Monday, March 24, 2014

Pope Francis Leads Year of Faith Closing

by Jordeene Sheex Lagare

On the occasion of Solemnity of Christ the King, Pope Francis marked the closing of the Year of Faith with a Papal Mass held in St. Peter’s Square on 24 November 2013. Some 250 cardinals, bishops, and priests concelebrated with the Holy Father.

Pope Francis pointed out the centrality of Christ that is reflected in all the Scripture readings, saying that “Christ is at the center, Christ is the center. Christ is the center of creation, Christ is the center of his people, and Christ is the center of history.”

“Christ is the first born of all creation: in him, through him, and for him all things were created. He is the center of all things, he is the beginning: Jesus Christ, the Lord,” the Pope explained.

The Holy Father emphasized the importance of putting Christ at the center of our lives, at the center of human history, and at the center of every individual. He added, “Our thoughts will be Christian thoughts, thoughts of Christ. Our works will be Christian works, works of Christ; and our words will be Christian words, words of Christ.”

He also invited every mass goer gathered in front of the Square to say this prayer sincerely and quietly, “Remember me, Jesus! You can remember me because you are at the center, you are truly in your kingdom!”

During the mass, 50 priests administered confession to the pilgrims. The relics of St. Peter, were placed next to the altar, displayed to the public for the first time. These relics of eight bone fragments are contained in a bronze casket bearing the inscrip-tion,  Ex ossibus quae in Arcibasilicae Vaticane Hypogeo inventa Beati Petri Apostoli esse putantur (“found in the Hypogeum of the Vatican Basilica and believed to be of the Blessed Apostle Peter”).

Pope Francis appealed to thousands of pilgrims to donate money for the victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) before the mass started. The Holy Father distributed copies of his first Apostolic Exhortation, “Evangelii Gaudium”, to 36 representatives of People of God from 18 countries. A blind person, one of the pilgrims, received the copy in CD-ROM format to be able to listen to it.

The solemnity  of the closing of Year of Faith was also celebrated in the different dioceses all over the world. In our very own Diocese of Cubao, parish leaders from different vicariates assembled for a motorcade parade. The parade ended in the Immaculate Conception Catherdral in Lantana, Cubao for the taizĂ© and mass, presided by Diocesan Bishop, Most Rev. Honesto F. Ongtioco, D.D.

In his homily Bishop Ongtioco stressed the Filipinos’ “strong faith despite the calamity that hit the country recently.” The entire Mass was very solemn and peaceful, despite the downpour in the middle of the celebration. But the rain stopped just in time for the procession of the Blessed Sacrament.

It will be recalled that the Year of Faith was inaugurated by then Pope Benedict XVI on 11 October 2012, the same date that marked the 50th Anniversary of the Opening of Vatican Council II. The Year of Faith was launched to encourage Catholics to deepen their understanding of faith and share it with others.

Meanwhile, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines released its Pastoral Exhortation on the Era of New Evangelization to prepare for the 500th anniversary of the arrival of the Gospel in the Philippines.

  • http://www.catholicnewsagen -ty-of-christ/
  • y.asp?number=127121

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