Today we celebrate St Benedict: Europe needs work and prayer to rediscover its unity and openness to the future.
In 1964 Paul VI chose him as the main patron saint of the whole of Europe. The proclamation took place precisely on 24 October 1964, the day Pope Montini reconsecrated the abbey church of Montecassino, which had been destroyed 20 years earlier in 1944 during the Second World War.
In his apostolic letter ‘Pacis nuntius’, the Pope, explaining the reasons for choosing St Benedict as patron saint of Europe, recalled that ‘he taught humanity the primacy of divine worship through the “opus Dei”, that is, through liturgical and ritual prayer. It was in this way that he cemented that spiritual unity in Europe by virtue of which linguistically, ethnically and culturally divided peoples felt that they constituted the one people of God”.