Thursday, January 16, 2014

Pope receives lay members of Pontifical Household

Pope Francis on Thursday met with Attachés of the Antechamber, one of the groups of lay people attached to the Pontifical Household.

The Holy Father thanked the Attachés for their service during audiences, papal ceremonies, and official receptions: “I appreciate very much the kindness and cordiality with which you carry out your work, with a spirit of hospitality, inspired by love for the Church and for the Pope.”

The Pontifical Household, the Pope said, extends to all members of the Catholic Church who “ here experience hospitality, the warmth of a family, and support for their faith.” The true Head of the Household, he said, “is the Lord, of whom we are all disciples, servants of His Gospel.”

Pope Francis encouraged the Attachés to “cultivate an ongoing dialogue with (Jesus) in prayer . . . grow in friendship and intimacy with Him, and . . . witness His merciful love towards all.”

From the beginning of his pontificate, Pope Francis has been meeting with the various groups of people who assist the Pope in the day-to-day activities of the Vatican. Most recently he has begun to receive in audience members of the Pontifical Household; on Friday 10 January he met with the “Chair-bearers” and the “Gentlemen of His Holiness,” who along with the Attachés are among the lay-members of the Household.

The work of the Pontifical Household was described in the Encyclical of Blessed Pope John Paul II, Pastor Bonus: “The Prefecture of the Papal Household looks after the internal organization of the papal household, and supervises everything concerning the conduct and service of all clerics and laypersons who make up the papal chapel and family.”

Little is known about the origins of the Attachés of the Antechamber. Historians agree that they were already in existence in 1592, under Pope Clement VII, with the name “cavalieri della bussola” (“Knights of the Compass”). Pope Paul VI, with his Motu proprio Pontificalis Domus of 28 March 1968, gave the Attachés their current name.


Below, please find the complete text of Pope Francis’ remarks to the Attachés of the Antechamber: 

Dear friends,

I am very happy to meet with you and I extend to you and your families my very best wishes for the new year just begun.

You are here as part of the household, and I am very grateful to you for the service you provide at the audiences, during the ceremonies, and at the official receptions. I appreciate very much the kindness and cordiality with which you carry out your work, with a spirit of hospitality, inspired by love for the Church and for the Pope.

Let us ask ourselves: Who is the Pontifical Household? Who is the head of this household? The Pontifical Household is all the members of the Catholic Church, who here experience hospitality, the warmth of a family, and support for their faith. And the true Head of the house is the Lord, of whom we are all disciples, servants of His Gospel. This requires that we cultivate an ongoing dialogue with Him in prayer, that we grow in friendship and intimacy with Him, and that we witness His merciful love towards all. Done with this in mind, your work can become an opportunity to communicate the joy of being part of the Church.

The liturgy yesterday presented to us the figure of the young Samuel who, dwelling in the temple of Jerusalem, recognized the voice of the Lord and responded to His call (cf. 1 Sam 3:9). Even in this environment there are places for you where you hear God who speaks to you, who calls you to serve Him in an ever more mature and generous way.

Dear friends, may the Lord bless you and your families, and may the Madonna always protect you. I recommend myself to you: pray for me!

Thank you!

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