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30.10.2017 | 21:22 | IKA E - 194551/10

Cardinal Parolin Leads the Celebration of the Eucharist in the Zagreb Cathedral

Zagreb, (IKA) - The Pope's Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, led the celebration of the Eucharist in the Zagreb cathedral on Monday, October 30. The concelebrants were the Croatian bishops, headed by the Archbishop of Zagreb, Cardinal Josip Bozanić, and the President of the Croatian Conference of Bishops, the Archbishop of Zadar, Želimir Puljić, as well as the Apostolic Nuncio in the Republic of Croatia, Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto; the Secretary of the Nunciature, Msgr. Janusz Stanislaw Blachowiak; the General Secretary of the Croatian Conference of Bishops, Dr. Petar Palić, and over a hundred priests.
Assembled at the Mass were a large number of the faithful, as well as representatives of the Christian Churches and church communities, representatives of other religions, representatives of the state and municipal authorities, members of the diplomatic corps accredited in Croatia, and the Croatian Ambassador to the Holy See, Neven Peličarić.
Everyone was welcomed by the host, Cardinal Bozanić, who thanked the Pope's Secretary of State for this visit and "the communion that he has thereby expressed with us." "Cardinal Parolin, now in our midst, represents the Holy Father and the Apostolic See at the highest level. In him we recognize the special closeness of Pope Francis, because Cardinal Parolin is the first associate of the Pontiff in his concern for all the Churches," said Cardinal Bozanić and asked Cardinal Parolin "to bear witness to Pope Francis about our faithful devotion, ecclesial unity and love, with which, through prayer, we accompany the Pope's tireless apostolic work in the proclamation of the joy of the gospel."
Noting that Blessed Alojzije Stepinac was buried in the cathedral, Cardinal Bozanić said: "Rivers of pilgrims from Croatia and around the world bear witness here to the gratitude of the faithful and prayer, and the consolation that only God can provide. St. Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI prayed beside Cardinal Stepinac's tomb." As a memento of this celebration and visit, Cardinal Bozanić presented a bust of Blessed Alojzije Stepinac to Cardinal Parolin.
At the beginning of the homily, Cardinal Parolin said that for him, "it is a special gift to be in this holy place, which not only houses the tomb of Blessed Alojzije Stepinac but is also a living memorial to his testimony of faith, his devotion to the truth, his self-sacrifice unto martyrdom for the gospel and for the Church. Together with Blessed Alojzije, we also honor the memory of his honorable successors, whose earthly remains lie in this cathedral, Servant of God Cardinal Franjo Kuharić and the worthy Cardinal Franjo Šeper, former Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith." Greeting the assembled bishops, Cardinal Parolin said: "May this celebration also be a moment of thanksgiving to God for the fruits of your apostolic work. To all of you, together with the civil authorities and the dear faithful of this Church, it is my honor and joy to convey the heartfelt greetings and Apostolic Blessing of Pope Francis."
Noting that a large number of young people were present, Cardinal Parolin observed that this was encouraging, and said: "I would like to thank the Lord and pray to him that each of you find the meaning of a dignified and fulfilled existence in Him. In you, young people, the Church in Croatia has a precious legacy, which requires good management." Noting that Pope Francis has dedicated the next Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops to young people, he said: "The universal Church, in an expression of its pastoral concern for you young people, asks its pastors to be close to you and to stride the path of truth and freedom together with you, leading you to Christ." Emphasizing that there is no dearth of models to be followed on this path, he mentioned Marko Marulić and his immortal work, De institutione bene vivendi per exempla sanctorum (Instruction for an Honorable Life according to the Examples of the Saints). "This work was published in various editions, translated into the European languages of its time and included by St. Ignatius of Loyola in the material intended for then emerging Society of Jesus."

"Today, even in the countries where faith is deeply rooted, there is a widespread opinion regarding important changes in the attitudes of the young toward religiosity. Under attack from secularism, the young are displaying a growing tendency to move faith to the private area, without any manifestations in public life, or there is the attitude that faith is a legacy from the past that is unsuitable for the present. In response to this phenomenon, each true believer bears responsibility in the mission of re-evangelization, which first of all requires living for the proclamation of the authentic beauty of faith in Jesus Christ," said the homilist.
In the continuation of the homily, Cardinal Parolin spoke about the Gospel reading and said: "Jesus takes the initiative and does not stop at mere condolences or words of cheap consolation. Instead, he establishes contact, enters into a relationship with her poverty: he sees her and calls her, and between the seeing and the calling is the scope of his mercy. He places his hands on her and liberates her. This is about gradually drawing near a person, growing in understanding, love, the desire salvation, which is liberation." In this context, he spoke about the connection with the Christian dimension of solidarity, because "it is not only an additional option, something offered as a choice, but for the faithful it constitutes the explicit will of God."
In keeping with the Pope's desire for a "Church that goes forth," our local Churches are called to be close to everyone, to encompass every form of the periphery, building upon the yearning for God, who, in his inexhaustible goodness and mercy, first engages us and makes us the Church," he emphasized, and recalled how the history of Christianity abounds with Good Samaritans, but that being close to the needy is not always at the center of the lives of the faithful. "Perhaps the greatest sin in the attitude toward the poor is indifference, acting as if we do not notice them, passing them by, seeing them and passing to the opposite side" (cf. Lk 10:31), said Cardinal Parolin, and continued: "It is not by chance that Pope Francis, immediately following the completion of the Jubilee of Mercy, established the World Day of the Poor. It will be celebrated for the first time on November 19 of this year. Love for those in need is one of the foremost aspects of Catholic holiness. For some, such as, for example, St. Vincent de Paul or St. Teresa of Calcutta, it has also become the path toward holiness."
"Dear friends, may the Holy Spirit grant us love for the poor and the lowliest, and may we join the ranks of the poor and humble who trust only in the Lord. I entrust all of you and the Church in Croatia to the powerful intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the humble Handmaid of the Lord, the Herald of God's great deeds in her life, that all people may have life in abundance," said Cardinal Parolin at the conclusion of his homily.

Before the blessing, Cardinal Parolin once again spoke to the assembled faithful about the joy of this celebration and praying together: "I was touched by the many bishops and priests and by the community, which is so numerous and attentive, as well as by the choir that helped us celebrate the Lord together. Thank you, everyone, from my heart. Now when we know each other a little better, I want us to be in each others' prayers. I shall pray for each of you, for your families, and you may also mention me. I shall pray for Croatia, and you may include my office and Pope Francis in your prayers."
After the blessing, Cardinal Parolin, accompanied by Cardinal Bozanić and Archbishop Puljić, went to the tomb of Blessed Alojzije Stepinac, where he remained for a long time in prayer.

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