Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Holy Name of Mary; Remembering the Pope in St. John's, NL (September 12, 1984)

This feast is a counterpart to the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus (January 3); both have the possibility of uniting people easily divided on other matters.

The feast of the Most Holy Name of Mary began in Spain in 1513 and in 1671 was extended to all of Spain and the Kingdom of Naples. In 1683, John Sobieski, king of Poland, brought an army to the outskirts of Vienna to stop the advance of Muslim armies loyal to Mohammed IV in Constantinople. After Sobieski entrusted himself to the Blessed Virgin Mary, he and his soldiers thoroughly defeated the Muslims. Pope Innocent XI extended this feast to the entire Church.

On this day dedicated to the Holy Name of Mary let us repeat that wonderful prayer of Saint Bernard, responding to Pope Benedict XVI 's invitation to “invite everyone to become a trusting child before Mary, even as the Son of God did.

Saint Bernard says, and we say with him: “Look to the star of the sea, call upon Mary … in danger, in distress, in doubt, think of Mary, call upon Mary. May her name never be far from your lips, or far from your heart … If you follow her, you will not stray; if you pray to her, you will not despair; if you turn your thoughts to her, you will not err. If she holds you, you will not fall; if she protects you, you need not fear; if she is your guide, you will not tire; if she is gracious to you, you will surely reach your destination””(Benedict XVI, address at Heiligenkreuz Abbey, September 9, 2007).

“Lord our God, when your Son was dying on the altar of the cross, he gave us as our mother the one he had chosen to be his own mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary; grant that we who call upon the holy name of Mary, our mother, with confidence in her protection may receive strength and comfort in all our needs” (Marian Sacramentary, Mass for the Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary).

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Pope John Paul II arrived in St. John's at 12:30 pm on Sept 12, 1984, his first visit to the province and a milestone in the history of Catholicism in Newfoundland.

After meeting with a number of church officials and dignitaries he took time to meet with the immense number of parishioners who showed up to greet him.

It was raining when the Pope arrived at Quidi Vidi Lake for mass - though this did not deter the estimated 80,000 people that came to participate. With over 100 priests, 1000 communion ministers, and a choir and 60 piece orchestra, this mass was the largest ever celebrated in Newfoundland.

Later that day, the Pope gave an address to the educators of the Roman Catholic Schools in the province at the Basilica Cathedral (photo).

During his visit, the Pope also spoke to the "Fishing Community" of Newfoundland, stressing the importance of stewardhip of the fish stock in light of global pressures to overfish:

In my Encyclical "Laborem Exercens" I have emphasized "the fact that human work is a key, probably the essential key, to the whole social question". Men and women are meant to contribute by their work to the building up of the human community, and so to realize their full human stature as co-creators with God and co-builders of his Kingdom. Prolonged failure to find meaningful employment represents an affront to the dignity of the individual, for which no social assistance can fully compensate.

The human costs of such unemployment, especially the havoc it brings to family life, have frequently been deplored by the Canadian Bishops. I join with them in appealing to those in positions of responsibility, and to all involved, to work together to find appropriate solutions to the problems at hand, including a re-structuring of the economy, so that human needs be put before mere financial gain. The social doctrine of the Church requires us to emphasize the primacy of the human person in the productive process, the primacy of people over things.

Canada has been called the breadbasket of the world, and it was one of the world’s largest exporters of fish before the recent recession. It is a cruel paradox that many of you who could be engaged in the production of food are in financial distress here, while at the same time hunger, chronic malnutrition and the threat of starvation afflict millions of people elsewhere in the world.

With careful stewardship, the sea will continue to offer its harvest. However, during the last few years the means of processing and distributing food have become more technically sophisticated. The fishing industry has also been concentrated more and more in the hands of fewer and fewer people.

Around the globe more and more small or family fishing concerns lose their financial independence to the larger and capital intensive enterprises. Large industrial fishing companies run the risk of losing contact with the fishermen and their personal and family needs. They are exposed to the temptation of responding only to the forces of the marketplace, thus lacking at times sufficient financial incentive to maintain production. Such a development would put the security and distribution of the world’s food supply into ever greater jeopardy, if food production becomes controlled by the profit motive of a few rather than by the needs of the many.

The current economic situation, especially with regard to fishing, demands courageous decisions in order to overcome all negative consequences. Our Christian view of man and what constitutes his good must be the guiding principles in looking for alternate solutions. The promotion of cooperatives of fishermen, collective agreements between workers and management, some form of joint ownership or partnership - these are some of the possible solutions that would aim at ensuring that the workers have a voice in the decision-making affecting their own lives and the lives of their families.

In a world of growing interdependence, the responsible stewardship of all the earth’s resources, and especially food, requires long-range planning at the different levels of government, in cooperation with industry. It also requires effective international agreements on trade. It must take account the problem of food-aid and aid to development, and be responsive to those in need.

My dear friends: hard work and a strong sense of family and community have sustained you in the past in your upright Christian lives. Above all, your faith in Jesus Christ and the hope that it generates in you are at the basis of all your aspirations for a better future. For this reason, in the efforts and struggles of daily living you can say with Saint Paul: "To this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God" (1 Tim. 4, 10).

Avec vos pasteurs et vos animateurs spirituels rassembles ici autour de moi, je prie pour vous tous et pour vos familles. Que Dieu notre Père rende fécond le travail de vos mains! Que son divin Fils, notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ, lui qui multiplie les pains et les poissons pour nourrir la foule affamée, étende l’horizon de votre solidarité fraternelle a tous ses frères et soeurs! Que l’Esprit Saint vive dans vos coeurs et vous remplisse de sa paix, aujourd’hui et a jamais!

Let us never forget, dear people of Newfoundland, the values that Christ taught from Peter’s boat on the Sea of Galilee and throughout all his life. And let us heed the words of the Apostle Paul: "Let everything you do be done in love" (1 Cor. 16, 14).

1 comment:

  1. Raining today in Western Newfoundland but all the more reason to identify with the reading of this post on our late great Holy Father's visit to the Rock. Thank you , Your Grace.