Bishop Fernando Arêas Rifan*
I am currently in Rome, "The Eternal City", joining the Summorum Pontificum International Pilgrimage, from which I received the invitation to celebrate the closing Solemn Pontifical Mass at the Basilica of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, next Sunday, the 27th. Today, wednesday, I will be present at the audience with the Holy Father, Pope Francisco, in St. Peter's Square. Following this I will personally cumpliment the Pope, and will receive from him a special benediction, given to all the beloved ones close to me, as well as my readers.
One of the highlights of this pilgrimage will be the Holy Mass celebrated in St. Peter's Basilica on Saturday, the 26th, hold by Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, the one who on behalf the Pope, erected our Apostolic Administration and officiated my episcopal ordination.
Further a Pontifical Mass will be celebrated by Bishop Athanasius Schneider, Auxiliary Bishop of Astana in Kazakhstan, while many other religious acts, such as solemn Vespers, officiated by Monsignor Guido Pozzo, secretary of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, a priestly encounter with Bishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promotion of new Evangelization, a Via Crucis on the Palatine hill and an Eucharistic worshiping in Chiesa Nuova will take place there.
All Masses in this pilgrimage will be celebrated in the ancient form of the Roman Rite, as this pilgrimage is addressed to the priests and lay people supporting this liturgical form, that has been given to the whole Church by Pope Benedict XVI, under the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, hence the name of the Pilgrimage.
The ancient form of the Roman Liturgy, also called Extraordinary Form, is part of the catholic liturgical thesaurus and has been used by many saints over the centuries. It is maintained by many religious congregations, parishes, groups and thousands of catholic faithful in all over the world. There are more than 100 places n Brazil where it this form of Liturgy is used, with the permission of local bishops, as it should always be. As you all know, we also keep this in our Apostolic Administration, a faculty bestowed upon us by the Holy See, knowing the appreciation to this liturgical beauty, clear expression of the Catholic Eucharistic dogmas .Therefore, The Holy See recognizes that our sensibility and adherence to this is perfect and legitimate.
This is what then Cardinal Ratzinger expressed:" While there are many motives that might have led a great number of people to seek a refuge in the traditional , the chief one is that they find the dignity of the sacred preserved there (Conference on Chilean bishops, Santiago, 07.13.1988 ). Our presence in this pilgrimage means our support to these Catholics from around the world and at the same time, aims to show them the correct position to keep the traditional liturgy in perfect communion with the Holy Father, the Pope , and the whole Church. Therefore, with clear understanding, the Mass in the extraordinary form can greatly contributes to the correct "ars celebrandi" and the "liturgical peace" in the Church, as desired by Pope Benedict XVI.
* Bishop of the Personal Apostolic Administration St. John Vianney
Campos dos Goytacazes - RJ - Brazil