Pope Asks for Prayer for UK Trip

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Staff Journalist

Pope Benedict XVI is calling upon the faithful to pray for his upcoming trip to the UK.

Asia News is reporting that at the conclusion of his reflection before the Sunday Angelus at Castle Gandolfo yesterday, Pope Benedict XVI reminded the faithful that he will be embarking on his historic trip to the UK on Thursday of this week.

“I ask everyone to accompany me with prayer during this apostolic visit,” he said, at which time the crowd of pilgrims gathered in the courtyard erupted in defeaning applause.

During his visit, which will take place Sept. 16 -19, the Pope will beatify Cardinal John Henry Newman

In the days preceding the arrival, the British media has launched a campaign of negative media against the Pope and the Church, focusing on the sex abuse crisis and issues of contention within the Church such as priestly celibacy and women priests.

After asking for prayer, the Pope proceeded to elaborate on Sunday’s gospel from Luke 15 in which Jesus tells three parables of mercy: that of the lost sheep, the lost drachma, and the father and prodigal son.

“The shepherd who finds the lost sheep – he explained – is the Lord himself who takes sinful humanity upon himself and through the cross redeem it,” he said.

“Dear friends, how can we fail to open our hearts to the certainty that, while sinners we are loved by God? He never tires of coming to meet us, he is always the first to travels the path that separates us from Him. ”

He also recalled the eldest son of the parable, who is “shocked by the joyful reception given to his brother” and who also needs assistance from the father. “Only faith can transform selfishness into joy and renew just relationships with others and with God,” he said.

At the end of his remarks, he repeated his request for prayers for the trip.

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