L'OSSERVATORE ROMANO

Remembering Deceased Prelates, Pope Says Mary Watches Over Them, As She Watches Over Us

At Mass for Suffrage for Souls of Cardinals, Francis Stresses Nothing Can Separate Us From Christ’s Love

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‘It is faith in the love of Christ from which nothing can separate us: neither tribulation, nor anguish, nor persecution, nor danger, nor death, nor life.’
Pope Francis stressed this in his homily during the Mass he offered this morning in St. Peter’s Basilica in suffrage for the souls of cardinals and bishops who have died in the course of the past year.
Reminding those gathered that November is the month in which Christians recall the faithful departed, Francis noted how we entrust the recently lost prelates to the Father’s faithful love, and “renew our appreciation for the Christian and priestly witness that we have left.”
Nothing Can Separate Us
“These Brothers have reached their destination, after having served the Church and loved the Lord Jesus, in the certainty of love that the Apostle Paul reminds us in the Second Reading: ‘Who will separate us from the love of Christ? (Rom 8:35).'”
“Nothing can separate us from Christ’s love for us,” Francis underscored, not even death. These deceased  he noted, “knew that our earthly pilgrimage ends at the house of the heavenly Father,” and that only there, is where one finds rest and peace.
“The path to the Father’s house begins, for each of us, in the very day that we open our eyes to the light and, through the grace of Baptism.”
“An important step in this journey, for us priests and bishops, is the moment, during priestly ordination, when we pronounce the ‘Here I am!'” Francis said.
Shepherds of Christ’s Flock
After that, he noted, priests are united to Christ in a special way.
“The cardinals and bishops who today we remember in prayer, were shepherds of Christ’s flock. They donated and sacrificed for the salvation of the people entrusted to them.” Francis noted how through the sacraments, they helped sanctify their people and lead them toward salvation.
With fatherly love, Francis noted, these late cardinals and bishops “have striven to love everyone, especially the poor, the helpless and the needy.”
Today, the Holy Father stressed, we are here to pray for them, “to offer the Holy Sacrifice for the repose of their souls and ask the Lord to make them shine forever in his kingdom of light (cf. Wis 3,7).”
Communion of Saints
“Some of them were called to bear witness to the Gospel in a heroic manner, sustaining heavy tribulations,” the Pontiff acknowledged, stressing, “we praise God for all the good that the Lord has done for us and for his Church through these our brothers and fathers in faith.”
“We will continue to hear them next to us in the communion of saints,” the Holy Father said.
“Nourished by the Bread of Life, we too, along with those who have gone before us, await with firm hope for the day of face-to-face with the bright and merciful face of the Father.”
Mary watches over them, as she watches over us, Pope Francis said, praying may she help us to never separate from God’s love.
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On ZENIT’s Web page:
Pope’s Homily: https://zenit.org/articles/popes-homily-for-deceased-cardinals/
 

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Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in 5 languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, often from the Papal Flight (including for historic trips such as to Abu Dhabi and Japan & Thailand), and has also asked him questions on the return-flight press conference on behalf of the English-speaking press present. Lubov has done much TV & radio commentary, including for NBC, Sky, EWTN, BBC, Vatican Radio, AP, Reuters and more. She also has contributed to various books on the Pope and has written for various Catholic publications. For 'The Other Francis': http://www.gracewing.co.uk/page219.html or https://www.amazon.com/Other-Francis-Everything-They-about/dp/0852449348/

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