|Pope Benedict (seated) listens to Pope Francis|
at the ceremony on Friday 5th July
in the Vatican Gardens.
To the joy of Vatican City State workers, Friday morning Pope Francis was joined by Pope emeritus Benedict XVI in the gardens for a ceremony during which the Holy Father blessed a statue of St Michael Archangel, at the same time consecrating the Vatican to the Archangel’s protection.
Following a brief ceremony, Pope Francis addressed those present noting how St. Michael defends the People of God from its enemy par excellence, the devil. He said even if the devil attempts to disfigure the face of the Archangel and thus the face of humanity, St Michael wins, because God acts in him and is stronger:
|Pope Francis greeting Pope Benedict|
before the ceremony.
As is obvious from the photographs
Pope Benedict looks quite well.
"We also consecrate Vatican City State in St. Joseph, guardian of Jesus, the guardian of the Holy Family. May his presence make us stronger and more courageous in making space for God in our lives to always defeat evil with good. We ask Him to protect, take care of us, so that a life of grace grows stronger in each of us every day.
|Pope Francis and Pope Benedict pictured together|
on Friday morning in the Vatican Gardens.
This was the first public appearance of the two Popes together and we do hope it will not be the last! Contrary to "inside" views about his rapidly deteriorating health, Pope Benedict appeared very well and was obviously delighted to be present for the Dedication of Saint Michael's statue. Pope Benedict's attendance had not been anticipated: he was present at the personal invitation of Pope Francis.
Prayer to Michael the Archangel :
Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the Devil:
may God restrain him, we humbly pray.
And do thou, O prince of the Heavenly Host,
by the power of God thrust down Satan into hell
and with him the other wicked spirits
who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen.