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Pope's Address at Canonization of 1st Brazilian

5/12/2007 - 6:00 AM PST

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"His Immense Charity Knew No Bounds"

SÃO PAULO, Brazil, MAY 12, 2007 (Zenit) - Here is a Vatican translation of the address Benedict XVI gave today at the canonization Mass of Blessed Antônio de Sant'Ana Galvão (1739-1822), the first Brazilian to be proclaimed a saint.

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My Venerable Brothers in the College of Cardinals,
Archbishop Scherer of São Paulo,
Bishops of Brazil and Latin America,
Distinguished Authorities,
Sisters and Brothers in Christ!

I will bless the Lord at all times, his praise always on my lips (Psalms 32:2)

1. Let us rejoice in the Lord, on this day when we contemplate another marvel of God, who in his admirable providence allows us to taste a trace of his presence in this act of self-giving Love that is the Holy Sacrifice of the Altar.

Yes, we cannot fail to praise our God. Let all of us praise him, peoples of Brazil and America, let us sing to the Lord of his wonders, because he has done great things for us. Today, Divine Wisdom allows us to gather around his altar with praise and thanksgiving for the grace granted to us in the canonization of Frei Antônio de Sant'Ana Galvão.

I would like to express my thanks for the affectionate words spoken on behalf of all of you by the Archbishop of São Paulo. I thank each one of you for your presence here, whether you come from this great city or from other cities and nations. I rejoice that, through the communications media, my words and expressions of affection can enter every house and every heart. Be sure of this: the Pope loves you, and he loves you because Jesus Christ loves you.

In this solemn eucharistic celebration, we have listened to the Gospel in which Jesus exultantly proclaims: "I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes" (Matthew 11:25). I am glad that the elevation to the altars of Frei Galvão will always remain framed in the liturgy that the Church presents to us today.

I greet with affection all the Franciscan community, and especially the Conceptionist Sisters who, from the Monastery of Light, from the capital of the State of São Paulo, spread the spirituality and the charism of the first Brazilian to be raised to the glory of the altars.

2. Let us give thanks to God for the lasting benefits obtained through the powerful evangelizing influence that the Holy Spirit impressed upon so many souls through Frei Galvão. The Franciscan charism, lived out in the spirit of the Gospel, has borne significant fruits through his witness as an ardent adorer of the Eucharist, as a prudent and wise guide of the souls who sought his counsel, and as a man with a great devotion to the Immaculate Conception of Mary, whose "son and perpetual servant" he considered himself to be.

God comes towards us, "he seeks to win our hearts, all the way to the Last Supper, to the piercing of his heart on the Cross, to his appearances after the Resurrection and to the great deeds by which, through the activity of the Apostles, he guided the nascent Church along its path" (Encyclical Letter "Deus Caritas Est," 17). He reveals himself through his word, in the sacraments and especially in the Eucharist. The life of the Church, therefore, is essentially eucharistic. In his loving providence, the Lord has left us a visible sign of his presence.

When we contemplate the Lord at Mass, raised up by the priest after the consecration of the bread and wine, or when we devoutly adore him exposed in the monstrance, we renew our faith with profound humility, as Frei Galvão did in "laus perennis", in a constant attitude of adoration. The Holy Eucharist contains all the spiritual wealth of the Church, that is to say Christ himself, our Passover, the living bread come down from heaven, given life by the Holy Spirit and in turn life-giving because it is the source of Life for mankind. This mysterious and ineffable manifestation of God's love for humanity occupies a privileged place in the heart of Christians. They must come to know the faith of the Church through her ordained ministers, through the exemplary manner in which they carry out the prescribed rites that always point to the eucharistic liturgy as the centre of the entire task of evangelization. The faithful, in their turn, must seek to receive and to venerate the Most Holy Sacrament with piety and devotion, eager to welcome the Lord Jesus with faith, and having recourse, whenever necessary, to the sacrament of reconciliation so as to purify the soul from every grave sin.

3. The significance of Frei Galvão's example lies in his willingness to be of service to the people whenever he was asked. He was renowned as a counsellor, he was a bringer of peace to souls and families, and a dispenser of charity especially towards the poor and the sick. He was ...

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