Pontiff Urges Sick to Pray for "Prisoners of Evil"

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 23, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Calling on the testimony of a 19th century Italian saint, Benedict XVI today encouraged sick people to offer their sufferings for the conversion of those imprisoned by evil.

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The Pope referred to today’s feast of St. Joseph Cafasso (1811-1860); the memorial marks the 150th anniversary of St. Joseph’s death.

The Holy Father announced he will dedicate next week’s general audience address to “this engaging figure of an exemplary priest.”

Father Joseph Cafasso was a popular teacher who opposed the Jansenist heresy. He is also known for his ministry to prisoners, and for having formed a friendship with St. John Bosco, which led the latter to confirm his vocation to work with youth.

The Pontiff’s customary greeting to youth, the sick and newlyweds at the end of today’s general audience made reference to the saint.

The Holy Father expressed his hopes that the saint’s example would help young people “to experience personally the liberating force of the love of Christ, who renews profoundly the life of man.”

“May he sustain you, dear sick, to offer your sufferings for the conversion of those who are prisoners of evil,” Benedict XVI added. “May he encourage you, dear newlyweds, to be a sign of the fidelity of God also with mutual forgiveness, motivated by love.”

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