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Pope Francis marks the solemnity of Sts Peter and Paul

Vatican City, 29 June 2013: ‘We are celebrating the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles, principal patrons of the Church of Rome: a celebration made all the more joyful by the presence of bishops from throughout the world. A great wealth, which makes us in some sense relive the event of Pentecost. Today, as then, the faith of the Church speaks in every tongue and desire to unite all peoples in one family, said Pope Francis during his Mass celebrated on Saturday morning in St Peter’s Basilica.

Among the traditional elements of the feast day are the vesting of the bronze statue of St Peter in the Basilica in liturgical garments, and the crowning of the same with the triple tiara. It is also the feast on which the particular sign of a Metropolitan Archbishop's office, the Pallium, is imposed.

Pope Francis thanked at the outset the Delegation of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, led by Metropolitan Ioannis, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomaios I, ambassadors, civil authorities, and the Choir of the Thomaskirche of Leipzig which contributed additional ecumenical presence to the liturgical celebration.

Pope Francis offered three thoughts on the Petrine ministry, guided by the word “confirm”. What has the Bishop of Rome been called to confirm? He answered First, to confirm in faith, second to confirm in love, and third. to confirm in unity.

The role, the ecclesial service of Peter, is founded upon his confession of faith in Jesus, the Son of the living God, made possible by a grace granted from on high. Whenever we let our thoughts, our feelings or the logic of human power prevail, and we do not let ourselves be taught and guided by faith, by God, we become stumbling blocks. Faith in Christ is the light of our life as Christians and as ministers in the Church, reminded the Pope.

Saint Paul has but one weapon: the message of Christ and the gift of his entire life for Christ and for others. It is precisely this readiness to lay himself open, personally, to be consumed for the sake of the Gospel, to make himself all things to all people, unstintingly, that gives him credibility and builds up the Church. The Bishop of Rome is called himself to live and to confirm his brothers and sisters in this love for Christ and for all others, without distinction, limits or barriers.

Reflecting on the pallium the Pope said that it ‘is a symbol of communion with the Successor of Peter, “the lasting and visible source and foundation of the unity both of faith and of communion” . In the Church, variety, which is itself a great treasure, is always grounded in the harmony of unity, like a great mosaic in which every small piece joins with others as part of God’s one great plan. This should inspire us to work always to overcome every conflict which wounds the body of the Church. United in our differences: this is the way of Jesus, added Pope Francis. Source: VR Sedoc


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