(Vatican Radio) At the Altar of the Chair in St Peter’s Basilica on Friday, Pope Francis offered the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in suffrage for the souls of Cardinals and Bishops who have died in the course of the past year.
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“These our Brothers,” Pope Francis said, “have reached the goal, after having served the Church and loved the Lord Jesus.”
The Holy Father reminded those present that for each of us, the journey “to the house of the Father” begins in the first moment of our existence; and, through Baptism, the first moment when we receive sanctifying grace. An important stage of that journey, for priests, is the moment they receive priestly ordination. “From that moment,” he said, “we are united in a special way to Christ, associated with His priestly ministry.” The Cardinals and Bishops we remember today, he continued, “throughout their lives, especially after having consecrated themselves to God, dedicated themselves to witnessing and to giving to others the love of Christ.”
They were “pastors of the flock of Christ,” and, in imitation of Him, they spent their lives in working for the salvation of those entrusted to their care. Now, he said, “we are here to pray for them, to offer the divine Sacrifice in suffrage for their souls, and to ask the Lord to make them shine forever in His kingdom of light.”
In fact, he said, their death is “the entrance into the fullness of life.” Precisely in the light of faith, “we feel even closer to our deceased Brothers”; although we seem separated by death, “the power of Christ and of His Spirit unites us in an even more profound way.”
Pope Francis concluded his homily by reminding us that “nourished by the Bread of Life, we too, together with all those who have gone before us, wait with firm hope the day of the face-to-face encounter with the luminous and merciful countenance of the Father.”