Pope in Portugal Senses Predecessor's Presence

Benedict XVI Reviews Last Week’s Trip

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 19, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI today reviewed his May 11-14 trip to Portugal, affirming that during the four-day journey, he felt spiritually sustained by Venerable Pope John Paul II.

The German Pontiff reviewed his 15th international trip during today’s general audience in St. Peter’s Square.

He recalled how John Paul II went three times to Fatima, «thanking that ‘invisible hand’ that delivered him from death in the attack of the 13th of May, here in St. Peter’s Square.»

May 13 is the feast of Our Lady of Fatima, and the anniversary of her first apparition to the three shepherd children in the Portuguese village in 1917. It was May 13, 1981, when John Paul II suffered an assassination attempt.

«Throughout the whole trip, which occurred on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the beatification of the little shepherds Jacinta and Francisco [two of the three visionaries], I felt sustained spiritually by my beloved predecessor, the Venerable John Paul II,» Benedict XVI affirmed.

He also noted the pilgrimage was in gratitude «to the Virgin Mary, who in Fatima transmitted to her visionaries and to pilgrims an intense love for the Successor of Peter.»

The Holy Father reflected on the rosary, saying that «this prayer, so dear to the Christian people, has found in Fatima a propelling center for the whole Church and the world.»

He explained: «The ‘White Lady,’ in the apparition of June 13, said to the three little shepherds: ‘I want you to recite the rosary every day.’ We can say that Fatima and the rosary are almost a synonym.»


The Pope also noted elements of his pilgrimage marked by the nearly concluded Year for Priests.

«I manifested my heartfelt appreciation to priests, to men and women religious, to deacons and to seminarians […] thanking them for their witness — often silent and not always easy — and for their fidelity to the Gospel and to the Church,» he said. «In this Year for Priests, which is coming to an end, I encouraged the priests to give priority to a religious listening of the Word of God, to profound knowledge of Christ, to the intense celebration of the Eucharist, looking at the luminous example of the Holy Curé d’Ars.

«I did not fail to entrust and consecrate to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the true model of a disciple of the Lord, the priests of the whole world.»

The Pontiff concluded with a reflection on one of his primary themes: hope.

«In Fatima, the Holy Virgin invites all to consider the earth as the place of our pilgrimage to our definitive homeland, which is heaven. In fact, we are all pilgrims, we are in need of the Mother who guides us,» he said. «[…] In Fatima the Blessed Virgin Mary invites us to walk with great hope, allowing ourselves to be guided by the ‘wisdom of on high,’ which was manifested in Jesus, the wisdom of love, to take to the world the light and joy of Christ.»

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Full text: www.zenit.org/article-29313?l=english

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