S. John Paul II Homil. 403
"I rejoice when I heard them say: Let us go to God’s house".
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
1. With these words the whole Church proclaims her Advent joy. Today is the First Sunday of Advent. We are drawing near to that night when the shepherds in the fields around Bethlehem experienced the joy of the angels’ call to go and see the Lord:
" Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us".
Yes, again today, here in Adelaide, the Church reminds us that the Lord is at hand. And like the shepherds on that wonderful night in Bethlehem, we too say: "Let us go to the house of the Lord ".
Advent is the time of preparation for Christmas, for the coming of the Saviour. It calls us to "go rejoicing to the house of the Lord . . . and there to praise the Lord’s name". To praise the name of the Most High God - the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit: that is our first intention at this Eucharistic celebration.
2. "I rejoiced when I heard them say: Let us go to God’s house". With this same joy of the Advent Liturgy I greet all of you gathered here in Adelaide. In the name of Jesus Christ I greet you, the people of South Australia. I greet you, Archbishop Faulkner, Archbishop Gleeson, Bishop De Campo and all my brother bishops, together with the priests, religious and laity of Adelaide and Port Pirie. I greet the members of the other Christian Churches and Communions. I greet the representatives of public life. I embrace in the love of the Saviour all the children, the young, the old, the sick.
404 At the same time I greet all the inhabitants of this continent of Australia, journeying together with you towards the Lord’s house, along the paths of that Advent which is human history - the Advent in which the whole human family and the whole of creation are awaiting the Second Coming of our Saviour Jesus Christ!
Only a few years separate us from the end of the second millennium and the beginning of the third millennium of the Christian era. This is a time of grace for the Church. It is a time for us as followers of Jesus Christ, in the midst of the profound transformations affecting culture and society, to rededicate ourselves to Christian living. It is a time for the Gospel message to be proclaimed to the men and women of this age with the force of a new Pentecost. It is a time in which the Spirit of truth himself is clearly speaking words of life to the human family.
3. In the Eucharistic celebration of this First Sunday of Advent, we are praying for the fulfilment of the Father’s plan for the human family: "In that new world where the fullness of your peace will be revealed, gather people of every race, language ad way of life to share in one eternal banquet with Jesus Christ the Lord".
In other words, we are praying for the fulfilment of the Prophet Isaiah’s vision as expressed in the first reading: "All nations will stream to . . . the mountain of the Lord . . . that he may teach us his ways so that we may walk in his paths". The desire for that time of grace and peace is deeply rooted in our hearts. Who does not look forward eagerly to that end-time when "nation will not lift sword against nation, (when) there will be no more training for war".
There is indeed an Advent season that is universal and lasts as long as human history. Today we meditate on Isaiah’s vision of people without number on the march to the mountain of the Lord - God’s people in every age and in every place being gathered into union with him and unity among themselves in the Church. And we should reflect on this vision as it is being realized in the concrete reality of your Australian life in the history and culture of your continent and of South Australia in particular.
This Eucharistic assembly is itself a symbol of the Prophet’s vision. You are a people gathered from "every race, language and way of life", made one in Jesus Christ and in his Church.
Australia: land of many cultures!
Australia: land of different ethnic groups, shaped by the traditions, attitudes and hopes of so many people whose faith sustained them in the difficult task of making a new home on this continent!
4. Long before the Christian era, long before Moses led God’s people to freedom, long before Abraham set out for a new country to father a new nation, migrating waves of Aboriginal peoples came to this great South Land. Here they settled down in close relationship with the land which had become their home.
More recently, in the last two hundred years, new migrations have been bringing to Australia people from every continent. First came settlers from Great Britain and Ireland. But within decades a multicultural community was evolving as new arrivals came from Europe and Asia. Already in the 1860s, here in the Clare Valley of South Australia, people from England, Ireland, Poland, Austria and Germany lived side by side with the Aboriginal inhabitants. In more recent times Australia has welcomed peoples from Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and other parts of Australasia.
Often the victims of poverty or the devastation of war or religious persecution came here to make a new beginning in life. They faced hardship and deprivation. Out of a great deal of human misery and suffering, there is now emerging a nation filled with hope and promise.
405 This is your history. This is the shaping of your culture as the people of Australia. In this story there is much to be proud of. It is also a story in which you recognize the need for that reconciliation which comes through Jesus Christ. All people have a right to love and value what is good in their own heritage. All people have a right to self-respect and dignity. The tensions which sometimes arise when people of differing histories, traditions, cultures and faiths seek to live side by side have to be overcome in a spirit of true openness and brotherhood. Ultimately, what is required is openness to that divine and transcendent providence which guides the nations towards a fuller recognition of unity - the unity of all who bear the image of the One who "holds all things in unity": Jesus Christ, "the image of the unseen God and the firstborn of all creation".
5. The word of God has called us to be an alert and watchful people, standing ready, clothed in the very armour of Jesus Christ:
"You know ‘the time’ has come: you must wake up now . . .
The night is almost over, it will be daylight soon.
Let us live decently as people do in the daytime . . .
no wrangling or jealousy.
Let your armour be the Lord Jesus Christ".
Every expression of hostility towards others builds a wall of tension between people and reveals a heart of stone. Every act of discrimination is an act of injustice and a violation of personal dignity.
Every time we are intolerant we close our eyes to God’s image in the other person. Every time we fail to recognize the demands of worldwide justice, we fait to grasp the meaning of our universal solidarity.
But when we speak with kind words, when we respect and honour one another, when we show true friendship, when we offer hospitality, when we make en effort to understand the differences between people - then we become a living sign that Isaiah’s vision is being realized, that the Kingdom of God has come among us, that the universal Advent of history is proceeding towards its fulfilment.
6. Today the Church invites each and every one of us to take willingly and joyfully the path that God has prepared for the whole human race. The Prophet Isaiah speaks of that path as going up to the mountain of the Lord, to the Temple of the God of Jacob. A part of this "going up" is man’s vocation to seek full and authentic humanity, to refine and develop his spiritual and bodily qualities, while he struggles to bring the world under his control through the advancement of knowledge and through his own labour. This the human family does through cultural advancement.
406 Men and women today are clearly aware that, more than ever before, they are called to fashion their own destiny in this world. The means to do so are increasingly available: a better understanding of the earth and its secrets; a better understanding of the movement of history and social organization; and the world of communications, which gives more and more people an opportunity to share in modern progress. A more humane world is struggling to be born.
And yet, at every turn the highest hopes are accompanied by disturbing contradictions. As regards respect for fundamental human rights, the last decades have witnessed much progress and a growing awareness of the rightness of this cause. We cannot, however, overlook the fact that our world still offers too many examples of radical injustice and oppression.
Were there exists a great good to be achieved, a great moral maturity and a great sense of justice are also needed. Without a vision of the sublime dignity of the human person - a dignity founded on each one’s unique relationship to the Creator and Redeemer, a dignity linked to the transcendent nature, origin and destiny of man - progress lacks a sure direction.
Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth and the Life, reveals to us the real meaning of history. He reveals God’s plan for humanity. Jesus speaks to our freedom and calls us to promote truly human progress when he gives us his law of love and service: "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you". The Gospel purifies and strengthens all culture, thus enabling it to help man to "go up to the mountain of the Lord . . . that he may teach us his ways so that we may walk in his paths".
7. The call of Jesus is clear. He says: "Stay awake". And again: "Stand ready, because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect". In this way he urges all his followers to work for the goal that the Father has set: the Kingdom of justice, truth and peace. In this way he urges the faithful in Australia to help remedy whatever injustices may mar the life of their nation, and to ensure that a new spirit of reconciliation animates the entire national life. Jesus makes it clear that we will be judged on how we respond to his presence in the hungry, the naked, the sick and the imprisoned. Dear brothers and sisters: you are called to be partners with God in building up his Kingdom in the hearts of all Australians, hearts of flesh and not of stone.
Our reflection today on Australia as a land of many cultures has helped us to see your history against the background of God’s eternal love for the whole human family revealed in the saving mission of Jesus Christ. It is a history still unfolding. It presents many challenges to you as a nation, to the Church in this land, and to every individual citizen. This too is the Advent, full of expectation, which the Church celebrates at this time. We go forward, as the pilgrim People of God, following Jesus who is the Way to the Father. We go forward in the certainty that his truth will set us free, and our strength comes from his words and his sacrament.
8. With eyes fixed on the One who is to come, let us also look upon this entire continent, and upon every ethnic group and every cultural tradition that belongs to it. And upon all Australia let us invoke the blessing of the Psalm: "Peace be to your homes! May peace reign in your walls . . . For love of my brethren and friends I say: ‘Peace upon you!’ For love of the house of the Lord I will ask for your good".
For you: Adelaide! For you: Australia! For you: the entire world! And let us continue to look to him, the One who is to come, the "Prince of Peace". Concerning him, the prophet says:
"He will wield authority over the nations
and adjudicate between many peoples;
these will hammer their swords into ploughshares, their spears into sickles.
407 Nations will not lift sword against nation, there will be no more training for war.
O House of Jacob, come,
let us walk in the light of the Lord".
This is the light of Advent. It is the light of the Advent that stretches out before the human family until the Lord comes again in glory - the Advent of man’s responsibility for the life and for the world that the Creator has placed in his hands.
The light is the light of the One who is to come, the Prince of Peace. It is the light of Christ.
May the light of Christ shine upon Australia: land of many cultures!
May the light of Christ shine upon each one of you. Amen.
“"The time" has come: you must wake up now: our salvation is even nearer than it was . . .” .
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
1. With this solemn words the Liturgy of this First Sunday of Advent leads the whole Church into a time of expectation and preparation. It is a time in which each Christian community relives the sense of expectation which the Prophets aroused in the people of Israel, as they looked forward in hope to the fulfilment of the promise: "A young woman shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel". - which means "God with us". It is a time of preparation for the coming of a child, the "Prince of Peace": the infant of Bethlehem, who is at the same time the Son of God, the second Person of the Most Holy Trinity.
408 My visit to you here in Western Australia thus coincides with the preparation for Christmas, which is a special day for families in Australia and in many other parts of the world
The family in God’s plan for humanity and for the Church is the theme of this Eucharistic celebration. The Son of God, in becoming man, began that special family which the Church venerates as the Holy Family of Nazareth: Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
2. I greet you, the families of Perth and of Western Australia. I greet you, husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, grandparents, and all you who have the welfare of the family at heart. I greet you, Archbishop Foley and Archbishop Goody, the other bishops, the priests, religious and laity: each person present here, as well as those who are spiritually united with us in the offering of Christ’s Body and Blood in the Sacrifice of the Mass. I greet the representatives of the State Government, the civic officials, the representatives of every public body and ethnic group. I salute the members of the other Christian Churches and Communions in the love and hope that we share in the Lord Jesus Christ.
3. "The family is the domestic church". The meaning of this traditional Christian idea is that the home is the Church in miniature. The Church is the sacrament of God’s love. She is a communion of faith and life. She is a mother and teacher. She is at the service of the whole human family as it goes forward towards its ultimate destiny. In the same way the family is a community of life and love. It educates and leads its members to their full human maturity and it serves the good of all along the road of life The family is the "first and vital cell of society". In its own way it is a living image and historical representation of the mystery of the Church. The future of the world and of the Church, therefore, passes through the family.
It is not surprising that the Church has given much thought and attention in recent times to questions affecting family life and marriage. Nor is it surprising that governments and public organizations are constantly involved in matters which directly or indirectly affect the institutional well-being of marriage and the family. And it is everyone’s experience that healthy relationships in marriage and the family are of the greatest importance in the development and well-being of the human person.
4. The economic, social and cultural transformations taking place in our world are having an enormous effect on how people look upon marriage and the family. As a result many couples are unsure of the meaning of their relationship, and this causes them much turmoil and suffering. On the other hand, many other couples are stronger because, having overcome modern pressures, they exercise more fully that special love and responsibility of the marriage covenant which make them see children as God’s special gift to the and to society. As the family goes, so goes the nation, and so goes the whole world in which we live.
With regard to the family, society urgently needs "to recover an awareness of the primacy of moral values, which are the values of the human person as such", thus "recapturing the ultimate meaning of life and its fundamental values". Australia, a nation of so much hope and opportunity, needs to know how to safeguard the family and the stability of married love if there is to be true peace and justice in the land.
5. The Church in Australia and everywhere has a specific task: to explain and to promote God’s plan for marriage and the family, and to help couples and families to live according to that plan. The Church reaches out to all families: in the first place to those Christian families striving to be ever more faithful to God’s plan. She tries to strengthen and accompany them on the path of growth. But she also reaches out, with the compassion of the Heart of Jesus, to those families that are in difficult or irregular situations.
The Church cannot say that what is bad is good, nor can she call valid what is invalid. She cannot fail to proclaim Christ’s teaching, even when this teaching is difficult to accept. She knows too that she is sent to heal, to reconcile, to call to conversion, to find what was lost. Hence it is with great love and patience that the Church tries to helps all those who experience difficulty in meeting the demands of Christian married love and family life.
The charity of Christ can only be realised in the truth: in the truth about life and love and responsibility. The Church has to proclaim Christ: the Way, the Truth, and the Life; and in so doing she has to teach the values and principles which correspond to man’s calling to "newness" of life in Christ. The Church is sometimes misunderstood and considered lacking in compassion because she upholds God’s creative plan for marriage and the family: his plan for human love and the transmission of life. The Church is always the true and faithful friend of the human person on the pilgrimage of life. She knows that by upholding the moral law she contributes to the establishment of a truly human civilization, and she constantly challenges people not to abdicate their personal responsibility with regard to ethical and moral imperatives.
6. "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord . . . that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths". With this invitation the Prophet Isaiah tells us how we must respond to God, and this response applies also to God’s plan for marriage and the family. Couples are offered the grace and strength of the Sacrament of Marriage precisely so that they may walk in the paths of the Lord and follow his ways, observing the plan which Christ has confirmed and ratified for the family. This plan testifies to the way it was in the "beginning" - as God willed it in the beginning for the well-being and happiness of the family. In God’s plan marriage requires:
409 - the faithful and permanent love of husband and wife;
- an indissoluble communion that "sinks its roots in the natural complementarity that exists between man and woman, and is nurtured through the personal willingness of the spouses to share their entire life project, what they have and what they are";
- a community of persons in which the love between husband and wife must be fully human, exclusive and open to new life.
Married love is strengthened by the Sacrament of Marriage so that it may be an ever more real and effective image of the unity which exists between Christ and the Church.
7. You know how much Christian courage you need in order to carry out God’s commands in your lives and in your families. It is the courage to be willing every day to build up love - the kind of love of which Saint Paul says: "Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things . . . endures all things. Love never ends".
Can the Pope come to Australia and fail to ask Australian couples and families to reflect in their hearts how well they are living their Christian love? How seriously they are committed to upholding true family values? How appropriate are public policies for the defence of these values, and therefore for the promotion of the common good of the whole nation?
In a world that is becoming ever more sensitive to women’s rights, what is to be said of the rights of women who want to be, or need to be full-time wives and mothers? Are they to be burdened by a taxation system that discriminates against women who choose not to leave the home in order to earn a separate income? Without infringing the freedom of anyone to seek fulfilment in employment and activities outside the home, should not the work of the homemaker too be properly appreciated and adequately supported. This is possible when women and men are treated with full respect for their personal dignity, for what they are more than for what they do.
8. Realizing the essential importance of family life for a just and healthy society, the Holy See has presented a Charter of the Rights of the Family based on the natural rights and values common to all humanity. It is addressed principally to Governments and international organizations, as a "model and point of reference for the drawing up of legislation and family policy, and guidance for action programmes".
Among the principles which the Church vigorously upholds in every circumstance there are the following, which I call to your attention:
- the inalienable right, of spouses to found a family and to decide on the spacing of births and the number of children to be born, taking into full consideration their duties towards themselves, their children already born, the family and society, in a just hierarchy of values and in accordance with the objective moral order . . .";
- all pressures brought to bear in limiting "the freedom of couples in deciding about children constitute a grave offence against human dignity and justice";
410 - "families have the right to be able to rely on an adequate family policy on the part of public authorities in the juridical, economic, social and fiscal domains, without any discrimination whatsoever ".
9. The moral order demands that the rule written into the processes of life by the Creator in the act of creation should be always and everywhere respected. The Church’s well-known opposition to contraception and sterilization is not a position arbitrarily taken, nor is it based on a partial perspective of the human person. Rather it expresses her integral vision of the human person, who is gifted with a vocation that is not only natural and earthly but also supernatural and eternal. Moreover, the Church’s understanding of the intrinsic value of human life as an irrevocable gift of God explains why the Second Vatican Council speaks of "the surpassing ministry of safeguarding life" and considers abortion as an "unspeakable crime".
10. The place of children in Australian society and culture deserves consideration. I know that you love and respect your children. I know that in many ways your laws seek to provide for their welfare and protection. A society that loves its children is a healthy and dynamic society.
On their behalf I appeal to you parents. Children need parents who will provide them with a stable family environment. To know what real love is they need you to be united in your love for each other and for them. From you they seek companionship and guidance. From you, first and foremost, they must learn to distinguish right from wrong and to choose good over evil. I appeal to you: do not deprive your children of their rightful human and spiritual heritage. Teach them about God, and tell them about Jesus, about his love and his Gospel. Teach them to love God and respect his commandments in the sure knowledge that they are his children above all. Teach them to pray. Teach them to be mature and responsible human beings, and honest citizens of their country. This is a stupendous privilege, a grave duty, and a wonderful task that you have received from God. By the witness of your own Christian lives, you lead your children to take their rightful place in the Church of Christ.
11. And to you, children ad young people, present here in such great numbers, what do I say? Love your parents; pray for them; thank God for them every day. If sometimes there are misunderstandings between you, if at times it is hard for you to obey them, remember these words of Saint Paul: "Do all that has to be done without complaining of arguing and then you will be innocent and genuine, perfect children of God . . . and you will shine in the world like stars ". Pray also for your brothers and sisters and for all the children of the world, especially those who are poor and hungry. Pray for those who do not know Jesus, for those who are alone and sad.
To all the young Catholics of Australia is entrusted the future of the Church in this land. The Church needs you. There is much for you to do in your parishes and local communities, in the service of the poor and disadvantaged, the sick and the old, in so many forms of voluntary service. Above all you must bring Christ to your friends. Your own generation is the field, rich for the harvest, to which Christ sends you. Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life for your generation, and for all generations to come. You are the Church’s hope for a new era of evangelization and service. Be generous to others, be generous to Christ!
12. Dear parents and children, dear families of Western Australia: the Gospel of this First Sunday of Advent calls us to "watch", for "if the householder had known . . . he would have watched and would not have let his house be broken into". This is the call that I repeat to you. Watch! Do not let the precious values of faithful married love and family life be taken away from you. Do not reject them, or think that there is some other better prospect for happiness and human fulfilment.
The Gospel call to "watch" also means building the family on a sense of responsibility. Genuine love is always responsible love. Husbands and wives truly love each other when they are responsible before God and carry out his plan for human love and human life; when they answer to each other and are responsible for each other. Responsible parenthood involves not only bringing children into the world, but also taking part personally and responsibly in their upbringing and education. True love in the family is for ever!
Finally, in striving to be perfect in love let us remember the words of Saint Paul: "Cast off the works of darkness and put on the armour of light . . . put on the Lord Jesus Christ".
Dear families of Australia: This is your vocation and your happiness today and for ever: to put on the Lord Jesus Christ and to walk in his light. Amen.
411 Tuesday, 17 March 1987
1. “Designò altri settantadue discepoli e li inviò” (Lc 10,1). Davanti agli occhi ed al cuore di Cristo si apre la prospettiva di un mondo rivolto verso di lui e che ha bisogno di conoscerlo, per amarlo e seguirlo, un mondo in attesa di verità, desideroso di salvezza. A questa sconfinata messe Gesù invia i suoi discepoli, perché, come testimoni, preparino la sua venuta, aprano le menti alla sua grazia: “Andate in ogni città e luogo . . . la messe è molta”.
L’opera di Cristo, che invia i suoi, continua nel tempo poiché il buon pastore non abbandona il gregge che gli appartiene. Anche oggi, perciò, incessantemente egli manda i suoi discepoli affinché in suo nome vadano per tutto il mondo e sostentino come pastori fedeli il suo gregge, nutrano con la parola che salva e conducano al Padre ogni uomo.
È la Chiesa, oggi, che in nome di Cristo continua a mandare nuovi ministri del Vangelo in virtù di un’eredità ricevuta dal Signore e dagli apostoli. Essa adempie così il solenne comando di annunciare la verità, e, mediante la predicazione dei suoi Vescovi, attira gli uomini alla fede, li dispone al battesimo, li toglie dalla schiavitù dell’errore, li incorpora a Cristo, affinché amandolo, crescano fino ad essere da lui riempiti (cf. Lumen Gentium LG 17).
È ricordando queste verità che mi accingo a compiere oggi l’ordinazione episcopale Monsignor John Magee, Vescovo eletto della diocesi di Cloyne in Irlanda. Lei riceverà oggi, caro fratello John, il sacramento dell’episcopato e sarà avviato per annunciare la venuta di Cristo: “È vicino a voi il regno di Dio” (Lc 10,9); lei andrà in mezzo al popolo che le è stato affidato come araldo di Gesù, continuatore della missione degli apostoli.
Adempirà a questa missione con fiducia, sapendo che la riuscita di ogni opera apostolica è nelle mani di Dio, al quale tutti ci rivolgiamo con fervida preghiera perché “mandi operai per la sua messe” (Lc 10,2). Noi sappiamo che Dio non lascia soli i suoi amici, non li abbandona nelle difficoltà, ma dà loro “il potere di camminare . . . sopra ogni potenza del nemico” (Lc 10,19).
2. Celebriamo questo rito nella festa di san Patrizio, patrono ed apostolo dell’Irlanda, la patria dalla quale lei proviene e alla quale ritorna come Vescovo.
San Patrizio realizzò nella sua vita, da vero discepolo del Signore, la pagina evangelica che abbiamo ascoltato, e la mise in pratica con coraggio e fiducia in tutti i suoi viaggi per evangelizzare l’isola. Affrontò persecuzioni e ostilità, disposto nell’animo suo a ricevere anche il dono del martirio, convinto che il destino dei missionari del Vangelo e la loro missione trovano la loro forza ed il loro fondamento unicamente nella potenza delle promesse di Gesù. Patrizio fu discepolo che prese alla lettera le condizioni dettate dal Maestro per un’efficace missione: “Non portare borsa, né bisaccia, né sandali” (Lc 10,4); si privò di ogni cosa, vendette i suoi beni - come egli stesso scrisse - per l’opera che lo impegnava.
Io desidero affidare alla protezione di questo santo, tanto venerato in Irlanda, il ministero che la attende, augurandole di continuare l’opera di un così valido modello.
3. I wish to recall at this time your direct service to the Holy See, first in the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and then in the Private Secretariat of my predecessors Paul VI and John Paul I. I thank you for your service to me personally, most recently as Master of Ceremonies. You have been at my side in many liturgical ceremonies here in Rome, and especially in this very Basilica of Saint Peter’s, and during the frequent apostolic journeys I have made to so many parts of the world. I am grateful to you for this assistance in the liturgical and sacramental ministry of the Pope to God’s people.
4. I am happy now to entrust to your care the Church of God in Cloyne to which you will bring the contribution of your competence, piety and zeal.
412 On this day twenty-five years ago, you received the gift of the priesthood of Jesus Christ. At that time you set out to be a father in Christ to the faithful through their spiritual birth in Baptism and by nourishing them with your teaching (1Co 4,15 1Co 1 Petr 1Co 1,23 Lumen Gentium LG 28). Now today, in a new and fuller way, you welcome and accept the invitation that was made one day to the Servant of Yahweh and which the Apostles interpreted as a command binding upon them too: “For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, ‘I have set you to be a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation’” (Ac 13,47). I pray that - in the expression used by the Acts of the Apostles (Ibid., Ac 13,48) - your word may spread “throughout all the region”, so that all who hear may be glad and glorify God.
May the presence of the Holy Spirit in you be a source from which many will draw strength for their Christian lives. Therefore, preach the word of God "boldly" (Ac 13,46): with the prophetic courage that characterizes the true disciple of Christ.
5. The presence here of many people from Ireland, especially from Cloyne and from your home Diocese of Dromore, is already a sign of the cordial openness and love with which you will be surrounded in your ministry. On numerous occasion I have expressed my esteem for Ireland’s Christian traditions and the gratitude of the Catholic Church for the glorious contribution made over the centuries by the sons and daughters of your land to the spreading of the Faith. Saint Colman’s Cathedral, your episcopal See, stands above the beautiful bay of Cobh Harbour, from which so many Irish in times past departed in search of a new life or to bring the light of Christ - the faith of their fathers - to other lands. If the stones of the Cathedral could speak they would remind you both of sadness and of the sublime joy of steadfast faith.
Today there is need for profound reflection on the lessons of the past and on the historic destiny of the nation. Present challenges in society and in the Church, including the missionary challenge, require no less courage than in times past. Together with your brother bishops and with the entire ecclesial community, in fraternal dialogue with the members of the other Christian Churches and Ecclesial Communions, you will endeavour to respond to the pressing spiritual and human needs of the present, drawing wisdom from God’s word and strength from the immense resources of the Irish people.
May the joy of the Holy Spirit, who lives in all of those who welcome the message of Christ into their lives, be your comfort in your ministry and the comfort of all those whom you will lead to the Father through his Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Molaoh go Deo ie Dia. Amen.
S. John Paul II Homil. 403