Venice Patriarch: Pope Will Speak to All

Sees May Trip as Chance to Grow in Faith

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ROME, FEB. 11, 2011 ( The patriarch of Venice says Benedict XVI’s trip this May to the region will be a chance to say, like the disciples, «Lord, we believe, but increase our faith.»

Cardinal Angelo Scola affirmed this as he talked to Vatican Radio about the May 7-8 papal journey to Venice and Aquilea.

The prelate spoke of the visit as a «great gift» from the Pontiff, as well as an occasion for education, evangelization and catechesis «for all our people.»

The theme of the visit is «You Confirm Our Faith.»

Cardinal Scola explained the choice: «[I]n this passing moment we ask the Holy Father, because of his ministry as Successor of Peter and because of the strength of his testimony, to support our faith and hence the Christian vision of life.»

«We still have faith here in our land,» the patriarch affirmed, «but we are like the disciples who said to Jesus: ‘Lord, we believe, but increase our faith.'»

«Faith means style of life,» he continued. «It means the way of living, the way of dealing every day with affections, work and rest; the way of witnessing — through our changed lives — the fitness for contemporary man of following Jesus with simplicity of heart, so that we can be free and worthy.»

Noting the complexity of the region, Cardinal Scola affirmed, «The Pope comes for all the faithful, for all the baptized, but also for men of good will, because faith, awakening everything that is human, speaks to all.»

The visit comes 26 years after John Paul II’s and almost 40 after Paul VI’s.

During the two-day trip, Benedict XVI will be presented with preparations for a conference that in 2012 will bring together all the Italian, Slovenian, Croatian, German and Austrian dioceses that were born from the Patriarchate of Aquilea (from the year 568 to 1751), which was the largest Metropolitan See of the Middle Ages, and the second in dignity after Rome. The previous such event was in 1990.

The Holy Father will also preside over a Mass in Venice for all the Churches of the northeast. As well, he will meet with representatives of the world of culture and art and the bishops of the region, as well as other activities.

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