A heartfelt thanks! I am truly moved! And I see the Church alive! Pope Benedict XVI
From all over the world thousands of pilgrims arrived at St. Peter's Square. Among them there were also Pallottine Missionary Sisters from three Roman communities. Early in the morning, we came in the front of the Basilica of St. Peter to keep vigil in unity with the living Church that today, with whole heart gave thanks to the Holy Father for his love, dedication and service.
As we waited for the Pope to arrive, we marveled at the beautiful azure skies and enjoyed the brilliant sunshine. Above our heads waved flags from many countries and banners expressing feelings of love and gratitude in different languages such as: "Tu est Petrus”, "Non ci sentiamo abbandonati, ma fortificati” - We young ones love you; "You always remain in our hearts, "We thank you Holy Father", "We'll miss you", "Pozostaniesz zawsze w naszych sercach".
Awaiting for the Peter of our time, one could feel the atmosphere of this event, which emanated from the people gathered in the Square, who sang, prayed, wept, but mostly thanked God for the Pope's eight-years of a rich pontificate. Together with our General Superior, we welcomed our Pope with enthusiasm, who moved between the sectors in his Pope mobile, greeting and blessing the crowd. We felt honored that we could take part in this unique event, which was indeed historical, but also, very personal for us.
Surely all of us heard the Holy Father's significant words said during this last Audience. They carry deep massage and truth about his pontificate that was so much marked by his testimony of love toward Christ and His Church. Below we share a few remarks, which express his personal Credo.
Benedict XVI recalled the moment of his election on 19 April 2005: “Lord, what do you ask of me? It is a great weight that You place on my shoulders, but, if You ask me, at your word I will throw out the nets, sure that you will guide me.” After these words all gathered felt so closely united with our Pope. He underlined also that on the way of the Church, which he walked as Successor of St. Peter, there has been moments of joy and light, but also difficult moments. Always - whoever assumes the Petrine ministry no longer has any privacy. He belongs always and totally to everyone, to the whole Church. His life is, so to speak, totally deprived of its private dimension.
By today's mass media the whole world could hear these beautiful and touching words, in which the Holy Father ensured that he is not leaving the cross, but will remain in a new way near to the Crucified Lord. How strong were these words, especially for those who think differently about the papacy. The Holy Spirit gives strength, light and peace, that “the gates of hell will not prevail against it (Mt 16, 18). In our hearts the words of the Pope will remain assuring that: “God guides His Church, maintains her always, and especially in difficult times. Let us never lose this vision of faith, which is the only true vision of the way of the Church and the world”.
Moved by this atmosphere Pope Benedict greeted the pilgrims and thanked them for their spiritual support and prayers during his reign. He encouraged us to renew full confidence in Lord, to entrust ourselves in God’s arms like children. He also wished that we might feel loved by God, who gave us His beloved Son for us and showed his unlimited love toward us.
Strengthened by this exceptional experience with the Pope Benedict XVI, let us remain strong in faith, (1 Cor. 16:13) as we embrace His Holiness with our prayers.
Arrivederci Santo Padre e grazie tante!
Sr. Beata Matuszewska, SAC