The Communion of Saints, Indeed

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This comes from a story published yesterday in Zenit.

Pope Sends Greetings to Monks of Monte Cassino Cardinal Poupard Presides Over Mass in Abbey

MONTE CASSINO, Italy, MARCH 21, 2006 (Zenit.org).- A Vatican official conveyed the Pope's greetings to the Benedictine monks of Monte Cassino as they celebrated a day for their founder, St. Benedict, the Holy Father's namesake.

Cardinal Paul Poupard, president of the Pontifical Councils for Culture and for Interreligious Dialogue, conveyed Benedict XVI's greetings today to the monks of the historic monastery 90 kilometers (55 miles) south of Rome.

The Pope "has asked me to express to you his closeness in prayer, his spiritual participation in this celebration and his profound and continuous interest in the destiny of Europe and of the peoples who comprise it," the cardinal said during a Mass.

St. Benedict (c. 480-543) was proclaimed patron of Europe in 1964 by Pope Paul VI.

Although the Church celebrates the feast of St. Benedict on July 11, the Benedictine order celebrates his "birth" in heaven on the first day of spring.

The father of Western monasticism, St. Benedict wrote his monastic Rule, still in use today, in the Abbey of Monte Cassino, which he founded. The Rule has been one of the fundamental instruments for the evangelization and making of Christian civilization in Europe.

Every once in a while, a story like this catches me by surprise and makes me realize just how long the Church has been around. These monks celebrated yesterday in a monastery founded nearly sixteen hundred years ago. They've likely been doing this same celebration for most of those years, interrupted only by war. To put it in perspective, this monastery was in place nearly a thousand years before Martin Luther appeared on the scene.

I find it humbling, and gratifying. The gates of hell shall surely not prevail against the Church.

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This page contains a single entry by Ron Moffat published on March 23, 2006 10:59 AM.

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