Sunday, 14 April, Villa Palazzola, Rome
Cardinal Marc Ouellet, a Cardinal Elector who just a month ago helped elect Pope Francis the 265th Successor of St Peter, joined the Bishops of England and Wales in retreat just outside Rome at the summer villa of the Venerable English College, the seminary in Rome training candidates for the priesthood.
The Prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops prayed with the bishops, priests and seminarians present and celebrated Mass in the villa’s chapel.
In his homily, Cardinal Ouellet stressed how there is “nothing more important than our relationship with Jesus” and praised the bravery and clarity shown by Pope Francis in the early weeks of his pontificate:
“One thing I have noticed, even in my personal meetings with him, is that Pope Francis’ sole criterion is Jesus Christ. The Holy Father does not get distracted by peripheral considerations. He goes to the heart of things with simplicity and boldness.
“You recall that just two days after his election, he said to the Cardinal Electors gathered in Rome: ‘If we do not profess Jesus Christ things go wrong. We may become a charitable NGO, but not the Church, the Bride of the Lord… When we do not profess Jesus Christ, we profess the worldliness of the devil, a demonic worldliness'”
Cardinal Ouellet also encouraged the Bishops in their local ministry:
“Just as the Risen Lord called the Apostles from the boat to the shore, He has called all of you to the shore of this place for a time of renewal. The Risen Lord is calling you to this shore because He knows that the authentic interior renewal can only happen in the personal encounter with Him, not as an abstract deity, but in His risen flesh on the shore. And so He calls you.
“When you return home refreshed by prayer and rest in the Lord, let the joyful presence of the Risen Christ in your heart become an open space for your sheep or even a shore where He can meet them and give them love and hope.”
You can download Cardinal Marc Ouellet’s full homily using the link to the right of this article.