Pope: On World Mission Sunday, three new saints who loved God and neighbor

Benedict XVI canonized Msgr.Guido Maria Conforti, founder of the Xaverian Missionaries, Don Luigi Guanella, founder of the Servants of Charity and the Daughters of Our Lady of Providence, who serve the disabled; Bonifacia Rodriguez de Castro, founder of the Congregation of the Servants of St. Joseph. All three have testified “passionate love for God and neighbor.” Before the Angelus, the Pope asks for prayers for the meeting in Assisi on 27 October.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – “Thanksgiving” and “prayer” but also “praise of the Lord” for the coincidence of 85th World Mission Sunday, “an annual event that aims to awaken enthusiasm for and commitment to mission,” with the announcement of three new saints who were an “eloquent sign” of “a passionate love for God…and neighbor.”

These were Benedict XVI’s words during his homily at the Mass for the canonization of three saints: Guido Maria Conforti (1865-1931), archbishop-bishop of Parma, founder of the Pious Society of St. Francis Xavier for Foreign Missions (Xaverian Missionaries) ; Louis Guanella (1842-1915), priest, founder of the Congregation of the Servants of Charity and the Institute of the Daughters of St. Mary of Providence, dedicated to the care and education of disabled people; Bonifacia Rodriguez de Castro (1837-1905) , founder of the Congregation of the Servants of St. Joseph.

The Pope focused primarily on the Gospel message of the day (Matthew 22:34-40) where Jesus speaks of the “similarity” of the first commandment, to love God with all our heart and loving our neighbor as ourselves. “Jesus – explained the pope – suggests that love of neighbor is as important as love of God In fact the visible sign that the Christian can show the world to witness God’s love is love of for his brothers and sisters’. He added: “How providential is then the fact that today the Church should indicate to all members three new saints who allowed themselves to be transformed by divine love, which marked their entire existence. In different situations and with different charisms, they loved the Lord with all their heart and their neighbor as themselves “so as to become a model for all believers” (1 Thess 1.7). “

Guido Maria Conforti, “since …. he was a boy, had to overcome the opposition of his father to enter the seminary, he displayed strength of character to follow the will of God, in his complete response to Caritas Christi, in his contemplation of the Crucified, which drew him. He felt a strong urge to proclaim this love with those who had not yet received the announcement, and the motto ‘Caritas Christi urget nos’ (cf. 2 Cor 5.14) summarizes the program of the missionary Institute to which he, having just turned thirty, gave life: a religious family placed entirely at the service of evangelization, under the patronage of the great apostle of the East St. Francis Xavier. “

“He, in first place, testified and experienced what he then taught his missionaries, namely, that perfection consists in doing God’s will, on the model of Jesus Crucified. Saint Guido Maria Conforti kept his inner gaze fixed on the cross, which drew him softly to Him, by contemplating him it he saw the horizon of the world open up before him, he saw the ‘urgent ‘desire, hidden in the heart of every man, to receive and to welcome the announcement of the only love that saves. “

In St. Luigi Guanella, said the Pope, God “gave us a prophet and an apostle of charity. In his testimony, so full of humanity and care for the least, we recognize a luminous sign of God’s presence and beneficial action: the God – as echoed in the first reading – who protects the stranger, the widow, the orphan, the poor who must give a pledge of his cloak, the only cover that has at night (cf. Ex 22.20 to 26). May this new saint of charity for all, especially for members of the congregations he founded, be a model of a deep and fruitful synthesis between contemplation and action, as he himself lived and practiced”.

Of St. Bonifacia Rodriguez de Castro, the Pope recalls that she began her mission through work, just like St. Paul who worked and evangelized. “This is how the Servants of St. Joseph were born, in the humility and simplicity of the Gospel, which in the house of Nazareth is presented as a school of Christian life.”

“Mother Bonifacia, who dedicated herself with great joy to the apostolate and began to receive the first fruits of her efforts, also lives this experience of abandonment and rejection of her disciples, and in that learning a new dimension of discipleship: the Cross. She embraces it with endurance that gives hope by offering her life for the unity of the work that was born of her hands. “

“We commend ourselves to her intercession and ask God for all workers, especially those who carry out the most modest jobs which are sometimes not appreciated enough, that in their daily work see the friendly hand of God and bear witness to his love, turning their fatigue into a song of praise to the Creator

“Let us be drawn – concluded the Pope – by their examples, let us be guided by their teachings, so that our whole existence becomes a witness of authentic love for God and neighbor.”

Before the conclusion of the Mass, during the Angelus prayer, Benedict XVI wanted to greet those present and give an “encouragement to the members of the institutions” founded by three new saints.

He then asked everyone to pray to the Virgin for the meeting in Assisi on 27 October, attended by leaders of world religions and non-religious personalities in search of peace.

“To the Virgin Mary – said the pope – who guides the disciples of Christ on the path of holiness, we now turn in prayer. We entrust the Day of reflection dialogue and prayer for peace and justice in the world to her intercession: a pilgrimage to Assisi, 25 years since that convened by Blessed John Paul II. “


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