, the Holy Father commented on St Lawrence of Brindisi, a Capuchin friar who lived in the 16th and early 17th centuries, "known for his vigorous labour for the salvation of souls, his vast learning and his eloquent preaching".

142. St Alphonsus Liguori
At the General Audience on 30 March 2011, in St Peter's Square, the Holy Father spoke to the faithful about a holy Doctor of the Church, Alphonsus Maria Liguori who was the Founder of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (Redemptorists).

143. St Thérèse of Lisieux
At the General Audience on 6 April 2011, in St Peter's Square, the Holy Father spoke to the faithful about the "marvelous story of Love" of St Thérèse of Lisieux, the "universal sister" and Doctor of the Church.

144. All the Pope's Saints
Holiness, which characterizes a Saint, is "the very measure of Christian living". It is being "united with Christ, in living his mysteries, in making our own his example, his thoughts, his behaviour." The Holy Father said this at the General Audience of Wednesday, 13 April 2011, in St Peter's Square, concluding the series of his commentaries on the saints over the last two years.

Easter Triduum 2011
In his prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus took on the poverty, problems and suffering of all mankind and raised them to "God's heights". This was the essence of the Pope's meditation at the General Audience in St Peter's Square on Wednesday, 20 April 2011, the eve of the Easter Triduum.

Easter Octave 2011
At the General Audience on 27 April 2011, in St Peter's Square, the Holy Father spoke to the faithful about how the Resurrection of Christ differed from that of Lazarus, the daughter of Jairus, and the young man of Nain.


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