Vatican City (Fides Service ) – “A place reserved for divine worship is always a sign of the spiritual temple, the Church, composed of living stones, the faithful, united by the same faith, participation in the sacraments and the bond of charity. The Saints in particular are precious stones of the spiritual temple. Holiness, fruit of the incessant working of the Spirit of God, shines in the newly Blessed”. Pope John Paul II said this at the beginning of his homily during Mass celebrated in St Peter’s Square on Sunday 9 November, Feast of the dedication of the Cathedral of Rome St John in the Lateran, during which he beatified five servants of God: Juan Nepomuceno Zegrí y Moreno, priest; Valentin Paquay, priest; Luigi Maria Monti, Brother; Bonifacia Rodríguez Castro, nun; Rosalie Rendu, nun.
The Pope spoke briefly in the respective languages of the personality and charisma of these holy people. He emphasised “the deep devotion to the Eucharist” of Juan Nepomuceno Zegrí, which profoundly marked his spirituality “oriented towards charity to the poor”; the “apostle of mercy ”, Valentin Paquay, who spent much of his life hearing confessions: had a special gift “for putting sinners back on the right path, reminding them of the magnitude of divine forgiveness”. The Pope then stressed the unchanging importance of the message of Luigi Maria Monti: “an example of fidelity to God’s call and to announce the Gospel of charity; a model of solidarity towards the needy and tender trust in Immaculate Mary”.
The words of the Gospel proclaimed previously (“Do not make my Father’s House a market”) “challenge society today, tempted at times to turn everything into commerce and profit, putting aside values and dignity which have no price ” the Pope said referring to Sister Bonifacia Rodríguez Castro who realised the danger of the social condition of her time and promoted a spirituality of work which would consider the dignity of the person and transform labour into an offering to God. In a time travailed by bitter social conflict, Sister Rosalie Rendu became “a servant of the poor to restore the dignity of each person” by means of “ inventive charity” nourished by an intense life of prayer which enabled her to see “the face of Christ in every person”.
The Pope concluded his homily referring to the Gospel of the day: “Every member of the Church must be conformed to Jesus crucified and Risen. In this demanding task we are sustained and guided by Mary, Mother of Christ and our Mother. May the newly Beatified who contemplate the glory of heaven intercede for us. And may we too meet again one day in Paradise to enjoy together the joy of life without end. Amen!”.
(S.L.) (Fides Service 10/11/2003 – lines 33; words 483)