Monday, June 29th, 2009
Peter the apostle and Paul the teacher of the Gentiles
taught us your law, O Lord.
Today the Church’s honors the two princes of the apostles, Peter and Paul, both of whom shed their blood for the faith in Rome. The famous basilicas of St. Peter and St. Paul are built over their tombs.
These two men from different backgrounds were brought together by their witness of the resurrection. Their encounter with the Risen Lord changed them, purified them, and united them in the proclamation of the one Gospel of salvation. Peter, chosen by Christ as chief of the apostles, preached the faith convincingly to the Jews of Jerusalem, Antioch, and eventually Rome. Paul, a rigorous expert of the Jewish law, was given a role complementary to that of Peter. He became the great Preacher to the Gentiles and a powerful witness to the transformative power of grace. Their preaching took them far from home and into the heart of the empire. There, under the suspicious eye of Caesar, Peter and Paul gave their final witness to the truth of Jesus Christ.
Every year, newly appointed archbishops from around the world gather in Rome to celebrate this feast with the Holy Father. During the Mass, the pope bestows upon each of the archbishops the pallium, an ancient symbol of episcopal authority and of the archbishop’s fidelity to the Bishop of Rome. This morning Archbishop Dolan, appointed earlier this year as the tenth Archbishop of New York, received the pallium from Pope Benedict.
For more on the history and significance of the pallium, click here.
God our Father,
today you give us the joy
of celebrating the feast of the apostles Peter and Paul.
Through them your Church first received the faith.
Keep us true to their teaching.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever. Amen.
From the Associated Press:
Pope signs new globalization encyclical
The Associated Press
Mon, Jun 29, 2009 (4:42 a.m.)
Pope Benedict XVI signed his latest encyclical Monday, a text on ways to make globalization more attentive to meeting the needs of the poor amid the worldwide financial crisis.
The document, entitled “Charity in Truth,” is expected to be published soon.
The pope has said his third encyclical will outline the goals and values that the faithful must defend to ensure solidarity among all peoples.
Benedict has frequently spoken out on the financial crisis, urging leaders to ensure the world’s poor don’t end up bearing the brunt of the downturn even though they are not responsible for it. He has said the downturn shows the need to rethink the whole global financial system.
The pontiff announced he had signed the document Monday, a major Catholic feast day, after celebrating a Mass during which he told new archbishops they must be models for the faithful, guiding them and protecting them as shepherds care for their flock.
Thirty-four new archbishops, including the new archbishop of New York, Monsignor Timothy Dolan, received the pallium, a band of white wool decorated with black crosses that is a sign of pastoral authority and a symbol of the archbishops’ bond with the pope.
Benedict said the archbishops should be like Christ “who as a good shepherd carried on his back humanity _ the lost sheep _ to bring them home.”
Benedict has been working on “Caritas in veritate,” as the encyclical is known in Latin, since 2007 but held back on issuing it so that he could update it to reflect the global economic crisis.
An encyclical is the most authoritative document a pope can issue. Benedict has written two in his four years as pope: “God is Love” in 2006 and “Saved by Hope” in 2007.
Yesterday in the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, which enshrines the tomb of St. Paul, Pope Benedict XVI announced that science has helped to confirm that the bones enclosed there for centuries are in all probability those of Apostle. The Holy Father shared this news during a vespers service that formally closed the Year of St. Paul. Pope Benedict explained that scientific testing on the bones has concluded that they date from the first or second centuries. Below is the Associated Press’s coverage of the announcement.
Pope: Bone Fragments Found in Tomb Are Paul’s
Sunday , June 28, 2009
The first-ever scientific test on what are believed to be the remains of the Apostle Paul “seems to confirm” that they do indeed belong to the Roman Catholic saint, Pope Benedict XVI said Sunday.
It was the second major discovery concerning St. Paul announced by the Vatican in as many days.
On Saturday, the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano announced the June 19 discovery of a fresco inside another tomb depicting St. Paul, which Vatican officials said represented the oldest known icon of the apostle.
Benedict said archaeologists recently unearthed and opened the white marble sarcophagus located under the Basilica of St. Paul’s Outside the Walls in Rome, which for some 2,000 years has been believed by the faithful to be the tomb of St. Paul.
Benedict said scientists had conducted carbon dating tests on bone fragments found inside the sarcophagus and confirmed that they date from the first or second century.
“This seems to confirm the unanimous and uncontested tradition that they are the mortal remains of the Apostle Paul,” Benedict said, announcing the findings at a service in the basilica to mark the end of the Vatican’s Paoline year, in honor of the apostle.