Instrumentum mensis Martii pro lectura Magisterii Summi Pontificis Benedicti XVI, pro evangelizatione in terris missionum
On the first day of the month of March, the Holy Father presided a Prayer Vigil on the occasion of the 6th European Day for University Students, dedicated in particular this year to the continents of Europe and America. In a video-link up from Europe to the continent of America, Benedict XVI urged all young people to strive to make the “life blood of the Gospel renew the civilisation of these two continents and of all humanity”.
In a Message on the occasion of the 24th General Chapter of the Salesian Fathers, the Pope urged the participants to contemplate their founder, Saint Don Bosco, "so each may come to know, study, love, imitate and invoke him, adopt his same apostolic passion, which flows from the heart of Christ”. The audience on 7 March with participants at the annual course on the Internal Forum promoted by the Apostolic Penitentiary, offered the Holy Father an opportunity to reaffirm the vital importance of the Sacrament of Reconciliation: “It is necessary that between the practice of the Sacrament of Confession and a life in which a person strives to follow Christ sincerely, a sort of continuous "virtuous circle" be established”. During the audience with the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences, on the same day and in an audience the next day with the Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for Culture, Pope Benedict XVI warned of the growing threat of positivism - “the loss of memory provokes a loss of identity in the individual, this phenomenon analogously occurs for society as a whole” - and secularism “which is invading every aspect of daily life and developing a mentality in which God is effectively absent” and “giving way to a barren cult of the individual”.
On Sunday 9 March the Pope celebrated Mass at the San Lorenzo Youth Centre on the occasion of the centre's 25th anniversary. In his homily he reminded the faithful of the centrality of the Holy Eucharist: “live truly of the Eucharist, to be able thus to be transformed into the communion of love”.
During the Penitential Liturgy in preparation for the 23rd World Youth Day, addressing young people, the Holy Father spoke about true happiness “ which comes from the mercy of God, and is poured into our hearts and reconciles us with Him”. On Palm Sunday the Pope urged the faithful to contemplate Jesus and learn from Him the “correct way of being human persons”. The following day Benedict XVI celebrated Mass for the repose of the soul of Chaldean Catholic Archbishop of Mossul Paulos Faraj Rahho, assassinated a few days earlier in Iraq. Benedict XVI sent a Message of condolence on the occasion of the funeral of Chiara Lubich, whom he defined as a “woman of intrepid faith, meek messenger of hope and peace”. From 20 to 23 March the Holy Father presided the celebrations of the Easter Triduum, which culminated with the Easter Vigil Mass. On Palm Sunday, 23 March, Pope Benedict XVI delivered his Easter Message and Urbi et Orbi blessing: “at the rising of the Easter sun, the Church recognises the voice of Jesus himself who, on rising from death, turns to the Father filled with gladness and love, and exclaims: My Father, here I am! I have risen, I am still with you, and so I shall be for ever; your Spirit never abandoned me”.
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