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Monday, August 22, 2016

Greetings for Italian National Liturgy Week

Marking the 67th Italian National Liturgical Week which begins today in Gubbio, focusing on the theme: The Liturgy: a place of mercy. Reconciled to reconcile, the Holy Father, Pope Francis has sent a message, signed by the Cardinal Secretary of State, to the President of the Centre for Liturgical Action, His Excellency, Claudio Maniago, Bishop of Castellaneta.

Message of His Holiness, Pope Francis
for the 67th Italian National Liturgical Week

To His Excellency, the Most Reverend
Claudio Maniago
Bishop of Castellaneta

Your Excellency,

On the occasion of the 67th National Liturgical Week, which this year takes place in Gubbio, in the mystical and calming scenery of Umbria, the Holy Father, Pope Francis is happy to send good wishes to you, to the CAL collaborators and to all those taking part in the significant study days.

The choice of this place, inspired by the celebration of 1600 years of the Letter of Pope Innocent I to Decentius, Bishop of Gubbio (cf.. PL 20, 551-561), is particularly appropriate during the Extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy. In this document, in which the Roman Pontiff offered clarifying answers to questions posed by pastor eugubino, there is some interesting news about specific aspects and moments of the celebration of certain sacraments, at that precise moment in history. Among the many topics covered, one in particular is essential to our attention: the reconciliation of penitents in the Passover (cfr. C. VII, 10).

The National Liturgical Week has, therefore, decided to return to a theme already dealt with at other times, reflecting on Liturgy as a place of Mercy, with the explicit intention of offering, in the context of the Jubilee Year, a special contribution to the path of the Italian church. When we strive to live each liturgical event "with his eyes fixed on Jesus and his merciful face we can see the love of the Blessed Trinity ... This love is now made visible and tangible in the whole life of Jesus ... Everything about him speaks of mercy. Nothing in him is devoid of compassion (Misericordiae Vultus, 8). These words bring to mind those of Pope Saint Leo the Great, who in a homily for the Ascension says: What was visible (tangible) our redeemer has passed on in the sacraments (PL 54, 398). Such an approach helps to distinguish all the liturgy as a place where mercy is given and encountered, a place where the great mystery of reconciliation is made present, announced, celebrated and communicated. The specific celebrations of sacraments or sacramentals decline the only great gift of divine mercy according to the different circumstances of life.

The gift of Mercy, however, shines in a particular way in the Sacrament of Penance or Reconciliation. It was reconciled to reconcile. The Father's compassion cannot be locked in intimism and auto consolatory attitudes, because it proves powerful in renewing people and enables them to offer others the living experience of the same gift. Based on the belief that one is forgiven to forgive, it must a be a witness of mercy in any environment, arousing a desire and capacity for forgiveness. This is a task to which we are called, especially in the face of resentment in which too many people are locked up, and from which they need to rediscover the joy of inner peace and the sake of peace.

The rite of the sacrament of Penance should therefore be perceived as an expression of an Outreaching Church as a door not only to re-enter after you have moved away, but also a threshold that is open to various suburbs of humanity ever more in need of compassion. In it, in fact, the encounter takes place with re-creating the mercy of God from which come new men and women to preach the good life of the Gospel through a life reconciled and reconciling.

His Holiness hopes that the reflections and celebrations of the Liturgical Week will increasingly mature understanding as a source and summit of ecclesial and personal life which is full of mercy and compassion, because he was constantly formed at the school of the Gospel. He entrusts to the maternal intercession of Mary, Mater Misericordiae, the work and the expectations of the important national liturgical event and, while asking you to pray for him and for your service to the Church, he whole-heartedly sends to Your Excellency, the Bishop of Gubbio, Mario Ceccobelli, as well as to the prelates and priests present and the speakers and participants a special Apostolic Blessing.

Uniting my personal good wishes, I take this opportunity to confirm my distinct esteem,

Pietro Parolin
Vatican Secretary of State
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