Speeches 1993 - Cherry Creek State Park, Denver





(AUGUST 8-16, 1993)




McNichols Sports Arena, Denver

Sunday, 15 August 1993

Dear Vietnamese Friends,

I remember my first presentation to the people of Rome, after the election of 1978. I addressed to them a brief speech in Italian and I said to them, "If I make a mistake, correct me". And so I repeat the same thing to you, and to your community of Vietnam. My dear secretary, Monsignor Vincent Thu, tried to teach me how to pronounce Vietnamese; but I’m not sure (if I’m pronouncing it correctly,) especially after so many speeches in such different languages. The only solution is to repeat the same (remark) which I said to the Roman community, the first evening, "If I make a mistake, correct me". And I suppose that it will be necessary to correct (my pronunciation) very much. So I will repeat the first phrase, "Dear Vietnamese Friends...".

1. My visit to Denver for the "World Youth Day" gives me this opportunity to meet you, members of the Vietnamese community of the United States, and to re–affirm my pastoral solicitude and affection for the whole Vietnamese people. I greet each one of you. I greet the community in exile, and I send a special word of esteem and friendship to your brothers and sisters in your homeland, where many are listening to my voice through a radio link–up. I wish to assure you all of my constant prayers for the Church of the hundred and seventeen martyrs, for the poor, the sick, the refugees in the camps in Hong Kong, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Within the last two decades many of you left the land of your fathers, facing sufferings and trials of all kinds before you were finally safe and settled. Throughout those difficult circumstances, you found courage also in your faith in Jesus Christ. Now that conditions have improved, the challenge before you is to keep pure and lively your Catholic identity, never giving in to discouragement or sadness, or to attitudes and ways of behaving in contrast with your love of God. I know that you are active in preserving your national customs. We have seen them, at the beginning. Your attachment to your Vietnamese traditions, to your homeland, to your customs, to the beauty of your traditions. Thank you very much for this exhibition and that you make great efforts to keep the Vietnamese language alive among your children and young people. This is a way of showing your love for the homeland, for your own people’s culture and history. It can also be an enrichment of the nation in which you have found a new home.

2. I am told that the Vietnamese community has many associations, organizations and movements, which promote cultural and social activities as well as spiritual and apostolic works. I wish to encourage you to maintain a great spiritual unity among yourselves, and to strengthen more and more the spirit of cooperation between all these different groups. There is strength in unity; there is only pain and scandal in division and conflict.

To the priests I extend a fraternal word of encouragement. Keep alive your commitment and dedication to your priestly ministry. Be Good Shepherds to the faithful entrusted to your pastoral care. In particular, encourage vocations to the priesthood and religious life among your fellow Vietnamese. Be promoters of the Catholic life of the community, through your parishes, organizations, meetings, spiritual retreats. Never fail to uphold and strengthen Christian charity and solidarity with all those in material or spiritual need.

To the Religious I wish to express the gratitude of the Church for the witness of your consecration and for the good that you do to so many. Be joyful witnesses to the justice and holiness of the Church, which you are pledged to serve with all your hearts and all your talents.

3. To all of you I make this appeal: do not forget the Church in Vietnam. Your brothers and sisters in the Faith offer you the example of their fidelity to Christ as they live the Gospel in the difficult situation of their country, and of their willingness to suffer for Christ’s sake (Cf. Phil. Ph 1,29). You in turn can help them in the moral and material reconstruction of the Church’s works of apostolate and service. They need your help to restore and rebuild churches, seminaries, convents, schools, hospitals, and other institutions – which have no other aim but to serve the needs of the Vietnamese people.

To the entire Vietnamese people I express my sincere affection. I admire the courage and tenacity with which they are trying to overcome the great obstacles resulting from the tragic experiences of the past. Perhaps the greatest challenge of the present is to heal any ill–feeling or divisions which have grown up between citizens of the same country. Too much suffering has left profound wounds. Reconstruction will only be possible with the cooperation of everyone, and this in turn calls for mutual respect, forgiveness and unity of purpose. All Vietnamese will be able to contribute to building a new and better society if civic and political structures correspond to the deepest aspirations of the people as a whole, aspirations to peace, justice and freedom. May the Vietnamese people, who have survived many moments of difficulty in the past, now succeed in giving their nation the development, progress and unity to which they aspire and to which they have a right.

4. I commend the whole Vietnamese Catholic community to the intercession of Our Lady of La–Vang. She is the loving Mother who appeared in 1798 to console the Christians persecuted by the Van-Than. Soon the Church in Vietnam, already consecrated to her Immaculate Heart, will celebrate the Bicentennial of that event. May the period of preparation for that Jubilee be a time of renewed fervor in faith and Christian living, a time of solidarity with the Catholic community in the homeland, a time to remember the past, but also to prepare an even brighter future for the new generations of Vietnamese. May they grow up with healthy pride in their national origin, the riches of their culture, the spiritual greatness of their forebears who stood firm in the face of trials of all kinds.

May our Lord Jesus Christ sustain you all in faith, hope and love.
May he bless your families with fidelity, harmony and joy.
God bless the Vietnamese people!

I remember your visit, especially for the canonization of the Vietnamese martyrs in June, 1988. Many Vietnamese pilgrims came to Rome, but not from Vietnam, but from Europe, from America, from several countries and continents of the world. And I remember also our meeting in the afternoon with a similar problem, like this of today. Then I appreciated very much the visit of your brothers and sisters from Vietnam. In Rome, sometimes they come to my chapel for the private Mass and they are singing a special liturgical song in Vietnamese. So I am still in spiritual contact with your nation, with your homeland, with your Church, especially through the presence of Monsignor Vincent Thu, in my house as private secretary of the Pope.

And then I should say in conclusion that I meet many Bishops from different countries where the refugees who have emigrated from Vietnam are present and they constitute everywhere, a very solid part of the Catholic community.

God bless you; remain faithful to your Vietnamese identity, to your Christian identity, everywhere in the world. Thus you will prepare the future of Vietnam, and you will prepare the future of the Church in Vietnam.

Once again, thank you very much for this invitation. Sia lodato Gesu Cristo. Thank you.





(AUGUST 8-16, 1993)





Sunday, 15 August 1993

Dear Children, and dear Friends,

1. I have been looking forward to this visit with you, the children of "Mount Saint Vincent" Home, together with your families and friends, the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, and all the Staff of this beautiful Center. Thank you for making the Pope very happy.

Over a hundred years ago Bishop Joseph P. Machebeuf, the first Bishop of Denver, founded this Center. Since then "Mount Saint Vincent Home" has given expression to the charism of Gospel charity which marks the religious consecration of the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth. I commend to the Lord the Sisters who have served here in the past, and thank the present Sisters for their untiring dedication. To the Staff and assistants I offer a word of warm encouragement: go on serving these special children and see in them the ones that Jesus one day called to himself and blessed, because their innocent trust showed what it means to belong to his Kingdom. Indeed, Jesus sees himself in them: "Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me" (Mt 18,5).

Dear young friends, in order to get well you have to follow a special program of treatment and training. We all support and encourage you. The Pope will pray for you and he looks forward to hearing about your progress.

2. The "World Youth Day" reminded us of the words of the Good Shepherd: "I came that they might have life and have it abundantly" (Jn 10,10). We are never alone if we allow Jesus to walk with us on the path of life. There is always hope, because he laid down his life for all those who belong to him (Cf. ibid. 10: 17). He is the healer of our souls, for he reconciles us with God the Father, with ourselves and with those around us. He is the Friend who loves us and understands us as we are, with all our hopes and all our difficulties.

Concern for the child even before birth, from the first moment of conception and then throughout the years of infancy and youth, is the primary and fundamental test of the relationship of one human being to another (Cf. John Paul II, Address during the visit to the United Nations Organization, 21, 2 October 1979). The child is that delicate center around which the moral ethos of families, and therefore of whole nations, is either built up or shattered. In Rome and on my visits to the Church in the different countries I see so many children. On their smiling faces I read the possibility for every society and every generation to say to them: you are our love, you are our joy, you are our greatest concern! For your sake we will work honestly and hard to build a better world, a true civilization of love!

At the same time I have seen other children’s faces: in hospitals, in centers for children with AIDS or other tragic diseases, in refugee camps. And I am moved to appeal once more on their behalf to people of good will, to the leaders of the nations, to Governments and International Agencies, to all who will hear. There exists the Convention on the Rights of the Child, adopted at the United Nations in 1989 and already signed by many States, including the Holy See. I hope that more and more States will ensure the juridical force and practical application of the Convention, so that no child on earth will be left without the legal guarantee of his or her fundamental rights.

3. May God give us hearts large enough to embrace all children everywhere, and arms strong enough to protect and support them!

Dear young friends, when I return to Rome I will carry with me the memory of this special meeting. May Almighty God bless and protect each one of you!

Thank you very much for this acceptance of my visit. It was very nice for me to be with you. It is pleasant to be with the children and you are looking so well with so much simplicity, so much hope. And I wish to you – all of you – and your families, your parents, and the Sisters. I wish you all the best for everyone of you: for your formation, for your maturity, human Christian maturity, and I wish you above all, that Christ be still with you and in your hearts. He likes to dwell, to remain, in the hearts of the children. Thank you again.





(AUGUST 8-16, 1993)



International Airport of Denver

Sunday, 15 August 1993

Dear Mr. Vice-President,
Dear Friends,
Dear People of America,

1. As I take my leave of the United States, I express my gratitude to you, Mr. Vice-President who are here to say goodbye, and to President Clinton who kindly welcomed me on my arrival, for the courtesy I have received at every stage of this visit.

I wish to thank all those who in any way have cooperated in ensuring the success of this "Eighth World Youth Day", which has brought young pilgrims from almost every country in the world to the beautiful City of Denver, to reflect on the words of Jesus Christ: "I came that they might have life, and have it abundantly" (Jn 10,10).

2. I too came as a pilgrim, a pilgrim of hope. I have always known that for the Church and for civil society young people constitute the hope of our future. But over the years of my ministry, especially through the celebration of events such as this one, that hope has been confirmed and strengthened again and again. It has been the young people themselves who have taught me to have ever new and ever greater confidence. It is not just that the young people of today are the adults of the future who will step into our shoes and carry on the human adventure. No, the longing present in every heart for a full and free life that is worthy of the human person is particularly strong in them. Certainly, false answers to this longing abound, and humanity is far from being a happy and harmonious family. But so many young people in all societies refuse to descend into selfishness and superficiality. They refuse to relinquish responsibility. That refusal is a beacon of hope.

For believers, commitment to the spiritual and moral renewal which society needs is a gift of the Spirit of the Lord who fills the whole earth, for it is the Spirit who offers man the light and the strength to measure up to his supreme destiny (Cf. Gaudium et Spes GS 10). This has been particularly evident in the prayer – filled attitude of the young people gathered here. As a result, they go away more committed to the victory of the culture of life over the culture of death. The culture of life means respect for nature and protection of God’s work of creation. In a special way it means respect for human life from the first moment of conception until its natural end. A genuine culture of life is all the more essential when – as I have written in the social Encyclical "Centesimus annus" – "human ingenuity seems to be directed more towards limiting, suppressing or destroying the sources of life – including recourse to abortion, which unfortunately is so widespread in the world – than towards defending and opening up the possibilities of life" (John Paul II Centesimus Annus CA 39).

A culture of life means service to the underprivileged, the poor and the oppressed, because justice and freedom are inseparable and exist only if they exist for everyone. The culture of life means thanking God every day for his gift of life, for our worth and dignity as human beings, and for the friendship and fellowship he offers us as we make our pilgrim way towards our eternal destiny.

3. Mr. Vice-President, I leave the United States with gratitude to God in my heart. Gratitude for what has happened here in the World Youth Day. Gratitude to the American people for being open and generous, and for the many ways in which they continue to assist needy people around the world. I pray that America will continue to believe in its own noble ideals, and I express the hope that the United States will be a wise and helpful partner in the multilateral efforts being made to resolve some of the more difficult questions facing the international community.

My gratitude becomes an ardent prayer for the people of this great country, for the fulfillment of America’s destiny as one nation under God, with liberty and justice for all.

America, defend life so that you may live in peace and harmony.

God bless America!

God bless you all!

September 1993





Thursday, 2 September 1993

Mr Ambassador,

I am pleased to welcome you to the Vatican and to accept the Letters of Credence appointing you as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America. With great pleasure I recall my recent visit to your country on the occasion of the celebration of the "Eighth World Youth Day". In Denver I was able to listen to the hopes and concerns of America’s young people and to see in their vitality and idealism a tremendous resource for your nation’s future. The sight of so many young people gathered from countries throughout the world was also a vivid reminder of the grave responsibility of international leaders to ensure that the next generation has every opportunity to contribute its gifts to building ever more just and harmonious relations among all the members of the human family.

In your address, Mr Ambassador, you referred to many of the urgent and unresolved issues confronting the international community today. Many of these issues have become even more pressing as a result of the dramatic changes in the world situation in recent years. Tragically, the fall of the walls which separated East and West into two camps has made more evident the scandalous walls of poverty, violence and political oppression which still divide vast sectors of humanity. The new era now opening before us calls for a renewed sense of collective moral responsibility in the work of promoting an integral human development, safeguarding human rights and freedom, encouraging more participatory forms of government, and establishing effective structures for the equitable solution of disagreements between nations and different ethnic and social groups.

These challenges have a fundamental moral dimension, and they demand a response which is capable of transcending narrow self-interest or mere strategic calculations. As I had occasion to observe in the Encyclical "Centesimus Annus", "the world today is ever more aware that solving serious national and international problems is not just a matter of economic production or of juridical or social organization, but also calls for specific ethical and religious values, as well as changes of mentality, behaviour and structures" (John Paul II, Centesimus Annus CA 60). New forms of solidarity and practical cooperation between nations are essential for finding effective means for putting an end to situations of injustice and to acts of violence which threaten human dignity and violate human rights. Because of its great influence in the international community, the United States has a significant role to play in this process, and I am confident that your countrymen will seek to respond to the challenges of the present with the strong sense of purpose which has so often distinguished them in the past.

Of particular importance in this regard is the responsible exercise of freedom by peoples only recently liberated from various forms of political oppression. Because of its long tradition of respect for freedom and its readiness to preserve it at great sacrifice, the United States of America has inspired the efforts of many developing countries to build a stable democratic life. Authentic freedom however always demands an honest relationship with regard to truth (Cf. John Paul II, Redemptor Hominis RH 12); it is only by accepting the truth that freedom is fully attained (Cf. Jn. Jn 8,32). The search for freedom can never be detached from respect for the truth about man and his true identity, for then the ideal of freedom easily becomes empty and superficial, and can even be used as the pretext for forms of self–aggrandizement, oppression and violence. Indeed, "if there is no ultimate truth to guide and direct political activity, then ideas and convictions can easily be manipulated for reasons of power. As history demonstrates, a democracy without values easily turns into open or thinly disguised totalitarianism" (John Paul II, Centesimus Annus CA 46).

The moral strength of any democracy will depend on its ability to protect freedom while at the same time providing it with necessary ethical foundations. It is precisely in this important task of discerning the moral requirements of a just social order that Christians feel obligated to offer their proper contribution to national life, together with all people of good will. Concern for the common good has been the driving force behind the notable involvement of America’s Catholics in the life of their nation. That concern has found concrete expression in the network of schools, hospitals and social services with which the Church has traditionally sought to train responsible citizens and to assist the poor and needy. Today, as ever, Catholics rightly expect that their voices will be heard in debates regarding the issues facing American society. They understand that these issues should be decided not simply by the balancing of particular interests on the basis of the political power of contending groups, but rather on the assessment and integration of those interests within the framework of a coherent vision of the common good, inspired by criteria of justice and morality.

It was precisely the need for such a responsible moral vision that I pointed to in Denver when I expressed my conviction that "the American people possess the intelligence and will to meet the challenge of rededicating themselves with renewed vigor to fostering the truths on which this country was founded and by which it grew" (John Paul II, Address at Stapleton Airport in Denver, 3, 12 August 1993). Primary among these is respect for the right to life, the first of those inalienable rights with which all have been endowed by the Creator.

Mr Ambassador, in your presence today I willingly repeat the words I addressed to your fellow Americans in Denver: "The bounty and providence of God have laid an enormous responsibility on the people and Government of the United States. But that burden is also the opportunity for true greatness. Together with millions of people around the globe I share the profound hope that in the present international situation the United States will spare no effort in advancing authentic freedom and in fostering human rights and solidarity" (Ibid.). I am pleased to assure you of my prayers for the American people and my trust that Almighty God will guide your nation in the ways of authentic peace, with liberty and justice for all. As you begin your mission, I offer you my cordial good wishes and I assure you of the ready cooperation of the offices of the Holy See. Upon you and your family I cordially invoke God’s abundant blessings.






Thursday, 16 September 1993

Dear Brother Bishops,

"Behold how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!" (Ps 1).

1. To you – the Bishops of Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, the Northwest Territories, Saskatchewan and the Yukon – allow me to express my gratitude for our communion in the College of Bishops and, in the words of Saint Paul, for "the joy and comfort of your love" (Phm 1,7). Your visit comes at a significant moment. The Fiftieth Anniversary of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops is a fitting time for us to give thanks together to the Most Blessed Trinity, from whom all grace descends, for the life of the Church in Canada, which you have been called to serve in the Lord’s name as successors of the Apostles.

Your "ad Limina visits", as well as the more frequent meetings of the leaders of your Conference with the Roman Curia, provide opportunities for fraternal dialogue and increased unity among us.
In this way the bonds of faith and communion linking your particular Churches with the Apostolic See are strengthened.

The Second Vatican Council reminded us that in each particular Church, "the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church of Christ is truly present and active" (Christus Dominus CD 11). The universal ministry of the Successor of Peter therefore assists the People of God entrusted to your pastoral care "from within", as a divine gift integral to the life of your dioceses (Cf. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Communionis Notio, 13). This is especially so in safeguarding the depositum fidei which must be preserved intact and untarnished until the Lord returns. Truth is itself a unifying force. Signs of division dull the power of the Church’s witness, whereas harmony increases her credibility (Cf. Paul VI, Paterna Cum Benevolentia, 3). It is incumbent upon Bishops, in communion with the Successor of Peter, to show that in their teaching they are "of one heart and soul" (Ac 4,32), "united in the same mind and the same judgment" (1Co 1,10).

2. I was especially moved at the recent "World Youth Day" celebration in Denver to see so many young people – including thousands from Canada – earnestly seeking to love and serve Christ in his Church. These men and women of the third millennium expect their Bishops and priests to help them to live according to that truth which is Christ’s precious gift to them (Cf. Gal. Ga 5,1). True pastoral charity requires that nothing be omitted in preaching the saving word of Christ. The success of the new evangelization in Canada will depend in no small measure on your effective and unified proclamation of all the Gospel’s demands.

The faithful look to the Bishops of the Church to be "authentic teachers, that is, teachers endowed with the authority of Christ, who preach the faith to the people assigned them" (Lumen Gentium LG 25). In this respect we must continually renew in ourselves the charism of vigilance. Like good sentinels, devoted to the Apostles’ teaching (Cf. Acts. Ac 2,42) and entrusted with the task of preserving, explaining and spreading "the heritage of the faith" (Cf. Dei Verbum DV 10), we must never cease to preach the fulness of the knowledge of Christ and of his Church. We are all aware of how truly difficult it is to be a watchful guardian and zealous proclaimer of "the truth of the Gospel" (Ga 2,5). Saint Augustine reminds us of the seriousness of our responsibilities when he says: "Besides being a Christian... I am a leader also, and for this shall render to God an account of my ministry" (Saint Augustine, Sermon 46: De Pastoribus, 2).

3. Canada, like so many countries, is influenced by the many positive aspects but also by the moral ills of contemporary culture. Many of your fellow citizens are suffering from a loss of the moral sense. This frequently leads to a systematic calling into question of Catholic teaching in matters of faith and morals. As Pastors who are to "expound the mystery of Christ in its entirety" (Christus Dominus CD 12), we can meet this challenge if our teaching is clear, unambiguous and united. Only then will it rise above the confusion of conflicting opinions with the forcefulness and power of the Truth.

In our concern to meet the faithful’s right to hear the fulness of Catholic teaching, we – with humility, courage and charity – should be vigilant lest anyone be led into error by those who would trouble them and "want to pervert the gospel of Christ" (Ga 1,6). This is particularly so with regard to teachings which the Magisterium proposes as "definitively to be held" by all the faithful. These call for a response of firm assent. As stated in "Donum Veritatis": "When the Magisterium proposes ‘in a definitive way’ truths concerning faith and morals, which, even if not divinely revealed, are nevertheless strictly and intimately connected with Revelation, these must be firmly accepted and held" (Congr. for the Doctrine of the Faith Donum Veritatis, 23; cf. Eiusdem Professio Fidei et Iusiurandum Fidelitatis). With great love and patience – and looking constantly to Christ, the "light of the world" (Jn 8,12). – we have the serious obligation to guide the faithful in forming a moral conscience that will judge and act in accordance with the truth – to teach "those acts which in themselves conform to the demands of faith and foster their expression in life, and those which, on the contrary, because intrinsically evil, are incompatible with such demands" (Congr. for the Doctrine of the Faith Donum Veritatis, 16). As the word of life, the Gospel includes universal and unchanging moral norms, which need to be taught with new ardour and conviction. I encourage each of you to persevere in bearing the burden of this prophetic role of vigilant love, ensuring in every possible way that the "sound doctrine" (1Tm 1,10) of faith and morals is taught throughout your Dioceses – consistently and at every level.

4. To assist us all in our ministry at this time, as heralds of the truth which sets us free (Cf. Jn. Jn 8,32), the Lord has given us a precious instrument and gift: the "Catechism of the Catholic Church". In your hands this mature outcome of the Second Vatican Council will be an apt instrument by which the authentic teaching of the Council – itself a witness to the Church’s great Tradition – can faithfully enter preaching and catechesis. Stating the message of faith serenely and systematically, the Catechism reveals the unity, coherence, beauty and relevance of the Catholic faith.

It is not just for Pastors and specialists – as has been shown by its enthusiastic reception by the laity in many countries – but is destined for all sectors of the Church. I know that the Church in Canada will welcome the "Catechism of the Catholic Church" and that, in a spirit of universal communion, you will make its treasures available in every possible way to all the faithful.

5. Your country is blessed in having one of the most extensive Catholic educational systems in the world – one of which you are justly proud. Together with the numerous Catholic colleges and universities, your schools have made an immense contribution in forming young men and women as devout and learned Catholics and as responsible and generous citizens. In this way Catholic education has prepared generations of lay men and women in whom a profound harmony between their being members of the Church and members of civil society has enabled them to overcome the tragic separation of faith from life and of the Gospel from culture (Cf. John Paul II, Christifideles Laici CL 59).

Now, however, you are facing new problems: these include the need to protect the Catholic identity of your schools and the challenge presented by the increasing religious and moral relativism present in public opinion. Catholic educational institutions need to reaffirm their responsibility to evangelize and catechize, fully meeting the demanding task of presenting the word of God in all its strength.

In some Provinces the right to publicly funded independent Catholic school boards – important to the survival of Catholic education – has recently come into question. Your determined efforts to govern your own schools, in harmony with Catholic faith and practice, is founded on the Church’s inalienable right to establish and conduct schools freely and in accordance with her needs (Cf. Gravissimum Educationis GE 8). May you be wise and provident Shepherds in this important aspect of the Church’s life in your nation. I likewise wish to encourage you to continue supporting efforts to provide a sound formation in Catholic tradition, doctrine and life for all those involved in the Church’s educational, catechetical or social apostolates.

6. Je sais avec quelle profonde sollicitude pastorale vous désirez travailler à bâtir l’unité que le Christ a voulue pour son Eglise, l’unité authentique qui, par nature, est la pleine communion visible de tous les chrétiens dans la vérité et la charité. Le “Directoire pour l’Application des Principes et des Normes sur l’OEcuménisme”, publié récemment par le Conseil pontifical pour la Promotion de l’Unité des Chrétiens, a pour but de stimuler les activités oecuméniques et de souligner l’urgence de développer la formation dans ce domaine. En entretenant la “pauvreté d’esprit” spirituelle qui invite à surmonter la défiance et l’ignorance, l’Eglise au Canada peut apporter une contribution significative au mouvement oecuménique dans son ensemble. Chacun doit garder présentes à l’esprit la nécessité de sauvegarder la priorité de la vérité dans le dialogue et en même temps l’ouverture à l’enrichissement mutuel qui caractérise l’oecuménisme authentique. Par - dessus tout, aucun de nous ne doit oublier que l’objectif du mouvement oecuménique “dépasse les forces et les capacités humaines" (Unitatis Redintegratio UR 24) et qu’il s’appuiera essentiellement sur la “conversion du coeur et la sainteté de vie, unies aux prières publiques et privées pour l’unité des chrétiens” (Ibid. 8).

7. Chers Frères dans l’épiscopat, votre ministère doit répondre à beaucoup d’exigences! Par mes paroles, je désire sincèrement vous affermir dans le Seigneur. D’une manière toute spéciale, je voudrais assurer ceux d’entre vous qui travaillent dans le Grand Nord de ma prière et de mes encouragements pour leur ministère auprès des peuples autochtones qui tient compte de leurs conditions et de leurs nécessités particulières. Je souscris volontiers au rappel fait par le message pastoral de votre Conférence, à l’occasion du Vème centenaire de l’évangélisation des Amériques, quand vous écrivez que la qualité de solidarité vécue dans la société canadienne est à estimer en fonction des mesures prises pour améliorer la situation économique, politique et sociale des peuples autochtones (Cf. CECC, Vers une nouvelle évangélisation, 23 septembre 1992, n. 19).

En exprimant ma confiance dans le Seigneur, qui continuera à accroître la ferveur et la fidélité des prêtres, des religieux et religieuses et des laïques de vos diocèses – car “Celui qui a commencé en vous cette oeuvre excellente en poursuivra l’accomplissement” (Ph 1,6) –, je vous recommande, vous–mêmes et vos communautés diocésaines, à la sollicitude aimante de Marie, Mère de l’Eglise, et à la protection de saint Joseph, patron du Canada. Avec ma Bénédiction Apostolique.

Speeches 1993 - Cherry Creek State Park, Denver