10 May 2010

More on Damien

On April 24, 2010 the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI received His Excellency Mr. Charles Ghislain, Ambassador of Belgium to the Holy See.

In his words to the new ambassador, His Holiness recalled the life of Saint Damien of Moloka'i:

It was by imbibing this ecclesial teaching in a radical way that Joseph de Veuster became the person we now call "St Damien". This man's exceptional destiny demonstrates the point to which the Gospel inspires an ethics that is friendly to the person, especially if he or she is in need or rejected.

For the Belgian people the canonization of this priest and the fame he enjoys universally is a legitimate cause for pride. This engaging figure is not the product of a solitary journey. It is good to remember the religious roots that nourished his education and his formation, as well as the teachers who awoke within him this admirable generosity. It was to lead him to share the marginalized life of the lepers, even to the point of exposing himself to the disease from which they suffered. In the light of this testimony, it is possible to all for understand that the Gospel is a force which there is no reason to fear. I am convinced that the Christian soil of your land is still rich, in spite of the social developments. It can generously nourish the commitment of a growing number of volunteers who, inspired by the Gospel principles of brotherhood and solidarity, accompany people who are experiencing difficulties and for this reason need help.

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