Pope Notes Key Teamwork Between Parishes, Associations

Addresses Group That Helps Pilgrims in St. Peter’s

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 26, 2011 (Zenit.org).- While affirming the key role of formation in the faith, Benedict XVI is encouraging members of ecclesial associations to work with parishes, not to substitute them.

The Pope said this Saturday in an address to the Association of Sts. Peter and Paul, a group that offers support for pilgrims in St. Peter’s and assists at papal liturgies, among other tasks. They also give time and financial assistance to various charities around Rome, including the Missionaries of Charity apostolate at the Vatican.

The association is the descendant of the Palatine Guard, which was a military unit of the papal states, abolished by Pope Paul VI in 1970.

Benedict XVI’s address to the group marked its 40th anniversary.

He spoke of how one must have his «heart turned toward God» in order to help others to pray. «To recall them to respect for holy places and holy things, it is necessary for us to have in us the Christian sense of the sacred,» he continued. «To help our neighbor with true Christian love, we must have a humble soul and the eyes of faith. Your attitude, often without words, constitutes an indication, an example, a reminder, and as such also has an educational value.»

All of this is presupposed, the Holy Father observed, by the personal formation of the members of the association, formation for which he said he is «especially grateful.»

In this context, he made a reflection on the teamwork between  associations and parishes.

He said: «The Association of Sts. Peter and Paul, like every authentic ecclesial association, pays special attention, first of all, to the formation of its members, never as a substitute or alternative to parishes, but always in a complementary way with respect to them. Thus, I am glad that you are well inserted in your parish communities and that you educate your children in the meaning of the parish. 

«At the same time I am pleased that the Association is in the appropriate measure demanding in planning specific periods of formation for those who desire to be effective members and regularly offers opportune moments to support perseverance.»


Benedict XVI concluded his address with a reflection on fidelity.

Mary is venerated as «Virgo Fidelis» by the association. «Today more than ever fidelity is needed,» the Pope declared. «We live in a society that has lost this value. Change, ‘mobility,’ ‘flexibility,’ are exalted for economic and organization reasons that are sometimes legitimate. But the quality of a human relationship is seen in fidelity! Sacred Scripture shows us that God is faithful. With his grace and Mary’s help, may you be faithful to Christ and to the Church, ready to endure with humility and patience the price that this carries.»

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On ZENIT’s Web page:

Full text: www.zenit.org/article-32942?l=english

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