Speeches 2005-13 10
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I join you with great joy and I thank you for your warm welcome. I greet you in particular, dear sick people who are gathered here in St Peter's Basilica, and I want to extend my greeting to all the sick who are following us on radio or television, and those for whom this is not possible but who are united with us by the deeper ties of the spirit, in faith and in prayer.
I greet Cardinal Camillo Ruini who has presided at the Eucharist, and Cardinal Francesco Marchisano, Archpriest of this Vatican Basilica. I greet the other Bishops and priests present. I thank the National Italian Union for Transporting the Sick to Lourdes and International Shrines (UNITALSI) and the Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi, which arranged for and organized this meeting with the help of numerous volunteers.
I am also thinking of Australia on the other side of the globe, where Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragįn, President of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care, presided a few hours ago in Adelaide at the main celebration of the World Day of the Sick.
Fourteen years ago, 11 February, the liturgical Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes, became World Day of the Sick. We all know that the Virgin expressed God's tenderness for the suffering in the Grotto of Massabielle. This tenderness, this loving concern, is felt in an especially lively way in the world precisely on the day of the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, re-presenting in the liturgy, and especially in the Eucharist, the mystery of Christ, Redeemer of Man, of whom the Immaculate Virgin is the first fruit.
In presenting herself to Bernadette as the Immaculate Conception, Mary Most Holy came to remind the modern world, which was in danger of forgetting it, of the primacy of divine grace which is stronger than sin and death. And so it was that the site of her apparition, the Grotto of Massabielle at Lourdes, became a focal point that attracts the entire People of God, especially those who feel oppressed and suffering in body and spirit.
"Come to me all of you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Mt 11,28), Jesus said. In Lourdes he continues to repeat this invitation, with the motherly mediation of Mary, to all those who turn to him with trust.
Dear brothers and sisters, this year, together with my collaborators at the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care, we wished to focus attention on people affected by mental illness. "Mental health and human dignity" was the theme of the Congress that has taken place in Adelaide, at which the scientific, ethical and pastoral aspects were also examined.
We all know that Jesus stood before man in his wholeness in order to heal him completely, in body, mind and spirit. Indeed, the human person is a unity and his various dimensions can and must be distinguished but not separated. Thus, the Church too always proposes to consider people as such, and this conception qualifies Catholic health-care institutions as well as the approach of the health-care workers employed in them.
At this time I am thinking in particular of families with a mentally-ill member who are experiencing the weariness and the various problems that this entails. We feel close to all these situations, especially where legislation is lacking, public structures are inadequate and natural disasters or, unfortunately, wars and armed conflicts are producing in people serious psychological traumas. These are forms of poverty which attract the charity of Christ, the Good Samaritan, and of the Church, indissolubly united with him in her service to suffering humanity.
I would like today to present symbolically to all the doctors, nurses and other health-care workers and all the volunteers involved in this sector the Encyclical Deus Caritas Est, in the hope that God's love will always be vibrant in their hearts so that it will enliven their daily work, projects, initiatives and especially their relations with the sick.
By acting in the name of charity and in the style of charity, dear friends, you also make a precious contribution to evangelization, for the proclamation of the Gospel needs consistent signs that reinforce it. And these signs speak the language of universal love, a language that is understandable to all.
In a little while, to recreate the spiritual atmosphere of Lourdes, all the lights in the Basilica will be switched off and we will light our candles, symbols of faith and of the ardent invocation of God. The singing of the Ave Maria of Lourdes will invite us to go in spirit to the Grotto of Massabielle, to the feet of the Immaculate Virgin.
With profound faith let us present to her our human condition, our illnesses, a sign of neediness that is common to us all as we journey on in this earthly pilgrimage to be saved by her Son Jesus Christ. May Mary keep our hope alive so that, faithful to Christ's teaching, we renew the commitment to relieving our brethren in their sickness. May the Lord ensure that no one is alone or abandoned in a time of need, but, on the contrary, can live illness too in accordance with human dignity. With these sentiments, I wholeheartedly impart my Apostolic Blessing to you all: sick people, health-care workers and volunteers.
Dear Writers of La Civiltą Cattolica College,
I am pleased to welcome you with all those who collaborate with you in various capacities. I know and appreciate the work that the Journal has carried out at the Church's service since 1850, when Bl. Pius IX, my Predecessor of venerable memory, founded it. He then endowed it with a permanent special statute that established its special connection with the Holy See.
This expresses particular trust in the Journal on the part of the Pontiffs, my Predecessors, but it is also an appeal to your fidelity to the Holy See's directives. Despite the tumultuous changes in historical situations, this bond has never been broken, as the Roman Pontiffs' benevolent communications to the Journal throughout the 155 years of its existence testify.
These documents, in fact, show the interest with which they have followed and still follow the work of La Civiltą Cattolica, recognizing its usefulness for the Church's good and appreciating its constant fidelity to the directives of the Magisterium.
In our time, however, when the Lord Jesus is calling his Church to proclaim the Gospel of salvation with new dynamism, one cannot dispense with the search for new approaches to the historical situation in which men and women live today, so as to proclaim the Good News effectively to them.
Consequently, to be faithful to its nature and its task, La Civiltą Cattolica should not fail to renew itself continually and to interpret the "signs of the times" correctly.
Today, in fact, a culture marked by individualistic relativism and positivist scientism is continuing to gain ground. It is a culture, therefore, that is tendentially closed to God and to his moral law, even if not always prejudicially opposed to Christianity. A great effort is therefore asked of Catholics to increase dialogue with the contemporary culture in order to open it to the perennial values of Transcendence.
In this effort, believers should avail themselves of the means offered by faith and reason; at first sight, these instruments seem barely adequate but they are rendered effective by the power of God, who follows paths remote from power and success. Moreover, it should not be forgotten that today there are also numerous signs of hope in the world, the fruit of the Spirit's action in history.
Such examples include the new awareness of religious values on the part of many men and women, the renewed attention to Sacred Scripture, the respect for human rights in a far greater measure than in the recent past and the desire for dialogue with other religions. In particular, faith in Jesus can help many people grasp the meaning of life and of the human adventure, offering them those reference points that are often absent in our frenetic and disoriented world.
Here then, is where the mission of a cultural journal such as La Civiltą Cattolica fits in: active participation in the contemporary cultural debate, both to propose and at the same time to spread the Christian faith in a serious way. Its purpose is both to present it clearly and in fidelity to the Magisterium of the Church, and to defend without polemics the truth that is sometimes distorted by unfounded accusations directed at the Ecclesial Community.
I would like to point out the Second Vatican Council as a beacon on the path that La Civiltą Cattolica is called to take. The doctrinal and pastoral riches it contains and especially its basic inspiration, have not yet been fully assimilated by the Christian community, despite the 40 years that have passed since its conclusion. The Council undoubtedly gave the Church an impetus capable of renewing her and preparing her to respond adequately to the new problems with which contemporary culture confronts the people of our time.
On the other hand, the Second Vatican Council has been integrated with numerous doctrinal and pastoral documents which the Holy See and the Bishops' Conferences of many nations have published on problems that have recently arisen. They constitute an ever living source from which La Civiltą Cattolica can draw for its work. It is a matter of spreading and sustaining the Church's action in all areas of her mission. The Journal must concentrate on disseminating the Church's social doctrine, one of the topics it has broadly treated in its 155 years of existence.
I would like to end our meeting by confirming the trust that the Holy See places in your Journal, in the certainty that all its editors and collaborators, following the example of those who preceded them, will be able to respond to this trust in joyous fidelity and a spirit of service.
As I entrust the work of La Civiltą Cattolica to Mary, Seat of Wisdom, I impart a special Apostolic Blessing to you all, editors and contributors to the Journal, and also to all your devoted readers.
I am pleased to welcome you, Your Excellency, at the presentation of the Letters accrediting you as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Morocco to the Holy See.
I thank you for your kind words and for the courteous greetings that His Majesty King Mohammed VI has conveyed to me through you. Please reciprocate by expressing to His Majesty my esteem for the traditional hospitality of acceptance and understanding which for centuries has marked the relations of the Kingdom of Morocco with the Catholic Church. I would be grateful if you will kindly assure His Majesty of my fervent good wishes for himself and for the happiness and prosperity of the noble Moroccan people.
Mr Ambassador, you have told me of the efforts made by your Country that has just celebrated its 50th anniversary of independence, to progress towards a modern, democratic and prosperous future.
One cannot but be delighted at this progress that should enable all Moroccans to live in security and in dignity, so that each one may play an active part in the social and political life of the Country. Indeed, an authentic democracy demands consensus on a certain number of essential values, such as the transcendent dignity of the human person, respect for human rights, the "common good" as the purpose and criterion for the regulation of political life (cf. Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, n. 407).
Moreover, an ever closer collaboration among the countries bordering the Mediterranean, which began several years ago, should make it possible to face with determination and perseverance not only matters concerning security and peace in the region, but also the question of the development of societies and people with a renewed awareness of the duty of solidarity and justice. For this reason now, more than ever, the Mediterranean is called to be a place of meeting and dialogue between peoples and cultures.
Among the serious problems that the countries bordering the Mediterranean must face, the phenomenon of migration is a major factor in inter-State relations. Migrants from the less privileged regions in search of a better standard of living are coming in ever-greater numbers to knock at Europe's doors. This gives more and more of them an illegal status and sometimes creates situations that seriously threaten people's dignity and safety.
Consequently, the institutions of the host or transit country must take care not to consider migrants as a commodity or a mere work force, and to respect their fundamental rights and human dignity. The precarious situation of so many foreigners should foster solidarity between the nations concerned and contribute to the development of the migrants' countries of origin.
Indeed, these problems cannot be solved by policies that are exclusively national. It is through greater collaboration between all the countries concerned that effective solutions to these distressing situations will be found.
Mr Ambassador, you stressed your Country's contribution to the dialogue between civilizations, cultures and religions. For her part, in the present international context with which we are familiar, the Catholic Church remains convinced that to encourage peace and understanding between peoples and people, it is urgently necessary that religions and their symbols be respected and that believers not be the object of provocations that wound their outlook and religious sentiments.
However, intolerance and violence as a response to offences can never be justified, for this type of response is incompatible with the sacred principles of religion; consequently, we cannot but deplore the actions of those who deliberately exploit the offence caused to religious sentiments to stir up acts of violence, especially since such action is contrary to religion.
For believers, as for all people of good will, the only path that leads to peace and brotherhood is that of respect for the religious convictions and practices of others, so that the practice of the religion a person has freely chosen may be guaranteed to each one.
Mr Ambassador, through you I would also like to address a warm greeting to the members of the Catholic community of Morocco and to their Pastors. May they have at heart to live their Christian vocation joyfully, witnessing ever more generously to the love of God for all men and women, in fruitful collaboration with them all!
At the time when you are beginning your mission to the Holy See, Your Excellency, I offer you my best wishes for the noble task that awaits you. With my collaborators you will always find the attentive welcome and cordial understanding you may need.
I wholeheartedly invoke an abundance of Blessings from the Most High upon you, Your Excellency, upon your family, your collaborators, the Moroccan People and its leaders.
Dear Friends of the John Paul II Foundation for the Sahel,
I am happy to welcome you and all those who collaborate in the various activities of the Foundation. I greet in particular Bishop Jean-Pierre Bassčne of Kolda in Senegal, President of the Council of Administration.
The John Paul II Foundation for the Sahel was born from the solidarity of the faithful, especially in Germany, who responded generously to the appeal that my Venerable Predecessor launched from Ouagadougou on behalf of the peoples of the Sahel who were then facing the consequences of a dramatic drought.
Entrusted to the responsibility of the Bishops of the Countries concerned to fight the desertification of this African region, the Foundation has fully developed as a charitable work of the Church. Through the numerous projects that it has supported and implemented for more than 20 years it expresses that love of neighbour, which is a responsibility for each member of the faithful but also for the entire ecclesial community (cf. Deus Caritas Est ) and must be expressed in concrete gestures.
I encourage you to pursue with determination and with the active support of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum this work of Christian brotherhood, which is a service to the whole person and contributes to interreligious dialogue as well as to the revelation of God's love for the inhabitants of this earth. Thus, it is an integral part of evangelizing action.
As I entrust you to the intercession of the Virgin Mary, Queen of Africa, I cordially impart a special and affectionate Apostolic Blessing to you and to all the collaborators of the Foundation and Peoples of the Sahel.
Dear Brothers in the Episcopate,
I am pleased to welcome you when you are making your pilgrimage to the tombs of the Apostles, to strengthen your communion with the Successor of Peter and to consolidate the bonds of faith and unity between your particular Churches and the Church of Rome, as well as with the entire ecclesial body.
I thank Bishop Jean-Noėl Diouf of Tambacounda, President of your Episcopal Conference, for presenting the situation of the Church in your region. Through you, Pastors of the Church in Senegal, Mauritania, Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde, I join in spirit and in prayer the peoples for whom you have pastoral responsibility. May God bless the artisans of peace and brotherhood in your Countries who are building relations of trust and mutual support between human and religious communities.
The human and ecclesial situations in your particular Churches are very different, which sometimes makes it difficult to harmonize your work as Pastors. To carry out the mission you have received from the Lord and to give it ever greater apostolic fruitfulness, bonds of effective communion remain essential. Thus, through your participation in the meetings of your Bishops' Conference, not only do you find support in carrying out your episcopal ministry but you also concretely show that the Bishop is not a man on his own, for he is always and continually with the one whom the Lord has chosen as Successor of Peter and with his Brother Bishops.
By journeying on with his people, the Bishop must inspire, guide and coordinate evangelizing action, so that faith may develop and spread among people. In this perspective, the Gospel must be firmly rooted in your peoples' culture. The reversion to certain traditional religious practices that you have sometimes noted in Christians must be an incentive to seek the appropriate means to revive and strengthen their faith in the light of the Gospel, and to reinforce the theological foundations of your particular Churches while drawing from the best of the African identity.
Indeed, Christians must not feel that with Baptism they are excluded from the life of their people or their family, but must continue to live in full harmony with the commitments they have taken on; however, from that time this necessarily entails a break with the habits and practices of their former lives, for the Gospel is a gift given to them from on high.
To adhere faithfully to one's baptismal commitments each person must have a sound formation in the faith in order to cope with new phenomena in contemporary life, such as the spread of urbanization, the idleness of many young people and every kind of material seduction in which ideas from every horizon exert their influence.
The abridged Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church now provides the faithful with a renewed and reliable synthesis of the truths of the faith of the Catholic Church, enabling each person to make clear gestures in conformity with his or her Christian commitment.
Dear Brothers in the Episcopate, in this difficult task of evangelization, your priests are generous collaborators whom I cordially encourage in their apostolic tasks. I firmly hope that their initial and continuing formation will make them humanly and spiritually balanced men capable of responding to the challenges that face them, in both their pastoral and personal life.
In addition, while giving formation the human and intellectual importance to which it is entitled, you should make the effort to give priests a sound spiritual formation in order to reinforce their life of intimacy with God in prayer and contemplation and enable them to discern the Lord's presence and action in those who are entrusted to their pastoral care.
To the extent that they have an authentic personal experience of Christ, they will be able to accept generously the requirement of the gift of themselves to God and to others and will give themselves in the humble and disinterested service of charity.
To foster harmony in the Church and to contribute to her missionary dynamism, I hope that the members of Institutes of Consecrated Life, whose constant service to the mission in your Dioceses I acknowledge with gratitude, will cultivate relations of trust and collaboration with Pastors and will live in deep communion, not only within each community but also with the diocesan and universal Church. May each Institute, faithful to its specific vocation, always show that its activities are first and foremost an expression of faith in God's love, and that it is by instilling this love in the heart of life that the Institute truly responds to human needs!
One of the tasks through which the Church in your region most visibly expresses love of neighbour is her involvement with a view to social development. Many ecclesial structures enable your communities to serve the poorest of the poor effectively, a sign of their awareness that love of neighbour, rooted in love of God, is constitutive of Christian life. So it is that "the entire activity of the Church is an expression of a love that seeks the integral good of man" (Deus Caritas Est ). However, Christianity must not be reduced to a purely human wisdom or confused with a social service, for it is also a spiritual service.
Nor, for disciples of Christ, can the exercise of charity be a means of engaging in proselytism, because love is free (cf. ibid., n. 31). You often serve human beings in collaboration with men and women who do not share the Christian faith, especially Muslims. Thus, the efforts made for an encounter in truth of believers of different religious traditions contributes to achieving in practice the authentic good of individuals and of society. It is indispensable to increasingly deepen brotherly relations between the communities in order to encourage a harmonious social development, recognizing the dignity of each person and enabling everyone to practice their religion freely.
This task of encouraging the harmonious development of society is particularly urgent in Guinea Bissau, whose population, among many tensions and rifts, still awaits the establishment of proper political and administrative structures and the reinforcement of their activities and functions at the service of a society where all can be builders of a common project.
I know that the local Church is on the front line in promoting dialogue and cooperation among all the members of the Nation; beloved Pastors, by words illumined by faith, by a constant witness of fidelity to the Gospel and by generous pastoral service, may you continue to be reliable reference points and guides for all your fellow citizens.
I now extend my gaze to the various Countries and I see that one of the pastoral priorities of your Dioceses is the Christian family; and rightly so! Without it, there would be no basic unity of life nor the construction of that "Family of God", with which the Church on your Continent identifies and which it proposed to be at the Synodal Assembly in 1994. The Church cannot be considered to be truly integrated or embodied until the Christian ideal of family life has taken root in the heart of the African people.
The way to all this does not pass through changes that aim to subvert the central nucleus of the Church's teaching on the sacraments and on the family. Rather, it passes through the radical fidelity of spouses to the new life they have embraced in Baptism and the redirection to the Gospel of Jesus Christ of traditional African marriage, an important factor in the local cultures. These, to reach the highest possible standard, are in need of the encounter with Christ; but he too awaits this encounter so that the event of the Incarnation may reach its fullness, giving the "measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Ep 4,13) to the Body of Christ, which is the Church.
The Church, in taking on the values of the different cultures, becomes that Bride adorned with her jewels of whom the Prophet Isaiah speaks (cf. Is Is 61,10). Thus, I am grateful to you, dear Dioceses of this Bishops' Conference. Deck yourselves in your best jewels for Christ the Lord!
Dear Brothers in the Episcopate, as we come to the end of our Meeting, I entrust each of your diocesan communities to the Virgin Mary, Queen of Africa. Take back to the priests, the men and women religious, the catechists and all the lay faithful of your Dioceses the warm greeting of the Pope and his encouragement. May God grant that they will all be faithful witnesses of his love for human-kind! I very willingly impart to you all an affectionate Apostolic Blessing.
Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate,
"Blessed are the peacemakers" (Mt 5,9). I cordially greet you with Jesus' words at the end of your visit ad limina Apostolorum. Through you, I would also like to extend my greeting to the faithful whom the divine Teacher has entrusted to your pastoral care.
Thank you, Cardinal Vinko Puljic, for your words on behalf of the other Bishops of Bosnia and Herzegovina, expressing to me at the same time the sentiments of the respective communities.
In telling me about the situation of your faithful, in addition to the problematic aspects of their daily lives, you have brought to the fore the elements of hope that their commitment justifies and the pastoral programmes you are developing.
Our Meetings have enabled me to detect in you a strong desire to foster communion of intentions in order to face in a united manner the current challenges with which your people must deal. Of course, there are numerous difficulties, but you place great trust in divine Providence, as do your priests and faithful.
After the grievous years of the recent war, you are called today as peacemakers to strengthen communion and to spread compassion, understanding and forgiveness in Christ's Name, both within the Christian communities and throughout the social fabric of Bosnia and Herzegovina. I know well that yours is not an easy mission, but I also know that you keep your gaze constantly fixed on Christ, who, having loved everyone to the very end, assigned to his disciples a fundamental duty that sums up all the others: the duty to love.
To be spiritually fruitful, love must not simply abide by earthly laws but must let itself be illumined by the truth which is God and must be expressed in that superior measure of justice which is mercy.
If you work in this spirit, you will successfully carry out the mission entrusted to you, helping to heal the wounds that are still gaping and to settle disputes and disagreements, a legacy of past years.
Impelled by Christ's love, you are determined not to lose confidence despite the pressing problems that beset you. I am referring to the situation of the exiles, for whom I hope appropriate agreements will be concluded that guarantee respect for the rights of all.
I am thinking in particular of the necessary equality of citizens of different religions, of the urgent need for measures to deal with the increasing lack of employment for young people, of the need to ease the threatening tensions between races, a legacy of the complex historical events experienced in your territory.
The Apostolic See is close to you, as is proven by the recent nomination of a resident Nuncio who will be able to be in permanent contact with the various institutions of the Country.
Increasing unity of Christ's flock
Dear and venerable Brothers, may you feel a living part of the Mystical Body of Christ. You can count on the prayerful, concrete and affectionate solidarity of the Holy See and of the entire Catholic Church.
As I thank you for the attentive ministry you carry out, I would like to reflect on certain concerns that you yourselves have expressed regarding some aspects of life in your Dioceses.
It is important first of all that every effort be constantly made to increase the unity of Christ's flock: between you, the legitimate Pastors, and the Religious, especially those who carry out a pastoral ministry in diocesan territory; between diocesan clergy and consecrated persons; lastly, between all who serve the Christian people, overcoming, if necessary, misunderstandings and difficulties linked to past events.
The Church everywhere pursues a single goal: to build the Kingdom of God in every land and every heart. The task of keeping the Lord's heritage intact, adhering faithfully to the Church's doctrinal and spiritual patrimony in its entirety, is entrusted to the Successors of the Apostles and to their collaborators in their pastoral ministry.
Blessed are the peacemakers! These words aptly apply to internal relations among the Church's members as well as to her external mission. The various ecclesial bodies, in their legitimate parts, are regulated by canonical norms which are an expression of an age-old experience and have received help from on high in their development. It is up to the Bishop, the father of the community entrusted to him by Christ, to discern what serves to build up Christ's Church.
In this regard, the Bishop is a "pontefice", that is, a "builder of bridges" between the different needs of the Ecclesial Community. And this is a particularly important aspect of episcopal ministry at the present time when Bosnia and Herzegovina is resuming their journey of collaboration to build a future of social development and peace.
Venerable Brothers, the Successor of Peter is beside you and assures you of his constant support. These days that you have spent in Rome, the Meetings you have had with me and with my collaborators in the Roman Curia, have enabled you to experience how sincere and brotherly our spiritual closeness is.
I pray to the Lord that he will pour out an abundance of his graces upon you, upon your priests, the men and women religious, and upon the entire People of your Country. I entrust this prayer to the intercession of Mary, Mother of God and of the Church, so that she may intercede on behalf of all her children.
With these sentiments I impart my Apostolic Blessing to you and warmly extend it to your communities, to the Catholic faithful and to all the people of good will in beloved Bosnia and Herzegovina.
I am pleased to welcome you and I offer each one of you my cordial greeting. I greet all the members of the General Presidency of the "Circolo San Pietro", and in particular the President, Don Leopoldo dei Duchi di Torlonia, whom I thank for his courteous words introducing our meeting.
This traditional gathering that takes place immediately after the Feast of the Chair of St Peter is a particularly important event at which your praiseworthy Association presents to the Pope the "Peter's Pence" collected in the Diocese of Rome in the past year.
Thus, it is a favourable opportunity for me to express my deep gratitude to you, thinking of the commitment you devote to this task and even more, of the spirit of faith and love for the Church with which you carry it out.
"Peter's Pence" is the most typical expression of the participation of all the faithful in the Bishop of Rome's projects of good for the universal Church. The collection is a gesture that not only has practical value but is also highly symbolic as a sign of communion with the Pope and attention to the needs of the brethren, and for this reason your service has a particularly ecclesial value.
All these acquires greater importance in light of my Encyclical on Christian love, Deus Caritas Est, whose second part, as you know, is dedicated precisely to the exercise of charity by the Church as a "community of love".
Therefore, dear leaders of the "Circolo San Pietro", I would like to present the Encyclical to you in spirit. As faithful lay people who are also deeply involved in charity work, you are among the first to whom it is addressed.
Indeed, thinking precisely of all those who, like you, collaborate in what we might call the Christian community's ministry of charity, I outlined a profile which might be useful to you as a reference (cf. nn. 33-39). I recalled that the main motivation for charitable activity must always be the love of Christ; that charity is more than a mere activity and implies the gift of self; that this gift must be humble, free of any superiority, and that its power derives from prayer, as the example of the Saints shows.
I would therefore like to entrust the "Circolo di San Pietro" to the Saints of charity who abound in the history of the Church of Rome, starting with the Deacon Lawrence.
Dear friends, I thank you once again for your visit and for the service that you have carried out with dedication for so many years at the Pope's service. Upon each one of you I invoke the protection of Mary Most Holy, so that she will accompany you and support you always.
As for me, I assure you of my remembrance in prayer as I bless you wholeheartedly, together with all the members and your families.
Speeches 2005-13 10