Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) - The "happy coincidence" between the Synodal Assembly on the New Evangelization and World Mission Sunday, were highlighted by the Holy Father Benedict XVI during the Mass he presided on Sunday, October 21 at St. Peter's Basilica, preceded by the rite of canonization of the 7 Blessed. The Word of God proclaimed in the XXIX Sunday in Ordinary Time "sheds light on both" subjects. "It shows how to be evangelizers - the Pope said - called to bear witness and to proclaim the Christian message, configuring ourselves to Jesus Christ and following his same way of life. This is true both for the mission ad Gentes and for the new evangelization in places with ancient Christian roots."
The words of Jesus - "The Son of Man came to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many (cf. Mk 10:45)" - "They are the words which enshrine the meaning of Christ's mission on earth, marked by his sacrifice, by his total self-giving - said the Pope -. On this third Sunday of October, on which we celebrates World Mission Sunday, the Church listens to them with special attention and renews her conviction that she should always be fully dedicated to serve mankind and the Gospel, as the example of the One who gave himself up even to the sacrifice of his life. "
These same words were the bluprint for living of the seven new Saints, who "with heroic courage they spent their lives in total consecration to the Lord and in the generous service of their brethren," said the Holy Father, before reading some biographical details of the new Saints: Berthieu Jacques (1838-1896), a Jesuit priest, martyr in Madagascar; Pedro Calungsod (1654-1672), a lay catechist and martyr; Giovanni Battista Piamarta (1841-1913), priest, founder of the Congregation of the Holy Family of Nazareth and the Humble Sister Servants of the Lord; María Carmen Sallés y Barangueras (1848-1911), foundress of the Congregation of the Conceptionist Missionary Sisters of Teaching; Marianne Cope (1838-1918), professed religious of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis at Syracuse; Kateri Tekakwitha (1656-1680), lay; Anna Schäffer (1882-1925), a lay woman.
In particular, the example of Fr. Jacques Berthieu "may his example aid the many Christians of today persecuted for their faith! In this Year of Faith, may his intercession bring forth many fruits for Madagascar and the African continent." The Holy Father concluded his homily with this wish: "May the witness of these new saints, and their lives generously spent for love of Christ, speak today to the whole Church, and may their intercession strengthen and sustaun her in her mission to proclaim the Gospel to the whole world. "
At the end of Mass, before reciting the Angelus, the Pope invited to pray for the missionaries with these words: "Today we want to entrust to the maternal protection of the Virgin Mary, the missionaries - priests, religious and laity - who all over the world spread the good seed of the Gospel. We also pray for the Synod of Bishops, which in recent weeks is facing the challenge of the new evangelization for the transmission of the Christian faith."
Therefore, speaking in Polish, said: "The new Saints introduce us today to Missionary Week. In particular, we will support those who proclaim Christ in different continents spiritually and materially. I thank all those who, through the Pontifical Mission Societies, take care of missions around the world. May the Year of Faith in Poland rekindle the missionary zeal of the clergy and the laity." (SL) (Agenzia Fides 22/10/2012)