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Vatican City, 24 February 2013
More than 200,000 people attended the final Angelus of Benedict XVI's pontificate. Maxiscreens were placed in the areas around St. Peter's Square so that the faithful who could not enter the square would be able to see the Pope at the window of his study shortly before noon.
The Holy Father was received with much applause and, before beginning his short meditation, responded saying, “Thank you, thank you very much.” He then commented on the Gospel reading for this second Sunday of Lent, which recounts the Transfiguration of the Lord.

“Luke the Evangelist,” he said, “places particular attention on the fact that Jesus was transfigured as He prayed. His is a profound experience of relationship with the Father during a type of spiritual retreat that Jesus undergoes on a high mountain in the company of Peter, James, and John, the three disciples who are always present at the moments of the Master's divine manifestation. The Lord, who had foretold His death and resurrection shortly before, offers His disciples an anticipation of His glory. Again at the Transfiguration, as at His Baptism, we hear the voice of the Heavenly Father: 'This is my chosen Son; listen to Him.' The presence of Moses and Elijah, who represent the Law and the Prophets of the Old Covenant, is very important. The entire history of the Covenant is directed toward Him, the Christ, who brings about a new 'exodus', not to the promised land, as in the time of Moses, but to heaven. Peter's exclamation, 'Master, it is good that we are here', represents the impossible attempt to stop this mystical experience. St. Augustine comments: “Peter … on the mountain ... had Christ as the Bread of his soul. Should he then depart from there to return to struggles and sorrows, while up above he was full of the holy love for God that inspired him to saintly behaviour?”

“Meditating on this Gospel passage, we can draw a very important teaching from it. First of all, the primacy of prayer, without which the entire commitment of ministry and charity is reduced to activism. During Lent we learn to give the proper time to the prayer, both personal and communal, which gives breath to our spiritual life. In addition, prayer is not an isolation from the world and its contradictions, as Peter would have wanted on Mt. Tabor. Instead, prayer leads to a path of action. 'The Christian life—I wrote in this year's Lenten Message—consists in continuously scaling the mountain to meet God and then coming back down, bearing the love and strength drawn from Him, so as to serve our brothers and sisters with God’s own love.'”

“I hear this Word of God addressed to me in a special way at this moment of my life. The Lord has called me to 'scale the mountain', to dedicate myself still more to prayer and meditation. But this does not mean abandoning the Church. If God asks me this it is precisely so that I might continue to serve her with the same dedication and the same love with which I have tried to give up to now, but in a way more suitable to my age and my strength. Let us call upon the intercession of the Virgin Mary: May she help all of us to always follow the Lord Jesus, in prayer and in works of charity.”

After praying the Angelus, in his greetings in various languages, the Pope thanked everyone for expressing their closeness and for keeping him in their prayers in these days, saying: “We also give thanks to God for this sun we have today”, seeing that in Rome, contrary to the meteorological forecasts, it was not raining.
In addressing the Polish pilgrims he reaffirmed that on Mt. Tabor, Christ “revealed the splendour of His divinity to His disciples, giving them the certainty that, through suffering and the cross we can gain resurrection. We always have to perceive His presence, His glory, and His divinity in the life of the Church, in contemplation, and in everyday events.”

Finally, speaking to the many Italians from diverse dioceses throughout the peninsula, he bade them farewell saying: “Thank you, again. We will always be close in prayer.”

Vatican City, 27 February 2013 (VIS)
Today, Benedict XVI celebrated his last general audience. In St. Peter's Square, crowded with tens of thousands of people wishing to bid him farewell, the Pontiff said: “Thank you for coming in such large numbers to this, my last general audience. Thank you, I am truly moved! And I see the Church is alive! I think we also have to thank the Creator for the beautiful weather that He is giving us now, even in winter.”

Following is the entire text of the Holy Father's words.

“Like the Apostle Paul in the Biblical text that we have heard, I feel in my heart that I have to especially thank God who guides and builds up the Church, who plants His Word and thus nourishes the faith in His People. At this moment my heart expands and embraces the whole Church throughout the world and I thank God for the 'news' that, in these years of my Petrine ministry, I have received about the faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and for the love that truly circulates in the Body of the Church, making it to live in the love and the hope that opens us to and guides us towards the fullness of life, towards our heavenly homeland.”

“I feel that I am carrying everyone with me in prayer in this God-given moment when I am collecting every meeting, every trip, every pastoral visit. I am gathering everyone and everything in prayer to entrust it to the Lord: so that we may be filled with the knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding in order to live in a manner worthy of the Lord and His love, bearing fruit in every good work (cf. Col 1:9-10).”

“At this moment I have great confidence because I know, we all know, that the Gospel's Word of truth is the strength of the Church; it is her life. The Gospel purifies and renews, bearing fruit, wherever the community of believers hears it and welcomes God's grace in truth and in love. This is my confidence, this is my joy.”

“When, on 19 April almost eight years ago I accepted to take on the Petrine ministry, I had the firm certainty that has always accompanied me: this certainty for the life of the Church from the Word of God. At that moment, as I have already expressed many times, the words that resounded in my heart were: Lord, what do You ask of me? It is a great weight that You are placing on my shoulders but, if You ask it of me, I will cast my nets at your command, confident that You will guide me, even with all my weaknesses. And eight years later I can say that the Lord has guided me. He has been close to me. I have felt His presence every day. It has been a stretch of the Church's path that has had moments of joy and light, but also difficult moments. I felt like St. Peter and the Apostles in the boat on the See of Galilee. The Lord has given us many days of sunshine and light breezes, days when the fishing was plentiful, but also times when the water was rough and the winds against us, just as throughout the whole history of the Church, when the Lord seemed to be sleeping. But I always knew that the Lord is in that boat and I always knew that the boat of the Church is not mine, not ours, but is His. And the Lord will not let it sink. He is the one who steers her, of course also through those He has chosen because that is how He wanted it. This was and is a certainty that nothing can tarnish. And that is why my heart today is filled with gratitude to God, because He never left—the whole Church or me—without His consolation, His light, or His love.”

“We are in the Year of Faith, which I desired precisely in order to strengthen our faith in God in a context that seems to relegate it more and more to the background. I would like to invite everyone to renew their firm trust in the Lord, to entrust ourselves like children to God's arms, certain that those arms always hold us up and are what allow us to walk forward each day, even when it is a struggle. I would like everyone to feel beloved of that God who gave His Son for us and who has shown us His boundless love. I would like everyone to feel the joy of being Christian. In a beautiful prayer, which can be recited every morning, say: 'I adore you, my God and I love you with all my heart. Thank you for having created me, for having made me Christian...' Yes, we are happy for the gift of faith. It is the most precious thing, which no one can take from us! Let us thank the Lord for this every day, with prayer and with a coherent Christian life. God loves us, but awaits us to also love Him!”

Vatican City, 21 February 2013 (VIS)
This morning Fr. Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office, presented information related to the Holy Father's calendar and clarified some issues that have been raised in the past few days.

At 9:00am on Saturday, 23 February, the Holy Father and the Roman Curia will conclude their spiritual exercises. Traditionally, the Pope addresses those present briefly. That same day, at 11:30am, he will meet with the President of the Italian Republic Giorgio Napolitano. On Sunday, 24 February, Benedict XVI will pray the last Angelus of his pontificate with the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square. On Wednesday, 27 February, Benedict XVI's final general audience will take place in St. Peter's Square in the usual fashion, except for his re-entry to the Apostolic Palace, the path of which will wind around the square in the popemobile so that he may greet the many participants who are expected (to date, over 30,000 people have requested tickets). On 28 February, as announced in a notice from the Papal Household, he will personally greet all the cardinals present in Rome, that is, both those who are resident here and those who have come to the capitol in recent days. There will be no speech.

Vatican City, 14 February 2013 (VIS) – Yesterday at 5:00pm, the Holy Father presided over the rite of blessing and imposition of ashes. Traditionally, the celebration is held in the Roman Basilica of Santa Sabina but, given the large influx of persons and the desire of the cardinals and bishops of the Roman Curia to accompany the Pope in the final acts of his pontificate, it was moved to St. Peter's Basilica. Before the ceremony, Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B., address a brief greeting to the pontiff, expressing the "emotion and respect not only of the Church, but of the entire world" for Benedict XVI on the news of his decision to renounce the Petrine ministry. Following are ample excerpts from the Holy Father's homily.

Coyle Curriculum Vitae

ROCKVILLE CENTRE, N.Y. – February 11, 2013 – Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Rev. Msgr. Robert J. Coyle, 48, to be an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of the Military.  Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, apostolic nuncio to the United States, made the announcement public earlier today in Washington, DC.  Bishop-Elect Coyle is a priest of the Diocese of Rockville Centre and currently serves as pastor of Corpus Christi parish, Mineola, New York.

Bishop-Elect Coyle will be ordained a bishop by His Excellency, the Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, J.C.D., Archbishop for the Military Services, at the Basilica Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, D.C. on April 25, 2013.  

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