00 5/18/2009 1:01 PM

May 18

St. John I (Pope 523-526)

No OR today.


The Holy Father met today with

- Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches
- Bishops of Peru (Group 3) on ad limina visit. Address in Spanish.
- Mons. Jan Romeo Pawlowski, Apostolic Nuncio in the Repbulic of Congo and Gabon, with his family

and in the afternoon with
- H.E. Lech Kaczynski, President of Poland, with his wife and delegation.


VATICAN CITY, 18 MAY 2009 (VIS) - Today AT the Vatican, the Holy Father received prelates from the Peruvian Episcopal Conference, who have recently completed their "ad limina" visit.

The Holy Father began his remarks to them by speaking of the unity of the Church which, he said, "is never definitively achieved and must be constantly constructed and perfected, without surrendering to difficulties, be they objective or subjective, and with the aim of showing the true face of the Catholic Church, one and unique".

After highlighting how "the authentic unity of the Church is always an inexhaustible source of the spirit of evangelisation", the Pope expressed his joy at the fact that the prelates had adapted their pastoral programmes to accommodate "the missionary impulse promoted by the Fifth General Conference of the Episcopate of Latin America and the Caribbean, celebrated in Aparecida, and especially the 'Continental mission', with a view to ensuring that each member of the faithful aspires to sanctity through a personal rapport with the Lord Jesus, loving Him with perseverance and conforming their own lives to evangelical criteria so as to create ecclesial communities of intense Christian life".

"This means relaunching the missionary spirit, not out of fear of the future, but because the Church is a dynamic presence, and the true disciple of Jesus Christ takes pleasure in freely transmitting His divine Word to others and sharing with them the love that flowed from His open side on the cross".

Benedict XVI encouraged the prelates "to unite all the living energies of your dioceses that they may start out again from Christ irradiating the light of His face, especially to brothers and sisters who, perhaps because they feel unappreciated or not sufficiently recognised in their spiritual and material needs, seek answers to their anxieties in other religious experiences".

"Assiduous pastoral visits to ecclesial communities (including the most remote and humble), prolonged prayer, careful preparation of preaching, paternal concern for priests, families, young people, catechists and other pastoral care workers, are the best ways to instil in everyone an ardent desire to be messengers of the Good News of salvation, and will at the same time open the hearts of those around you, especially the sick and those most in need".

The Holy Father highlighted "the beneficial presence of selfless men and women of consecrated life" in Peru. In this context he called on the bishops to continue their "fraternal accompaniment and encouragement" of such people so that, "living the evangelical counsels according to their own charism, they may continue their robust witness of love for God, unshakeable adherence to Church Magisterium and willing collaboration with diocesan pastoral programmes".

The Pope concluded by mentioning those Peruvians "without work or adequate educational and healthcare provisions, and those who live in the suburbs of the great cities or in isolated areas. My thoughts also go to those who have fallen pray to drug addiction and violence. We cannot ignore these our weakest brothers and sisters, beloved unto God, ... Christ's charity urges us on".

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 5/19/2009 6:41 AM]