1st Months of 2010 in Review: Papal Highlights

Looking Back at January Through March

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VATICAN CITY, JULY 29, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI today watched a film about the first five years of his pontificate. Meanwhile the Vatican published the first part of a 2010 review, emphasizing some of the most noteworthy events that marked the papal schedule.

January started off with the 43rd World Day of Peace message, focused on “If You Want to Cultivate Peace, Protect Creation.”

At the end of the first week of January, Turkey was on the papal agenda, as the Holy Father received the new ambassador from that nation, Kenan Gursoy.

One of the biggest news items of the pontificate thus far occurred on Jan. 17: the Pontiff’s visit to the Synagogue of Rome.
 
Just two days later, the working document for the special assembly of the synod of bishops on the Middle East was presented. That event, on “The Catholic Church in the Middle East: Communion and Witness. ‘Now the company of those who believed were of one heart and soul'” (Acts 4: 32), will be held Oct. 10-24 in the Vatican.

On Jan. 22, the Pope effectively denied a request from his secretary of state to retire. Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone turned 75 on Dec. 2, and in accordance with canon law, presented his resignation from office.

Rounding out January, Benedict XVI gave a weighty exhortation to priests to involve themselves with the communications world. His message for the 44th World Day of Social Communications was on “The priest and pastoral ministry in a digital world: New media at the service of the Word.”

February

In February, the bishops of England and Wales were in Rome for their five-yearly visit. They will have their chance to play host to the Pope in September when he visits the United Kingdom.

On Feb. 4, the Holy Father’s Lenten message was published: “The justice of God has been manifested through faith in Jesus Christ.”

Guatemala was on the papal agenda on Feb. 6, with its new ambassador, Alfonso Matta Fahsen, visiting the Pope.

The Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry celebrated its 25th birthday from Feb. 9 to 11, with the 18th World Day of the Sick on “The Church at the loving service of those who suffer.”
 
On Feb. 14, the Pope showed his support of the Church’s charity with a visit to a shelter run by the Roman diocesan Caritas at the city’s main railway station, Termini.

The next day, the Pope met with prelates from Ireland, as that country sorted through the heights of a sexual abuse scandal.

On Feb. 16, attention turned to vocations with the Pope’s message for the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, which focused on the importance of priestly witness.

The prime minister of Lebanon visited Feb. 20.

March

The Bishop of Rome visited one of his parishes, St. John of the Cross, on March 7, celebrating a 9:30 a.m. Mass there.

March 13, he was visited by the prime minister of Croatia.

The next day, he visited the Evangelical-Lutheran community of Rome at the “Christuskirche” in the city’s Via Sicilia.

On March 16, his message for the 25th World Youth Day was published: “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

A few days later, on March 20, the unprecedented letter of the Pope to Irish Catholics was published. He addressed the nation about the sexual abuse scandal.

On March 25, the official acts of the Holy See and of the collection of documents from the period of World War II were posted on the Vatican Web site.

The next day, the Holy Father’s message for the 84th World Mission Day was published: “Building Ecclesial Communion is the Key to the Mission.”

Also that day the Pope was visited by the president of Guatemala.
 
Finally, on March 29, Benedict XVI presided over a Mass in St. Peter’s to mark the fifth anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s death, which occurred April 2, 2005.

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