Today is also the Optional Memoria of Pope St Paul VI. Pope Francis said of Pope Paul VI, when he canonised him in 2018: ‘Paul VI spent his life for Christ’s Gospel, crossing new boundaries and becoming its witness in proclamation and in dialogue, a prophet of a Church turned outwards, looking to those far away and taking care of the poor. Even in the midst of tiredness and misunderstanding, Paul VI bore witness in a passionate way to the beauty and the joy of following Christ totally. Today he still urges us, together with the Council whose wise helmsman he was, to live our common vocation: the universal call to holiness. Not to half measures, but to holiness’.

What would he have said to us today, in the midst of our challenges? He would, undoubtedly, have urged us to pray, to pray much. He said: ‘The world calls for and expects from us simplicity of life, the spirit of prayer, charity towards all, especially towards the lowly and the poor, obedience and humility… Without this mark of holiness, our word will have difficulty in touching the heart of modern man’.

May St Paul VI pray for us, and may God bless us all this day.