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ROMANIA - ROMÂNIA

Blessed Pope John Paul II was a pilgrim to Romania in 1999, on his 86th apostolic journey. Then in the Great Jubilee Year 2000, John Paul II wrote an apostolic letter for the 3rd Centenary of the Union of the Greek-Catholic Church of Romania with the Church in Rome.

"Today I have come with great joy to Romania, a country very dear to me which I have wanted to visit for a long time. With deep emotion I kissed its soil, grateful first of all to almighty God, who in his wise goodness granted me to see this wish come true. ... Romania, bridge between East and West, crossroads between Central and Eastern Europe, Romania, traditionally called by the beautiful title: “Garden of Mary”, I come to you in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God and of the Blessed Virgin. On the threshold of a new millennium, once again set your future firmly on the rock of the Gospel. With Christ's help you will play a leading role in a new season of enthusiasm and courage. You will be a prosperous nation, a fertile land of goodness, a united people and peacemakers. May God protect you and bless you always!" - JPII

Here below are responses to Totus2us podcasts given by Romanians
- many thanks to you all    ♥

To download the free mp3 audio recordings individually, right/double clicking on the play buttons   
Pentru a descărca gratuit înregistrările audio mp3 individual, dreapta / dublu clic pe butoanele de redare     

Alex      

"For me the Lord's Mother, Maica Domnului, means love; means the love that we share every single day and the love that is reflected into every single action that we do in day to day life. I think this wonderful love is shared by everybody and it just keeps us going to be better humans and to act more and more for our fellows, and share the great joy that Our Lord gave us."

Brother Sebastian      

"Speaking about the Holy Mother, for me she is my sweet mother as she said in Guadalupe, and I believe she always will sustain me and will help you."

Sorin      

"La Madonna, I trust, I trust."

Sorin gives his something about Mary in English & Romanian.

Pope John Paul II's reflection on his 1999 pilgrimage to Romania
General Audience, Wednesday 12 May 1999 - in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

"1. My thoughts keep returning with deep emotion to the visit God enabled me to make to Romania a few days ago. This was an event of historic importance because it was my first visit to a country where the majority of Christians are Orthodox. I thank God who in his Providence determined that this should take place shortly before the Year 2000, offering Catholics and our Orthodox brothers and sisters the opportunity to take a particularly significant step together on the way towards full unity, in fidelity to the spirit of the Great Jubilee which is now at hand.

I would again like to express my gratitude to all who made this apostolic pilgrimage possible. I  thank the President of Romania, Mr Emil Constantinescu, whose courtesy I appreciated, for his kind invitation. With a warm sense of brotherhood I thank His Beatitude Teoctist, Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church, and the Holy Synod: their great cordiality in welcoming me and the sincere affection that was apparent in the words and on the faces of them all have left an indelible mark on my heart. I also thank the Latin and Greek-Catholic Bishops, with whom I was able to strengthen the bonds of deep communion in the love of Christ.

Lastly, I thank the authorities, organizers and all who worked to ensure its success. When we think of what the political situation was until a few years ago, how can we not  regard this event as an eloquent sign of God's action in history? To foresee a papal visit at the time would have been totally unthinkable, but the Lord who guides human steps has made possible what seemed humanly unattainable.

2. With this journey I wanted to pay homage to the Romanian people and to their Christian roots, which according to tradition date back to the preaching of the Gospel by the Apostle Andrew, brother of Simon Peter. The people understoood this, lining the streets and flocking to the celebrations. Down the centuries the lifeblood of their Christian roots has nurtured a continuous growth of holiness, with many martyrs and confessors of the faith. This spiritual legacy was taken up in our century by a great many Bishops, priests, religious and lay people who witnessed to Christ during the long, harsh communist domination, courageously facing torture, imprisonment and sometimes even death.

How deeply moved I was to stop at the graves of Cardinal Iuliu Hossu and Bishop Vasile Aftenie, victims of the persecution under the dictatorial regime! Honour to you, Church of God in Romania! You suffered greatly for the Truth, and the Truth has set you free.

The experience of martyrdom joined Christians of different denominations in Romania. The Orthodox, Catholic and Protestants gave a united witness to Christ by the sacrifice of their lives. From the heroism of these martyrs springs an encouragement to harmony and reconciliation in order to overcome the divisions which still exist.

3. This journey gave me an opportunity to experience what a blessing it is for Christians to breathe with the two “lungs” of the Eastern and the Western tradition. I realized this during the solemn and moving liturgical celebrations, for I had the joy of presiding at the Eucharist in the Greek-Catholic rite; I attended the Divine Liturgy for my Orthodox brethren led by the Patriarch in the Byzantine-Romanian rite and was able to pray with them; and lastly, I celebrated Mass in the Roman rite with the faithful of the Latin Church.

During the first of these moments of solemn and intense prayer, I paid homage to the Greek-Catholic Church, sorely tested during the years of persecution, and I recalled that the third centenary of her union with Rome will occur in 2000. The revered Cardinal Alexandru Todea, who was punished by the regime with 16 years of prison and 27 of house arrest, is a symbol of this Church's heroic resistance. Despite his advanced age and ill health, he was able to come to Bucharest: embracing him was one of the greatest joys of this pilgrimage.

4. Particularly desired and important was the meeting with Patriarch Teoctist and the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church. On Saturday afternoon they welcomed me at the Patriarchate with great cordiality and I found in His Beatitude and in the other members of the Holy Synod fraternal understanding and a sincere desire for full communion according to the Lord's will. On this occasion I wanted to assure the Romanian Orthodox Church, involved in an important work of renewal, of the affection and collaboration of the Catholic Church. Fraternal love is the soul of dialogue and is the path for overcoming the remaining obstacles and difficulties in order to reach full Christian unity. God has already worked marvels on this journey of reconciliation: we must press ahead with confident enthusiasm, because Europe and the world have greater need than ever for the visible witness of the brotherhood of all who believe in Christ.

In this light, I feel the need once again to thank the Romanian Orthodox Church, because her invitation gave me the opportunity to carry out essential aspects of the Petrine ministry in the perspective I indicated in the Encyclical Ut unum sint.

5. Ecumenical commitment does not lessen but rather strengthens the task of Peter's Successor as Pastor of the Catholic Church. I carried out my ministry especially by meeting the Romanian Episcopal Conference, composed of  Bishops of the Latin and Greek-Catholic rites, and whose President is Archbishop Lucian Mure{l-scedilla}an of F{l-abreve}g{l-abreve}ra{l-scedilla} and Alba Iulia. I urged them to proclaim the Gospel without tiring, to be builders of communion, to provide for the formation of their priests and of the many who are called to the consecrated life, as well as the laity. I encouraged them to promote the pastoral care of young people and schoolchildren, and to make every effort to defend the family, to protect life and to serve the poor.

6. The Romanian nation arose with evangelization and in the Gospel it will find the light and strength to fulfil its vocation as a crossroads of peace in the coming millennium.

For this beloved country too, the year 1989 marked a turning-point. With the sudden collapse of the dictatorship, a new springtime of freedom began and the country thus became a worksite of democracy, to be built with patience and honesty. Drawing on its authentic cultural and spiritual sources, Romania inherited the culture and values of both the Latin (as its language  attests) and the Byzantine civilizations, with many Slavic elements. Its history and geographical location make it an integral part of the new Europe, which is gradually being constructed since the fall of the Berlin Wall. The Church intends to serve this process of growth and democratic integration in a spirit of active cooperation.

7. Recalling the widespread popular tradition according to which Romania is known as the “Garden of Mary”, I would like to ask the Blessed Virgin, in this month dedicated to her, to rekindle in Christians the desire for full unity, so that they may be a Gospel leaven together. I ask Mary that the Romanian people may grow in the spiritual and moral values which are the foundation of every society worthy of the human person and concerned for the common good. To her, the heavenly Mother of Hope, I above all commend the families and young people, who are the future of the beloved people of Romania."

JPII's Homily at Mass for the National Jubilee of the Church of Romania
St Peter's, 9 May 2000 - in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

"1. "The light has come into the world" (Jn 3: 19).

The Great Jubilee was proclaimed precisely to celebrate this coming: the coming of the eternal Word, "God from God, Light from Light" into our history 2000 years ago. Born of the Virgin Mary in our mortal flesh, he revealed the Father's love to the world: "God so loved the world that he gave his only Son" (Jn 3: 16).

The light of God's love appeared in Bethlehem in the "fullness of time" and, after the "stupendous combat" with the darkness of sin, shone radiantly in the Easter Resurrection. The Great Jubilee, opened in the joy of Christmas, culminates in the glory of Easter.

With paschal faith the Church proclaims to the world that man is redeemed in Christ and healed of his mortal illness. With this faith the Successor of Peter has called the faithful to celebrate the Jubilee Year, so that in the name of Jesus Christ, crucified and risen, every person might find salvation (cf Acts 4: 10). This is the original apostolic message which re-echoes through the same Spirit from generation to generation to reach all nations.

2. The Gospel of Christ makes the history of peoples fruitful and calls them to open themselves to the mystery of God's kingdom through the humble but necessary service of the holy apostolic Church, gathered round the Bishop of Rome, servant of the servants of God, and the Bishops in communion with him. It is with this knowledge, brothers and sisters of the beloved Romanian nation, that you have gathered here today in the Vatican Basilica to celebrate your Jubilee. I am pleased to extend my cordial welcome to you all.

I affectionately greet, first of all, the Bishops of the Greek Catholic and Latin Churches, with particular gratitude to Archbishop Lucian Muresan of Fagaras and Alba Iulia, President of the Romanian Episcopal Conference. I also greet the priests, religious and lay people who have come in large numbers to take part in this national pilgrimage. My cordial wishes extend to all the brothers and sisters in the faith who have spiritually joined us in Romania for this important and almost historic celebration.

3. Three centuries have now passed since the Synod of the Romanian Church of Transylvania completed, on 7 May 1700 in Alba Iulia, the journey to union with the See of Peter begun a few years earlier. That act expressed the desire of the Bishops, priests and faithful, who thus saw union with Rome restored, while preserving and safeguarding the Eastern rite, the calendar, the Romanian liturgical language, customs and traditions. This act was the response allowed by those times to the tireless yearning for unity in the hearts of so many sincere disciples of Christ.

From the heart, today we give thanks to almighty God for all the good lavished in these 300 years of communion and, at the same time, we implore him for a peaceful, prosperous future in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

To realize his great works, God uses men, whom he chooses with care and gives to his People. How can we not remember here the praiseworthy Pastors of your Church, Bishops Athanasius Anghel, Innocent Micu-Klein and Peter Aron, through whose work the union not only overcame many difficulties but bore abundant good fruits for the entire population? To mention but a few: the rebirth of religious life, the growth of schools, attention to the living conditions and civil rights of the people and an effective contribution to the national culture and to science itself. The well-known writer Ion Eliade Radulescu was able to say that "the Romanian sun rose" in Blaj.

4. In faithfully following Christ, her Bridegroom, the Romanian Greek Catholic Church has known suffering and the cross, especially in the last century when the cruel atheistic regime decreed her suppression. An effort was made to reduce man to the earthly level, to make him forget the existence of heaven and of a love greater than any human misery. Thanks to God this plan did not succeed in being imposed forever. Christ is risen and with him all the Christian Communities in Romania.

On the occasion of my unforgettable visit to your land precisely at this time last year, I wanted to pray in Bucharest at the tombs of the martyrs for the faith in the Catholic cemetery of Belu, thus paying homage to the great sacrifice of so many Bishops, priests and faithful who accepted martyrdom as the supreme confirmation of their fidelity to Christ and to the Successors of Peter.

As we celebrate the Jubilee of the Union today, I would again like to express my gratitude and admiration for their witness. In particular I extend a grateful greeting to dear Cardinal Alexandru Todea who, despite his imprisonment and isolation, bravely continued to fulfil his duties as Pastor and led the Greek Catholic Church into the new situation created by the coming of democratic freedom.

Dearest friends, preserve in your hearts the living memory of this martyrdom and pass it on to future generations so that it can continue to be a source of inspiration for a Christian witness that is always generous and authentic. Martyrdom is above all an intense spiritual experience: it flows from a heart that loves the Lord as the supreme truth and the greatest, indispensable good. May this treasure of your Church also bear abundant fruits in your regained freedom.

5. I would now like to extend a particularly affectionate greeting to the faithful of the Latin Church. They too, after being long deprived of freedom, were able to strengthen and expand their pastoral structures: religious life has flourished again; catechesis has been vigorously resumed; charitable works, often planned together and with the help of Catholics in other countries, make a significant contribution to the nation's rebirth and open people to a collaboration that expands horizons in the name of solidarity in Christ.

Dear brothers and sisters, your primary commitment must be to enable others to know and meet the Lord Jesus, so that he can heal wounded hearts, form correct consciences concerned for the common good, open people to well-founded hopes, not fleeting consumerism or the quest for material wealth at all costs, but to the true values that alone can create a secure and happy future, because they are based on the Word which does not disappoint.

6. Dearest faithful Catholics of Romania, you can be proud of the effective role you have played in your nation's history and a role you must continue to play enthusiastically by treasuring your rich traditions. You will thus help to foster the growth of all society.

So that this can happen more quickly and effectively, however, it is necessary to restore full unity among Christ's disciples. The unity of the Church is a gift of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, to whom we must ceaselessly pray. It is also a task entrusted to each of us, a path which we must never tire of traveling with perseverance, even if problems sometimes threaten to discourage us.

By fixing our gaze on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith (cf Heb 12: 2), always deepen your commitment for unity and ceaselessly work for it, so that one day not too far off it can become a consoling reality for everyone.

7. "He who does what is true comes to the light" (Jn 3: 21).

At this celebration let us pray that the whole Catholic community in Romania, the Greek Catholic, the Latin and the Armenian, can "speak the truth in love" (Eph 4: 15), so that their face may fully reflect the light of Christ and thus, in turn, be light for the nations to which it is sent.

Bishops, priests, consecrated persons, families, young people and children: grow to full maturity in Christ, through whom the whole body builds itself up in love (cf Eph 4: 16)!

In ancient writings your country is called the "Garden of the Virgin Mary". This beautiful image reminds us of the loving concern with which the Mother of God cares for her children. May she, who with her presence and her prayer animated the first Christian community, guide and sustain the life of the Greek Catholic and Latin Churches in their members so that, also thanks to the Holy Year,  they may shine out without spot or wrinkle for the glory of God. Amen."

John Paul II - Homily, Tuesday 9 May 2000 - © Copyright 2000 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Benedict XVI's Letter to the Metropolitan Archbishop of Bucureşti
on the 10th anniversary of the journey of Pope John Paul II to Romania
in English, French, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

To my Venerable Brother Metropolitan Archbishop Ioan Robu of Bucharest

I rejoiced to learn that the Roman Catholic Church in Romania, the Romanian Orthodox Church and the Romanian State have wished to commemorate together the 10th anniversary of the memorable Visit to Romania of the Servant of God John Paul II who went there determined "to strengthen those ties between Romania and the Holy See which were so important for the history of Christianity in the region" (Arrival Ceremony, Baneasa Airport, Bucharest, 7 May 1999), and to "pay homage to the Romanian people and to their Christian roots" (General Audience, 12 May 1999).

It therefore gives me great pleasure to extend my cordial greeting to all those who will be taking part in this important event. It is an interesting initiative that unites the Catholic and Orthodox faithful of this country which - because of its geographical location and its long history, its culture and its tradition - keeps a record of its special ecumenical vocation, as it were, impressed in its roots. The wish that I warmly express is that believers in Christ may not only keep alive the memory of those unforgettable days but also, gathering the teachings of my venerable Predecessor John Paul II, that they may all strive to find together courageous ways to face with trust the great challenges of our time. I am thinking especially of the defence of human life in all its phases, of the safeguard of the family, of respect for creation and of promotion of the common good. In addition, making my own the wishes of beloved Pope John Paul II, I ask you to pray that full fraternal communion among all Christians in both the West and the East may be achieved as soon as possible: "the Divine Master prayed for this unity, enlivened by love, in the Upper Room on the eve of his Passion and death" (Holy Mass, Podul Izvor Park, Bucharest, 9 May 1999).

With these sentiments I assure you of my remembrance in prayer and impart my Blessing to you, venerable Brother, to all those present here and to the entire Christian community in Romania. I also impart a warm greeting and Blessing to the beloved Orthodox Patriarch and to all the members of that noble Church.

From the Vatican, 6 May 2009.


BENEDICT XVI

© Copyright 2009 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana