Pope to lay people: Holiness is greatest gift to Church and world

.- During the celebration of  a Mass on Sunday September 5 in Loreto in which he beatified the Servants of God and members of Catholic Action Fr. Pedro (Pere) Tarres i Claret (1905-1950), Alberto Marvelli (1918-1946), and Pina Surian (1915-1950), lay persons, Pope John Paul II affirmed that “holiness is the greatest gift you can give to the Church and to the world.”

“To adhere to Christ is a ‘demanding choice,’” the Pope told the crowd of 250,000 in his homily. “It is not by chance that Jesus speaks of the 'cross.'  He immediately clarifies himself: 'follow me.'  This is the great message: we are not alone in carrying the cross.  He walks in front of us, opening up the way with the light of His example and with the strength of His love."

Through the beatification of these three servants of God, said the Holy Father, addressing all the members of Catholic Action,  the Lord "says to you that holiness is the greatest gift you can give to the Church and to the world.”

“May the Church's concern be your concern as well: that many men and women of our time may be overcome by Christ's attraction; that His Gospel may shine once again like a light of hope for the poor, sick and those who hunger for justice; may Christian communities be ever-more lively, open and attractive; may our cities be hospitable and liveable for all; may humanity be able to follow the ways of peace and fraternity," said the Pope.

Addressing all laypeople, he said "It is the responsibility of you, lay people, to bear witness to the faith through the virtues which are more specific to your state in life: fidelity and tenderness in family, competence in work, tenacity in serving the common good, solidarity in social relations, creativity in undertaking works that are useful to evangelization and human promotion.”

“It is up to you also to show, in close communion with pastors, that the Gospel is timely, and that faith does not remove the believer from history, but submerges him more profoundly in it," the Holy Father said in conclusion.

The new Blessed

“The three new blesseds became humble disciples and heroic witnesses through Jesus' cross,” read the Pope’s homily.  “Pedro Tarres i Claret, first a doctor and then a priest, dedicated himself to the lay apostolate of the young people of Catholic Action in Barcelona. In exercising the medical profession, he gave himself with special solicitude to the poorest of the sick. ... He accepted with faith and heroic patience a horrible illness which lead to his death at the young age of 45.  Despite his suffering, he used to repeat frequently: 'How good the Lord is to me! I am truly happy'."

"Alberto Marvelli, strong and free-spirited young person, generous son of the Church of Rimini and of Catholic Action, thought of his short life of 28 years as a gift of love to Jesus for the good of his brothers and sisters.  ... He made the daily Eucharist the center of his life. In prayer he sought inspiration for his political commitment, as he was convinced of the need to fully live as children of God in history, to make history a history of salvation."

As a girl, Blessed Pina Suriano of the diocese of Monreale, "was close to the Young Women of Catholic Action which she later served as parish leader, finding in the association an important stimulus for human and cultural growth in an intense climate of fraternal friendship.  Little by little, she matured the simple and firm will of giving her young life to God as an offering of love, especially for the sanctification and perseverance of priests."


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