Pope Offers Mass for Deceased Prelates

Prays for Souls of 8 Cardinals

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 5, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI concelebrated Mass with the College of Cardinals today, offering it for the souls of their brother bishops and cardinals.

At the beginning of the homily, the Pope mentioned the cardinals who had died in the past 12 months: Salvatore Pappalardo, Frédéric Etsou-Nzabi Bamungwabi, Antonio Javierre, Angelo Felici, Jean-Marie Lustiger, Edouard Gagnon, Adam Kozlowiecki and Rosalio José Castillo Lara.

The Holy Father offered an invitation to give thanks to God “for the gift he has given the Church through them and for all the good achieved with their help. Likewise, we entrust the souls of the departed patriarchs, archbishops, and bishops to the eternal Father, also expressing our recognition of their work in the name of the entire Catholic community.”

These men, our brothers, he continued, “were certainly men of distinct character, both for their personal trials as well as for the ministry they exercised. Nevertheless, they all had a great commonality: their friendship with the Lord Jesus.”

“During their temporal existence,” the Holy Father said, “Jesus led them to know the name of God, granting them participation in the love of the Most Holy Trinity, […] an experience of divine communion that, by its nature, tends to envelop one’s entire existence, transfiguring it and preparing it for the glory of eternal life.”

Alluding to the responsorial psalm, the Pope emphasized that “this thirst [for God] holds a truth that does not betray, a hope that does not delude. It is a thirst that, even through the darkest night, illuminates that path toward the source of life.”

Benedict XVI pointed out that the psalm acquires a tone of confidence at its heart as well as at its end: “Why are you discouraged, my soul, why do you worry me? Trust in God that I may praise him, my salvation and my God.

“In the light of Christ and his paschal mystery these words reveal a wonderful truth: Not even death can render a believer’s hope worthless because Christ has entered the sanctuary of heaven for us and wants to lead us there where he has prepared us a place.”

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