Last Messages of the Holy Father
Pope John Paul II
GOOD FRIDAY - VIA CRUCIS
I suffer 'so that God's plan may be completed'
On Good Friday evening, 25 March, the Holy Father was televised praying in his Private Chapel at the Vatican as he watched the live broadcast of the Way of the Cross at Rome's Colosseum. The following is a translation from Italian of the Pope's Message to the faithful who were taking part in this annual Good Friday celebration.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I am with you in spirit at the Colosseum, a place that stirs up within me so many memories and emotions, in order to take part in the evocative rite of the Way of the Cross on this Good Friday evening.
I join you in the invocation, so rich in meaning: "Adoramus te, Christe, et benedicimus tibi, quia per sanctam crucem tuam redemisti mundum".
Yes, we adore and bless the mystery of the Cross of the Son of God, because it was from his death that new hope for humanity was born.
The sanctification of suffering
The adoration of the Cross directs us to a commitment that we cannot shirk: the mission that St Paul expressed in these words: "[I]n my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the Church" (Col 1:24). I also offer my sufferings so that God's plan may be completed and his Word spread among the peoples. I, in turn, am close to all who are tried by suffering at this time. I pray for each one of them.
On this memorable day of Christ's crucifixion, I look at the Cross with you in adoration, repeating the words of the liturgy: "O crux, ave spes unica!". Hail, O Cross, our only hope, give us patience and courage and obtain peace for the world!
With these sentiments, I bless you and all those who are taking part in this Way of the Cross via radio or television.
From the Vatican, 25 March 2005
'The blazing light of the Risen Christ'
On Holy Saturday evening, 26 March, the Holy Father sent a Message to all who were taking part in the Easter Vigil Mass, celebrated in St Peter's Basilica by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The following is a translation of the Holy Father's Message, given in Italian.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
At the end of the Lenten penitential journey and after having meditated in these last days on the sorrowful passion and dramatic death of Jesus on the Cross, we are celebrating on this singular night the glorious mystery of his Resurrection.
Thanks to television, I am able to follow from my apartment the suggestive Easter Vigil, over which Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger is presiding in St Peter's Basilica. To him, I send my fraternal greeting, which I extend to the other Cardinals, Archbishops and Bishops present. I also greet with affection the priests, men and women religious and the faithful gathered around the altar of the Lord, with a special thought for the catechumens who prepare themselves during this holy Vigil to receive the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist.
This night is truly extraordinary, one in which the blazing light of the Risen Christ definitively defeats the dark power of evil and death, and rekindles hope and joy in the hearts of believers. Dear friends, guided by the liturgy, let us pray to the Lord Jesus so that the world may see and recognize that, thanks to his passion, death and Resurrection, what was destroyed is rebuilt, what was ageing is renewed and completely restored, more beautiful than ever, to its original wholeness.
I warmly express to all my fervent best wishes, and I assure you of a remembrance in my prayers so that the Risen Lord bestows on each of you and your families and communities the paschal gift of his peace. I accompany these sentiments with a special Apostolic Blessing.
From the Vatican, 26 March 2005, Easter Vigil
DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY
The 'last gift' of the Pope for Divine Mercy Sunday
Pope John Paul II died peacefully on the evening of 2 April, 9:37 p.m. Rome time. The last gift of the Holy Father for Divine Mercy Sunday, 3 April (also the Second Sunday of Easter), was the Regina Caeli, read by Archbishop Leonardo Sandra, Substitute of the Secretariat of State, at the end of the Holy Mass celebrated that day in St Peter's Square for the deceased Pope... "I have been charged", Archbishop Sandri said, "to read you the text that was prepared in accordance with his explicit instructions by the Holy Father John Paul II. I am deeply honoured to do so, but also filled with nostalgia". The following is a translation of this "last gift" of John Paul II.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
1. Today the glorious Alleluia of Easter resounds. Today's Gospel from John emphasizes that on the evening of that day he appeared to the Apostles and "showed them his hands and his side" (Jn 20:20), that is, the signs of the painful passion with which his Body was indelibly stamped, even after the Resurrection. Those glorious wounds, which he allowed doubting Thomas to touch eight days later, reveal the mercy of God who "so loved the world that he gave his only Son" (Jn 3:16).
This mystery of love is at the heart of the liturgy today, the Second Sunday of Easter, dedicated to the devotion of Divine Mercy.
Our great need for Divine Mercy
2. As a gift to humanity, which sometimes seems bewildered and overwhelmed by the power of evil, selfishness and fear, the Risen Lord offers his love that pardons, reconciles and reopens hearts to love. It is a love that converts hearts and gives peace. How much the world needs to understand and accept Divine Mercy!
Lord, who reveal the Father's love by your death and resurrection, we believe in you and confidently repeat to you today: Jesus, I trust in you, have mercy upon us and upon the whole world.
He who died for us is truly risen
3. The liturgical solemnity of the Annunciation that we will be celebrating tomorrow urges us to contemplate with Mary's eyes the immense mystery of this merciful love that flows from the Heart of Christ. With her help, we will be able to understand the true meaning of Easter joy that is based on this certainty: the One whom the Virgin bore in her womb, who suffered and died for us, is truly risen. Alleluia!
Weekly Edition in English
30 March 2005, page 6/7
6 April 2005, page 1
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