We in Australia are about to receive a visit from Pope Benedict XVI. The visit will represent a "new Pentecost" he says.
He invites the Faithful to "Intensely Invoke" the Holy Spirit.
The upcoming World Youth Day will be a new Pentecost, Benedict XVI says. And he is asking the whole Church to participate, at least spiritually, if not physically.
The Pope made this invitation today before he prayed the midday Angelus with crowds gathered at the papal summer residence at Castel Gandolfo. He emphasized the importance of Catholics worldwide joining in prayer for the July 15-20 event, to be held in Sydney, Australia.
"I invite the whole Church to share in this new stage of the great pilgrimage of young people across the world, begun in 1985 by the Servant of God John Paul II," he exhorted. "I am certain that from all the corners of the earth Catholics will be united with me and with all the young people gathered -- as in the Cenacle -- in Sydney, intensely invoking the Holy Spirit so that he will flood hearts with the inner light of love of God and of brothers, and of courageous initiative to introduce Jesus' eternal message in the diversity of languages and cultures."
The Holy Father referred to the theme of his message for the meeting, "You Will Receive Power When the Holy Spirit Has Come Upon You; and You Will Be My Witnesses," with which Christian communities have been preparing over the past year for the event.
He said: "This is the promise Jesus made to his disciples after the resurrection, and which remains always valid and actual in the Church: The Holy Spirit, awaited and received in prayer, infuses in believers the capacity to be witnesses of Jesus and his Gospel.
"Blowing on the Church's sail, the divine Spirit pushes her to 'go into the deep,' always anew, from generation to generation, to take to everyone the Good News of the love of God, revealed fully in Jesus Christ, dead and resurrected for us."
Benedict XVI said that he was "already in Australia" in thought, and took advantage of the moment to thank all those who are contributing to the preparations, especially the Australian episcopal conference and the civil authorities.
Finally, he reflected briefly on the two symbols of WYD, which are always present in these events: the young people's cross and an icon of the Virgin Mary.
"In past months, the 'young people's cross' has been taken all over Oceania and in Sydney it will be once again a silent witness of the pact of alliance between the Lord Jesus Christ and the new generations," he said. Along with the Cross, the "icon of the Virgin Mary accompanies the World Youth Days. We entrust to her maternal protection this trip to Australia and the meeting with young people in Sydney."
Far from "intensely invoking" the Holy Spirit, this globe-trotting "Virgin Mary" icon, this large and heavy painting on a cedar panel, invokes rather a spirit of revulsion for the pagan idolatry so condemned in Scripture and still practised so unashamedly by the Church of Rome even in this, the 21st Century.
Although the authorities admit that the stories about the origins of this image, the Salus Populi Romani (Health of the Roman People), are nothing more than pious fictions, they allow the stories to circulate secure in the knowledge that the more gulllibe of the flock will believe stories such as this:
"Salus Populi Romani is one of the so-called "Luke images" of which there are many throughout the world. These were believed to have been painted from the life by Saint Luke himself. According to the legend: "after the Crucifixion, when Our Lady moved to the home of St. John, she took with her a few personal belongings--among which was a table built by the Redeemer in the workshop of St. Joseph. When pious virgins of Jerusalem prevailed upon St. Luke to paint a portrait of the Mother of God, it was the top of this table that was used to memorialize her image. While applying his brush and paints, St. Luke listened carefully as the Mother of Jesus spoke of the life of her son, facts which the Evangelist later recorded in his Gospel. Legend also tells us that the painting remained in and around Jerusalem until it was discovered by St. Helena in the fourth century. Together with other sacred relics, the painting was transported to Constantinople where her son, Emperor Constantine the Great, erected a church for its enthronement." (Joan Carroll Cruz, Miraculous Images of Our Lady, 1993, p. 137f.)