Vatican City, Feb 15, 2010 / 09:44 am
The highly anticipated meetings between the bishops of Ireland, the Holy Father and leaders of Vatican congregations began on Monday morning. Before the first of the three closed sessions, Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone presided at Mass with the Irish bishops in the Vatican grottoes, where he called for humility and trust in God, saying "this is all the Lord expects of us."
Near the tomb of St. Peter, in the crypt below the altar of the Vatican basilica, Cardinal Bertone and 24 bishops from Ireland celebrated Mass to prepare for two days of meetings. The gatherings are intended to inform the Pope of their concerns regarding the current state of the Church in Ireland and receive feedback from him and members of various congregations of the Holy See.
In his homily, the Vatican's Secretary of State invoked the aid of the Holy Spirit so that "this encounter be the height of charity in truth and bring about a renewed commitment of community and of unity between the Shepherds and the faithful entrusted them."
Noting that trials can come from inside and outside the Church, the cardinal said that "both are painful, but those that come from within are naturally harder and more humiliating."