The month of March began for the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI, with his Lenten Spiritual Exercises. In the papal Redemptoris Mater chapel dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, with the members of the Curia the Pope listened to reflections of the former Patriarch of Venice Card. Marco Cé on the theme: “Walking with Jesus towards Easter guided by St Mark the evangelist” .Many times during the month Pope Benedict XVI explained to the faithful the significance of the season of Lent : “This is the opportune time in which the Church calls on the faithful to grow in awareness of Christ’s work of redemption and to live one’s baptism more profoundly - he said at the General Audience on 1 March Ash Wednesday -. Indeed, in this liturgical season, the People of God from the earliest times have drawn abundant nourishment from the Word of God to strengthen their faith, reviewing the entire history of creation and redemption.”. And again: “May these be days of reflection and of intense prayer, in which we let ourselves be guided by the Word of God, which the liturgy offers to us in abundance. May Lent also be a time of fasting, penance and watchfulness of ourselves, and may we be convinced that the fight against sin is never-ending, because temptation is a daily reality and we all experience fragility and delusion. Lastly, through almsgiving and doing good to others, may Lent be an opportunity for sincere sharing with our brethren of the gifts that we have received, and of attention to the needs of the poorest and most abandoned people. On this penitential journey, may we be accompanied by Mary, Mother of the Redeemer, who is a teacher of listening and of faithful adherence to God. May the Virgin Most Holy help us to arrive purified and renewed in mind and in spirit, to celebrate the great mystery of Christ's Pasch. With these sentiments, I wish you all a good and productive Lent”.
The month of March saw also the celebration of the first Consistory of the Pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI for the creation of fifteen new cardinals . “The penitential spirit of Lent - said the Holy Father on March 24 when he created the new cardinals - gives way to rejoicing: today the College of Cardinals is enriched with fifteen new members”. May the scarlet that you now wear - the Pontiff explained - always express the caritas Christi, inspiring you to a passionate love for Christ, for his Church and for all humanity. You now have an additional motive to seek to rekindle in yourselves those same sentiments that led the incarnate Son of God to pour out his blood in atonement for the sins of the whole world. I am counting on you, venerable Brothers, I am counting on the entire College into which you are being incorporated, to proclaim to the world that “Deus caritas est”, and to do so above all through the witness of sincere communion among Christians: “By this”, said Jesus, “all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn 13:35).)”.