Speeches 2005-13 17037



Dear Friends of OFTAL and of the Apostolic Movement for the Blind,

I meet you with great joy in the Vatican Basilica, where you have taken part in the Eucharistic celebration at which Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, my Secretary of State, to whom I offer a cordial greeting, has presided.

I greet Archbishop Angelo Comastri, Vicar General for Vatican City and Archpriest of the Vatican Basilica, and your Chaplains. I greet each one of you, and in particular Mons. Franco Degrandi, President of OFTAL, and Dr Francesco Scelzo, Vice-President of MAC, whom I thank for presenting to me your respective Associations, which came into being more or less at the same time.

In fact, the Apostolic Movement for the Blind was founded in 1928 through the insight and apostolic dynamism of Maria Motta, a sightless teacher from Monza endowed with profound faith and great strength of mind.

The Federation for Transport of the Sick to Lourdes (OFTAL), on the other hand, is celebrating its 75th anniversary. In fact, founded in 1913 by Mons. Alessandro Rastelli, a priest of the Diocese of Vercelli, it officially came into being in 1932, promoted by the Archbishop of that particular Church.

Your joint presence here today is providential, because both Associations, although they have many different aspects, have a fundamental one in common which I would like to highlight straightaway.

I refer to the fact that both MAC and OFTAL represent experiences of fraternal sharing based on the Gospel and capable of enabling people in difficulty, in this case the sick and the visually impaired, to participate fully in the life of the Ecclesial Community and to be builders of the civilization of love.

They are two institutions which, as the theme of the recent Ecclesial Convention in Verona said, bear witness to the Risen Christ, the hope of the world, demonstrating that faith and Christian friendship make it possible to overcome every condition of frailty together.

In this regard, the experience of the two Founders, Fr Rastelli and Maria Motta, is emblematic. The former went to Lourdes after an accident which confined him to a hospital for a month. The experience of sickness rendered him particularly sensitive to the message of the Immaculate Virgin, who called him to return to the Grotto of Massabielle, first in the company of a single sick person - and this is very important! -, and then at the head of the first diocesan pilgrimage with more than 300 people, of whom 30 were sick.

For Maria Motta, sightless from birth, the visual limitation was not a hindrance to her vocation; indeed, the Spirit made her an apostle of those who cannot see and later caused her project to become more successful than she herself expected.

From that spiritual "network" which she had created, a proper association formed by diocesan groups present in every part of Italy developed and was approved by Blessed John XXIII with the name of "Apostolic Movement for the Blind". In this movement, learning the style of reciprocity and sharing, both the non-seeing and the seeing were committed to formation, to devote themselves to serving the Church's Apostolic Mission.

Each of the two associations contributed to building the Church with its own specific charism.

You, friends of OFTAL, offer the experience of the pilgrimage with the sick, a strong sign of faith and solidarity among people who come out of themselves and from the closed environment of their own problems to set out for a common goal, a spiritual place: Lourdes, the Holy Land, Loreto, Fatima and other shrines.

Thus, you help the People of God to keep alive the awareness of their nature as pilgrims in Christ's footsteps, which stands out clearly in Sacred Scripture.

Let us think of the Book of Exodus upon which the liturgy makes us meditate this Lenten Season: let us think of Jesus' public life which the Gospels present as a great pilgrimage to Jerusalem, where his "exodus" is to take place.

You, friends of MAC, are messengers in your turn of a typical experience which is your very own; that of walking together, the non-seeing side by side with the seeing. It is proof of how Christian love makes it possible to overcome handicaps and to live diversity positively, as an opportunity for openness to others, as attention to their problems but first of all to their gifts, and to mutual service.

Dear brothers and sisters, the Church is also in need of your contribution to respond faithfully and without reserve to the Lord's will. And of civil society one can likewise say: humanity needs your gifts, which are a prophecy of the Kingdom of God.

May limitations and scant resources not alarm you: God likes to carry out his works using poor means. He therefore asks you to make a generous faith available to him!

Basically, this is why you have come here: to implore at Peter's tomb the gift of a sounder faith.

Tomorrow you will be ending your pilgrimage at two of Rome's Marian sites: MAC at the Basilica of St Mary Major, and OFTAL at the Shrine of Our Lady of Divine Love. Set out, therefore, from this moment of grace, enlightened by the faith of Peter and Mary!

And with this faith, continue on your way, also accompanied by my prayers and my Blessing, which I impart with affection to those of you who are present here and to all your members and your loved ones.


Gymnasium in the Juvenile Penitentiary
Fourth Sunday of Lent, 18 March 2007
Dear Young People,

I would first of all like to say thank you to you for your joy and for your preparation of this visit. It gives me great joy to have given you a little light with my Visit. Thus, our meeting has now come to an end; my brief but intense Visit has come to an end. As was mentioned, this was my first contact with the prison world since my election as Pope.

I listened with attention to the words of the Director, of the Commandant and of your representative, and I thank you for the cordial sentiments you have expressed to me as well as for your good wishes for my name-day.

I also heard that the memory of Cardinal Casaroli, whom you called Fr Agostino in a familiar way, still lives on among you. He spoke to me on various occasions of his experiences here, where he always felt very much a friend and very close to all the boys and girls in this prison.

Dear boys and girls, you come from various nations: I would like to stay longer with you; unfortunately, time is limited. Perhaps on another occasion we will find a longer day. May you know, nonetheless, that the Pope loves you and follows you with affection.

I would next like to take this opportunity to extend my greeting to all those who are in prison and to all who in their various capacities work in the prison environment.

Dear boys and girls, today is a feast day for you as has been said: the Pope has come to see you, the Minister of Justice, various Authorities, the Cardinal Vicar, the Auxiliary Bishop, your Chaplain and many other figures and friends are present. Thus, it is a day of joy.

The liturgy of this Sunday itself begins with an invitation to be joyful: "Rejoice!" is the first word with which Mass begins.

But how can one be happy when one is suffering, when one is deprived of freedom, when one feels abandoned?

During Mass we recalled that God loves us: this is the source of true joy.

Even if one has all he or she wants, one can sometimes be unhappy; on the other hand, one can be deprived of everything, even freedom or health, and be in peace and joy if God is in his or her heart.

Thus, the secret is this: God must always have first place in our life. And Jesus has revealed the true face of God to us.

Dear friends, before we part, I assure you with all my heart that I will continue to remember you before the Lord. You will always be present in my prayers.

I offer you in advance my best wishes for Easter and I bless you all. May the Lord accompany you always with his Grace and guide you in your future lives.


Wednesday, 21 March 2007

Dear Bishop, esteemed Dean, distinguished Colleagues, if I may be permitted to call you such!

I thank you for this visit and I can say that it makes me deeply happy.

On the one hand, an encounter with one's past is always beautiful because there is something rejuvenating about it. On the other, however, it is something more than a nostalgic meeting.

You yourself, Your Excellency, said that it is also a sign: a sign on the one hand of how dear to me theology is - and how could it be otherwise? -, because I had considered teaching to be my true vocation, even if the Good Lord suddenly wanted something else.

At the same time, however, it is also a sign on your part, that is, that you see the interior unity between theological research, doctrine and theological work, and pastoral service in the Church, and thus the total ecclesial commitment for the human being, for the world and for our future.

Yesterday evening, of course, I started rummaging among my memories with a view to this meeting. So it was that a memory came to mind which fits in with what you have just said, Mr Dean: in other words, the memory of the Grand Senate. I do not know today whether all the appointments still pass through the Grand Senate.

It was very interesting that when, for example, a chair of mathematics or Assyriology or the physics of solid bodies or any other subject was to be assigned, the contribution from the other faculties was minimal, and everything was resolved quite quickly because almost no one dared to speak out. The situation in the humanistic disciplines was rather different and when the chairs of theology came up in both faculties, in the end, everyone had their say.

Thus, it was evident that all the professors of the University felt in some way competent in theology; they had the feeling that they could and should participate in the decision. Theology was obviously very dear to them.

Consequently, on the one hand it could be perceived that their colleagues in the other faculties in a certain way considered that theology was the heart of the University, and on the other, that theology was precisely something that concerned everyone, in which all felt involved and somehow also knew that they were competent.

In other words, come to think of it, this means that precisely in the debate concerning the chairs of theology, the University could be experienced as a university. I am pleased to learn that these cooptations exist today, more than in the past, although Tübingen has always striven for this.

I do not know whether the Leibniz-Kolleg of which I was a member still exists; in any case, the modern University runs a considerable risk of becoming, as it were, a complex of advanced study institutes externally and institutionally united rather than being able to create the interior unity of universitas.

Theology was evidently something in which the universitas was present and in which it was demonstrated that the whole forms a unit, and that precisely at its root are a common questioning, a common task, a common purpose.

I think, moreover, that one can see in this a deep appreciation of theology. I consider this a particularly important fact.

It reveals that in our time - at least in the Latin countries where the secularity of the State and State institutions is emphasized to the extreme and therefore the omission of all that has to do with the Church, Christianity and faith is demanded - interconnections exist from which it is impossible to separate that complex reality which we call theology (which is also fundamentally linked with the Church, faith and Christianity).

It thus becomes evident in our collection of European situations - however secular, in a certain perspective, they are and must be - that Christian thought with its questions and answers is present and accompanies them.

I maintain, on the one hand, that this fact shows that theology itself continues in a certain way to make its contribution and to constitute what the University is.

But on the other, it naturally also implies an immense challenge to theology to satisfy this expectation, to be equal to it and to carry out the service entrusted to it and expected of it.

I am pleased that through the cooptations which have now become visible in a rather practical way - far more than they used to be - that the intra-university debate makes the University truly what it is, involving it in a collective self-questioning and responding.

However, I think that this is also a reason to reflect on how far we are able - not only in Tübingen but also elsewhere - to satisfy this need. The University and society, humanity, in fact, need questions, but they also need answers. And I hold that in this regard there emerges for theology - and not only for theology - a certain dialectic between scientific rigour and the greatest question that transcends it and constantly emerges from it: the question about truth.

I would like to make this clearer with an example. An exegete, an interpreter of Sacred Scripture, must explain it as a historical work "secundum artem", that is, with the scientific rigour that we know in accordance with all the historical elements that require it and with the necessary methodology.
This alone, however, does not suffice for him to be a theologian. If he were to limit himself to doing this, then theology, or at any rate the interpretation of the Bible, would be something similar to Egyptology or Assyriology, or any other specialization.

To be a theologian and to carry out this service for the University, and I dare to say for humanity - hence, the service that is expected of him -, he must go further and ask: but is what is said there true? And if it is true, does it concern us? And how does it concern us? And how can we recognize that it is true and concerns us?

In my opinion, in this regard, even in the scientific context, theology is always also requested and called into question over and above the scientific perspective.

The University and humanity are in need of questions. Whenever questions are no longer asked, even those that concern the essential and go beyond any specialization, we no longer receive answers, either.

Only if we ask, and if with our questions we are radical, as radical as theology must be radical over and above any specialization, can we hope to obtain answers to these fundamental questions which concern us all.

First of all, we have to ask questions. Those who do not ask do not get a reply.

But I would add that for theology, in addition to the courage to ask, we also need the humility to listen to the answers that the Christian faith gives us; the humility to perceive in these answers their reasonableness and thus to make them newly accessible to our time and to ourselves.

Thus, not only is the University built up but also humanity is helped to live. For this task, I invoke God's Blessing upon you.


Your Eminence,
Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate and in the Priesthood,
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I am pleased to welcome you on the occasion of the Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care. I address my cordial greeting to each one of you, who have come from various parts of the world as an effective expression of the commitment of the particular Churches, the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Christian community's numerous institutions in the health-care sector. I thank Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragán, President of the Dicastery, for the courteous words with which he has expressed your common sentiments, describing to me the current goals you are working to achieve. I greet with gratitude the Secretary, the Undersecretary, the Officials and Consultors present and the other collaborators.

Your aim is not to examine a specific theme at this meeting, but rather, to check on the implementation of the programme you established previously and consequently, to determine your future objectives. Thus, meeting you on an occasion such as this gives me the joy, so to speak, of making each one of you actually feel in your ecclesial service the closeness of the Successor of Peter, and through him, of the entire Episcopal College. Indeed, the pastoral care of health is a typically evangelical context, which immediately recalls the work of Jesus, the Good Samaritan of humanity. When he passed through the villages of Palestine proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom of God, he always accompanied his preaching with signs that he worked for the sick, healing all those who were prisoners of every kind of disease and infirmity. The health of the human being, of the whole human being, was the sign chosen by Christ to manifest God's closeness, his merciful love, which heals the mind, the soul and the body. Dear friends, may this always be the fundamental reference of your every initiative: the following of Christ, whom the Gospels present to us as the divine "doctor".

It is this biblical perspective that enhances the natural ethical principle of the duty to care for the sick, on the basis of which every human life must be defended in accordance with its own particular difficulties and with our practical possibilities of providing help. Going to the aid of the human being is a duty: both in response to a fundamental right of the person and because the care of individuals redounds to the benefit of the group. Medical science makes progress to the extent that it is willing to constantly discuss diagnosis and methods of treatment, in the knowledge that it will be possible to surpass the previous data acquired and the presumed limits. Moreover, esteem for and confidence in health-care personnel are proportionate to the certainty that these official guardians of life will never condemn a human life, however impaired it may be, and will always encourage endeavours to treat it. Consequently, treatment should be extended to every human being, meaning throughout his or her entire existence. The modern conception of health care is in fact human advancement: from the treatment of the sick person to preventive treatment, with the search for the greatest possible human development, encouraging an adequate family and social environment.

This ethical perspective, based on the dignity of the human person and on the fundamental rights and duties connected with it, is confirmed and strengthened by the commandment of love, the heart of the Christian message. Christian health-care workers therefore know well that there is a very close and indissoluble bond between the quality of their professional service and the virtue of charity to which Christ calls them: it is precisely in doing their work well that they give people a witness of God's love. Charity as a task of the Church, which I made the object of reflection in my Encyclical Deus Caritas Est, is implemented in a particularly meaningful way through the care of the sick. This is attested to by the history of the Church, with countless testimonies of the men and women who either individually or in groups have worked in this field. Thus, among the saints who practised charity in an exemplary way, I was able to mention in the Encyclical emblematic figures such as John of God, Camillus de Lellis and [Giuseppe] Cottolengo, who served the poor and suffering Christ in the person of the sick.

Dear brothers and sisters, allow me, therefore, to present to you in spirit the reflections I proposed in the Encyclical with the relative pastoral instructions on the charitable service of the Church as a "community of love". And I can now add to the Encyclical the recently published Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, which in a broad and structured way treats the Eucharist as the "Sacrament of charity". It is precisely from the Eucharist that health pastoral care can continuously draw the strength to relieve human beings effectively and to promote them as befits their proper dignity. In hospitals and clinics, the Chapel is the vibrant heart where Jesus ceaselessly offers himself to the Heavenly Father for the life of humanity. The Eucharist, distributed to the sick in a dignified and prayerful way, is the vital sap that comforts them and instils in their souls the inner light with which to live the condition of sickness and suffering with faith and hope. I therefore also entrust this recent Document to you: make it your own and apply it in the field of pastoral health care, drawing from it the appropriate spiritual and pastoral guidelines.

I offer you my best wishes for the success of your work in these days and accompany it with a special remembrance in prayer, as I invoke the motherly protection of Mary Most Holy, Salus infirmorum, and with my Apostolic Blessing, which I cordially impart to you who are present here, to all those who work with you in their respective departments and to all your loved ones.


Members of the College of Cardinals,
Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate,
Honourable Parliamentarians,
Ladies and Gentlemen!

I am happy to receive such a large number of persons at this particular audience taking place on the eve of the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, signed on 25 March 1957. This was an important step for Europe, exhausted by the Second World War and eager to build a future of peace and greater economic and social well-being without suppressing or denying its various national identities. I welcome the Most Reverend Adrianus Herman van Luyn, Bishop of Rotterdam, President of the Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community, and I express to him my gratitude for his kind words. I also offer greetings to the other prelates, to the distinguished authorities and to all those taking part in this Convention organised by the COMECE as an invitation to reflect on Europe.

Since March 1957, this Continent has travelled a long road, which has led to the reconciliation of its two "lungs" - the East and the West - linked by a common history, but arbitrarily separated by a curtain of injustice. Economic integration has stimulated political unification and encouraged the continuing and strenuous search for an institutional structure adequate for a European Union that already numbers 27 nations and aspires to become a global actor on the world scene.

During these years there has emerged an increasing awareness of the need to establish a healthy balance between the economic and social dimensions, through policies capable of producing wealth and increasing competitiveness, while not neglecting the legitimate expectations of the poor and the marginalized. Unfortunately, from a demographic point of view, one must note that Europe seems to be following a path that could lead to its departure from history. This not only places economic growth at risk; it could also create enormous difficulties for social cohesion and, above all, favour a dangerous form of individualism inattentive to future consequences. One could almost think that the European continent is in fact losing faith in its own future. As regards, for example, respect for the environment or the structured access to energy resources and investments, incentives for solidarity are slow in coming, not only in the international sphere but also in the national one. The process of European unification itself is evidently not shared by all, due to the prevailing impression that various "chapters" in the European project have been "written" without taking into account the aspirations of its citizens.

From all this it clearly emerges that an authentic European "common home" cannot be built without considering the identity of the people of this Continent of ours. It is a question of a historical, cultural, and moral identity before being a geographic, economic, or political one; an identity comprised of a set of universal values that Christianity helped forge, thus giving Christianity not only a historical but a foundational role vis-ŕ-vis Europe. These values, which make up the soul of the Continent, must remain in the Europe of the third millennium as a "ferment" of civilization. If these values were to disappear, how could the "old" Continent continue to function as a "leaven" for the entire world? If, for the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, the Governments of the Union wish to "get nearer" to their citizens, how can they exclude an element essential to European identity such as Christianity, with which a vast majority of citizens continue to identify? Is it not surprising that today's Europe, while aspiring to be regarded as a community of values, seems ever more often to deny the very existence of universal and absolute values? Does not this unique form of "apostasy" from itself, even more than its apostasy from God, lead Europe to doubt its own identity? And so the opinion prevails that an "evaluation of the benefits" is the only way to moral discernment and that the common good is synonymous with compromise. In reality, if compromise can constitute a legitimate balance between different particular interests, it becomes a common evil whenever it involves agreements that dishonour human nature.

A community built without respect for the true dignity of the human being, disregarding the fact that every person is created in the image of God ends up doing no good to anyone. For this reason it seems ever more important that Europe be on guard against the pragmatic attitude, widespread today, which systematically justifies compromise on essential human values, as if it were the inevitable acceptance of a lesser evil. This kind of pragmatism, even when presented as balanced and realistic, is in reality neither, since it denies the dimension of values and ideals inherent in human nature. When non-religious and relativistic tendencies are woven into this pragmatism, Christians as such are eventually denied the very right to enter into the public discussion, or their contribution is discredited as an attempt to preserve unjustified privileges. In this historical hour and faced with the many challenges that confront it, the European Union, in order to be a valid guarantor of the rule of law and an efficient promoter of universal values, cannot but recognize clearly the certain existence of a stable and permanent human nature, source of common rights for all individuals, including those who deny them. In this context, the right to conscientious objection should be protected, every time fundamental human rights are violated.

Dear friends, I know how difficult it is for Christians to defend this truth of the human person. Nevertheless do not give in to fatigue or discouragement! You know that it is your duty, with God's help, to contribute to the consolidation of a new Europe which will be realistic but not cynical, rich in ideals and free from naďve illusions, inspired by the perennial and life-giving truth of the Gospel. Therefore, be actively present in the public debate on a European level, knowing that this discussion is now an integral part of the national debate. And to this commitment add effective cultural action. Do not bend to the logic of power as an end in itself! May Christ's admonition be a constant stimulus and support for you: "If the salt loses its flavour it is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men." (cf. Mt 5,13). May the Lord make all your efforts fruitful and help you to recognize and use properly what is positive in today's civilization, while denouncing with courage all that is contrary to human dignity.

I am certain that God will bless the generous efforts of all who, in a spirit of service, work to build a common European home where every cultural, social and political contribution is directed towards the common good. To you, already involved in different ways in this important human and evangelical undertaking, I express my support and my most fervent encouragement. Above all, I assure you of a place in my prayers. Invoking upon you the maternal protection of Mary, Mother of the Word made Flesh, I cordially bless you and your families and communities.


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

It is a great pleasure for me today to welcome you to St Peter's Square on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Pontifical recognition of the Communion and Liberation Fraternity. I address to each one of you a cordial greeting, in particular to the Bishops, priests and the organizational heads present. In a special way I greet Fr Julián Carrón, President of your Fraternity, and I thank him for the beautiful and profound words that he addressed to me in the name of all of you.

My first thought goes to your Founder, Mons. Luigi Giussani, to whom many memories bind me and who became a true friend of mine. Our last meeting, as Mons. Carrón mentioned, took place at the Cathedral in Milan, in February about two years ago, when our beloved John Paul II sent me to preside at his solemn funeral. Through him, the Holy Spirit raised in the Church a Movement, yours, that would witness to the beauty of being Christian in an age when the opinion was spreading that Christianity is a difficult and oppressive way to live. Fr Giussani then committed himself to awaken in youth the love for Christ, "Way, Truth and Life", repeating that only he is the way towards the fulfilment of the deepest desires of the human heart, and that Christ does not save us regardless of our humanity, but through it. As I was able to recall in his funeral homily, this courageous priest, who grew up in a home poor in bread but rich in music, as he himself liked to say, from the beginning was touched, or rather wounded, by the desire for beauty, though not any sort of beauty. He sought Beauty itself, the infinite Beauty which is found in Christ. In addition, how can I fail to recall the many encounters and contacts of Fr Giussani with my Venerable Predecessor John Paul II? On an anniversary dear to you, the Pope still wants yet again to repeat that the original pedagogical intuition of Communion and Liberation lies in reproposing the Christian event within contemporary culture in a fascinating and harmonious way, perceived as a font of new values and able to orient one's entire existence.

The event that changed the life of the Founder has also "wounded" a great many of his spiritual sons and daughters, and has given way to multiple religious and ecclesial experiences which form the history of your vast and well-organized spiritual Family. Communion and Liberation is a community experience of faith, born in the Church not by the will of an organized hierarchy but originating from a renewed encounter with Christ and thus, we can say, by an impulse derived ultimately from the Holy Spirit. Still today, it offers a profound way of life and it actualizes the Christian faith, both in a total fidelity and communion with the Successor of Peter and with the Pastors who assure the governing of the Church and through spontaneity and freedom that permit new and prophetic, apostolic and missionary achievements.

Dear Friends, your Movement is thus inserted into that vast flowering of associations, movements and new ecclesial realities providentially raised up by the Holy Spirit in the Church after the Second Vatican Council. Every gift of the Spirit is found originally and necessarily at the service of the edification of the Body of Christ, offering a witness of the immense charity of God for the life of each person. The reality of ecclesial movements, therefore, is a sign of the fecundity of the Lord's Spirit, because it manifests in the world the victory of the Risen Christ and it accomplishes the missionary mandate entrusted to the whole Church. In the Message to the World Congress of Ecclesial Movements, 27 May 1998, the Servant of God John Paul II had this to say: that there is no conflict or opposition in the Church between the institutional and the charismatic dimensions, of which the Movements are a significant expression. Both are co-essential to the divine constitution of the People of God. In the Church the essential institutions are also charismatic and indeed the charisms must, in one way or another, be institutionalized to have coherency and continuity.
Hence, both dimensions originate from the same Holy Spirit for the same Body of Christ, and together they concur to make present the mystery and the salvific work of Christ in the world.
This explains the attention with which the Pope and the Pastors look upon the richness of the charismatic gifts in the contemporary age. In regard to this, during a recent meeting with the clergy and the parish priests of Rome, recalling the invitation that St Paul addressed in the First Letter to the Thessalonians not to extinguish the charisms, I said that if the Lord gives us new gifts, we must be grateful, even if sometimes they may be uncomfortable. At the same time, since the Church is one, if the Movements are really gifts of the Holy Spirit, they must, naturally, be inserted into the Ecclesial Community and serve it so that, in patient dialogue with the Pastors, they can be elements in the construction of the Church of today and tomorrow.

Dear brothers and sisters, our dearly beloved John Paul II, in another very meaningful circumstance for you, was to entrust you with this mandate: "Go to all the world and bring the truth, the beauty and the peace, which is encountered in Christ the Redeemer". Fr Giussani made those words the programme of the whole Movement, and for Communion and Liberation it was the beginning of a missionary season that took you to 80 countries. Today, I invite you to continue along this path, with a deep faith, personalized and solidly rooted in the living Body of Christ, the Church, which guarantees the contemporaneousness of Jesus among us. I close our meeting by turning our thoughts to the Blessed Mother with the recitation of the Angelus. Fr Giussani nourished a great devotion to her, fed by the invocation of the Veni Sancte Spiritus, veni per Mariam and by the recitation of the Hymn to the Virgin by Dante Alighieri that you have also repeated this morning. May the Holy Virgin accompany you and help you to generously pronounce your "yes" to God's will in every circumstance. Dear friends you can count on my constant remembrance in prayer, while I affectionately bless you present here and your entire spiritual Family.



Speeches 2005-13 17037