Benedict XVI in Tuscany

Source: FSSPX News

Benedict XVI in the cathedral of San Donato d'Arezzo.

On May 13, Benedict XVI traveled on a pastoral visit in Tuscany (Italy) to the cities of Arezzo and Sansepolcro.  In a large park located at beneath the Cathedral of San Donato d’Arezzo the Pope celebrated Mass at 10:00 a.m., then recited the Regina Coeli and visited the Gothic cathedral, which goes back to the 13th century. 

After a luncheon with the bishops of Tuscany at the bishop’s residence in Arezzo and a siesta, the Supreme Pontiff was scheduled to travel at 5:00 p.m. by helicopter to the Franciscan shrine of La Verna, around forty kilometers [25 miles] further north, on the summit of Monte Penna.  But because of the bad weather and fog, he had to cancel his visit to the chapel where Saint Francis of Assisi (1182-1226) received the stigmata in 1224.

In the speech prepared for his visit to La Verna, which was published upon his return to Rome, Benedict XVI insisted in particular on the power of contemplating the Cross.  “The continuous meditation on the Cross, in this holy place, has been a means of sanctification for many Christians, who, throughout eight centuries, have knelt and prayed here in silence and in recollection,” the Holy Father recalled.  “First, the mind must be given to the Passion of the Lord, for it is the sacrifice of the Cross that wipes away our sins, a fault that can only be filled by the love of God,” he continued.  “Contemplation of the Crucifix is extraordinarily effective because it makes us pass from the order of things thought, to lived experience; from salvation hoped for to the promised land. St Bonaventure says: ‘Whoever looks at [the Crucifix] with attention... makes the Passover, that is the transit, together with Him.’”

At Sansepolcro the Pope visited the 11th-century cathedral dedicated to the four evangelists and the Holy Sepulcher, where he venerated the Holy Face, one of the oldest monumental vested crucifixes dating from the 9th century.