S. John Paul II Homil. 837

837 according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin!
For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me,
Against you, you alone, have I
sinned, and done that which is evil in your sight ...
Hide your face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities” (
Ps 50 [51]:1-4, 9).

838 2. The psalmist does not stop at confessing his own sins and asking forgiveness for them; he especially hopes for interior renewal from the Lord’s goodness: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me” (Ps 50 [51]:10). Illumined by the Spirit about the devastating power of sin, he asks to become a new creature, to be, in a certain sense, created anew.

This is the grace of Redemption! Faced with the sin that defiles the human heart, the Lord bends over his creature to renew the saving dialogue and to open for him new prospects of life and hope. Particularly during the Lenten season the Church reflects deeply on this mystery of salvation.

To the sinner who wonders about his situation and whether he can still obtain God’s mercy, today’s liturgy replies with the Apostle’s words from the Second Letter to the Corinthians: “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (5:21). In Christ, the heavenly Father’s boundless love for each person is proclaimed and offered to believers.

3. Here resounds the echo of what Isaiah announced from afar about the Servant of the Lord: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Is 53,6).

God hears the pleas of sinners who entreat him with David: “Create in me a clean heart, O God”. Jesus, the suffering servant, takes upon his shoulders the Cross, which represents the weight of all humanity’s sins, and starts out for Calvary, to fulfil by his death the work of Redemption. Jesus crucified is the image of God’s boundless mercy for every man.

To remind us that “with his stripes we are healed” (Is 53,5), and to instil in us a horror of sin, the Church asks us to have frequent recourse to the devotion of the Via Crucis. For us here in Rome, the Via Crucis on Good Friday at the Colosseum is very significant: it gives us the opportunity of tangibly experiencing the powerful truth of the Redemption through the Cross, retracing in spirit the steps of the city’s first martyrs.

4. “Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities ... a broken and contrite heart, O God you will not despise” (Ps 50 [51]:9, 17). This Lenten prayer is very moving!

Man, created by God in his image and likeness, proclaims: “Against you, you only, have I sinned, and done that which is evil in your sight” (Ps 51 [50]: 4). Illumined by the grace of this penitential season, he feels the burden of the evil he has done and understands that God alone can deliver him. Then, from the depths of his misery, he exclaims in David’s words: “Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!”. Oppressed by sin, he implores God’s mercy, calls on his fidelity to the covenant, and asks him to fulfil his promise: “Blot out all my iniquities” (Ps 50 [51]:9).

At the beginning of Lent, we pray that in the “favourable” season of these 40 days we may accept the Church’s invitation to conversion. We pray that during this journey towards Easter the memory of the saving dialogue between God and man, which the Ash Wednesday liturgy sets before us, may be renewed in the Church and in humanity.

We pray that hearts will be prepared for the dialogue with God. For each individual he has a special word of forgiveness and salvation. May every heart willingly listen to God, to rediscover in his words the reasons for the hope that does not disappoint.



Sunday, 1 March 1998

1. “Jesus ... was led by the Spirit for forty days in the wilderness, tempted by the devil” (
Lc 4,1-2).

Before he began his public activity, Jesus, moved by the Holy Spirit, withdrew into the wilderness for 40 days. Here, as we read today in the Gospel, he was put to the test by the devil who presented him with three temptations that are common in every person’s life: the pleasure of material possessions, the seduction of human power and the presumption of subordinating God to our own interests.

Jesus’ victorious struggle against the tempter does not end with the days he spent in the desert, but continues during the years of his public life and culminates in the dramatic events of Easter. It is precisely by his death on the Cross that the Redeemer ultimately overcomes evil, liberating humanity from sin and reconciling it with God. From the beginning, the Evangelist Luke appears to predict the fulfilment of salvation on Golgotha. Indeed, he ends the narrative of the temptations by mentioning Jerusalem where, in fact, Jesus’ paschal victory would be sealed.

The scene of Christ’s temptations in the desert are renewed every year at the beginning of Lent. The liturgy invites believers to enter the desert with Jesus and to follow him on the distinctive penitential journey of this Lenten season which began last Wednesday with the austere rite of ashes.

2. “If you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Rm 10,9). The words of the Apostle Paul, which we have just heard, clearly explain the style and form of our Lenten pilgrimage. What is penance, if not a humble and sincere return to the sources of faith, by promptly rejecting temptation and sin and increasing our prayerful intimacy with the Lord?

Indeed, Christ alone can free man from what enslaves him to evil and selfishness: from the frantic search for material possessions, from the thirst for power and control over others and over things, from the illusion of easy success, from the frenzy of consumerism and hedonism which ultimately destroy the human being.

Dear brothers and sisters, this is what the Lord clearly asks of us in order to enter the true atmosphere of Lent. He wants us to learn in the wilderness of these 40 days how to face the enemy of our souls in the light of the Word of salvation. The Holy Spirit, to whom this second year of preparation for the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000 is specially dedicated, gives life to our prayer so that we are ready courageously to undertake the constant struggle to overcome evil with good.

3. Dear faithful of St Agapitus Parish, I am pleased to be with you today while the great City Mission is under way in preparation for the Jubilee. As I had the opportunity to say last Thursday at my meeting with the Roman clergy, it is a providential pastoral project which prepares our Diocese to cross the threshold of the new millennium entirely renewed. Rome has a unique mission to fulfil, called as she is to welcome the pilgrims who will come from all over the world for the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000. This is why it is necessary for her to bear ever more joyful and exemplary witness to her faith in the risen Christ, Redeemer of man and Lord of history. It is important that the people of Rome receive from believers the proclamation and witness of the Gospel of hope and solidarity. Dear brothers and sisters of this parish, you must see yourselves as the courageous evangelizers of those who live in this neighbourhood.

4. I now extend my cordial greetings to everyone, starting with the Cardinal Vicar and the Vicegerent. I next greet Fr Isidoro Del Lungo, your zealous pastor since 1977, but who has been in this parish for 30 years, the curate and the other assistants. I extend a special greeting to the associations that work in this area, as well as to the Brothers of Charity of Mother Teresa of Calcutta and the volunteer workers who run the Casa Serena, a praiseworthy centre for people in trouble.

Many of you remember the origins of the parish, which was established 40 years ago in an area adjacent to the little suburb of Prenestino, a shantytown which grew up in 1934, was extended illegally in the post-war period and demolished in 1980. Parish life began in modest premises and was later transferred to a shed to accommodate liturgical celebrations to this day. In the meantime, a second shed was built which on Sundays, at the most crowded times, serves as an additional place of worship.

840 If at the beginning there were many understandable hardships, the very lack of proper pastoral structures resulted, we could say providentially, in fostering an atmosphere of greater solidarity in the community, also because the number of its inhabitants did not increase with the years. I would like to address an affectionate greeting to every person who lives in your neighbourhood, to those who come to the parish regularly and to those instead who have possibly fallen away from the faith; to the lonely and the elderly, who account for a large part of your community; to the sick and to those who are experiencing particular difficulty, to the children, young people and families.

I know that Renewal in the Holy Spirit was an ecclesial experience which made a positive mark on the life of the parish. With gratitude to the Lord, I am thinking of all those who, aided by this particular spiritual journey, have returned to the faith and to the Church. I extend my greetings to the Padre Pio Prayer Groups and to the other movements and parish groups. In your Christian community may there always be a place for everyone and, in sharing the charisms proper to each spiritual experience, may you always be concerned to cultivate that harmonious mutual acceptance which is indispensable for effective and fraternal evangelization.

5. “Then we cried to the Lord ... and the Lord heard our voice” (
Dt 26,7). The profession of faith of the people of Israel recounted in the first reading presents the basic element around which the whole of the Old Testament tradition revolves: deliverance from slavery in Egypt and the birth of the chosen people.

The Passover of the Old Covenant constitutes the preparation and proclamation of the definitive Passover in which the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world will be sacrificed.

Dear brothers and sisters, at the beginning of the Lenten journey let us return to the roots of our faith to prepare through prayer, penance, fasting and charity to participate with hearts inwardly renewed in Christ’s Passover.

May the Blessed Virgin help us with worthy fruits of conversion during this Lent to share Christ’s journey from the desert of temptations to Jerusalem, in order to celebrate with him the Passover of our Redemption.


Sunday, 8 March 1998

1. “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him” (Lc 9,35). On this Second Sunday of Lent, the liturgy invites us to reflect on the striking account of Jesus’ Transfiguration. In the solitude of Mount Tabor, in the presence of Peter, James and John, the only privileged witnesses to this important event, Jesus is clothed even externally in his glory as Son of God. His face becomes shining, his clothes dazzling. Moses and Elijah appear and talk with him about the fulfilment of his earthly mission, destined to end in Jerusalem with his death on the Cross and his Resurrection.

The Transfiguration makes visible for a moment the divine light that will be fully revealed in the paschal mystery. The Evangelist Luke underlines how this extraordinary fact takes place precisely within a context of prayer. “As he was praying”, Jesus’ face changed in appearance (cf. Lk Lc 9,29). Following the example of Christ, the whole Christian community is invited to undertake the Lenten journey in a spirit of prayer and penance, to prepare to welcome the divine light that will shine at Easter.

2. In the second reading, taken from Paul’s Letter to the Philippians, an urgent appeal to conversion is addressed to us: “Mark those who so live as you have an example in us” (3:17). With these words the Apostle offers his personal experience to help the faithful of Philippi to overcome a certain attitude of laxity and lack of commitment which was spreading in that community so dear to him.

The tone here becomes particularly strong and touching. St Paul turns to his Christians in Philippi “with tears”, to warn them against those who “live as enemies of the cross of Christ”, because they have their “minds set on earthly things” (ibid., 3:18-19). He compares the difficulties of that community he had founded with the example of his own life, dedicated unreservedly to the cause of Christ and the proclamation of the Gospel.

841 How can we fail to note, in this regard, the timeliness of the Apostle’s exhortation, which resounds on this Sunday of Lent, when the principal phase of the City Mission is now fully under way? This important pastoral programme in preparation for the Jubilee involves all the members of the Church in Rome and, at the same time, is a very favourable occasion for helping the citizens to rediscover the values of the spirit, to deepen their love for Christ and to welcome the “Good News”, which is the salvation of man in his entirety.

3. Dear Brothers and Sisters of St Achilles Parish. I am pleased to be with you today and to celebrate the Eucharist in your church. My visit to your parish takes place precisely at the time when the whole Diocese of Rome is involved in the City Mission at the local level, with visits to families and with the centres for listening to the Gospel in the apartment blocks.

I am very attentively following this great apostolic undertaking, which aims at preparing the hearts of Romans to receive the grace of the Jubilee. I wish to encourage the men and women missionaries who are visiting the families in these days, and I remind them in particular of what I wrote in more general terms in the Apostolic Letter Tertio millennio adveniente: “In our own day too, the Spirit is the principal agent of the new evangelization” (n. 45). Faced with the possible difficulties that this missionary work might encounter, may each of them have an increasing awareness of the action of the Holy Spirit, who accompanies us and “builds the kingdom of God within the course of history and prepares its full manifestation in Jesus Christ, stirring people’s hearts and quickening in our world the seeds of the full salvation which will come at the end of time” (ibid.).

4. Dear friends, to each of you I extend my affectionate greetings, beginning with the Cardinal Vicar and the Auxiliary Bishop for this area. I also cordially greet your energetic parish priest, Fr Giuseppe Ferdinandi, and the dear religious of the Third Order Regular of St Francis, his assistants, the permanent deacons, the extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist, who do so much for the sick by visiting them and bringing them Holy Communion every Sunday, as well as the members of the numerous groups and ecclesial associations present in the parish.

Your community is also marked by the generous and active involvement of the laity, especially in the areas of service to the weakest and in various spiritual and cultural activities. I am pleased with this apostolic and missionary vitality and I hope that this evangelizing zeal will continue to grow.

In this favoured moment of grace created by the City Mission, I invite you all, dear faithful of St Achilles Parish, to intensify your efforts in spreading the saving word among the inhabitants of Rome through dialogue with individuals and families, making the most of the centres for listening to the Gospel in homes and the weekday celebration of the Word of God. Moreover, combine the proclamation of the Gospel with a concrete witness of charity, which becomes solidarity and sharing especially with the most needy.

I know that you are already working in this way, trying to strengthen the forms of spontaneous volunteer work in order to transform them into more stable and organized programmes of solidarity. I gladly encourage you to continue on this path, studying and carrying out courageous and well-planned forms of service to your brethren. To this end appropriately identify the new and old forms of poverty that are present even in this area. This means visiting unwed mothers and so many lonely and elderly people in the neighbourhood; it is necessary to care for the sick and the suffering; understanding and hospitality must be extended to immigrants and migrants, so that everyone will feel the comfort of the Lord’s presence and the fraternal support of the Christian community.

5. Families require thoughtful care, especially those which, for various reasons, are no longer able fully to live conjugal love. It is a difficult mission, I know, but how important and urgent it is! It is equally urgent and important to know how to attract young people, to transmit to them the Gospel of Christ and confidence in life. Be aware that every effort made in these fundamental areas of pastoral activity, so closely linked to each other, makes a valuable contribution to the new evangelization.

Your community is entrusted to the heavenly protection of St Achilles, in memory of the venerable patron saint of my Predecessor Pius XI, who promoted the construction of five new parishes in Rome and gave a strong impetus throughout Italy to Catholic Action. May the memory of this Pope of our era, who did so much for advancing the Catholic laity, spur you to a strong and generous apostolate, aimed at renewing our society with the leaven of the Gospel on the threshold of the third millennium.

6. May we be sustained on this apostolic journey by the awareness that God is faithful. In the first reading we listened to the account of God’s covenant with Abraham. To the divine promise of descendants, Abraham replies “hoping against hope” (
Rm 4,18); for this reason he becomes the father in faith of all believers. “And he believed the Lord; and he reckoned it to him as righteousness” (Gn 15,6). The covenant with the patriarch of the chosen people is later renewed in the great Covenant of Sinai. The latter finds its ultimate fulfilment in the New Covenant, made by God with all humanity not in the blood of animals but in that of his own Son made man, who offers his life for the redemption of the world.

May Mary, who like Abraham believed against all hope, help us to recognize Jesus as the Son of God and the Lord of our life. To her we entrust this Lent and the City Mission, so that they may be privileged moments of grace and bring a rich harvest of good not only to the Christian community but to all the inhabitants of Rome.





Sunday, 15 March 1998

1. "God called to him out of the bush, "Moses, Moses!" And he said, "Here am I"" (
Ex 3,4).

In the first reading we heard the account of Moses' vocation. God reveals his own name to Moses: "I am who I am" (Ex 3,14), so that he would tell it to the people of Israel. This is how a special relationship of trust and familiarity is established between God and his messenger. He is invested with authority as mediator between the people and their Lord. Because of this responsibility, he will become God's instrument for Israel's deliverance from slavery in Egypt. Through his work, Yahweh himself will lead the people for 40 years through the desert to the promised land and make the great Covenant of Sinai with them.

The history of Moses' vocation clearly shows how the call to communion with God, and therefore to holiness, is the necessary premise for every particular mission for the sake of the community and in service to one's brothers and sisters.

The divine initiative, which calls a person to holiness and entrusts him with a special mission in service to his neighbour, shines brightly in the spiritual experience of the three new Servants of God whom I have had the joy today of raising to the glory of the altars: Vincent Eugene Bossilkov, Brigida of Jesus Morello, religious and foundress of the Ursuline Sisters of Mary Immaculate, and María of Mt Carmel Sallés y Barangueras, virgin and foundress of the Missionary Teaching Sisters of the Immaculate Conception.

2. "They drank from the supernatural Rock which followed them, and the Rock was Christ" (1Co 10,4). The martyr Bishop, Vincent Eugene Bossilkov, drank from the supernatural Rock which is Christ. Faithfully following the charism of St Paul of the Cross, founder of his congregation, he intensively cultivated the spirituality of the Passion. He also dedicated himself without reserve to the pastoral service of the Christian community entrusted to his care and faced the supreme trial of martyrdom without hesitation.

Bishop Bossilkov thus became the Church's radiant glory in his country. A fearless witness to the Cross of Christ, he is one of the many victims sacrificed by atheistic communism in Bulgaria and elsewhere, in its plan to destroy the

Church. In those times of harsh persecution, many looked to him and drew from his example of courage the strength to remain faithful to the Gospel to the very end. I am pleased, on this festive day for the Bulgarian nation, to honour those who, like Bishop Bossilkov, paid with their lives for adhering without reserve to the faith they received in Baptism.

Bishop Bossilkov was able wonderfully to combine an intense spiritual life and constant attention to the needs of his brethren with his mission as priest and Bishop. Today he is presented to us as an eminent figure of the Catholic Church in Bulgaria, not only because of his extensive learning, but for his constant ecumenical concern and his heroic fidelity to the See of Peter.

When the communist regime's hostility to the Church become more determined and threatening, Bl. Bossilkov chose to stay by his people, although he knew that this meant risking his life. He was not afraid to face the storm of persecution. When he sensed the moment of supreme trial, he wrote to the Superior of his religious Province: "I have the courage to live; I hope I will also have it to suffer the worst and to stay faithful to Christ, to the Pope and to the Church!" (Letter XIV).

And so this Bishop and martyr, who throughout his life strove to be a faithful image of the Good Shepherd, became one in an altogether special way at the moment of death when he united his blood with that of the Lamb sacrficed for the world's salvation. What a shining example for us all, called to bear faithful witness to Christ and his Gospel! What a great encouragement for those who today are still suffering injustice and oppression because of their faith! May the example of this martyr, whom we contemplate today in the glory of the blesseds, instil faith and zeal in all Christians, especially those of the beloved Bulgarian nation which from now on can invoke him as its heavenly protector.

843 3. "The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love". These words, which today's liturgy presents in the responsorial psalm, sustained and guided the heroic fidelity to the Gospel of Bl. Brigida of Jesus Morello, religious and foundress of the Ursuline Sisters of Mary Immaculate. The events of her varied life - first as a young woman gifted with human and spiritual virtues, then as a wise and faithful wife, a Christian widow and, lastly, as a consecrated person and a guide for her sisters - reflect with exceptional clarity the new blessed's trusting abandonment to the mercy of God who "is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love".

At a similar school, Bl. Brigida of Jesus learned the basic lesson of love that is spent in daily dedication to the service of one's neighbour. At a time when the ideals of femininity were given scant consideration, Bl. Morello quietly brought to light woman's value in the family and in society. In love with God, she was thus ready to open her heart and her arms to brothers and sisters in need. Enriched with mystical gifts but at the same time tried by long and severe suffering, she never ceased to be an authentic teacher of the spiritual life and a significant example of a wonderful blend of consecrated life and social and educational activity.

A constant invitation to trust in God shines through her writings. She loved to repeat: "Trust, trust, great heart! God is our Father and will never abandon us!".

Is this not a remarkably contemporary message that the new Blessed offers us? Our sister in the faith, today raised to the honours of the altar, forcefully reminds us that loving God is the secret of all true and effective social involvement for the good of our brothers and sisters.

4. The first reading from the Book of Exodus presents Moses' calling and mission according to a typical pattern of vocational accounts in the Bible: the divine call, the objections of the chosen and the sign of protection and satisfaction on God's part. These elements are also found in the life of Carmen Sallés y Barangueras, foundress of the Missionary Teaching Sisters of the Immaculate Conception. From her youth, the new blessed focused all her efforts on discerning God's will for her. Various experiences of religious life led her to discover that her mission in the Church was to sow goodness in children and young people, to protect them from the evils that threaten them and to provide women with learning and professional training that would enable them to take a worthy place in society.

Dedicated in this way to women's education, she overcame many dificulties, seeing herself as a "useless instrument in the hands of Mary Immaculate"; she took on daring projects which were the fruit of prayer and the advice of welltrained persons, repeating with firm confidence: "Onwards, ever onwards. God will provide".

A valiant woman, Mother Carmen based her life and work on a Christocentric and Marian spirituality nourished by solid and sensible piety. Her Conceptionist charism, a sign of the Lord's love for his people, lives on today in the witness of her daughters who, as missionaries in schools and colleges, enthusiastically evangelize through their teaching.

5. "Repent, says the Lord, the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Gospel acclamation; cf. Mt
Mt 4,17). The Gospel passage for today, the Third Sunday of Lent, highlights the basic theme of this important season of the liturgical year: the invitation to repent and to perform worthy acts of penance.

The three new blesseds who are presented today for our veneration were able to accept this demanding invitation. It was not an easy path for them. Indeed, they had to face trials and opposition; but they always did so with a heart ready to do God's will to the end. They combatted evil by doing good. Thus, by word and example they became credible witnesses for their contemporaries. With their help, many others have accepted Christ and his Gospel of salvation.

In our time, as we now rapidly approach the third millennium, may the lives of our illustrious brothers and sisters spur us to follow the Lord faithfully on the difficult but shining path of fidelity to Christ.





Solemnity of St Joseph

Thursday, 19 March 1998

1. O blessed Joseph, happy man, whose privilege it was not only to see and hear God ...but also to carry him in your arms and kiss him, to clothe him and watch over him!

This prayer, which priests once used to recite as they prepared to celebrate Holy Mass, helps us to understand more deeply the meaning of the liturgy for today’s solemnity. Today we contemplate Joseph, husband of the Blessed Virgin, protector of the Incarnate Word, a man of daily work, steward of the great mystery of salvation.

It is precisely this last aspect which is given great emphasis in the biblical readings proclaimed a few moments ago, which explain to us how God involved St Joseph in the saving plan of the Incarnation. “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (
Jn 3,16). This is the incomparable gift of salvation; this is the work of Redemption.

Like Mary, Joseph also believed in the Lord’s word and came to share in it. Like Mary, he believed that this divine plan would be fulfilled through their willing co-operation. And this is what happened: the eternal Son of God became man in the Virgin Mother’s womb.

About Jesus — a newborn, then a boy, an adolescent, a young man, a mature adult — the eternal Father spoke the words of prophetic announcement which we heard in the first reading: “I will be his father, and he shall be my son” (cf. 2S 7,14). In the eyes of those living in Bethlehem, Nazareth and Jerusalem, Joseph was Jesus’ father. And the carpenter of Nazareth realizes that in a way this is so. He knows it, because he believes in the fatherhood of God and is aware of being called, to a certain extent, to share in it (cf. Eph Ep 3,14-15). And today the Church, in venerating St Joseph, praises his faith and total docility to the divine will.

2. This year I have chosen the Solemnity of St Joseph for the episcopal ordination of three priests to whom I am particularly close because of their exceptional service to the Holy See and to me personally. They are Mons. James Harvey, Mons. Stanislaw Dziwisz and Mons. Piero Marini. Now in the prayerful and solemn atmosphere of this basilica, they are waiting for the imposition of hands, after the singing of the Veni Creator in which we together invoked an abundance of the Paraclete’s gifts upon them. They are waiting, drawing from today’s Solemnity of St Joseph sentiments and thoughts to reflect upon which will help deepen their understanding of the profound meaning of what the Church is about to transmit to them through these sacramental signs.

These words echo in my heart: “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (Jn 3,16). Dear Brothers, who are about to be raised to the grace of the Episcopate, this mystery of love is set before your eyes today with extraordinary eloquence. You are called to share in it in an even more demanding way. God calls you to be his closest co-workers in the universal plan of salvation. To you he entrusts his own Son, who lives in the Church as once he lived in the house at Nazareth. To you he entrusts the Saviour of the world and his saving work.

In your youth, the Lord conferred on you, by the grace of the priesthood, a specific ministry in the Church. Today, in your human maturity, you are given through the Holy Spirit a share in the fullness of the sacrament of Orders, by which you are committed in a new way and with greater responsibility to the service of the Redeemer of man, the one supreme Mediator and Pastor of souls. The Church prays with you and for you, so that this mission may become a source of countless benefits for all those to whom you will be sent.

We ask this through the intercession of St Joseph; to him we entrust your ministry, mindful that in the fullness of time the heavenly Father put his own Son and the Virgin Mother under his protection. May St Joseph obtain for you an abundant outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

845 3. It is the Spirit of the Lord who consecrates you with the strength of his love.

He consecrates you, dear Mons. James Harvey, of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee in the United States, for many years my faithful collaborator in the Secretariat of State. Now, as Prefect of the Papal Household, you will be responsible for the daily round of audiences and meetings. This is a most significant and valuable service, especially in these years leading up to the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000.

It was 35 years ago, dear Mons. Stanislaw Dziwisz, that I ordained you a priest in the cathedral at Wawel. Three years later I appointed you my chaplain. Since the beginning of my Pontificate you have stood faithfully by my side as secretary, sharing the works and joys, the anxieties and hopes connected with the Petrine ministry. I joyfully praise the Holy Spirit, who through my hands will consecrate you a Bishop. With the wealth of your experience, as Adjunct Prefect of the Papal Household you will be able to assist all those who, by reason of their ministry or as pilgrims, come to the Successor of Peter.

The Spirit consecrates you, dear Mons. Piero Marini, from the Diocese of Piacenza-Bobbio, for many years my Master of Liturgical Celebrations. In this capacity you have been beside me at the most sacred moments and have always performed with appreciated devotion the liturgical task I entrusted to you, by accompanying me faithfully wherever the Petrine ministry has taken me. The episcopal character will only perfect your sensitivity and your zeal for the glory of God and the spiritual edification of the faithful.

4. Dear Brothers, James, Stanislaw and Piero, on the day of your consecration may a superabundance of divine grace descend upon you. Today, through St Joseph’s intercession, you are spiritually welcomed, so to speak, into the home at Nazareth, to share in the Holy Family’s life. Like Joseph, may you faithfully serve those whom the Lord will entrust to each of you in the Church and particularly in the context of the Apostolic See.

“O blessed Joseph, happy man, whose privilege it was not only to see and hear God, ... but also to carry him in your arms and kiss him, to clothe him and watch over him”, to you, St Joseph, silent and faithful servant of the Lord, we commend these Brothers and their new episcopal ministry. Help them, protect them, comfort them together with Mary, your Spouse and the Virgin Mother of the Redeemer.


S. John Paul II Homil. 837