Pope Praises Lubich's Fidelity to Magisterium

Sends Message to Funeral of Focolare Founder

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VATICAN CITY, MARCH 18, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI praised the work of the founder of Focolare in a message sent to his secretary of state, who presided over her funeral today.



Chiara Lubich died Friday at age 88. Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone celebrated a Mass for her today at St. Paul's Outside the Walls, bearing the message from the Pope in which the Pontiff said he gave thanks to God for the service Lubich had offered to the Church.

"There are many reasons to give thanks to the Lord for the gift he has given to the Church in this woman of intrepid faith, a meek messenger of hope and peace, founder of a great spiritual family that extends across multiple fields of evangelization," the Holy Father said. "Above all I would like to give thanks to God for the service Chiara has offered to the Church: a silent and incisive service, always in harmony with the magisterium of the Church.

"'The Popes,' she said, 'have always understood us.' That is because Chiara and the Work of Mary have always tried to respond with docile fidelity to each one of their invitations and desires."

Benedict XVI said the list of his predecessors since Pope Pius XII "is a concrete testimony" of Focolare's fidelity to the Popes.

"The thought of the Pope was for her a sure directional guide," he affirmed, "Moreover, seeing the initiatives that she has started, one could even affirm that she had an almost prophetic capacity to intuit [that thought] and act on it in an anticipatory way."

The Holy Father prayed that the Virgin Mary would help those of Lubich's spiritual family "follow the same path, contributing to make the Church be ever more a house and school of communion."

"May the God of hope receive the soul of our dear sister, [and] console and support the commitment of those who take on her spiritual testament," he concluded. "For this intention, I assure a particular memory in prayer, as I send to all those present in the sacred rite the apostolic blessing."