Amidst all the sophisticated commentary and speculation concerning what the Pope would say to his flock, I found the opening paragraph of the Pope’s homily at Nationals Stadium (after a few introductory remarks) absolutely refreshing:
“In the exercise of my ministry as the Successor of Peter, I have come to America to confirm you, my brothers and sisters, in the faith of the Apostles (cf. Lk 22:32). I have come to proclaim anew, as Peter proclaimed on the day of Pentecost, that Jesus Christ is Lord and Messiah, risen from the dead, seated in glory at the right hand of the Father, and established as judge of the living and the dead (cf. Acts 2:14ff.). I have come to repeat the Apostle’s urgent call to conversion and the forgiveness of sins, and to implore from the Lord a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the Church in this country. As we have heard throughout this Easter season, the Church was born of the Spirit’s gift of repentance and faith in the risen Lord. In every age she is impelled by the same Spirit to bring to men and women of every race, language and people (cf. Rev 5:9) the good news of our reconciliation with God in Christ.”
Above all else, the Pope is here as the successor of St. Peter, to proclaim the Gospel anew to all of us.
The Holy Father later adds:
“I pray, then, that . . . the presence of the Successor of Peter in your midst, will be an occasion for all Catholics to reaffirm their unity in the apostolic faith, to offer their contemporaries a convincing account of the hope which inspires them (cf. 1 Pet 3:15), and to be renewed in missionary zeal for the extension of God’s Kingdom” (emphasis added).
Though the Holy Father is familiar with Catholics United for the Faith and supports our efforts (as Card. Ratzinger he even endorsed the German edition of our critically acclaimed Faith and Life catechetical series), I seriously doubt he was thinking specifically of our organization when he made this remark. However, I still find in his words much encouragement for the timeless and timely work of the CUF apostolate.
Viva il Papa!