Pope Benedict XVI celebrated the first Papal Mass in the already glorious history of the Cathedral of Saint Patrick. During his homily, the Pope spoke of the incarnational message that the building proclaims to the city.
NEW YORK (Catholic Online) - On May 25, 1879 the doors of the Cathedral of Saint Patrick opened her doors on 7th Avenue between 50 and 51st Streets. Newspapers at that time described the large Gothic Cathedral as “the noblest temple ever raised in any land to the memory of St. Patrick, and as the glory of Catholic America.”
The idea of the Cathedral was, at first, called “Hugh’s Folly,” after then Archbishop John Hughes who initiated the building program in 1858 on a parcel of land in what was a wilderness area of New York away from the city. St. Patrick’s became the largest Gothic-styled Cathedral in the United States.
One hundred twenty-nine years later, now right in the heart of Manhattan, Pope Benedict XVI celebrated the first Papal Mass in her already glorious history, which was held for clergy and religious.
During his homily, the Holy Father spoke of the incarnational message that the building proclaims to the city. His final challenge: "Go forth as heralds of hope."
What follows are the welcoming remarks of Edward Cardinal Egan, Archbishop of New York and the homily of Pope Benedict the XVI:
Welcome by Edward Cardinal Egan:
Most Holy Father, welcome to Saint Patrick’s Cathedral!
The cornerstone of this historic edifice was laid on August 15, 1858, by His Excellency, The Most Reverend John Joseph Hughes, the first Archbishop of New York. Since then Saint Patrick’s Cathedral has been the spiritual center of Catholic life and worship for the People of God of the Archdiocese of New York and a beloved house of prayer not only for Catholics across the nation but also for visitors of all faiths, races, and cultures from every corner of the globe.
It was built with the pennies of the poor and serves as the Cathedral Church of what must be one of the most diverse communities of faith in all the world. Mass is offered in the parishes of the Archdiocese in thirty-five languages every Sunday and Holy Day; and all of this is reflected here in Saint Patrick’s, where Eucharistic celebrations are scheduled each year in the native languages of immigrants, pilgrims, and visitors from Europe, Asia, Africa, Oceania, and the Americas.
It is most fitting, therefore, that we are gathered here in the first of the three “settings of hope” that you, Most Holy Father, identify and brilliantly proclaim in your most recent Encyclical Letter, “Saved by Hope,” the setting, namely, of prayer. For we are the bishops, priests, deacons, and men and women in consecrated life of Greater New York and all 195 dioceses and archdioceses of our beloved nation.
Called by the Divine Savior to announce and live the Gospel, to guide the faithful in justice and charity, and to lead them in prayer, we count ourselves truly blessed to be here with you, our Supreme Shepherd, to pray the Mass with you, and to hear from you what we must strive to be and do if we are to fulfill the vocation of hope to which we most willingly committed ourselves at our ordinations and religious professions.
Most Holy Father, you know our weaknesses and our strengths. You know our joys and our sorrows. You know our victories and our defeats. As Successor of Peter and Vicar of Christ, confirm us in our faith and in our service to the Lord and His Holy People.
At the same time, please know that we, clergy and religious together, pledge to you our loyalty and love. Never a day will pass that we will fail to speak to the Savior and His Mother, Mary, of your needs and your hopes for the Church and the world.
This is our promise and, on the occasion of your gracious visit to our native land, we make it with a fervor that is especially deep and a gratitude that is especially heartfelt.
We are greatly honored that you begin your fourth year as Bishop of Rome and Shepherd of the Church Universal here with us. Please know that, as your loyal sons and daughters in Jesus Christ, we prayerfully wish you every grace, blessing, and happiness throughout the years that lie ahead.
Beatissime Pater, ad multos annos! Vivas! Vivas!
Homily of Pope Benedict XVI:
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
With great affection in the Lord, I greet all of you, who represent the Bishops, priests and deacons, the men and women in consecrated life, and the seminarians of the United States. I thank Cardinal Egan for his warm welcome and the good wishes which he has expressed in your name as I begin the fourth year of my papal ministry.
I am happy to celebrate this Mass with you, who have been chosen by the Lord, who have answered his call, and who devote your lives to the pursuit of holiness, the spread of the Gospel and the building up of the Church in faith, hope and love.
Gathered as we are in this historic cathedral, how can we not think of the countless men and women who have ...
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