May 2010


On Our Lady of Consolation: “From Her We Can Always Learn How to Look Upon Jesus"- Regina Coeli Address, May 2, 2010

As we come to the conclusion of this solemn celebration, we offer a prayer to Mary Most Holy, who in Turin is venerated as the principal patroness with the title Blessed Virgin of Consolation. To her I entrust this city and all those who live here. O Mary, watch over the families and the workers; watch over those who have lost faith and hope; comfort the sick, those in prison and all who suffer. O Help of Christians, sustain the young people, the elderly and persons in difficulty. O Mother of the Church, watch over her pastors and the whole community of believers, that they may be “salt and light” in the midst of the world.

The Virgin Mary is she who more than any other contemplated God in the human face of Jesus. She saw him as a newborn when, wrapped in swaddling clothes, he was placed in a manger; she saw him when, just after his death, they took him down from the cross, wrapped him in linen and placed him in the sepulcher. Inside her was impressed the image of her martyred Son, but this image was then transfigured in the light of the Resurrection. Thus in Mary’s heart was carried the mystery of the face of Christ, a mystery of death and of glory. From her we can always learn how to look upon Jesus with a gaze of love and of faith, to recognize in that human countenance, the Countenance of God.

To Mary Most Holy I entrust with gratitude those who worked to make my visit possible as well as the display of the Shroud. I pray for them that these events might bring about a profound spiritual renewal.

Homily at Cardinal Mayer's Funeral Mass: "The Christian Is Distinguished by the Fact That He Places His Security in God"- Homily during the funeral liturgy for Cardinal Paul Augustin Mayer in St. Peter's Basilica, May 3, 2010

... Also for our beloved brother, Cardinal Paul Augustin Mayer, the hour has come to leave this world. He was born, almost a century ago, in my own land, precisely in Altötting, where the famous Marian shrine arises to which many of the affections and memories of us, Bavarians, are linked. ...

At this moment, my thoughts cannot but go to the Shrine of the Mother of Graces of Altötting. Spiritually turned to that place of pilgrimage, we entrust to the Holy Virgin our prayer of suffrage for mourned Cardinal Mayer. He was born near that shrine, conformed his life to Christ according to the Benedictine Rule, and died in the shadow of this Vatican Basilica. May the Virgin, St. Peter and St. Benedict accompany this faithful disciple of the Lord to his Kingdom of light and peace. Amen.

Swiss President Visits Pope, New Guardsmen: Thirty Sworn in to Corps – May 6, 2010

... May the intercession of your holy patrons: St. Martin, St. Sebastian and St. Nicholas of Flue accompany you and assist you. And may Mary Most Holy, who guarded the only-begotten Son of God in her womb, help you to be genuine sons of the Church, and protect you in the service to the Successor of Peter.

On the Month Dedicated to Mary: "Humble and Discreet Protagonist of the First Steps of the Christian Community" – Regina Coeli Address, May 9, 2010

... With both these contexts, the "natural" and the liturgical, the tradition of the Church is well in tune in dedicating the month of May to the Virgin Mary. She is, in fact, the most beautiful flower to blossom in creation, the "rose" that appeared in the fullness of time, when God, sending his Son, gave the world a new spring. And she is at the same time humble and discreet protagonist of the first steps of the Christian community: Mary is its spiritual heart, because her very presence in the midst of the disciples is a living memory of the Lord Jesus and pledge of the gift of his Spirit.

This Sunday's Gospel, taken from Chapter 14 of St. John, offers us an implicit spiritual portrait of the Virgin Mary, where Jesus says: "If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him." (John 14:23) These expressions are addressed to the disciples, but they can be applied precisely to her who is the first and perfect disciple of Jesus. Mary in fact observed first and fully the word of her Son, thus demonstrating that she loved him not only as his mother, but first still as humble and obedient handmaid; because of this God the Father loved her and the Most Holy Trinity made its dwelling in her. Moreover, when Jesus promises his friends that the Holy Spirit will assist them, helping them to remember and understand profoundly every word of his (cf. John 14:26), how can we not think of Mary, who in her heart, temple of the Spirit, meditated and interpreted faithfully everything that her Son said and did? In this way, already before and above all after Easter, the Mother of Jesus became also the Mother and model of the Church.

Dear friends, in the heart of this Marian month, I will have the joy of going in the forthcoming days to Portugal. I will visit the capital, Lisbon, and Porto, the country's second city. The principal objective of my trip will be Fatima, on the occasion of the tenth Anniversary of the beatification of the two little shepherds, Jacinta and Francisco. For the first time as successor of Peter I will go to that Marian shrine, so dear to the Venerable John Paul II. I invite everyone to accompany me on this pilgrimage, participating actively with prayer: with only one heart and one soul we invoke the intercession of the Virgin Mary for the Church, in particular for priests, and for peace in the world.

[In English he said:]

I greet all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present at today's Regina Caeli. This week I am making an apostolic journey to Portugal to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the beatification of the visionaries Blessed Jacinta and Blessed Francisco. I ask for your prayers for the success of this journey, and I in turn assure you of my prayers to our Lady of Fatima for the whole people of God. May she intercede for us all, and draw us closer to Christ her Son. Upon each of you and your loved ones at home, I invoke God's abundant blessings.

Telegram Sent en Route to Portugal – May 11, 2010

To His Excellency The Honorable Giorgio Napolitano President of the Italian Republic:

On leaving Italian soil to go to Portugal I am happy to address to you, Mr. President, my deferential greeting, and while I set out to meet with the Catholic community, the authorities and the people of that noble country, as well as pilgrims, especially the sick who from all over the world go to the Marian Shrine of Fatima to find light and hope, I invoke the Lord's blessing on the entire Italian nation, in particular on all those who are suffering in body and in spirit.

Address upon arriving in Portugal: "I Come as a Pilgrim to Our Lady of Fatima"- Lisbon Portela Airport, May 11, 2010.

... "It was not the Church that imposed Fatima," as Cardinal Manuel Cerejeira of blessed memory used to say, "but it was Fatima that imposed itself on the Church."

The Virgin Mary came from heaven to remind us of Gospel truths that constitute for humanity -- so lacking in love and without hope for salvation -- the source of hope. ...

Dear Portuguese brothers and sisters, my friends, I thank you once more for your cordial welcome. May God bless those who are here and all the inhabitants of this noble and beloved Nation, which I entrust to Our Lady of Fatima, the sublime image of God’s love embracing all as children.

Homily at Lisbon Mass: "Base Your Human Hopes upon Divine Hope"- Lisbon's Commerce Square, also known as Palace Square, May 11, 2010

... Seek daily the protection of Mary, Mother of the Lord and mirror of all holiness. She, the all-holy one, will help you to be faithful disciples of her Son Jesus Christ.

Greeting to Youth at Apostolic Nunciature: "Thank You for Your Joyful Witness to Christ"- May 11, 2010

... I am very happy in being able to join the multitude of pilgrims to Fatima on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the beatification of Francisco and Jacinta. With Our Lady’s help, they learned to recognize God’s light in the depths of their hearts and to adore it in their lives. May the Virgin Mary obtain the same grace for you and may she protect you! I continue to count on you and on your prayers that this visit to Portugal may bear abundant fruit. And now, with great affection, I give you my blessing, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Good night! See you tomorrow. Thank you very much!

Papal Press Conference en Route to Portugal: "Forgiveness Does Not Replace Justice" - Aboard the plane, May 12, 2010

... Father Lombardi: Thank you, and now come to Fatima, in some way the culmination, even spiritually, of this visit. Your Holiness, what meaning do the Fatima apparitions have for us today? In June 2000, when you presented the text of the third secret in the Vatican Press Office, a number of us and our former colleagues were present. You were asked if the message could be extended, beyond the attack on John Paul II, to other sufferings on the part of the Popes. Is it possible, to your mind, to include in that vision the sufferings of the Church today for the sins involving the sexual abuse of minors?

Holy Father: Before all else, I want to say how happy I am to be going to Fatima, to pray before Our Lady of Fatima. For us, Fatima is a sign of the presence of faith, of the fact that it is precisely from the little ones that faith gains new strength, one which is not limited to the little ones but has a message for the entire world and touches history here and now, and sheds light on this history.

In 2000, in my presentation, I said that an apparition – a supernatural impulse which does not come purely from a person’s imagination but really from the Virgin Mary, from the supernatural – that such an impulse enters into a subject and is expressed according to the capacities of that subject. The subject is determined by his or her historical, personal, temperamental conditions, and so translates the great supernatural impulse into his or her own capabilities for seeing, imagining, expressing; yet these expressions, shaped by the subject, conceal a content which is greater, which goes deeper, and only in the course of history can we see the full depth, which was – let us say - “clothed” in this vision that was accessible to specific individuals.

Consequently, I would say that, here too, beyond this great vision of the suffering of the Pope, which we can in the first place refer to Pope John Paul II, an indication is given of realities involving the future of the Church, which are gradually taking shape and becoming evident. So it is true that, in addition to moment indicated in the vision, there is mention of, there is seen, the need for a passion of the Church, which naturally is reflected in the person of the Pope, yet the Pope stands for the Church and thus it is sufferings of the Church that are announced. The Lord told us that the Church would constantly be suffering, in different ways, until the end of the world. The important thing is that the message, the response of Fatima, in substance is not directed to particular devotions, but precisely to the fundamental response, that is, to ongoing conversion, penance, prayer, and the three theological virtues: faith, hope and charity. Thus we see here the true, fundamental response which the Church must give – which we, every one of us, must give in this situation.

As for the new things which we can find in this message today, there is also the fact that attacks on the Pope and the Church come not only from without, but the sufferings of the Church come precisely from within the Church, from the sin existing within the Church. This too is something that we have always known, but today we are seeing it in a really terrifying way: that the greatest persecution of the Church comes not from her enemies without, but arises from sin within the Church, and that the Church thus has a deep need to relearn penance, to accept purification, to learn forgiveness on the one hand, but also the need for justice. Forgiveness does not replace justice.

In a word, we need to relearn precisely this essential: conversion, prayer, penance and the theological virtues. This is our response, we are realists in expecting that evil always attacks, attacks from within and without, yet that the forces of good are also ever present and that, in the end, the Lord is more powerful than evil and Our Lady is for us the visible, motherly guarantee of God’s goodness, which is always the last word in history.

Homily at Vespers with Priests: "Thank You for Your Witness, Often Silent and Certainly Not Easy"- Church of the Blessed Trinity in Fatima, May 12, 2010

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

"When the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son born of woman, […] so that we might receive adoption as sons." (Gal 4:4,5) The fullness of time came when the Eternal broke into time; by the grace of the Holy Spirit the Son of the Most High was conceived and became man in the womb of a woman, the Virgin Mary, type and lofty model of the believing Church. The Church does not cease to beget new sons in the Son, whom the Father willed to be the first-born of many brothers. Each one of us is called to be with Mary and like Mary, a humble and simple sign of the Church who offers herself constantly as a spouse into the hands of her Lord.

... In this "upper room" of faith which is Fatima, the Virgin Mother shows us the way to place our pure and holy offering into the hands of the Father.

... Dear brother priests, in this place, which Mary has made special, keep before your eyes her vocation as a faithful disciple of her Son Jesus from the moment of his conception to the Cross, and then beyond, along the path of the nascent Church, and consider the unheard-of grace of your priesthood.

... Along this path of fidelity, beloved priests and deacons, consecrated men and women, seminarians and committed lay persons, may the Blessed Virgin Mary guide us. With her and like her, we are free so as to be saints; free so as to be poor, chaste and obedient; free for all because detached from all, free from self so that others may grow in Christ, the true Holy One of the Father and the Shepherd to whom priests, as his presence, lend their voice and their gestures; free to bring to today’s world Jesus who died and rose again, Jesus who remains with us until the end of time and who gives himself to all in the Most Holy Eucharist.

Act of Consecration of Priests: "May the Church Be Thus Renewed by Priests Who Are Holy"- Conclusion of the celebration of vespers with the religious, seminarians and diocesan priests at the Church of the Most Holy Trinity in Fatima, May 12, 2010

Immaculate Mother,

in this place of grace, called together by the love of your Son Jesus the Eternal High Priest, we, sons in the Son and his priests, consecrate ourselves to your maternal Heart, in order to carry out faithfully the Father’s Will.

We are mindful that, without Jesus, we can do nothing good (cf. Jn 15:5) and that only through him, with him and in him, will we be instruments of salvation for the world.

Bride of the Holy Spirit,

obtain for us the inestimable gift of transformation in Christ. Through the same power of the Spirit that overshadowed you, making you the Mother of the Savior, help us to bring Christ your Son to birth in ourselves too. May the Church be thus renewed by priests who are holy, priests transfigured by the grace of him who makes all things new.

Mother of Mercy,

it was your Son Jesus who called us to become like him: light of the world and salt of the earth (cf. Mt 5:13-14).

Help us, through your powerful intercession, never to fall short of this sublime vocation, nor to give way to our selfishness, to the allurements of the world and to the wiles of the Evil One. Preserve us with your purity, guard us with your humility and enfold us with your maternal love that is reflected in so many souls consecrated to you, who have become for us true spiritual mothers.

Mother of the Church,

we priests want to be pastors who do not feed themselves but rather give themselves to God for their brethren, finding their happiness in this. Not only with words, but with our lives, we want to repeat humbly, day after day, our “here I am.”

Guided by you, we want to be Apostles of Divine Mercy, glad to celebrate every day the Holy Sacrifice of the Altar and to offer to those who request it the sacrament of Reconciliation.

Advocate and Mediatrix of grace,

you who are fully immersed in the one universal mediation of Christ, invoke upon us, from God, a heart completely renewed that loves God with all its strength and serves mankind as you did.

Repeat to the Lord your efficacious word: “They have no wine,” (Jn 2:3) so that the Father and the Son will send upon us a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Full of wonder and gratitude at your continuing presence in our midst, in the name of all priests I too want to cry out: “Why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Lk 1:43)

Our Mother for all time,

do not tire of “visiting us,” consoling us, sustaining us. Come to our aid and deliver us from every danger that threatens us. With this act of entrustment and consecration, we wish to welcome you more deeply, more radically, forever and totally into our human and priestly lives. Let your presence cause new blooms to burst forth in the desert of our loneliness, let it cause the sun to shine on our darkness, let it restore calm after the tempest, so that all mankind shall see the salvation of the Lord, who has the name and the face of Jesus, who is reflected in our hearts, for ever united to yours! Amen!

Address at Belem Cultural Center: "Keep Alive the Search for Truth, and Consequently for God" - May 12, 2010

... May Our Lady of Belém intercede for you, she who has been venerated down through the centuries by navigators, and is venerated today by the navigators of Goodness, Truth and Beauty.

"Do Not Be Afraid to Talk of God"- Address At Fatima Shrine before leading the faithful in the recitation of the rosary at the Chapel of Apparitions, Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima, May 12, 2010

Dear pilgrims,

All of you, standing together with lighted candles in your hands, seem like a sea of light around this simple chapel, lovingly built to the honor of the Mother of God and our mother, whose path from earth to heaven appeared to the shepherd children like a way of light. However, neither Mary nor we have a light of our own: we receive it from Jesus. His presence within us renews the mystery and the call of the burning bush which once drew Moses on Mount Sinai and still fascinates those aware of the light within us which burns without consuming us (cf. Ex 3:2-5). We are merely a bush, but one upon which the glory of God has now come down. To him therefore be every glory, and to us the humble confession of our nothingness and the unworthy adoration of the divine plan which will be fulfilled when "God will be all in all." (cf. 1 Cor 15:28) The matchless servant of that plan was the Virgin full of grace: "Behold the handmaid of the Lord: let it be done to me according to your word." (Lk 1:38)

Dear pilgrims, let us imitate Mary, letting her words "Let it be done to me" resound in our lives. ... Brothers and sisters, in this place it is amazing to think how three children entrusted themselves to the interior force which had enflamed them in the apparitions of the Angel and of our heavenly Mother. In this place where we were repeatedly requested to recite the rosary, let us allow ourselves to be attracted by the mysteries of Christ, the mysteries of Mary’s rosary.

The recitation of the rosary allows us to fix our gaze and our hearts upon Jesus, just like his Mother, the supreme model of contemplation of the Son. Meditating upon the joyful, luminous, sorrowful and glorious mysteries as we pray our Hail Marys, let us reflect upon the interior mystery of Jesus, from the Incarnation, through the Cross, to the glory of the Resurrection; let us contemplate the intimate participation of Mary in the mystery of our life in Christ today, a life which is also made up of joy and sorrow, of darkness and light, of fear and hope. ... The devotion and affection of all of you, the faithful who have come here from all around the world, is clear to me.

I bring with me the worries and hopes of our times, the sufferings of our wounded humanity and the problems of the world, and I place them at the feet of Our Lady of Fatima: Virgin Mother of God and our own dear Mother, intercede for us before your Son, that the family of nations, both those called Christians and those who do not yet know the Savior, may live in peace and harmony, in order that they come together as the one people of God, to the glory of the most holy and indivisible Trinity. Amen.

Prayer at Apparition Chapel: "I Consign the Golden Rose That I Have Brought from Rome"- May 12, 2010

Our Lady, Mother of all men and women,

I come before you as a son visiting his Mother, and I do so in company with a multitude of brothers and sisters. As the successor of Peter, to whom was entrusted the mission of presiding in the service of charity in the Church of Christ and of confirming all in faith and in hope, I wish to present to your Immaculate Heart the joys and hopes as well as the problems and sufferings of each one of these sons and daughters of yours who are gathered in the Cova di Iria or who are praying with us from afar.

Mother most gentle,

you know each one by name, you know each one’s face and personal history, and you love them all with maternal benevolence that wells up from the very heart of Divine Love. I entrust and consecrate them all to you, Mary Most Holy, Mother of God and our Mother.

Cantors and Assembly: We sing to you and we praise you, O Mary (v. 1).

The Venerable Pope John Paul II, who visited you three times here in Fatima and thanked the "unseen hand" that rescued him from death in the assassination attempt on May 13 in Saint Peter’s Square almost thirty years ago, wanted to offer to the Shrine of Fatima a bullet which gravely wounded him and was placed in the crown of the Queen of Peace. It is a profound consolation to know that you are crowned not only with the silver and gold of our joys and hopes, but also with the "bullet" of our anxieties and sufferings.

I thank you, beloved Mother, for the prayers and sacrifices that the shepherd-children of Fatima offered for the Pope, led by the sentiments that you inspired in them in the apparitions. I also thank all those who, every day, pray for the successor of Peter and for his intentions, that the Pope may be strong in faith, bold in hope and zealous in love.

Cantors and Assembly: We sing to you and we praise you, O Mary (v. 2).

Beloved Mother of us all,

here in your shrine at Fatima I consign the Golden Rose that I have brought from Rome as a homage of gratitude from the Pope for the marvels that the Almighty has worked through you in the hearts of so many who come as pilgrims to this your maternal home.

I am sure that the shepherd-children of Fatima, Blessed Francisco and Jacinta and the Servant of God Lucia of Jesus, are united with us at this hour of prayer and jubilation.

Cantors and Assembly: We sing to you and we praise you, O Mary (v. 5).

Address to Bishops: "Join Your Voice to the Voices of the Least Powerful" – May 13, 2010

Dear Brother Bishops,

I thank God for giving me this occasion to meet all of you here at the shrine of Fatima, the spiritual heart of Portugal, where multitudes of pilgrims from all over the world come looking to discover or to reinforce their certainty in the truths of Heaven. Among them has come from Rome the successor of Peter, accepting the oft-repeated invitations and moved by a debt of gratitude to the Virgin Mary, who herself transmitted to her seers and pilgrims an intense love for the Holy Father which has borne fruit in a great multitude which prays, with Jesus as its guide: Peter, "I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren." (Lk 22:32) ...

I entrust all of you to Our Lady of Fatima, and I ask her to sustain you with her maternal care amid the challenges which you face, so that you will be promoters of a culture and a spirituality of charity, peace, hope and justice, faith and service. To you, to the members of your families and to your diocesan communities I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing.

Homily at Fatima Mass: "Yes! God Can Come to Us, and Show Himself to the Eyes of Our Heart" – May 13, 2010

Dear Pilgrims,

"Their descendants shall be renowned among the nations [...], they are a people whom the Lord has blessed" (Is 61:9). So the first reading of this Eucharist began, and its words are wonderfully fulfilled in this assembly devoutly gathered at the feet of Our Lady of Fatima. Dearly beloved brothers and sisters, I too have come as a pilgrim to Fatima, to this "home" from which Mary chose to speak to us in modern times. I have come to Fatima to rejoice in Mary's presence and maternal protection. I have come to Fatima, because today the pilgrim Church, willed by her Son as the instrument of evangelization and the sacrament of salvation, converges upon this place. I have come to Fatima to pray, in union with Mary and so many pilgrims, for our human family, afflicted as it is by various ills and sufferings. Finally, I have come to Fatima with the same sentiments as those of Blessed Francisco and Jacinta, and the Servant of God Lúcia, in order to entrust to Our Lady the intimate confession that "I love" Jesus, that the Church and priests "love" him and desire to keep their gaze fixed upon him as this Year for Priests comes to its end, and in order to entrust to Mary's maternal protection priests, consecrated men and women, missionaries and all those who by their good works make the House of God a place of welcome and charitable outreach.

... The resplendent daughter of this people is the Virgin Mary of Nazareth who, clothed with grace and sweetly marveling at God's presence in her womb, made this joy and hope her own in the canticle of the Magnificat: "My spirit rejoices in God my Savior". She did not view herself as a fortunate individual in the midst of a barren people, but prophesied for them the sweet joys of a wondrous maternity of God, for "his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation." (Lk 1:47, 50)

This holy place is the proof of it. In seven years you will return here to celebrate the centenary of the first visit made by the Lady "come from heaven," the Teacher who introduced the little seers to a deep knowledge of the Love of the Blessed Trinity and led them to savor God himself as the most beautiful reality of human existence. This experience of grace made them fall in love with God in Jesus, so much so that Jacinta could cry out: "How much I delight in telling Jesus that I love him! When I tell him this often, I feel as if I have a fire in my breast, yet it does not burn me." And Francisco could say: "What I liked most of all was seeing Our Lord in that light which Our Mother put into our hearts. I love God so much!" (Memoirs of Sister Lúcia, I, 42 and 126)

... An example and encouragement is to be found in the shepherd children, who offered their whole lives to God and shared them fully with others for love of God. Our Lady helped them to open their hearts to universal love. Blessed Jacinta, in particular, proved tireless in sharing with the needy and in making sacrifices for the conversion of sinners. Only with this fraternal and generous love will we succeed in building the civilization of love and peace. We would be mistaken to think that Fatima's prophetic mission is complete. Here there takes on new life the plan of God which asks humanity from the beginning: "Where is your brother Abel [...] Your brother's blood is crying out to me from the ground!" (Gen 4:9) Mankind has succeeded in unleashing a cycle of death and terror, but failed in bringing it to an end... In sacred Scripture we often find that God seeks righteous men and women in order to save the city of man and he does the same here, in Fatima, when Our Lady asks: "Do you want to offer yourselves to God, to endure all the sufferings which he will send you, in an act of reparation for the sins by which he is offended and of supplication for the conversion of sinners?" (Memoirs of Sister Lúcia, I, 162)

At a time when the human family was ready to sacrifice all that was most sacred on the altar of the petty and selfish interests of nations, races, ideologies, groups and individuals, our Blessed Mother came from heaven, offering to implant in the hearts of all those who trust in her the love of God burning in her own heart. At that time it was only to three children, yet the example of their lives spread and multiplied, especially as a result of the travels of the Pilgrim Virgin, in countless groups throughout the world dedicated to the cause of fraternal solidarity. May the seven years which separate us from the centenary of the apparitions hasten the fulfillment of the prophecy of the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, to the glory of the Most Holy Trinity.

Greeting to the Sick: "You Can Overcome the Feeling of the Uselessness of Suffering"- After Mass at Fatima Shrine, May 13, 2010

... Dear friends who are sick, welcome the call of Jesus who will shortly pass among you in the Most Blessed Sacrament, and entrust to him every setback and pain that you face, so that they become -- according to his design -- a means of redemption for the whole world. You will be redeemers with the Redeemer, just as you are sons in the Son. At the cross … stands the mother of Jesus, our mother.

[In English, he said:]

I welcome the English-speaking pilgrims present today who have come from near and far. As we offer our fervent prayers to our Lady of Fátima, I encourage you to ask her to intercede for the needs of the Church throughout the world. I cordially invoke God’s blessing upon all of you, and in a particular way upon the young and those who are sick.

Address to Charity Organizations: "Anyone Who Learns From the God Who Is Love Will Inevitably Be a Person for Others" – Fatima May 13, 2010

... I am very happy to meet you in this holy place where God chose to remind mankind, through Mary, of his plan of merciful love. I offer a friendly greeting to all of you, and to the institutions which you represent. ...

All this fits very closely with the message of Our Lady which resounds in this place: penance, prayer and forgiveness aimed at the conversion of hearts. In this way you are building the civilization of love, whose seeds God has sown in the heart of every man and woman, to which faith in Christ the Savior gives abundant growth.

Homily at Mass in Porto: "It Is Jesus Whom Everyone Awaits" - Porto's Gran Plaza de la Avenida dos Aliados, May 14, 2010

... Dear brothers and sisters of Oporto, lift up your eyes to the One whom you have chosen as the patroness of your city, the Immaculate Conception. The angel of the Annunciation greeted Mary as "full of grace," signifying with this expression that her heart and her life were totally open to God and, as such, completely permeated by his grace. May Our Lady help you to make yourselves a free and total "Yes" to the grace of God, so that you can be renewed and thus renew humanity by the light and the joy of the Holy Spirit.

[After the Mass ended, the Pope directed this greeting from the balcony of the Municipal Palace]

Brothers and sisters, my dear friends, I am happy to be among you and I thank you for the festive and cordial welcome which I have received here in Oporto, the "City of the Virgin." To her motherly protection I entrust you and your families, your communities and institutions serving the common good, including the universities of the city whose students have gathered to show me their gratitude and their attachment to the teaching of the successor of Peter.

On the Feast of the Ascension: "The Lord, Taking the Road to Heaven, Gives Us a Foretaste of Divine Life"- Regina Caeli Address, St. Peter’s Square, May 16, 2010

... I thank the Virgin Mary, whom I was able to venerate at the shrine in Fatima a short time ago, for her maternal protection during the intense pilgrimage in Portugal. With confidence we address our prayer to her who watches over the witnesses of her beloved Son.

On Many Pentecosts: The Church "Lives Constantly From the Effusion of the Holy Spirit" - Regina Caeli Address, St. Peter’s Square, May 23, 2010

… Thus, there is no Church without Pentecost. And I would like to add: There is no Pentecost without the Virgin Mary. This is how it was at the beginning, in the Cenacle, where the disciples “were perseverant and united in prayer, together with certain women and with Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and with his brothers” -- as the Acts of the Apostles says (1:14). And this is how it always is, in every place and in every time. I witnessed it a short time ago at Fatima. What did that great multitude on the green of the shrine experience, where we were all one heart and one soul, if not a renewed Pentecost? In our midst was Mary, the Mother of Jesus. This is the typical experience at the great Marian sanctuaries -- Lourdes, Guadalupe, Pompeii, Loreto -- or even in the smaller ones: Wherever Christians gather in prayer with Mary, the Lord grants his Spirit.

Dear friends, on this feast of Pentecost, we too would like to be spiritually united with the Mother of Christ and of the Church, invoking a renewed effusion of the Paraclete with faith. We invoke this for the whole Church, in particular, in this Year for Priests, for all the ministers of the Gospel, that the message of salvation be announced to all the nations.

[The Holy Father then greeted those present in various languages. In Italian he said:]

… Tomorrow, May 24, the liturgical memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Help of Christians, offers us the possibility of celebrating the Day of Prayer for the Church in China. While the faithful in China pray that the unity between them and with the universal Church continues to deepen, Catholics throughout the world -- particularly those of Chinese origin -- unite with them in prayer and in charity, that the Holy Spirit may fill our hearts especially on today’s solemnity.

"Take Upon Yourselves Without Hesitation the Commitment to Educate" - Address to Italian Episcopal Conference, May 27, 2010

… Called by grace to be the pastor of the Universal Church and of the splendid City of Rome, I carry with me constantly your worries and expectations, which in these last days I have deposited, with those of all humanity, at the feet of the Madonna of Fatima. To her goes our prayer: "Virgin Mother of God and our most dear Mother, let your presence cause new blooms to burst forth in the desert of our loneliness, let it cause the sun to shine on our darkness, let it restore calm after the tempest, so that all mankind shall see the salvation of the Lord, who has the name and the Face of Jesus, who is reflected in our hearts, forever united with yours! Amen!" (Act of Entrustment, Fatima, May 12). I thank you and bless you with all my heart.

"An Example of Balance Between Doctrinal Clarity and Prudent Pastoral Action" - Address on 400th Anniversary of Matteo Ricci's Death (1552-1610), May 29, 2010

… Dear brothers and sisters, may the memory of these men of God dedicated to the Gospel and to the Church, their example of fidelity to Christ, their deep love for the Chinese people, their commitment of intelligence and study and their virtuous lives be an opportunity to pray for the Church in China and for the entire Chinese people, as we do every year, on May 24, addressing Mary Most Holy, venerated in the famous shrine of Sheshan in Shanghai; and may they also be an incentive and an encouragement to live the Christian faith intensely, in dialogue with the different cultures but in the certainty that in Christ true humanism is fulfilled, open to God, rich in moral and spiritual values and capable of responding to the deepest desires of the human soul.

"We Are Called Daily to Be Open to the Action of Grace" – Angelus Address, May 30, 2010

... Invoking the Blessed Virgin Mary, the first creature in whom the Most Holy Trinity dwelled fully, let us ask her protection to journey well on our earthly pilgrimage.

"Mary's Is an Authentic Missionary Journey"- Address at End of May, May 31, 2010

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

With great joy I join you at the end of this traditional prayer meeting in the Vatican, which concludes the month of May. In reference to today's liturgy, we wish to contemplate Mary Most Holy in the mystery of the Visitation. In the Virgin Mary who goes to visit her cousin Elizabeth, we recognize the most limpid example and the truest meaning of our journey of believers and the journey of the Church herself. The Church is missionary by nature; she is called to proclaim the Gospel everywhere and always, to transmit the faith to every man and woman, and to every culture.

"In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah," (Luke 1:39) wrote the evangelist St. Luke. Mary's is an authentic missionary journey. It is a journey that takes her far from home, drives her to the world, to places that are foreign to her daily customs, makes her reach, in a certain sense, the limits of what she could reach. Herein lies, also for us, the secret of our life as men and as Christians. As had already happened to Abraham, we are asked to come out of ourselves, of the places of our security, to go to others, to different places and realms. It is the Lord who asks this of us: "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses ... to the end of the earth." (Acts 1:8) And it is always the Lord who, on this journey, places us next to Mary as travel companion and solicitous mother. She gives us security, because she reminds us that her Son Jesus is always with us, according to what he promised: "I am with you always, to the close of the age." (Matthew 28:20)

The evangelist recounts that "Mary remained with her (with her cousin Elizabeth) about three months."(Luke 1:56) These simple words explain the most immediate objective of Mary's journey. She had known through the Angel that Elizabeth was expecting a child and that she was already in her sixth month (cf. Luke 1:36). But Elizabeth was old and the closeness of Mary, still very young, could be useful to her. That is why Mary went to her and remained by her side for almost three months, to offer her this affectionate closeness, that concrete help and all those daily services of which she was in need. Thus Elizabeth becomes the symbol of all elderly and sick persons, more than that, of all persons in need of help and love. And how many there are also today, in our families, in our communities and in our cities! And Mary -- who described herself as "the handmaid of the Lord" (Luke 1:38) -- makes herself the handmaid of men. More precisely, she serves the Lord whom she finds in brothers.

However, Mary's charity does not stop with concrete aid, but reaches its culmination in giving Jesus himself, in "having one find him." It is once again St. Luke who stresses it: "And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb." (Luke 1:41) We are, thus, at the heart and culmination of the evangelizing mission. We are in the truest meaning and the most genuine objective of all missionary endeavor: to give men the living and personal Gospel, which is the Lord Jesus himself.

And Jesus' is a communication and a donation that -- as Elizabeth attests -- fills the heart with joy: "For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy." (Luke 1:44) Jesus is the true and only treasure that we have to give to humanity. It is of him that the men and women of our time have profound nostalgia, even when they seem to ignore or reject him. It is of him that the society in which we live, Europe, the whole world, is in great need.

To us has been entrusted this extraordinary responsibility. Let us live it with joy and commitment, so that ours will truly be a civilization in which truth, justice, liberty and love reign, fundamental and irreplaceable pillars of a true orderly and peaceful coexistence. Let us live this responsibility by being assiduous in listening to the Word of God, in fraternal union, in the breaking of bread and in prayers (cf. Acts 2:42). May this be the grace we pray for together to the Virgin Most Holy this evening. My blessing to all of you.