CATANIA, Italy, FEB. 7, 2012 (Zenit.org).- On the occasion of last Sunday’s feast of St. Agatha, the Pope’s secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, celebrated a solemn Pontifical Mass in the cathedral of Catania, Sicily.
In the crowded cathedral he reminded those gathered that saints are not only persons to venerate but models to imitate.
The figure and story of young Agatha was presented as someone of relevance for today’s world and, in particular, for a dialogue with young people who are seeking ideals and firm points of reference.
The dark evil that corrodes today’s youth is nihilism, said Cardinal Bertone and the answer that adult educators should be able to give is that of a clear reference to values.
An education in the good life of the Gospel finds in St. Agatha a credible model, he said.
The cardinal secretary of state urged families to rediscover their educational role and for all other formative organizations, from schools to other associations, to guide young people in the search for essential values.
The real crisis is not economic, even if it seems manifest and widespread, but rather educational, which is looking for models of exemplary educators and healthy educational environments, he suggested.
“The free and mature choice of virginity, to be totally Christ’s, matured in hearing his Word, in the dialogue of prayer and in the Eucharistic encounter” is the path that St. Agatha’s witness proposes, according to Bishop Giuseppe Sciacca, secretary general of the Governorate of Vatican City State, who was also present.
The lesson of purity, of chastity, he said, reminds us of “the primacy of the dignity of the human person in his inalienable and inviolable need of liberty, beginning with the primary one: religious liberty.”
“In a culture that commercializes the body, not hesitating at times to make it an object of shameful exchange, of perversions and of execrable offenses; in a society that has lost the sense of sin and, following the path of rampant relativism, holds licit all the pleases, the virgin Agatha is a model of strength that is nourished by mortifications, renunciations and sacrifices,” Bishop Sciacca insisted.
Devotion to St. Agatha is taught from childhood and Cardinal Bertone blessed Catania’s little girls who were wearing white sackcloth.