October 24, 2011

Bible burning disrupts Mass in St Peter’s Square


by Jan Harris

Yesterday’s Mass in Rome’s St. Peter’s Square was disturbed by a man who shouted “Pope, where is Christ?” from the upper colonnade and then set fire to a bible.

He was talked down by Vatican officials while Pope Benedict XVI continued the Sunday Mass seemingly unperturbed by the incident which occurred towards the end of the two-hour service.

During the Mass, which took place on World Mission Sunday, the Pope canonized Monsignor Guido Maria Conforti, the Reverend Luigi Guanella and Sister Bonifacia Rodriguez de Castro.

Taking Matthew 22:34-40 as his Gospel message, regarding Jesus’s teaching to ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind’ and to ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’, the Pope said the new saints were an “eloquent sign” of “a passionate love for God…and neighbour.”

Monsignor Guido Maria Conforti (1865-1931), archbishop-bishop of Parma, founded the Xaverian Missionaries; the Reverend Louis Guanella (1842-1915), founded the Congregation of the Servants of Charity and the Institute of the Daughters of St. Mary of Providence; and Sister Bonifacia Rodriguez de Castro (1837-1905), founded of the Congregation of the Servants of St. Joseph.

World Mission Sunday is a day when Catholics are encouraged to renew their commitment to the Church’s missionary activity through prayer and sacrifice.

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