ICN: Pope celebrates Mass for 50th anniversary of opening of Second Vatican Council and Opening of the Year of Faith

Below is an excerpt of a report from the ICN website about the celebration by Pope Benedict XVI of the opening mass of the Year of Faith and the 50th Anniversary of the Opening of the Second Vatican Council yesterday in St. Peters Square.

“At 10am on a gloriously sunny morning on Thursday, 11 October 2012, Pope Benedict XVI presided at the celebration of Mass, in St Peter’s Square, on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the Opening of the Second Vatican Council on Thursday, 11 October 1962.

The Mass also marked the Opening of the Year of Faith, and the 20th Anniversary of the Promulgation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

According to the Holy See Press Office, 80 Cardinals, 16 Council Fathers, eight Patriarchs of the Eastern Churches, 191 Archbishops and Bishops participating in the XIII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, together with 104 Presidents of Episcopal Conferences from throughout the world participated in the memorable and unforgettable celebration.

His Holiness Bartholomew I, Archbishop of Constantinople, Ecumenical Patriarch (Turkey) who was seated near and to the right of the Holy Father, gave a special greeting before the Pope gave the final blessing at the end of the two hour, 20 minute celebration.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, on his last official visit to the Vatican before he retires as Archbishop of Canterbury, scheduled for the end of the year; was seated to the left of the Pope, near to the Cardinals.

During his challenging homily Pope Benedict XVI said: “If today the Church proposes a new Year of Faith and a new evangelisation, it is not to honour an anniversary, but because there is more need of it, even more than there was fifty years ago.

“Recent decades have seen the advance of a spiritual ‘desertification’. In the Council’s time it was already possible from a few tragic pages of history to know what a life or a world without God looked like, but now we see it every day around us. This void has spread.”

By Peter and Stella Jennings

Read more here

Photo: Peter Jennings

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