Liturgy Is School of Holiness, Says Cardinal Sodano

In a Message Sent on Behalf of the Pope to National Event in Italy

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VATICAN CITY, AUG. 24, 2004 ( Liturgy is a school of holiness that helps to transform life into a prayer, says a letter sent on the Pope’s behalf to the participants in Italy’s National Liturgical Week.

The theme of the Week is «Liturgy and Holiness.» Organized by the Center of Liturgical Action (CAL), the event is being held through Friday in the monumental church of St. Pio of Pietrelcina, in San Giovanni Rotondo.

«Through the sacramental signs, we drink from the sources of salvation to be molded and transformed until our lives are conformed to Christ’s,» Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano told the participants in the letter.

Therefore, «the liturgy, being in contact with the sacred mysteries, invites us … to tend to holiness, responding to the evangelical call to be perfect as our heavenly Father» is perfect, the letter added, sent to Bishop Luca Brandolini of Sora-Aquino-Pontecorvo. In the letter, John Paul II’s greetings are transmitted to participants in the Liturgical Week.

In the letter, Cardinal Sodano alluded to the Pope’s document «Novo Millennio Ineunte,» in which John Paul II noted the universal vocation to holiness and the need for pastoral plans to be considered in the perspective of holiness.

In that apostolic letter, he referred to the «widespread exigency of spirituality which to a great extent is expressed precisely in the need to rediscover the art of prayer and education in prayer.»

In this connection, the cardinal wrote, «the liturgy is a school of holiness, because it helps to transform life into a prayer, both private as well as communal.»

In fact, «the pious, conscious and active participation in the mysteries that the liturgy celebrates unites us to Christ and makes us constantly begin afresh from Christ,» he stated.

In this context, the Eucharist «gives a real face to Christian holiness» and is where «the source of holiness, the secret of the apostolate, and the New Evangelization» are, the cardinal continued.

The Vatican secretary of state noted that Italy’s National Liturgical Week is being held this year in San Giovanni Rotondo, «familiar to many people because of the presence of Padre Pio,» who was canonized in June 2002.

In «the life and mystery of the humble Capuchin everything speaks of the connection» that exists between «the liturgy and especially the sacraments of the Eucharist and penance and holiness,» Cardinal Sodano explained.

According to the cardinal, «the secret» of St. Pio’s «total adherence» to Christ was «the daily celebration of the Eucharist and the constant ministry of the confessional.»

«May his example be for all a stimulus and encouragement to undertake the same ascetic and spiritual path to the summit of evangelical perfection,» he exhorted.

Cardinal Sodano’s letter concluded by expressing the Holy Father’s wishes for the success of the works of the 55th National Liturgical Week, and his prayer for «the maternal protection of Mary Most Holy and the intercession of St. Pio of Pietrelcina.»

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