|Poland – Doctorate “honoris causa” for Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone|
(ANS – Rome) – Yesterday evening, May 24, Card. Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State of the Vatican, in the name of the Holy Father Benedict XVI, inaugurated the new church in the grounds of the catacombs of St. Callixtus , dedicated to St. Tarcisius, martyr of the Eucharist. Card. Bertone looked forward to a more authentic witness to faith, a Church able to return to the enthusiasm and faith of its origins.
Many civil and church authorities took part in the inauguration. Representing the Rector Major were Fr. Francesco Cereda, SDB, Councillor for Formation, and Bro. Jean Paul Muller, SDB, the Economer General.
Introducing his homily, Card. Tarcisio Bertone recalled the concomitance of the occasion with the feast of Mary Help of Christians “mother and educator of the holiness of Don Bosco, and following him, the educator in holiness of so many members of our family.” Making a comparison with the building of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Rome he added: “I am certain the today Don Bosco would say, at the dedication of this church, the very same thing: ‘Mary has rebuilt her house.`”
Recalling the figure of the young holy martyr he said: “Today we live a faith which is pretty comfortable, a faith without the shedding of blood, rather than what the place where we are and the martyr St. Tarcisius remind us of. But the persecution of the faith no longer appears as a far off eventuality: the time could come again when to believe could be to risk one’s life. If persecution returned, which of us would be ready to shed their blood for Christ?”
After commenting on the liturgical readings he explained: “”Certainly the commitment to rejuvenate the Church is not simply the same as renovating the house of God, but more deeply it means to make the Church return to its origins, so that it lives by the power of Easter and the might of Pentecost, so as to fulfill the truth of Christ and freedom of the spirit. A Church which truly believes and which is never led astray by ideologies, but which ever more finds strength in the work of salvation, understood and assimilated in its integrity.”
The Secretary of State then declared: “a visit to this church and to the Statue of St. Tarcisius, placed here according to the wish of the Holy Father, will be a landmark for the ministers of the world and for those who want to follow Jesus more closely as priests, religious and missionaries.”
The new church had two exceptional sponsors: In 2008 it was the Rector Major, Fr. Pascual Chávez who expressly asked Fr. Maurizio Verlezza, at that time the new Rector of the community of St. Tarcisius, to undertake a new structure in which to nourish the spiritual growth of new generations of Salesians. On August 4, 2010, on the occasion of the general audience granted to 54,000 altar servers who had come to Rome for the International Pilgrimage of Ministers, it was the Holy Father himself, Benedict XVI who called for the Catacombs of St. Tarcisius, the place of the martyrdom of St. Tarcisius, to become a spiritual landmark for young people and religious in formation.
The catacombs of St. Callixtus have for centuries been a place of pilgrimage. Every year 500,000 pilgrims come from all over the world. In the grounds there are three Salesian communities, the post-novitiate of St. Tarcisius, St. Callixtus and Blessed Philip Rinalidi.
After the inauguration, the Band of the Carabinieri gave a concert, followed by refreshments for all the many guests.