On the feast of the Birth of the Virgin Mary at the third European Ecumenical Assembly in Sibiu, Romania, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, principal celebrant and homilist at a celebration of the Eucharist according to the Byzantine Rite, called upon Europe to 'never forget the rock from which you were hewn'. In his homily, delivered to a packed arena of ecumenical pilgrims from across Europe, the Cardinal said: "The values of the world were fostered in Europe; the values of Europe are Christian. There is honour and truth in cherishing the Gospel of Jesus Christ as the foundation stone of our continent. "What a shame that so many people and indeed political figures seem unable to accept this fact of our history. They worry and fret about so many things and fail to acknowledge not only our shared Christian birthright, but also the green shoots and sturdy oak trees of Christianity that infuse European culture." "With the Holy Father, to the people and the Governments of our continent of Europe, we Christians gathered in Sibiu today cry out: never forget the rock from which you were hewn." The Cardinal cited the Blessed Virgin Mary, Martha and her sister Mary as three symbols of hope for renewal and unity in Europe - the overall theme for the Third Ecumenical Assembly. He said that they provided the model of discipleship for all Christians. "Take heed of the example of Martha, Mary and Mary the Mother of God," the Cardinal said. "Do not let it rest here. Be not satisfied in simply gathering. Take that desire with you, so that prayer for unity and the work of unity is accomplished in your hearts, in your homes and communities." Pope Benedict XVI sent a special message to the Assembly. His hope was that it would "create meeting spaces for unity, while respecting legitimate diversity." According to the Vatican press office, the papal message continued: "In an atmosphere of mutual trust, and with the awareness that our shared roots are much deeper than our divisions, it will be possible to overcome a false sense of self-sufficiency and.spiritually to experience the shared foundation of our faith."
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