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23 January

Saint Margaret
1939, Marist foundation in Kutama (Zimbabwe) and Marist foundation in Phnom Penh (Cambodia)

Marist Calendar - January

A Historical First



Benedict XVI meets the local Postulators

02/01/2008: Vatican

On December 17, 2007 Pope Benedict XVI met with the full membership of the Congregation of the Saints and with postulators living in Rome. About 150 participants attended the meeting.
The meeting was conducted in the Clementine Hall located among the Vatican rooms and offices. The Clementine Hall is the place where the Pope normally receives religious leaders and political dignitaries.

The meeting was held at noon. Almost all the participants were present a half hour before, sitting on red chairs positioned in front of the Pope’s place. The participants enjoyed chatting among themselves amidst the splendors of the Renaissance venue, to which Pope Clement VIII put the finishing touches in 1597.

The Pope was welcomed with prolonged applause, and, in turn, he greeted us in his characteristic manner, shy and benign. Truly we were observing a man free of pretensions, yet very energetic in his bearing, his manner of reading, the way in which he welcomed the participants.

The Prefect of the Congregation of the Saints, Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, greeted the Pope on behalf of the guests. The Prefect was pleased to quote certain of the Pope’s own words. “The saints are like the Gospel pages right before our eyes.” Again, “The entire history of the Church is a long history of holiness, love at work, love which has its source in God himself.” Then, “The saints are like portals through which God comes into our lives and through which we are able to approach Him.” The Cardinal concluded his remarks by offering the Pope warm wishes for Christmas and the New Year.

The Pope’s response emphasized the importance of the postulators’ work. “Through beatifications and canonizations,” he said, “the Church thanks God for those of His children who have generously responded to grace. The Church presents such people as worthy of imitation on the part of the faithful who by their baptism are called to holiness, the goal of all states of life. If correctly portrayed as to their spiritual vibrancy and their historical reality, the saints help make more credible and more appealing the Gospel message and the Church’s own mission. Contact with the saints opens the way to true spiritual resurrections, to lasting conversions, to a harvest of new saints . . . . All who work for the promotions of new saints, in whatever capacity they may do so, are invited to place themselves solely at the service of truth . . . . In addition, their work must be faultless, being inspired by sound judgment and complete uprightness.”

The Pope concluded in expressing his warmest best wishes to the assembly. After some photos were quickly taken, the Pope withdrew leaving each of us a set of rosary beads.

When we were about to leave, the President of the postulators gave us a letter from Cardinal Bertone, Secretary of State. Bertone thanked all of us, on behalf of the Pope, for the 40,000 € he had received as a gift on the occasion of the beatification of the 498 martyred in Spain. The Pope sent that amount to a poor diocese in Brazil.

Bro. Giovanni Maria Bigotto

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