.- Yesterday afternoon Pope Benedict XVI spoke at a Mass in honor of the 50th anniversary of Blessed Pope John XXIIIâs election as Pope. His openness to the Holy Spirit made possible the âtruly special giftâ of Vatican II to the Church, Benedict XVI said.
Gathered with 3,000 pilgrims from the late Pontiffâs home diocese of Bergamo, Italy, Pope Benedict described him as the âPapa buonoâ (the good Pope) as he recalled how "the grace of God was preparing a period of commitment and promise for the Church and for societyâ at the time Bl. John XXIII was elected.
This grace, was able to help the Church flourish because of John XXIIIâs openness to the Holy Spirit, said Pope Benedict, as he described how that âfertile soil,â which characterized the late Popeâs whole life, bore the fruits of âharmony, hope, unity and peace, for the good of all humanity.â
Despite the divisions and sharp contrasts of the time surrounding Pope John XXIIIâs pontificate, Pope Benedict explained that he âremained a man and pastor of peace, who opened unexpected horizons of fraternity among Christians and of dialogue with everyone, in both East and West."
This approach allowed John XXIII, who was profoundly convicted of the need for belief in Christ and membership in the Church, to bring to fruition the Second Vatican Council, which the Holy Father called "a truly special gift for the Church.â
Speaking about Vatican II, Pope Benedict urged the Church to be âcommitted to accepting that gift in appropriate ways, continuing to reflect upon its teachings and to translate its practical guidelines into everyday life." Specifically, Benedict XVI pointed to the parish as the place âthat we learn to live our own faith solidly. This enables us to keep the rich tradition of the past alive and to re-propose its values in a secularized social environment which is often hostile and indifferent."
The family is also a place where âthe Christian precept of love in daily life" is meant to be lived out, Benedict said as he reflected on the late Popeâs care for the family. John XXIII âtrustingly gave the parish - a family of families - the task of nourishing the sentiments of communion and fraternity among the faithful,â he reminded.
Pope Benedict closed his words on Bl. John XXIII by turning to one of the Pontiffâs teachings. "Molded by the Eucharist the parish will become a beneficial ferment amidst the widespread consumerism and individualism of our time, reawakening solidarity and opening, in faith, the eye of the heart to recognize the Father, Who is gratuitous love and Who wishes to share his own joy with His children."