Speeches 2000 - Friday 30 June 2000
6. It is my prayer that the General Chapter will contribute above all to a deep renewal of your consecrated life and missionary charism. May you always be men of hope, able to speak powerfully the word of God which transforms human hearts and the world itself. May many young men continue to hear Christ's call to dedicate themselves generously and joyfully to him as missionaries in your Society. I entrust the priests, brothers, scholastics and novices of the Society of the Divine Word, as well as your co-workers, students, and benefactors, to the intercession of Mary, Mother of the Redeemer, and the Blessed from your ranks. As a pledge of joy and strength in Jesus Christ, the Word of God, I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing.
1. After yesterday evening's solemn liturgical celebration in St Peter's Square, it is a great joy for me to meet you this morning, dear Metropolitan Archbishops. I affectionately embrace each of you here and extend a special greeing to those who were unable to come in person to receive the pallium.
Along with you I cordially greet your relatives, friends and the faithful of your respective Christian communities who have accompanied you on this Jubilee pilgrimage to the tombs of the Apostles.
First of all I address each of you, venerable Brothers, who belong to the beloved Church in Italy: Archbishop Dino De' Antoni of Gorizia, Archbishop Francesco Cacucci of Bari-Bitonto, Archbishop Giuseppe Verucchi of Ravenna-Cervia and Archbishop Angelo Bagnasco of Pesaro. May the Lord who has chosen you make you always faithful to the apostolic task entrusted to you. Therefore, as I reminded you yesterday, be attentive and far-sighted guides of the flock for which Christ the Good Shepherd will ask you to account.
2. I am pleased to greet the new French-speaking Metropolitan Archbishops: Archbishop Roger Pirenne of Bertoua, Archbishop Nestor Assogba of Cotonou, Archbishop Fidèle Agbatchi of Parakou and Archbishop Hubert Barbier of Bourges, as well as all the faithful who have accompanied them. The pallium ceremony is a continual call for everyone to bear witness to the risen Christ throughout the world and to work for the unity of the Church around the Successor of Peter. My Apostolic Blessing to all.
3. I am happy to greet the English-speaking Metropolitans who have come to Rome to receive the pallium: Archbishop Lawrence Burke of Nassau, Archbishop Dominic Jala of Shillong, Archbishop Marampudi Joji of Hyderabad, Archbishop Cormac Murphy-O'Connor of Westminister, Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Birmingham, Archbishop Angel Lagdameo of Jaro, Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Jos and Archbishop Edward Egan of New York. I also welcome the faithful who have come with them to Rome, and I ask the Metropolitans to take back to their local Churches my affectionate greeting in the Lord.
4. Six of you Archbishops have come from Latin America to receive the palium on the Solemnity of Sts Peter and Paul: from Bolivia, Archbishop Tito Solari; from Peru, Archbishop Héctor Cabrejos; and from Argentina, the Pastors of the Metropolitan Churches of Tucumán, Salta, San Juan de Cuyo and La Plata. I affectionately greet you and the priests and faithful who have accompanied you on this significant occasion. When you return to your Archdioceses wearing this vestment, the sign of a special bond of communion with the See of Peter, work with renewed zeal to foster this communion and the unity of the Church so desired by Christ, to whose cause you should always feel committed.
5. May the Spirit of the Lord also be upon Archbishop Aloysio Leal Penna. May God enlighten and protect him in this new way of service to the Church in Brazil. With my Blessing, which I gladly extend to all his relatives and to the faithful of the Archdiocese of Botucatu.
6. I greet you with affection and words of welcome, the new Metropolitan Archbishop of Split-Makarska, dear Archbishop Marin Barisic, your priests and your faithful. I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing to you and to those accompanying you, to your retired predecessors, Archbishops Ante Juric and Frane Franic, and to the whole beloved Church of Split-Makarska.
7. Yesterday the conferral of the pallium renewed an ancient and evocative rite that seals the unity of each of your communities with the Apostolic See and the Successor of Peter. Together we form the one Church of Christ, called to proclaim the one Gospel for the salvation of every person in every corner of the world. Venerable Brothers, take care to safeguard in every possible way this special fidelity to the command of the divine Teacher: fidelity to his Word and fidelity to his desire for the full unity of the Christian people, redeemed by his blood on the Cross.
To achieve this union, let us look to Christ who, as we are reminded by today's feast of the Sacred Heart, says again to us: "Learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart" (Mt 11,29).
May Mary, Mother of the Church, support us on this journey. I cordially impart a special Apostolic Blessing to you all and to those belonging to your ecclesial communities.
Dear Brothers and Sisters!
1. I am pleased to meet you all, members of the male and female religious families and Catholic associations devoted to the Most Precious Blood of Jesus on this first day of July, which Christian piety has dedicated to meditation on "the Blood of Christ, the price of our redemption, the pledge of salvation and eternal life" (John XXIII, Apostolic Letter Inde a primis, in AAS, 52 , 545-550). As I greet you affectionately and thank you for coming, I extend my gratitude to the Provincial Director of the Society of the Precious Blood for his kind words, which he also addressed to me in your name.
Until the liturgical reform introduced by the Second Vatican Council, on this day the mystery of the Blood of Christ was also liturgically celebrated throughout the Catholic Church. Paul VI, my Predecessor of venerable memory, joined the commemoration of the Blood of Christ with that of his Body in what is now called the Solemnity of the "Body and Blood of Christ". For in every Eucharistic celebration, not only does the Body of Christ become present, but also his Precious Blood, the Blood of the new and everlasting covenant, which is shed for all so that sins may be forgiven (cf. Mt Mt 26,27).
2. Dear brothers and sisters, what a great mystery is the Blood of Christ! From the dawn of Christianity it has captivated the minds and hearts of so many Christians and, particularly, of your holy founders and foundresses, who made it the standard of your congregations and associations. The Jubilee Year gives new impetus to this important devotion. For, as we celebrate Christ 2,000 years after his birth, we are also invited to contemplate and adore him in his sacred humanity, assumed in Mary's womb and hypostatically united to the divine Person of the Word. Christ's Blood is the precious source of salvation for the world precisely because it belongs to the Word who became flesh for our salvation.
The sign of "blood poured out", as an expression of life given in bloodshed as a witness to supreme love, is an act of divine condescension to our human condition. God chose the sign of blood because no other sign suggests a person's total involvement so eloquently.
This mystery of self-giving has its source in the heavenly Father's salvific will and its fulfilment in the filial obedience of Jesus, true God and true Man, through the work of the Holy Spirit. Thus the history of our salvation bears the mark and indelible seal of Trinitarian love.
3. In the presence of this wondrous divine work, all the faithful join you, dear brothers and sisters, in offering hymns of praise to the Triune God in the sign of Christ's Precious Blood. However, the witness of life must be joined with the confession of the lips, as we are urged by the Letter to the Hebrews: "Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus ... let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works" (10: 19, 24).
And there are many "good works" which meditation on Christ's sacrifice inspires in us. It spurs us, in fact, to give our life for God and our brethren without reserve, "usque ad effusionem sanguinis", as so many martyrs have done. How could we ever fail to recognize the value of every human being, when Christ shed his blood for each one without distinction? Meditation on this mystery prompts us to turn to all those whose moral and physical suffering could be alleviated but who, instead, are left to languish on the fringes of an affluent and indifferent society. It is in this perspective that your service, members of AVIS, stands out in all its nobility. I cordially greet you, as well as your President, whom I thank for his address. You do not limit yourselves to giving something that belongs to you; you give something of yourselves. What is more personal than one's own blood? In the light of Christ, the gift of this vital element to a brother or sister acquires a value that transcends mere human horizons. Therefore, members of AVIS, I offer you my esteem and encouragement.
4. I would now like to extend a cordial greeting to the pilgrims from the Diocese of Bergamo, led by their Pastor, Bishop Roberto Amadei, whom I thank for the sentiments he expressed in his friendly address. Dear friends, by today's visit you wish to show your affection and closeness to the Successor of Peter. I cordially thank you! Down the centuries your Church has maintained very close ties of communion with the Apostolic See. How can we forget, in this regard, your countryman and my Predecessor, Pope John XXIII, soon to be enrolled among the blessed? May the path of prayer and meditation which leads you to the Jubilee sites be an opportunity for you, dear friends, to reaffirm your convinced fidelity to Christ, "the Holy Door" to the Father's kingdom. On returning home, take the Pope's greetings and encouragement to the priests, consecrated men and women and all your brothers and sisters in faith. May the Holy Year encourage them all to rekindle their faith and to persevere in their commitment to the new evangelization, which is confirmed and strengthened in charity.
5. Lastly, my thoughts turn to the faithful from St Mary of Victory in Montebelluna, from St Bernardine in Tordandrea di Assisi, from St John the Baptist in Acconia di Curinga, as well as to the Blessed Mary De Mattias Institute of Frosinone and the Community of the Little House in Aversa.
Dear friends, may the celebration of the 2,000th anniversary of the Incarnation of the Son of God find you watchful in faith, firm in hope and fervent in charity. Today Christ still approaches each person to offer him the gift of God's infinite mercy. May you also be rich in this mercy, as is our Father in heaven.
With these sentiments and in the love of the One who has sprinkled us with his blood (cf. 1P 1,2), I wholeheartedly bless you all.
Dear Brothers of the Order of Minims!
1. I affectionately welcome you and am grateful for the visit you wanted to pay me at the beginnning of your General Chapter. I cordially greet Fr Giuseppe Fiorini Morosini, your Superior General, the Chapter fathers and the delegations of nuns and tertiaries who will be taking part in the first part of this important meeting, as well as the religious and lay people who form the three orders of the religious family founded by St Francis of Paola.
I thank the Lord with all of you for the good accomplished in your long and praiseworthy history of service to the Gospel. My thoughts turn in particular to those difficult times for the Church when St Francis of Paola was engaged in carrying out a reform which drew to a new way of perfection all who were "moved by the desire for greater penance and love of the Lenten life" (IV Rule, chap. 2).
2. Inspired by apostolic goals, he founded the Order of Minims, a clerical religious institute with solemn vows, planted like "a good tree in the field of the Church militant" (Alexander VI) to produce worthy fruits of penance in the footsteps of Christ, who "emptied himself, taking the form of a servant" (Ph 2,7). Following the founder's example, your religious family "intends to bear a special daily witness to Gospel penance by a Lenten life, that is, by total conversion to God, deep participation in the expiation of Christ and a call to the Gospel values of detachment from the world, the primacy of the spirit over matter and the urgent need for penance, which entails the practice of charity, love of prayer and physical ascesis" (Constitutions, art. 3).
Dear friends, draw constant inspiration from your founder, the humble penitent immersed in God who knew how to pass on to his brothers an authentic experience of the Divine. In him the Lord wanted to do "great things", entrusting him with extraordinary tasks which prompted him to travel across most of Italy and France and to illumine them with the brightness of his holiness.
In the almost five centuries since his death on 2 April 1507, his sons, faithful to their founder's charism, have continued to proclaim the "Gospel of penance". They have endeavoured to live his spirit of humility, poverty and deep prayer, and to imitate his tender devotion to the Eucharist, to the Crucified Lord and to Our Lady. In particular, they are still committed to the "fourth vow of perpetual Lent". Thus they have extended the shining path of St Francis of Paola throughout the world, bearing witness everywhere to the indispensable role of penance on the journey of conversion and enriching the Church's life with wonderful works of charity and holiness.
3. "You have not only a glorious history to remember and to recount, but also a great history to build! Look to the future, where the Spirit is sending you in order to do even greater things". On this particular occasion I would like to repeat to you these words of the Apostolic Exhortation Vita consecrata (n. 110), which clearly reflect the objectives of your General Chapter.
With the examination of the theme: "Missionary Identity of the Minims at the Beginning of the Third Millennium after 500 Years of History: Religious and Lay People Together, with One Charism for the Same Mission", the Chapter intends to revisit the charism of Lenten penance in the light of the challenges of the contemporary world, identifying the new areopagi which must receive the Gospel proclamation of conversion and reconciliation.
This commitment, which was already made at the order's previous assembly, needs to be translated into a significant and loving presence of Minims in situations of intense spiritual poverty through listening, spiritual direction and the formation of consciences in reflection and prayer. Your presence on the frontiers of material poverty can be very important for showing active solidarity to the needy, thanks also to your participation in bodies organized for this purpose. I am confident that the example of the founder, a messenger of Christ's peace, will sustain you in your mission of bringing the gift of reconciliation and communion to families, ecclesial groups, various Christian denominations and those who are indifferent and distant.
4. In evangelizing the new areopagi, you must first keep in mind that creativity and dialogue with the various cultures should not weaken your rich identity and history. Indeed, creativity and dialogue become effective vehicles of Gospel proclamation when they can rely on sound fidelity to one's own charism. A fervent community and penitential life are certainly the indispensable premise for each religious to bear in himself that transparent image of the chaste, poor and obedient Christ which alone attracts and wins over those who are seeking truth and peace.
An authentic and incarnated ministry presupposes holiness, which the Minims, after their founder's example, will seek to attain by following the way of penance. If this consists primarily in conversion of heart, it nonetheless employs the typical ascetical practices of the spiritual tradition of the Church and of your institute. In this regard, fidelity to the fourth solemn vow of the Lenten life, which St Francis of Paola wanted the friars and nuns of the orders he founded to profess, has particular importance.
This special sign of membership in the Order of Minims is very effective for bearing witness to the "things that are above" in a world that is distracted and immersed in hedonism. For in addition to being a powerful means of personal sanctification, it is an opportunity to atone for the sins of all and a way to implore for them the grace of their return to God.
The tendency to seek immediate gratification, prevalent in contemporary society especially among young people, far from prompting the Minims to lessen the Lenten dimension of their institute, should commit them instead to serving their brethren with renewed zeal, in order to teach them the great spiritual way of penance. Of course, appropriate language and reasons must be found, but it remains indispensable to bear witness to the joy that comes to those who renounce worldly comforts to seek the precious pearl of God's kingdom (cf. Mt Mt 13,45-46). This witness will be a valuable gift that your order will offer to the entire Church by reminding everyone of the need to accept the Gospel of conversion and ascesis.
5. Beside the men and women religious of the first and second orders, St Francis of Paola wanted, with prophetic insight, to introduce lay people to the spirituality of the Lenten life and so founded the third order for them. For almost 500 years they have participated in the order's mission through many forms of sharing and collaboration.
The complexity and rapid changes of the contemporary world demand of Christians a ready capacity for discernment and an increasingly effective presence in secular affairs. To this end, collaboration between lay people and religious should be encouraged and supported by treasuring the positive experiences gained over the years. In fact, unexpected and fruitful insights into certain aspects of the charism can come from this collaboration (cf. Vita consecrata VC 55). Therefore, all religious should devote ever greater care to the formation of lay people: may they be experienced spiritual guides, attentive to individuals and to the signs of the times, joyful witnesses of the charism which they intend to share with all who work more directly in the world.
6. Dear friends, the Great Jubilee invites the whole Church to contemplate the mystery of the Incarnation with renewed gratitude, in order to proclaim Christ's Gospel in the new millennium with increasing ardour: it opens before you a vast horizon of prospects and tasks.
May your order, after overcoming so many difficult moments in the course of its history, continue to be a shining light for the penitents of the Church: may it remind those far away of the need for conversion and repentance; may it encourage by example and prayer all who set out on this way; may it bear witness to a Lenten life which, by following Jesus on his way to Calvary, offers a certain foretaste of the joy of the eternal Easter already in this life.
May your communities draw from their treasure what is new and what is old (cf. Mt Mt 13,52), and thus be an expression of the ever-valid power of the way of penance which, by leading man to renounce his old self, prepares the way for the coming of the kingdom.
I entrust all your generous intentions and the Chapter's work to the Blessed Virgin, to St Francis of Paola and to the many saints and blesseds who enrich your centuries of history, so that they may help you today to offer your charism anew as an eloquent sign of evangelical fruitfulness and of the renewal of Church life.
With these wishes, I gladly impart a special Apostolic Blessing to all of you here and to the entire Order of Minims in their threefold expression as friars, nuns and tertiaries.
1. I am very pleased to welcome you and I cordially greet you, dear members of the Boards of Directors of the John Paul II Foundation for the Sahel and the "Populorum Progressio" Foundation. I especially greet Archbishop Paul Joseph Cordes, President of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum", and thank him for his kind words of welcome on behalf of you all. I greet his staff and am grateful to them for the assistance and support they offer to these providential institutions which concretely
express the Holy See's closeness to those suffering poverty and hunger.
The John Paul II Foundation for the Sahel began its activity in 1984, following an appeal that I made in Ouagadougou in 1980 to the international community for a general mobilization against the serious desertification affecting the countries of the Sahel. Twenty years later, that appeal has not, unfortunately, lost its timeliness: not only in the desert areas of North Africa, but throughout the planet, the problem of water has become more serious and urgent. Lack of water will perhaps be the main issue that humanity will have to address in the near future. For this reason national leaders should not fail to adopt suitable measures for promoting equitable access to so precious a good for all humanity. It is not enough to think of present needs, for we have a serious responsibility towards future generations, who will demand an account of our efforts to protect the natural resources which the Creator entrusted to mankind to be used with care and respect.
As for the "Populorum Progressio" Foundation, established in conjunction with the celebrations for the fifth centenary of the evangelization of the American continent, it aims at the advancement of the most marginalized populations in Latin American and Caribbean societies, in the perspective of the total development of the person. This foundation is meant to assist the poorest of the poor. Large segments of the Latin American population, in fact, are still waiting to be able to achieve a development worthy of human beings.
2. The happy occasion of this first meeting with your two foundations, along with the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum", during the Jubilee Year gives me the opportunity to reflect with you on the meaning of the Church's work on behalf of the very poor. For the Jubilee, in addition to being an occasion for conversion, also calls for acts of concrete solidarity towards the needy. Faced with the enormity of needs in today's world, the Church intends to make her own contribution.
With the limited means at her disposal she certainly knows that she cannot meet every need, but she tries to make some gestures of concrete hope that will be signs of Christ's loving presence. The Gospel recounts how Christ intended his miracles as an expression of God's mercy towards man. Likewise, the Church wishes to show through her action that God draws near to those in difficulty to restore their hope and dignity. The Church does not intend to be merely an agency of humanitarian aid; rather, she wishes to bear witness in every way to the love of Christ, who frees human beings from all evil.
3. One of your two foundations combats the desertification of the earth. Speaking of the desert calls to mind the condition in which part of mankind lives, afflicted by violence, disasters and selfishness. To those who find themselves living in this "desert" of our times, the Church wants to bring the water of truth and love. To the great poverty that enslaves people, the Church seeks
to respond by giving them Christ, the Son of God who became incarnate for love of man.
It is for this love that every heart truly hungers and thirsts. May the efforts to help people in difficulty to regain their human dignity be successful. Every contribution to the social progress of individuals and peoples in the grip of illness and poverty is praiseworthy. When Christians show concern for the sufferings and problems of their poor and needy brothers and sisters, they particularly want to help them experience that God loves them and wants them to take charge of their own development.
4. This is the light in which the initiatives undertaken by these two foundations in particularly afflicted nations and continents should be seen. It is in this light that we find all the Church's charitable activity, which the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum" is called to inspire and coordinate. Last May, on the occasion of the "Day for the Witnesses of Charity", I recalled in this regard that those who work for charity are far more than mere social workers, but are true witnesses.
At the dawn of the new millennium, this is the perspective in which the Church's charitable interventions must be carried out. In the hope that this principle will inspire all your work and activity, dear brothers and sisters, I implore for you the constant support and protection of the Lord Jesus and of Mary, Mother of Hope. To this end I assure you of my prayers and willingly impart a special Apostolic Blessing to you here and to everyone you represent, as well as to all the peoples who benefit from your service.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
1. I thank God and his Mother for this touching meeting at which we have continued our prayer together. I am delighted to be able to take part in this national Jubilee pilgrimage with you, my compatriots from Poland and the whole world. I greet all of you here and those who stayed behind in our homeland and are joining us in spirit or by radio and television. I offer a word of particular closeness to the sick and suffering. I wish to send everyone my cordial greeting.
This prayer meeting was preceded by a rich artistic programme. I thank the choirs, the artistic and musical groups and their directors, and also the individual artists and the organizers. God reward you for this Jubilee gift.
2. I am pleased that Poles have come to Rome in such large numbers during the Jubilee Year. I can still see the thousands of Poles who took part in the opening of the Holy Year, in the celebrations of the Easter Triduum and the canonization of Sr Faustina. Since the beginning of the year the sick, then workers, journalists, men and women of learning, etc. have come here. Polish priests have also come to observe their Jubilee with the Pope and priests from around the world.
All these pilgrims bring with them the still fresh memory of the Polish Millennium - the millennium of our nation's baptism. This Polish Millennium was associated with the figure of the great Primate, Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski, who led the Church and the nation across the threshold of their second millennium. It was also associated with the pilgrimage to the image of Jasna Góra. Finally it was associated with the great event of the Second Vatican Council. Since that Polish Millennium we have been strengthened in our awareness of being God's People, who from generation to generation are on pilgrimage through this world to their Father's house. Today we bring this awareness to the door of the Great Jubilee, through which the peoples and nations of the whole world have passed in pilgrimage.
History has been marked by the faith of the Polish people Mindful of our Polish experiences of the Millennium, we especially feel that our presence here is the fruit of the great pilgrimage of history begun by our nation when Prince Mieszko received Baptism and confessed his faith in Christ. We
want this nation to take part today in our visit to the apostolic thresholds of the Great Jubilee, and all our millenary history and culture to be present with it, beginning with Adalbert's hymn "Mother of God". We wish to invite here all the Piasts who sat on the Polish throne from Mieszko to Casimir the Great. We want the Lady of Wawel, Queen Hedwig, to be here with all that she did for our nation and for Polish culture. May she be joined by the Jagiellonian era, the time of the Three-Nation Commonwealth, the period of our country's greatest historical splendour. We wish to
summon here all those whose bodies lie in the crypt of Wawel - bishops, kings, commanders and poets - all those who marked the course of our noble and difficult history, characterized by victories and defeats, up to the greatest downfall of the three partitions and then the 19th-century uprisings and the heroic regaining of independence in this century.
All these forebears of our history are present here today and they testify that successive generations of the Church's sons and daughters in Poland have left on history a lasting mark of their faith, their love of God and man, and their concern to respect timeless values. May there always be this witness to the efforts of generation to generation to shape the Christian face not just of our nation but of all Europe. We accept their witness not to glorify ourselves, but to glorify the Lord, and then consciously to take this legacy and transmit it to future generations. May all that Poland represents pass with us here through the door of the third millennium, which opens to the future.
3. In this Great Jubilee year you have come on pilgrimage to Rome to the tombs of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, in order to renew and enrich your faith with the faith of the Apostles, through the experience of a shared journey, the offering of the difficulties endured and sincere prayer. As I wrote in the Bull Incarnationis mysterium: "Pilgrimages have always been a significant part of the life of the faithful.... A pilgrimage evokes the believer's personal journey in the footsteps of the Redeemer: it is an exercise of practical asceticism, of repentance for human weakness, of constant vigilance over one's own frailty, of interior preparation for a change of heart. Through vigils, fasting and prayer, the pilgrim progresses along the path of Christian perfection, striving to attain, with the support of God's grace, "the state of the perfect man to the measure of the full
maturity of Christ' (Ep 4,13)" (n. 7).
Prayer is an effective aid for enriching our faith and making it fruitful, a faith that possesses the power and capacity for the continual improvement of our personal, family and social lives. Therefore, your pilgrimage began this morning with the solemn Eucharist that I celebrated with the Bishops and priests, and now the day is being completed in a certain sense this evening with our shared prayer in St Peter's Square. Today the world, including our homeland, needs many men women of mature faith who courageously confess Christ in every place and situation. There is a need for true heralds of the Gospel and messengers of the truth. We need men and women who believe and love, and who express this love of God in an authentic service to man. The greatest wealth that we can pass on to the younger generation on the threshold of the third millennium is our faith. Blessed is the nation that walks in the light of the Gospel, that lives on divine truth and that draws knowledge from the Cross. I say these words to you here in Rome, in the Eternal City, where the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul lived, worked and died. Faith filled their lives till the end. Because of their faith Peter did not fear the cross nor Paul the sword. They became powerful witnesses to Christ and their testimony lasts for all time and bears fruit. "Whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that overcomes the world, our faith" (1Jn 5,4). May these words from the First Letter of St John accompany you as you pass through the Holy Doors of St Peter's Basilica and the other patriarchal basilicas. Let us say our Creed today on the tombs of the martyrs of the faith and let us forcefully confess that "Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Ph 2,11).
4. "Standing by the cross of Jesus was his mother" (cf. Jn Jn 19,25). These are the words of John's Gospel which we heard during this evening's liturgy. At the cross of the dying Jesus his Mother is there. His beloved Mother, faithful to him until the end. Her presence, her "standing" at the cross, shows her strength and extraordinary courage at this decisive moment. As the drama of Redemption unfolds on Calvary, faith is Mary's support. The Second Vatican Council says that "the Blessed Virgin advanced in her pilgrimage of faith, and faithfully persevered in her union with her Son to the cross" (Lumen gentium, LG 58). For us, for all mankind, Mary will always be the perfect model of that faith which knows no fear or compromise, which inwardly compels us to persevere until the end, to the cross.
Let us pray to the Virgin Mother of God, Queen of Poland and Our Lady of Jasna Góra, to obtain a rich and mature faith for us from her Son, so that we may spread it and bear witness to it: a living faith expressed in our lives and shaping our everyday activities; a creative faith capable of transforming us and the world in which we live. May he complete it with love and make it sensitive to the signs of the times and the needs of our neighbour.
For the third millennium opening before us, let us implore the Mother of God's Son and our Mother to grant us the grace of fidelity to God, to the Cross, to the Gospel and to the Church. Let us place our trust in her protection, so that we may preserve the treasure of our holy faith without blemish forever.
Mary, you have long been the Queen of Poland!
Say a word on our behalf!
Protect the whole nation, which lives for your glory, that it may grow in splendour, Mary!
Speeches 2000 - Friday 30 June 2000