April 23, 2013. (Romereports.com) Pope Francis celebrated the feast day of St. George, his patron saint, with a Mass as the Pauline Chapel, along with the resident cardinals in Rome. At the start of the ceremony, Cardinal Dean Angelo Sodano congratulated him on behalf of others. During the hour-long ceremony, Pope Francis gave a brief homily similar to the ones he offers at the Casa Santa Marta Chapel.
“I also thank all of you who wanted to come today: Thank you. Because I feel welcomed by you. Thank you. I feel good with you, and I like that.”
Without written remarks, but basing himself on the Gospel of the day, he spoke about the Church's expansion, starting with the first persecution of Christians.
“And this is how the Church moved forward. Whose was this initiative to speak to the Greeks? This was not clear to anyone but the Jews. But ... it was the Holy Spirit, the One who prompted them ever forward ... But some in Jerusalem, when they heard this, became 'nervous and sent Barnabas on an "apostolic visitation": perhaps, with a little sense of humor we could say that this was the theological beginning of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.”
The Pope also cited Paul VI twice, when explaining that in order to find Jesus, one has to be a part of the Church.
“But the Christian identity is not an identity card: Christian identity is belonging to the Church, because all of these belonged to the Church, the Mother Church. Because it is not possible to find Jesus outside the Church. The great Paul VI said: 'Wanting to live with Jesus without the Church, following Jesus outside of the Church, loving Jesus without the Church is an absurd dichotomy.'”
Even without prepared notes, Pope Francis continued speaking on three topics: the relationship between the missionary spirit of the Church and the persecution of early Christian, the role of the Mother Church, and the joy apostles experienced in evangelization.
Near the end, he urged everyone present to seek that same apostolic fervor, citing St. Ignatius, the founder of the Jesuits.
“And let us ask the Lord for this "parresia", this apostolic fervor that impels us to move forward, as brothers, all of us forward! Forward, bringing the name of Jesus in the bosom of Holy Mother Church, and, as St. Ignatius said, "hierarchical and Catholic."
In addition to Pope Francis, other prelates celebrating their saint day of St. George include: Benedict's brother, Georg Ratzinger, who is at Castel Gandolfo; and the prefect of the Papal Household, Georg Gaenswein, who co-celebrated Mass with Pope Francis at the Pauline Chapel.