September 5, 2000
volume 11, no. 161

NEWS for Tuesday, September 5, 2000
John Paul II Receives Pilgrims Who Came to Rome for Beatifications


    Monday morning John Paul II received pilgrims in St. Peter's Square who participated yesterday in the beatification ceremony of five new Blessed. Naturally, during his talk he dedicated much time to the figures of his two predecessors, Pius IX, who "guided the Bark of Peter's for almost 32 years in the midst of violent tempests," and John XXIII who in his "brief pontificate," opened a new era with Vatican Council II.

    In recalling Pius IX's work, John Paul II focused on the eminent spiritual qualities that contributed to his beatification: "he liked to preach as a simple priest, administer the sacraments in churches and hospitals, meet with Romans on the city's streets." However, "the world did not always understand him: the 'hosannas' at the beginning of his pontificate were soon followed by accusations, attacks, and calumnies," John Paul II said.

    The Holy Father avoided responding to the arguments raised around the figure of Pius IX on the eve of his beatification. Instead, he concentrated on his predecessor's spirituality, because the Church does not proclaim people Blessed for political reasons. "He was always indulgent to his enemies. The spirit of poverty, faith in God, and abandonment to Providence, coupled with an extraordinary sense of humor, helped him overcome the most difficult moments."

    He often said, "My politics is: Our Father, who art in heaven." In this way, he showed that "God, in whom he had total confidence, was his guide in the decisions of life and the governing of the Church," the Pope explained.

    Pius IX's profound Marian devotion led him to solemnly proclaim the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. Moreover, John Paul II pointed out that one of the persons most devoted to Pius IX was John XXIII, who yesterday shared with his predecessor the official recognition of the Church.

    In recalling the figure of John XXIII, the Holy Father mentioned his particular Christian virtues, his profound understanding of human nature, with its "lights and shadows," but above all the fruitful humility learned from his parents, farm workers from northern Italy.

    "The longer he lived and the more saintly he became, the more he attracted people by his wise simplicity. He was not disturbed in face of trials, but always knew how to look optimistically at the different ups and downs of life," John Paul II said.

    Finally, the Pope referred to the other three new Blessed. Speaking of Bishop Tommaso Reggio, founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Martha, the Pope highlighted his "profound communion with God" and the ideal of sanctity he proposed "to all categories of faithful: lay people, priests, and consecrated persons, especially nuns."

    "The personality and activity of the new Blessed Guillaume-Joseph Chaminade," priest and founder of the Society of Mary (Marianists), "who always sought to do God's work, calls all faithful to serious catechistic formation in order to develop and consolidate religious life and enter more profoundly into the meeting with Christ."

    The Holy Father concluded expressing the hope that Blessed Columba Marmion, Benedictine Abbot, "may help us all to live the Christian life ever more intensely and to have an ever deeper understanding of our membership in the Church, the mystical Body of Christ." ZE00090408

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