On the Feast of Pentecost

«The Spirit of the Risen Lord Continues to Make His Voice Heard»

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 21, 2012 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave on Pentecost Sunday before and after praying the midday Regina Caeli with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

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Dear brothers and sisters!

Today we celebrate the great feast of Pentecost, which concludes the Easter Season, 50 days after the Sunday of the Resurrection. By this solemnity we are reminded and we relive the pouring out of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and the other disciples, gathered together in prayer with the Virgin Mary in the cenacle (cf. Acts 2:1-11). Jesus, risen and ascended into heaven, sends his Spirit to the Church, that every Christian might participate in his own divine life and become his true witnesses in the world. The Holy Spirit, breaking into history, overcomes its dryness, opens up hearts to hope, stimulates and fosters in us interior growth in our relationship with God and neighbor.

The Spirit, who “spoke through the prophets,” with the gifts of wisdom and knowledge, continues to inspire women and men who commit themselves to the pursuit of truth, proposing original paths to known and understand the mystery of God, man and the world. In this context I am happy to announce that on October 7, at the beginning of the Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, I will proclaim St. John of Avila and St. Hildegard of Bingen doctors of the universal Church. These 2 great witnesses of the faith lived in very different historical periods and cultural environments. Hildegard was a Benedictine nun in the heart of the German Middle Ages, an authentic teacher of theology and a profound student of the natural sciences and music. John, a diocesan priest during the years of the Spanish Renaissance, participated in the travail of the cultural and religious renewal of the Church and of the social order at the dawn of modernity. But the holiness of their lives and the profundity of their doctrine makes them perennial relevant: the grace of the Holy Spirit, in fact, cast them into that experience of the penetrating understanding of divine revelation and intelligent dialogue with the world that constitute the permanent horizon of the life and action of the Church. Above all in the light of the project of a new evangelization, to which the just-mentioned Assembly of the Synod of Bishops will be dedicated, and on the eve of the Year of Faith, these 2 figures of saints and doctors appear to have a relevant importance and actuality. Even in our days, through their teaching, the Spirit of the risen Lord continues to make his voice heard and to illumine the path that leads to that Truth that alone can set us free and give complete meaning to our life.

Praying now together the Regina Caeli, we invoke the intercession of the Virgin Mary, that she obtain for the Church to be powerfully animated by the Holy Spirit, to bear witness to Christ with evangelical boldness and to open herself more and more to the fullness of the truth.

[Following the Regina Caeli, the Holy Father addressed those present in various languages. In Italian he said:]

Dear brothers and sisters!

This morning in Vannes, France, Mère Saint-Louise, who was born Élisabeth Molé, was beatified. She was the foundress of the Sisters of Charity of St. Louis and lived between the 18th and 19th centuries. We thank God for this exemplary witness to love for God and neighbor.

I also note that next Friday, June 1, I will travel to Milan, where the 7th World Meeting of Families will take place. I invite everyone to follow this event and to pray for its success.

[In English he said:]

I offer a warm welcome to the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present at this Regina Caeli on the Solemnity of Pentecost. Next Friday, I will go to Milan to be with families from all over the world celebrating the 7th World Meeting of Families. I ask you to join me in praying for the success of this important event, and that families may be filled with the Holy Spirit, rediscover the joy of their vocation in the Church and the world, and bear loving witness to the faith.  Upon all of you, I invoke God’s abundant blessings!

[Concluding in Italian, he said:]

I wish everyone a happy feast day and a good Sunday. Happy feast day!

[Translation by Joseph G. Trabbic]
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