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Divine Mercy Sunday 2003

Blessed John Paul II's Homily at the Beatification of 6 Servants of God:

Giacomo Alberione, Marco d'Aviano, Maria Cristina Brando, Eugenia Ravasco, Maria Domenica Mantovani & Giulia Salzano

- in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

1. "Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love endures forever (Ps 117[118]: 1). Thus sings the Church today, on this Second Sunday of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday. In the paschal Mystery is fully revealed the consoling salvific design of God's merciful love, about which the Saints and Blesseds of Paradise are the privileged witnesses.

By a providential coincidence, I have the joy of raising 6 new Blesseds to the honours of the altars on this very Sunday on which we celebrate the "Divine Mercy". Each one of them, in a different way, expressed the tender and wonderful mercy of the Lord: James Alberione, a priest, Founder of the Pauline Family; Mark of Aviano, a priest of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin; Maria Christina Brando, virgin, Foundress of the Congregation of the Sisters, Expiatory Victims of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament; Eugenia Ravasco, virgin, Foundress of the Congregations of the Daughters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary; Maria Domenica Mantovani, virgin, Co-Foundress of the Institute of the Little Sisters of the Holy Family; Julia Salzano, virgin, Foundress of the Congregation of the Catechist Sisters of the Sacred Heart.

2. "These (signs) are written... that believing you may have life in his Name" (Jn 20: 31). The Good News is a universal message destined for the men of all times. It is directed personally to each one and asks to be expressed in his own life. When Christians become "living Gospels", they are transformed into eloquent "signs" of the Lord's mercy and their own witness reaches people's hearts more easily. As docile instruments in the hands of divine Providence, they have a profound effect on history. This is how it was with these 6 new Blesseds, who come from beloved Italy, a land rich in saints.

3. Bl. James Alberione felt the need to make Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth and the Life, known "to the men of our time with the means of our time", as he liked to say. He was inspired by the Apostle Paul, whom he described as a "theologian and architect of the Church", remaining ever docile and faithful to the Magisterium of the Successor of Peter, a "beacon" of truth in a world that is so often devoid of sound spiritual references. "May there be a group of saints to use these means", this apostle of the new times was in the habit of repeating.

What a formidable heritage he left his religious family! May his spiritual sons and daughters keep intact the spirit of their origins, to respond adequately to the needs of evangelization in the contemporary world.

4. In a different time and context, Bl. Mark of Aviano shone with holiness as his soul burned with a longing for prayer, silence and adoration of God's mystery. This contemplative who journeyed along the highways of Europe was the centre of a wide-reaching spiritual renewal, thanks to his courageous preaching that was accompanied by numerous miracles. An unarmed prophet of divine mercy, he was impelled by circumstances to be actively committed to defending the freedom and unity of Christian Europe. Bl. Mark of Aviano reminds the European continent, opening up in these years to new prospects of cooperation, that its unity will be sounder if it is based on its common Christian roots.

5. All that God worked through Maria Christina Brando is astonishing. Her Eucharistic and expiatory spirituality is expressed in two lines, like "two branches that stem from the same trunk": love of God and love of neighbour. Her desire to take part in Christ's passion, as it were, "overflowed" into educational works, for the purpose of making people aware of their dignity and open to the Lord's merciful love.

6. Bl. Eugenia Ravasco was wholly concerned with spreading love for the Hearts of Christ and Mary. Contemplating these two Hearts, she was passionately devoted to serving her neighbour and joyfully devoted her whole life to young people and the poor. With foresight, she was able to open herself to the pressing needs of the mission, with special concern for those who had "fallen away" from the Church.

The expression "doing good for love of the Heart of Jesus", and "burning with desire for the good of others, especially young people" neatly sum up the charism she bestowed on her institute.

7. Bl. Maria Domenica Mantovani followed the same path. This praiseworthy daughter of the region of Verona, a disciple of Bl. Giuseppe Nascimbeni, was inspired by the Holy Family of Nazareth to make herself "all things to all people", ever attentive to the needs of the "poor people". She was extraordinarily faithful, in all circmstances and to her last breath, to the will of God, by whom she felt loved and called. What a fine example of holiness for every believer!

8. Then, what can I say about Blessed Julia Salzano? In advance of her time, she was an apostle of the new evangelization in which she combined apostolic activity with prayer, offered ceaselessly, especially for the conversion of the "indifferent".

This new Blessed encourages us to persevere in faith and never to lose our confidence in God who does all things. Called to be the apostles of modern times, may believers also be inspired by Bl. Julia Salzano "to instil in many creatures the immense charity of Christ".

9. "Eternal is God's mercy" which shines in each one of the new Blesseds. Through them God has worked great marvels! Truly eternal, O Lord, is your mercy! You never abandon those who turn to you. With these new blesseds let us repeat to you with filial confidence: "Jesus, I trust in you! Iezu, ufam Tobie!", the words of St Faustina Kowalska.

Help us, Mary, Mother of Mercy, to proclaim with our lives that "God's love endures for ever". Now and forever. Amen! Alleluia!

JPII - Homily, 27 April 2003

Blessed John Paul II's words, before the Regina Caeli

- in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

1. At the end of this solemn celebration, I would like to greet all of you, dear Brothers and Sisters, who have come here from various parts of Italy and the world in order to honour the new Blesseds and to show your devotion to the Divine Mercy.

I greet in a special way the Cardinals, Bishops and priests who are present, as well as the many sisters and the groups of pilgrims.

Moreover, I greet the priests, Religious and faithful who work at the Spirituality Centre of Divine Mercy, which has now been open for 10 years here in Rome at the Church of the Holy Spirit in Sassia.

2. Einen herzlichen Gruß richte ich an die Pilger aus Österreich, die aus Anlaß der Seligsprechung des in Wien hochverehrten Paters Marco d'Aviano nach Rom gekommen sind. Sein unerschütterlicher Glaube und seine kindliche Liebe zur Muttergottes strahlte auf die Menschen aus. Laßt euch vom Beispiel dieses neuen Seligen führen und tragt das Licht des Auferstandenen in die Welt.

To Polish-speaking pilgrims
I greet the group from Catholic Action, the Youth Association KSM and the Choir of the Academy of Music from Poznan. Today we are united in prayer with the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Kraków-Łagiewniki, asking for the grace needed by us and by the entire world. Bl. Mark of Aviano was also part of our history; as the Papal Legate, after the victory of John Sobieski over the Turks at Vienna, he carried the following message from the King to the Pope: Veni, vidi, Deus Vicit! (I came, I saw, God conquered!).

3. The risen Jesus encounters the disciples in the Upper Room and offers them the Easter gifts of peace and mercy. Meditating on today's holy Gospel, it is well to understand that true peace springs from a heart that is reconciled, and that we who have experienced the joy of forgiveness must therefore be ready to pardon. The Church, also absorbed in prayer today spiritually in the Upper Room, presents to our Lord the joys and the hopes, the sorrows and the anguish of the whole world. And He offers as an effective remedy Divine Mercy, asking his ministers to be his generous and faithful instruments.

4. Mary, Queen of the Apostles and of all the Saints, is spiritually present among us, together with the newly Beatified, who show us the road to follow and always put their trust in the help of the Lord. Today I invoke in particular the Mother of Divine Mercy, praying for the entire human family, knowing that only in the mercy of God can the world find peace. We entrust to Mary in a special way the Eastern Church that is celebrating the Easter Resurrection this Sunday.

JPII - 27 April 2003

Divine Mercy Sunday:

2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001 & the great Jubilee 2000.