Gebetsliga Meets With Pope Francis
On October 14, 2017, a group of 200 members and friends of the Gebetsliga were welcomed by Pope Francis for a Private Audience in the Vatican's Clementine Hall. This meeting of the Emperor Karl League of Prayer took place in the context of the centenary of the peace initiatives of Pope Benedict XV, a contemporary of Blessed Karl, who tried to avert the disaster of WWI.
During the Private Audience, The League of Prayer for the U.S.A. and Canada was happy to present Pope Francis with a recently commissioned icon of Blessed Karl by Bulgarian iconographer Alexander Schelechow.
The international Gebetsliga presented Pope Francis with a stone carving of the Gebetsliga coat of arms. Consisting of a cross, crown of thorns, and the words "Oratio et Satisfactio," the coat of arms speaks to the prayer and sacrifice that accompanied the League beginning with the young Archduke Karl. Today that same prayer group, the League of Prayer, works to cultivate devotion to Blessed Karl and his Cause for Canonization. When the carving was presented to the Pope, he interrupted the story of it's significance, saying he knew the story "quite well"—a sign of his deep affection for the League and his devotion to Blessed Karl.
Because of the extraordinary Private Papal Audience, the annual Gebetsliga Board Meeting, which is usually held in Vienna, was held the same week at Rome's Santa Maria dell'Anima, the national church of Germany and hospice of German-speaking people in Rome. The Gebetsliga was warmly welcomed by the Rector, Fr. Franz Xaver Brandmayr. Representing the U.S.A. and Canada were League delegates Fr. Boniface Hicks, O.S.B., and Suzanne Pearson, and EmperorCharles.org webmaster Jordan Hainsey. The annual board meeting serves as a vital opportunity for the Executive Board and all of the constituent countries' delegates to dialogue on how devotion for the Cause is advancing globally. Leading the meeting were Archbishop Emeritus Fernand Franck of Luxembourg, League President, and Fr. Marion Gruber, O.Cist., of Heiligenkreuz Abbey, League Executive President. Following the meeting, a special Sunday Mass was celebrated at Santa Maria dell'Anima by Archbishop Franck. After the final blessing, Archbishop Franck led a procession to one of the church's side chapels where a relic of Blessed Karl is enshrined for devotion by the faithful.
The Gebetsliga's Private Audience with Pope Francis: October 14, 2017
For the entire selection of photos by L'Osservatore Romano, click here.
Pope Francis' Address to the Gebetsliga: October 14, 2017
Ladies and gentlemen,
Dear brothers and sisters,
With affection I greet you and all the members of the Emperor Karl League for Prayer for Peace Among Nations. I thank the president, Msgr. Fernand Franck, for his words. Your annual assembly in Rome takes place in the context of the centenary of the initiative for peace undertaken by Pope Benedict XV and, among political leaders, supported only by Blessed Emperor Karl, with the strong desire to bring an end to the slaughter of the First World War.
The three aims of the League for Prayer underlined by your president – to seek and observe God’s will, to be committed to promoting peace and justice, to atone for the injustice of history – were, so to say, the recurrent motif of the life of Blessed Karl as a statesman, as a husband and father, and as a son of the Church. Delivering himself to God’s will, he accepted suffering and offered his own life as a sacrifice for peace, always sustained by the love and faithfulness of his wife, Servant of God Zita.
The challenges of our time require the collaboration of all men of good will and, in particular, prayer and sacrifice. I invite you, therefore, to keep your promise to take part, with prayer and personal commitment, in the many efforts of the Pope in favour of peace. Without the support of the prayer of the faithful, Peter’s Successor cannot fulfil his mission in the world. I count on you too. I entrust you to the maternal protection of Mary Most Holy and to the intercession of Blessed Emperor Karl, and heartily impart my apostolic blessing to you and your loved ones.
The Gebetsliga Board Meeting: October 14, 2017
Mass with Archbishop Franck at Santa Maria dell'Anima : October 15, 2017