Madrid (Fides Service) – On Sunday May 4, the third Sunday of Easter Pope John Paul II presided the concelebration of Mass in Madrid, at Plaza de Colon, during which he canonised five religious, two men and three women: Pedro Poveda Castroverde, José María Rubio y Peralta, Genoveva Torres Morales, Ángela de la Cruz, María Maravillas de Jesús.
“The new Saints present themselves to us today as authentic disciples of the Lord and witnesses of his Resurrection” the Pope said in his homily referring to the Easter Liturgy which presents Jesus who urges the Apostles to bear testimony of his Resurrection. “Since then, with the power of the Holy Spirit, the Church has continued to proclaim this extraordinary news to men and women of all times. And the Successor of Peter, who has come as a pilgrim to the land of Spain, says to you: <Spain! In keeping with a past of courageous witness, be today too, a witness of the Risen Lord Jesus Christ!>”
After recalling the commitment and merits of the new Saints who bore witness in various fields, education, social work, evangelisation, assistance to the poor, and with prayer, the Holy Father emphasised their message for today: “Their works, which we admire and for which we give thanks to God, must be attributed not only to their efforts or to human wisdom, but to the mysterious workings of the Holy Spirit who prompted them to offer unswerving adhesion to Christ crucified and risen and to resolve to imitate him. Dear Catholics of Spain, let us be encouraged by these marvellous models!”.
The Pope then called on those present to pray for new fruits of holiness in Spain: “if the ecclesial communities remain faithful to the Gospel” and “if the family remains united, as an authentic shrine of love and life”. Lastly the Pope encouraged Spain not to break with its Christian roots “because only in this way will you be able to offer the world and Europe the cultural riches of your history”.
At the end of the Mass, before praying the midday Regina Coeli hymn, recalling that his first visit to Spain in 1982 had the theme “Witness of Hope” and that the motto for this fifth visit was “You will be my witnesses”, the Pope said: “Always remember that the distinctive mark of Christians is bold and courageous witness of Jesus Christ, who died and is risen for our salvation”. After greeting the authorities and the estimated one million people present, the Holy Father concluded: “The memory of these two days will become a prayer that you may live in peace in brotherly co-existence, animated by Christian hope which never disappoints”. SL (Fides Service 5/5/2003 EM lines 31 Words: 439)