19 Mar 2013

Mass of Inauguration of the Petrine Ministry of the Bishop of Rome

Under what appears to have been glorious skies in Rome this morning, Pope Francis inaugurated his pontificate as the 265th successor of St Peter as Bishop of Rome.
 
St Joseph
Celebrating the inauguration on the feast day of St Joseph, the focus of Pope Francis was very much on the need for Christians to be at the service of each other; with the Bishop of Rome at the service of the universal church.

Photos of the event are being loaded to the Vatican Radio - English Section Facebook page and here.

From Rome Reports:

From the early morning, thousands of pilgrims began making their way to St. Peters Square for Pope Francis' Inauguration Mass. A wave of flags and signs dotted the square, but especially those from the Pope's native Argentina. Roman authorities had blocked off access to the square since Monday night, and by Tuesday morning they had installed massive screens and speakers along Via della Conciliazione for a “reduced” crowd of 200,000 people, since the ceremony takes place during the work week.
 
Pope Francis prays at the Confessio under the altar in St Peter's.

The ceremony for Pope Francis' Inaugural Mass started off at the Tomb of St. Peter. Joined by the other patriarchs and major archbishops of the Eastern Catholic Churches, the Pope descended to the sepulcher for St. Peter, prayed for several minutes, and offered incense to the Apostle. With this gesture, the Pope manifested his unity with the first Vicar of Christ, and takes over as the Supreme Pastor of the Eastern and Western Christians.


 
Awaiting in the Tomb of St. Peter was the Fisherman's ring and Papal pallium. Before the start of his Inaugural Mass at St. Peter's Square, Pope Francis received the Papal pallium from Protodeacon Cardinal Jean Louis Tauran, and the Fisherman's ring from Cardinal Dean Angelo Sodano.

Before the imposition of the pallium, the protodeacon prays:

May the God of peace, who brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ, the great shepherd of the sheep, bestow upon you the Pallium taken from the Tomb of the Apostle Peter.The Good Shepherd charged Peter to feed his lambs and his sheep; today you succeed him as the Bishop of this Church to which he and the Apostle Paul were fathers in faith. May the Spirit of Truth, who proceeds from the Father, grant you his abundant gifts of wisdom and eloquence in the ministry of confirming your brethren in the unity of faith. 
Let us pray.

O God, who do not disappoint those who call upon you with upright and devout hearts, hear the fervent prayer of your Church and pour forth your blessing upon your servant Francis, our Pope, to whom, through our humble service, you have granted primacy in the apostolic office. May he be strengthened by the gift of your Holy Spirit and worthily exercise his high ministry in accordance with the eminent charism he has received. Through Christ our Lord
 Before the imposition of the Fisherman's ring, the protodean prays:
Most Holy Father, may Christ, the Son of the living God, the shepherd and guard- ian of our souls, who built his Church upon rock, grant you the ring, the seal of Peter the Fisherman, who put his hope in him on the sea of Galilee, and to whom the Lord Jesus entrusted the keys of the Kingdom of heaven. Today you succeed the Blessed Apostle Peter as the Bishop of this Church which presides over the unity of charity, as the Blessed Apostle Paul has taught. May the Spirit of charity, poured into our hearts, grant you the gentleness and strength to preserve, through your ministry, all those who believe in Christ in unity and fellowship
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During the brief ceremony, Protopriest Cardinal Godfried Danneels led a prayer for the Pope. Through these rites, the Pope officially begins his role as the Shepherd of the Catholic Church.
 
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Pope Francis imparts a blessing with the
Book of the Gospels after hearing it proclaimed in Greek
Source - Vatican Radio


Homily of Pope Francis
Inaugural Mass of Petrine Ministry
19th March 2013

 
Dear Brothers and Sisters, I thank the Lord that I can celebrate this Holy Mass for the inauguration of my Petrine ministry on the solemnity of Saint Joseph, the spouse of the Virgin Mary and the patron of the universal Church. It is a significant coincidence, and it is also the name-day of my venerable predecessor: we are close to him with our prayers, full of affection and gratitude.

I offer a warm greeting to my brother cardinals and bishops, the priests, deacons, men and women religious, and all the lay faithful. I thank the representatives of the other Churches and ecclesial Communities, as well as the representatives of the Jewish community and the other religious communities, for their presence. My cordial greetings go to the Heads of State and Government, the members of the official Delegations from many countries throughout the world, and the Diplomatic Corps.

In the Gospel we heard that “Joseph did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took Mary as his wife” (Mt 1:24). These words already point to the mission which God entrusts to Joseph: he is to be the custos, the protector. The protector of whom? Of Mary and Jesus; but this protection is then extended to the Church, as Blessed John Paul II pointed out: “Just as Saint Joseph took loving care of Mary and gladly dedicated himself to Jesus Christ’s upbringing, he likewise watches over and protects Christ’s Mystical Body, the Church, of which the Virgin Mary is the exemplar and model” (Redemptoris Custos, 1).



 
How does Joseph exercise his role as protector? Discreetly, humbly and silently, but with an unfailing presence and utter fidelity, even when he finds it hard to understand. From the time of his betrothal to Mary until the finding of the twelve-year-old Jesus in the Temple of Jerusalem, he is there at every moment with loving care. As the spouse of Mary, he is at her side in good times and bad, on the journey to Bethlehem for the census and in the anxious and joyful hours when she gave birth; amid the drama of the flight into Egypt and during the frantic search for their child in the Temple; and later in the day-to-day life of the home of Nazareth, in the workshop where he taught his trade to Jesus.

How does Joseph respond to his calling to be the protector of Mary, Jesus and the Church? By being constantly attentive to God, open to the signs of God’s presence and receptive to God’s plans, and not simply to his own. This is what God asked of David, as we heard in the first reading. God does not want a house built by men, but faithfulness to his word, to his plan. It is God himself who builds the house, but from living stones sealed by his Spirit. Joseph is a “protector” because he is able to hear God’s voice and be guided by his will; and for this reason he is all the more sensitive to the persons entrusted to his safekeeping. He can look at things realistically, he is in touch with his surroundings, he can make truly wise decisions. In him, dear friends, we learn how to respond to God’s call, readily and willingly, but we also see the core of the Christian vocation, which is Christ! Let us protect Christ in our lives, so that we can protect others, so that we can protect creation!

The vocation of being a “protector”, however, is not just something involving us Christians alone; it also has a prior dimension which is simply human, involving everyone. It means protecting all creation, the beauty of the created world, as the Book of Genesis tells us and as Saint Francis of Assisi showed us. It means respecting each of God’s creatures and respecting the environment in which we live. It means protecting people, showing loving concern for each and every person, especially children, the elderly, those in need, who are often the last we think about. It means caring for one another in our families: husbands and wives first protect one another, and then, as parents, they care for their children, and children themselves, in time, protect their parents. It means building sincere friendships in which we protect one another in trust, respect, and goodness. In the end, everything has been entrusted to our protection, and all of us are responsible for it. Be protectors of God’s gifts!

Whenever human beings fail to live up to this responsibility, whenever we fail to care for creation and for our brothers and sisters, the way is opened to destruction and hearts are hardened. Tragically, in every period of history there are “Herods” who plot death, wreak havoc, and mar the countenance of men and women.

Please, I would like to ask all those who have positions of responsibility in economic, political and social life, and all men and women of goodwill: let us be “protectors” of creation, protectors of God’s plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of the environment. Let us not allow omens of destruction and death to accompany the advance of this world! But to be “protectors”, we also have to keep watch over ourselves! Let us not forget that hatred, envy and pride defile our lives! Being protectors, then, also means keeping watch over our emotions, over our hearts, because they are the seat of good and evil intentions: intentions that build up and tear down! We must not be afraid of goodness or even tenderness!

Here I would add one more thing: caring, protecting, demands goodness, it calls for a certain tenderness
. In the Gospels, Saint Joseph appears as a strong and courageous man, a working man, yet in his heart we see great tenderness, which is not the virtue of the weak but rather a sign of strength of spirit and a capacity for concern, for compassion, for genuine openness to others, for love. We must not be afraid of goodness, of tenderness!Today, together with the feast of Saint Joseph, we are celebrating the beginning of the ministry of the new Bishop of Rome, the Successor of Peter, which also involves a certain power. Certainly, Jesus Christ conferred power upon Peter, but what sort of power was it? Jesus’ three questions to Peter about love are followed by three commands: feed my lambs, feed my sheep. Let us never forget that authentic power is service, and that the Pope too, when exercising power, must enter ever more fully into that service which has its radiant culmination on the Cross. He must be inspired by the lowly, concrete and faithful service which marked Saint Joseph and, like him, he must open his arms to protect all of God’s people and embrace with tender affection the whole of humanity, especially the poorest, the weakest, the least important, those whom Matthew lists in the final judgment on love: the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick and those in prison (cf. Mt 25:31-46). Only those who serve with love are able to protect!

In the second reading, Saint Paul speaks of Abraham, who, “hoping against hope, believed” (Rom 4:18). Hoping against hope! Today too, amid so much darkness, we need to see the light of hope and to be men and women who bring hope to others. To protect creation, to protect every man and every woman, to look upon them with tenderness and love, is to open up a horizon of hope; it is to let a shaft of light break through the heavy clouds; it is to bring the warmth of hope! For believers, for us Christians, like Abraham, like Saint Joseph, the hope that we bring is set against the horizon of God, which has opened up before us in Christ. It is a hope built on the rock which is God.

To protect Jesus with Mary, to protect the whole of creation, to protect each person, especially the poorest, to protect ourselves: this is a service that the Bishop of Rome is called to carry out, yet one to which all of us are called, so that the star of hope will shine brightly. Let us protect with love all that God has given us!

I implore the intercession of the Virgin Mary, Saint Joseph, Saints Peter and Paul, and Saint Francis, that the Holy Spirit may accompany my ministry, and I ask all of you to pray for me! Amen.
 
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After the Mass, the Pope is meeting various dignitaries and representatives including Patriarch Bartholemew I
 
Source - Vatican Radio
And Uachtarán na h-Éireann, Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabine. President Higgins of course has a very personal history with Argentina since his time as an international observer at the elections which saw the change over from the military junta to democracy and it was one of the first countries he visited after his election.
 
Source - The Irish Catholic

 

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