VATICAN CITY, NOV 8, 2007 (VIS) - This morning, the pontifical academies held their twelfth public session under the presidency of Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, president of their coordinating council. During the meeting, the academies' annual prize was bestowed upon Antongiulio Granelli, author of a thesis on: "The Cemetery of Panfilo on the via Salaria vetus in Rome."

For the occasion Benedict XVI sent a Message to Archbishop Ravasi, who is also president of the Pontifical Council for Culture. "The celebration of this public session," writes the Pontiff in his Message, "annually renews an opportunity for meeting and collaboration between the pontifical academies ... in order to harmonize their various initiatives, all of which have a precise objective: promoting, both in the Church and the world, a culture worthy of human life, fecundated by faith, capable of proposing the beauty of Christian life and of providing an adequate response to the ever more numerous challenges of today's cultural and religious context."

The Pope dwells on the theme chosen for the session - "Witnesses of His love (Sacramentum caritatis, 85). The love of God as shown by martyrs and by the works of the Church" - indicating how it expresses "the fundamental link between the celebration of the divine Mysteries and the witness of life, between the experience of encountering the Mystery of God ... and the dynamism of a renewed commitment that causes us to be 'witnesses of His love'."

The Holy Father highlights how "it is more necessary than ever to re-present the example of Christian martyrs, both those of antiquity and those of our own time, whose lives and witness, even to the spilling of their blood, are the supreme expression of love of God."

The Pope concludes by mentioning "the works of charity that have flowered down the centuries through the efforts of generous faithful" who "have striven to create and promote charitable initiatives and institutions to meet the needs of the poorest, thus giving concrete expression to the close and indissoluble link between love of God and love of others."

MESS/PONTIFICAL ACADEMIES/RAVASIVIS 071108 (360)


Teachings of Christ

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God." (Matthew 5:9 ESV)

Exaltation of the Cross

Save Your people, O Lord, and bless Your inheritance; * grant victory to Your Church over her enemies * and protect Your commonwealth by Your Cross. (Troparion - Tone 1)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Willingly lifted up on the Cross, O Christ God, * bestow Your compassions upon the new commonwealth that bears Your name. * By your power grant joy to Your Church, * granting her victory over her enemies. * May she have your Cross as the weapon of peace * and the invincible ensign of victory. (Kontakion - Tone 4)

The Church celebrates the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross on September 14th.

Random Proverb

"My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you." (Proverbs 3:1,2 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

"'And [Naaman] dipped himself . . . seven times in the Jordan' [2 Kgs. 5:14]. It was not for nothing that Naaman of old, when suffering from leprosy, was purified upon his being baptized, but [this served] as an indication to us. For as we are lepers in sin, we are made clean, by means of the sacred water and the invocation of the Lord, from our old transgressions, being spiritually regenerated as new-born babes, even as the Lord has declared: `Except a man be born again through water and the Spirit, he shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.'"

St. Irenaeus of Lyons (190 AD), Fragment 34