April 11, 2008


A heartfelt Easter welcome to our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI

“The death and resurrection of the Word of God incarnate is an event of invincible love, it is the victory of that Love which has delivered us from the slavery of sin and death. It has changed the course of history, giving to human life an indestructible and renewed meaning and value.”

—Pope Benedict XVI | 2008 Easter message

The Church in central and southern Indiana welcomes with great joy the successor of St. Peter, Pope Benedict XVI, on the occasion of his first official visit to the United States.

Representatives of our archdiocese will be present in Washington, D.C., and New York as the pope meets with clergy, religious and lay leaders from all regions of our country. The rest of us will watch eagerly as the news media covers the pope’s visit in vivid detail.

We will also join the Holy Father in prayerful support as he addresses world leaders at the United Nations—urging them to work tirelessly for life, for human dignity and for peace throughout the world.

Pope Benedict’s comparatively short pontificate has already been a distinguished one. Calling on his many years as a teacher and writer, the Holy Father has used every opportunity available to him to exercise his special ministry as a witness to the person of Jesus Christ and to the mystery of his Resurrection.

Pope Benedict’s homilies, his weekly catecheses, his encyclical letters, his formidable book, Jesus of Nazareth, and all his communications—formal and informal—speak of his profound faith in the reality of Christ’s Resurrection.

This is not a myth, he tells us in his Easter message. The Resurrection is real. And it really matters in our personal lives and in the life of our global community—past, present and future.

The Holy Father arrives in America this Easter season during a time of political, economic and cultural turmoil. We Americans are eager to hear the pope’s message of hope. And we need to be reminded of the primacy of love (caritas), and the call to set aside our personal wants and desires for the sake of the greater good.

While the pope is here, we know he will affirm the sacredness of human life. He will call for an end to the inhumanity of war and the abuse of human freedom and dignity.

We know that he will invite us to cast off despair and find hope in the person of Jesus Christ. We also know that he will urge us to be grateful, generous and responsible in our use of the spiritual, material and environmental resources entrusted to our care as citizens of one of the world’s richest and most powerful nations.

Finally, we can be sure that Pope Benedict will call each and every one of us to experience the joy of Easter, which can only come through our personal participation in the Easter mystery, the selfless love and sacrificial giving of Christ our Redeemer.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (#643) tells us that Peter and the Twelve were primary witnesses to Christ’s Resurrection along with Mary Magdalene and the women who came to anoint the body of Jesus.

From this perspective, Pope Benedict, and our own Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein are called to carry on (in a special way) the original and enduring witness to the Resurrection of the Apostles.

But the catechism goes on to say that all baptized Christians have important roles to play as the successors of the first community of believers, “those who came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are now his witnesses to the people” (Acts 13:31).

So, as members of this particular community of believers, the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, we are all called to be witnesses to the Resurrection.

In this spirit, let us extend to our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, an authentic Easter welcome that reflects our hospitality, our hope and charity, and our faith-filled confidence in the decisive victory that Christ has won over sin and death—here in the United States and throughout the world. Now and forever. Amen.

—Daniel Conway

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