Pontiff Hails Cardinal’s 50 Years of Priesthood

Sends Message for Anniversary Celebration

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 21, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI says the 50 years of Cardinal Renato Martino’s priestly ministry have been characterized by “rich and praiseworthy works.”

The Pope said that in a message he sent to a celebration on Wednesday in St. Peter’s Basilica, marking the cardinal’s 50th anniversary as a priest.

Cardinal Martino is the president of the pontifical councils for Justice and Peace, and for Migrants and Travelers.

The papal message noted “a long ministry, rich with praiseworthy works.” The Holy Father wrote of the “increasingly important tasks entrusted to him,” during his time in the secretariat of state and other offices of the Roman Curia, “upholding the values and tenets of the Church in a growing number of fields.”

Recalling Cardinal Martino’s 16 years of service at the United Nations, the Pontiff praised his “work to promote relations and peace among peoples.”

Approval and gratitude

Benedict XVI also mentioned the abilities and the activities of the cardinal in his current position, renewing his “approval and gratitude, imparting the apostolic blessing to him and all those united to him with the bond of friendship.”

During an anniversary Mass, Bishop Giampaolo Crepaldi, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, recalled in his homily that the Eucharist has been the center and the essence of Cardinal Martino’s priesthood.

“No one can bear the weight of the priesthood, not even for one day, if he does not remain faithful to meeting, seeing, gazing upon and following Jesus, knowing the perfect faithfulness of his gaze of love,” Bishop Crepaldi said.

At the end of the celebrations, a visibly moved Cardinal Martino thanked God both for having used him in his plan and for the gift of many sufferings the Lord has allowed him to endure.

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