Prayer and gifts of the Holy Spirit bring Christian unity, Pope says

Catholic News Agency, CO
May 7 2008

Prayer and the gifts of the Holy Spirit bring Christian unity, Pope
says

Vatican City, May 7, 2008 / 09:46 am (CNA).- Pope Benedict greeted His
Holiness Catholicos Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of
All Armenians, during his weekly general audience on Wednesday
morning. In his remarks, the Pope emphasized that ecumenical dialogue
is fuelled by the Holy Spirit and prayer.

"It is my great joy today to greet His Holiness Catholicos Karekin II,
Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, and the
distinguished delegation accompanying him. Your Holiness, I pray that
the light of the Holy Spirit will illumine your pilgrimage to the
tombs of the Apostles Peter and Paul, the important meetings you will
have here, and particularly our personal conversations. I ask all who
are present today to pray for God’s blessing upon this visit.’

The Holy Father also thanked Karekin II for his `personal commitment
to the growing friendship between the Armenian Apostolic Church and
the Catholic Church.’ Recalling the string of visits between John
Paul II and the patriarch, Pope Benedict said that, `I am sure that
this spirit of friendship will be further deepened during the coming
days.’

In an external niche of Saint Peter’s Basilica, there is a fine statue
of Saint Gregory the Illuminator, founder of the Armenian Church. It
serves to remind us of the severe persecutions suffered by Armenian
Christians, especially during the last century. Armenia’s many
martyrs are a sign of the power of the Holy Spirit working in times of
darkness, and a pledge of hope for Christians everywhere.

Your Holiness, dear Bishops and dear friends, together with you I
implore Almighty God, through the intercession of Saint Gregory the
Illuminator, to help us grow in unity, in one holy bond of Christian
faith, hope and love."

As the Church prepares to celebrate Pentecost, Benedict XVI said that
these days should `renew our hope in the help of the Holy Spirit to
advance along the path of ecumenism. We have the certainty that the
Lord Jesus never abandons us in our search for unity, because His
Spirit is tirelessly at work to support the efforts we make to
overcome all forms of division."

"Since the first moment of her existence the Church, thanks to the
power of the Holy Spirit, has spoken in all tongues and lived in all
cultures. She destroys nothing of their history and gifts, but assumes
them all in a great and new unity, which reconciles unity with the
multiplicity of forms. With its power, the Holy Spirit … unites
divided man in divine charity and thus creates … the great community
which is the Church in all the world."

While some may think of Pentecost as a one-time event in the life of
the Church, the Holy Father said, "the Church is always, so to say, in
a state of Pentecost. Gathered in the Cenacle, she prays incessantly
to obtain ever new effusions of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, … and
is not afraid to announce the Gospel to the furthest confines of the
earth. This is why, faced with difficulties and divisions, Christians
cannot resign themselves or give way to discouragement.

"This is what Christ asks of Christians: to persevere in prayer in
order to keep alive the flame of faith, hope and charity, and the
longing for full unity", the Pope encouraged. Referencing his speech
to ecumenical leaders at St. Joseph’s Church in New York, Benedict XVI
said that prayer is central to the ecumenical movement. `In this
period of globalization and, at the same time, of fragmentation,
‘without prayer ecumenical structures, institutions and programs would
be deprived of their heart and soul’," he said.

At the end of the audience, the Holy Father greeted pilgrims in
several languages. Among the English speaking pilgrims, he greeted
delegates taking part in the in the Annual Conference of the Canon Law
Society of Great Britain and Ireland, as well as pilgrims from Our
Lady of the Rosary Church in Qatar.

"Upon all the English-speaking pilgrims, especially those from
England, Scotland, Australia, India, Indonesia, Korea, Canada, Guam
and the United States, I cordially invoke Almighty God’s abundant
blessings of joy and peace."

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