To my venerable Brother in the Episcopate,
Bishop Franz Grave
President of Episcopal Action ADVENIAT
1. Forty years ago the Plenary Assembly of the German Bishops' Conference decided to introduce, for the first time, during the liturgical services of Holy Christmas, a collection for the Church in Latin America. This decision of 30 August 1961 marks the beginning of the praiseworthy work of cooperation and solidarity between the Churches in Germany and the Churches in Latin American, which later took the name of Episcopal Action ADVENIAT. In the years of its existence it has contributed in an essential way to reinforcing and fostering the task of evangelization in Latin America.
2. I too want to be among those who thank God for the generosity with which German Catholics have satisfied the desire of my venerable Predecessor, Bl. John XXIII, and have sustained the Church in Latin America with their donations so that it might achieve ecclesial projects.
With special gratitude and appreciation I recall two Cardinals who have distinguished themselves: Joseph Frings, Archbishop of Cologne and Franz Hengsbach, Bishop of Essen, who can be considered the architects of this episcopal work. My appreciation also goes to the entire German Bishops' Conference which has successfully promoted and inspired this very important work. Likewise, I thank all the benefactors and the numerous, "ordinary" faithful who, year after year, have actively sustained with their own contributions their brothers and sisters in Latin America. The Lord, who also sees what is hidden, will abundantly reward you for your goodness (cf. Mt Mt 6,2-4).
3. Today, after 40 years of fruitful collaboration in the Church, we can look with joy at this abundant harvest, fruit of the great and inexhaustible love of German Catholics for their sister Churches in Latin America. It guarantees help in the formation of priests, religious and catechists as well as in the building of churches, chapels, seminaries, parish centres and convents. Cars, other vehicles and numerous other instruments useful for the work of evangelization and for pastoral needs are also made available.
In this way, German Catholics responded together with their Pastors to the major pastoral challenge of meeting material needs that weigh on the local Churches in Latin America, who are rich in faith, but often poor in religious infrastructures.
In a certain sense, German Catholics also participate in the particular solicitude that the Successor of Peter nourishes for his brothers and sisters in Latin America. They become increasingly aware of being members of the universal Church.
4. The concrete gestures of affection towards the sister Churches, economic help and other signs of solidarity express the mystery of the Church as Communio: all are members of one Body and Christ is the Head.
I wish to express my appreciation also for the twinning between German and Latin American Dioceses that has sprung up with the help of ADVENIAT and in the mutual exchange of giving and receiving that produced good and abundant fruits of solidarity.
Thanks to the untiring work of ADVENIAT a solid network has been created between the Church in Germany and the particular Churches in Latin America, whose Countries received the light of Christ more than 500 years ago and whose inhabitants are almost half of the Catholics world-wide.
The Gospel has deeply influenced the cultural identity of these regions. At the same time, a Church exists that is alive and eager to begin the work of evangelization (cf. Address to participants in plenary assembly of Pontifical Commission for Latin America, 23 March 2001; L'Osservatore Romano English edition, 4 April 2001, p. 4).
5. The riches and vitality of the Church on the "continent of hope" must move German Catholics to live their faith with great intensity and conviction, as St Paul strongly urged the Chuch in Corinth referring to the Church of Jerusalem: "As a matter of equality your abundance at the present time should supply their want, so that their abundance may supply your want, that there may be equality" (II Cor 8,14).
My wish is that the close bond between your local Churches and those in Latin America may bear abundant fruits also in Germany, so that the Church renews and directs herself to that "high standard of ordinary Christian living", that I highlighted in my Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio ineunte (cf. n. 31).
6. At the beginning of the third millennium I exhort the Pastors and the faithful of Germany to "profit from the grace received" in the Jubilee Year, "putting it into practice in resolutions and guidelines for action" (ibid., n. 3) so that works as important as ADVENIAT can flourish and prosper for a world-wide ecclesial solidarity.
May the Lord, through the intercession of the Virgin of Guadalupe, patron and protector of America, fill your hearts with the gift of love and accompany your actions, done for your poorer brothers and sisters, united in faith! With this wish I impart my Apostolic Blessing.
From Castel Gandolfo 30 August 2001.
To Fr Eugenio Galignano, O.F.M.Conv,
President of the Militia of the Immaculata
1. With deep interest I have learned that the International Centre of the Militia of the Immaculata, supported by the "St Bonaventure" and "Marianum" Pontifical Theological Faculties and the Italian Interdisciplinary Mariological Association, has promoted the International Congress "Maximilian Mary Kolbe in his time and today. Interdisciplinary approach to his identity and writings".
In expressing my pleasure for this initiative, I cordially greet you, Reverend Father, Your Eminences, Brothers in the Episcopate, Academic Authorities, Father Minister General and Fathers and Brothers of the Conventual Franciscan Order, the Convention's presenters and participants in such a significant event.
The Symposium, 60 years after the heroic martyrdom of Fr Maximilian Mary, emphasizes how contemporary is his witness and how his thought does influence current Catholic theological reflection. The extraordinary gesture of the Martyr of Oswiecim offers the opportunity, through an interdisciplinary study, to understand his life and his work better, in order to understand his penetrating theological and spiritual intuitions more deeply in view of the new evangelization and of the renewed missionary impetus which define the Church of the third millennium.
2. Maximilian Mary Kolbe, a man who profoundly knew the anxieties and longings of his peers, knew how to recognize the life-giving presence of the "seeds of the Word" in every culture and, by a trusting and loving dialogue with Her who generated in time the Son of God, strove to use them for a courageous work of evangelization. The Immaculata was to him, in addition to a "sweet mother", an example and criteria of absolute fidelity to the saving plan God.
From his youth he had wanted to belong unreservedly to Mary, she whom God had thought of from all eternity, the Mother of the Son. The Blessed Virgin was the creature who knew better than anyone how to embrace the plan of redemption that the Most Blessed Trinity willed, in Christ, for all humanity. "How many mysteries about Jesus - wrote St Maximilian - the Divine Spirit, living and working in you, must have revealed only and exclusively to your immaculate soul" (SK, 1236).
He strongly believed that the person who is close to Mary is docile to the breath of the Paraclete, knows how to receive his inspiration and can adhere fully to Christ. He seems to suggest that whoever wants to know and preach the Gospel should draw close to the Immaculata with confidence, because She intimately knew the mysteries of the Son of God.
The Church, advancing confidently towards the fulfilment of the Kingdom of God, continues to announce the Good News in a changing world, faithful to the heritage received, but aware that methods and words have to be adapted to the mentality of the men and women of today. St Maximilian knew how to speak to his contemporaries and make himself understood; he was faithful to God and faithful to man in truth and in holiness.
3. Fr Kolbe has left this heritage to his confreres, the Friars Minor Conventual, and, through their efforts and their witness, to the whole Christian community. The Militia of the Immaculata, founded by him and recently recognized as a public and international Association of the faithful, has made this consecration to Mary its own in a special way, so that the Gospel may continue to be preached generously to all and be a light for all humanity.
May the Congress, through various approaches to the personality and writings of the Saint, martyr of charity, contribute to enriching the doctrinal content and the apostolic methods at the service of the evangelizing work of the Church.
With these wishes, while I entrust you, Father, the participants of the Congress and all the members of the Militia of the Immaculata to the heavenly protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary and to the intercession of St Maximilian Mary Kolbe, I cordially impart to all a special Apostolic Blessing.
From Castel Gandolfo, 18 September 2001.
Astana, 25 September 2001
Dear Brothers in the Episcopate and the Priesthood,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
1. These three memorable days which have enabled me to meet so many people here in Astana and to experience at first hand the vitality of the Kazakh people are coming to an end. The memory of my stay in this noble country, rich in history and cultural traditions, will be with me for a long time.
I thank you for the kind and heartfelt welcome which you have given me. I thank you, Mr President, for the exquisite hospitality which you have shown in all sorts of ways. I thank the administrative, military and religious authorities as well as those who prepared my visit and took care of its organization. To each and every one of you I express my most sincere gratitude.
The words which I have heard in the various moments we have spent together remain impressed on my mind. I have in mind the hopes and expectations of this dear people, which I have come to know and respect more deeply: a people that has suffered years of harsh persecution, but has not hesitated to commit itself with enthusiasm to the path of development.A people seeking to build a serene future for its children, marked by solidarity, because it loves and seeks peace.
2. Kazakhstan, a nation which has centuries of history behind it, knows how important and urgent peace is. Because of your geographical position, you are a frontier land and a land of encounter. Here, in these endless steppes, men and women of different races, cultures and religions have met and continue to meet in peace.
Kazakhstan, may you with God’s help grow in unity and solidarity! This is the heartfelt wish that I repeat as I recall the theme of this entire visit: "Love one another!" (Jn 13,34). These demanding words of Jesus, uttered on the eve of his death on the Cross, have inspired and marked each stage of my pilgrimage.
"Love one another!" This country, home to men and women of different origins, needs solid agreements and stable social relations. It is not an exaggeration to say that your country has a vocation all its own: that of being, in an ever more conscious way, a bridge between Europe and Asia. May this be your civil and religious choice. Be a bridge made up of people who embrace other people: people who communicate fullness of life and hope.
3. In saying farewell to you, dear Kazakh people, I wish to assure you that the Church will continue to be at your side. In close cooperation with the other religious communities and with all men and women of goodwill, Catholics will not fail to do their part to ensure that all together can build a common home which is ever more open and welcoming.
The quest for dialogue and harmony has characterized relations between Christianity and Islam here ever since the time of the formation of the Turkish Khanate in the endless spaces of your steppes, and this has enabled your country to become a junction between East and West on the great Silk Road. The younger generations too should follow this path with renewed commitment.
"Love one another!" This demanding saying of the Lord tests our credibility as Christians. Jesus himself warns: "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another" (Jn 13,35).
4. The Great Jubilee of the Year Two Thousand spurred Christians to an intense spiritual reawakening and called them to be witnesses to love in order to respond to the challenges of the third millennium. May you also be witnesses to love, without respite! Be ready to promote "peace, so often threatened by the spectre of catastrophic wars" (Novo Millennio Ineunte NM 51). Be vigilant watchmen, committed to "respect for the life of every human being" (Ibid.).
Men and women of other religions who have the destiny of your people at heart, may you also be witnesses to love! Abai Kunanbai’s question is directed to us all: "If I have been given the name of man, can I fail to love?" (Poetry 12). I am happy to echo this question now as I leave you: can a human being fail to love?
As the Successor of the Apostle Peter, as I recall the many events which have marked the history of the past century, I repeat: Look to the future with confidence! I have come among you as a pilgrim of hope, and I now prepare to undertake my return journey, not without emotion and nostalgia. The memories of these days will go with me; I will carry the certainty that you, people of Kazakhstan, will not fail in your mission of solidarity and peace.
May God bless and protect you always!
Yerevan, 25 September 2001
Dear Armenian Friends,
1. I give thanks to Almighty God that today, for the first time, the Bishop of Rome stands on Armenian soil in this ancient and beloved land, of which your great poet Daniel Varujan once wrote: "From the villages to the far horizons / the land spreads forth as mother" (The Call of the Lands). For a long time I have awaited this moment of grace and joy – and most especially since the visits to the Vatican by yourself, Mr President, and by Your Holiness, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians.
I am deeply grateful to you, Mr President, for your gracious words of welcome on behalf of the Government and people of Armenia. I take this opportunity to thank the Civil and Military Authorities, as well as the Diplomatic Corps accredited to Armenia, for welcoming me here today. In greeting you, my esteem and friendship extend not only to the Armenians living here in your homeland, but also to the millions scattered throughout the world who remain faithful to their heritage and identity, and today look to their land of origin with renewed pride and gladness. Their hearts too beat with the sentiments described by Varujan in one of his poems: "My soul delights to plunge into the shining wave of blue, / to sink, if need be, into the celestial fires; / to know new stars, the ancient long lost homeland, / from where my soul has fallen and still weeps remembering heaven" (Nights on the Threshing Floor).
2. Your Holiness, Catholicos Karekin, with fraternal love in the Lord I embrace you and the Church over which you preside. Without your encouragement I would not now be here, a pilgrim on a spiritual journey to honour the extraordinary witness of Christian life borne by the Armenian Apostolic Church through so many centuries, and not least in the Twentieth Century, which for you was a time of unspeakable terror and suffering. The whole Catholic Church shares your deep joy and the joy of all Armenians on the Seventeen Hundredth Anniversary of the proclamation of Christianity as the official religion of this cherished land.
I embrace my Brother Bishops and all the faithful of the Catholic Church in Armenia and the surrounding regions, eager to confirm you in the love of our Lord Jesus Christ and in the service of your neighbour and of your country.
3. I am deeply moved as I think of the glorious history of Christianity in this land, going back according to tradition to the preaching of the Apostles Thaddeus and Bartholomew. Later, through the witness and work of Saint Gregory the Illuminator, Christianity for the first time became the faith of an entire nation. For ever, the annals of the universal Church will say that the people of Armenia were the first as a whole people to embrace the grace and truth of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Since those epic times, your Church has never ceased to sing the praises of God the Father, to celebrate the mystery of the Death and Resurrection of his Son Jesus Christ and to invoke the help of the Holy Spirit, the Consoler. You zealously guard the memory of your many martyrs: indeed, martyrdom has been the special mark of the Armenian Church and the Armenian people.
4. Armenia’s past is inseparable from her Christian faith. Fidelity to the Gospel of Jesus Christ will contribute no less to the future which the nation is building beyond the devastations of the past century. Mr President, dear Friends, you have just celebrated the tenth anniversary of independence. That was a significant step on the path towards a just and harmonious society in which all will feel fully at home and see their legitimate rights respected. Everyone, especially those responsible for public life, are called today to be genuinely committed to the common good, in justice and solidarity, putting the progress of the people ahead of any partial interests. This is also true in the urgent search for peace at the regional level. Peace will only be built on the solid foundations of mutual respect, justice in inter-community relations, and magnanimity on the part of the strong.
Armenia has become a member of the Council of Europe, and this indicates your determination to work with decision and courage to implement the democratic reforms of the country’s institutions needed to guarantee respect for the human and civil rights of its citizens. These are difficult but also challenging and uplifting times for the nation. May they be met by a firm resolve on the part of everyone to love their country, and sacrifice themselves for the spiritual and material well-being of its people!
God bless the Armenian people with freedom, prosperity and peace!
25 September 2001
Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians,
Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
God’s blessing be upon you all!
1. My pilgrim steps have brought me to Armenia to praise God for the light of the Gospel which, seventeen centuries ago, spread through this land from this place where Saint Gregory the Illuminator received the heavenly vision of the Son of God in the form of light. Holy Etchmiadzin stands as the great symbol of Armenia’s faith in the only-begotten Son of God who came down from heaven, who died to redeem us from sin, and whose resurrection inaugurates the new heavens and the new earth. For all Armenians, Etchmiadzin remains the pledge of perseverance in that faith, despite the suffering and bloodshed past and present, which your troubled history has made the price of your fidelity. In this place I wish to testify that your faith is our faith in Jesus Christ, true God and true man: "there is one Lord, one faith, one baptism" (Ep 4,5).
Here at Holy Etchmiadzin, I am overjoyed to return the kiss of peace which Your Holiness gave me last November at the tomb of the Apostle Peter in Rome. With intense emotion, I greet you and the Archbishops, Bishops, monks, priests and faithful of the beloved Armenian Apostolic Church. As Bishop of Rome, I kneel in admiration of the heavenly gift of your people’s Baptism, and I pay tribute to this temple, symbol of the nation, which, from the beginning, in accordance with Saint Gregory’s vision, bears on its columns the sign of martyrdom.
2. Thank you, Holiness, for welcoming me to your home. This is the first time that the Bishop of Rome, for the extent of his visit to a country, is staying in the home and sharing the daily life of a Brother who presides over one of the glorious Churches of the East. Thank you for this sign of love, which moves me deeply and speaks of profound friendship and fraternal charity to the hearts of all Catholics.
My thoughts turn at this moment to your venerable predecessors. I am thinking of Catholicos Vazken I who worked so much that his people might see the promised land of freedom, and went to God just as independence had arrived. I am thinking of the unforgettable Catholicos Karekin I who was like a brother to me. My desire to visit him when ill health had taken final hold of him could not be fulfilled, even though I wanted it with all my heart. That wish is being satisfied here today with Your Holiness, equally dear and beloved Brother. I look forward to these days when, hand in hand with you, I shall meet the Armenian people and together we shall thank Almighty God for seventeen hundred years of Christian fidelity.
3. Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, grant us to understand the splendid truth of what Saint Gregory heard here: that the doors of your love for your creatures have been thrown open... that the light which fills the earth is the preaching of your Gospel.
Make us worthy, Lord, of the grace of these days. Receive our common prayer; accept the gratitude of the whole Church for the faith of the Armenian people. Inspire us with words and gestures that show the love of one brother for another.
We ask this through the intercession of the great Mother of God, Queen of Armenia, and of Saint Gregory, to whom the Word appeared here in the form of light. Amen.
Memorial of Tzitzernagaberd
Yerevan, 26 September 2001
The Holy Father:
O Judge of the living and the dead, have mercy on us!
Listen, O Lord, to the lament that rises from this place,
to the call of the dead from the depths of the Metz Yeghérn,
the cry of innocent blood that pleads like the blood of Abel,
like Rachel weeping for her children because they are no more.
Listen, Lord, to the voice of the Bishop of Rome,
echoing the plea of his Predecessor Pope Benedict XV,
when in 1915 he raised his voice in defence of
"the sorely afflicted Armenian people
brought to the brink of annihilation".
Look upon the people of this land
who put their trust in you so long ago,
who have passed through the great tribulation
and never failed in their faithfulness to you.
Wipe away every tear from their eyes
and grant that their agony in the twentieth century
will yield a harvest of life that endures for ever.
We are appalled by the terrible violence done to the Armenian people,
and dismayed that the world still knows such inhumanity.
But renewing our hope in your promise, we implore, O Lord,
rest for the dead in the peace which knows no end,
and the healing of still open wounds through the power of your love.
Our soul is longing for you, Lord, more than the watchman for daybreak,
as we wait for the fullness of redemption won on the Cross,
for the light of Easter which is the dawn of invincible life,
for the glory of the new Jerusalem where death shall be no more.
O Judge of the living and the dead, have mercy on us all!
Your Eminences, Brothers in the Episcopate and Priesthood!
1. "To those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ" (1Co 1,2-3).
With the greeting of the Apostle St Paul to the Christians at Corinth, I address Cardinal Eduardo Martínez Somalo, who with wisdom and prudence governs the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life. I wish to greet the Cardinals, Bishops and Officials of the Congregation taking part in the Plenary whose theme is: ""Set out anew from Christ', a renewed commitment of consecrated life in the third millennium".
I thank you for cooperating with the Holy See in discerning the future course for consecrated persons. The Church counts on the dedication of this chosen company of her sons and daughters, on their longing for holiness and on their service "as a means of promoting and supporting every Christian's desire for perfection" and to reinforce the "solidarity with one's neighbour, especially the most needy" (Vita consecrata VC 39). In this way, they witness to the living impact of Christ's charity among men and women.
2. I cannot forget the great Jubilee. As it drew to a close, I invited the whole Church to continue the spiritual journey begun, setting out again with new vigour from the "contemplation of the face of Christ: Christ considered in his historical features and in his mystery, Christ known through his manifold presence in the Church and in the world, and confessed as the meaning of history and the light of life's journey" (Novo Millenio ineunte, n. 15).
In this journey, consecrated persons, called "to put their lives at its [the Kingdom of God] service, leaving everything behind and closely imitating his own way of life" (Vita consecrata VC 14), have a teaching mission for the People of God. Listening to the Word, continual praise of the Father, giver of every good gift and the witness of concrete charity towards our neediest brothers and sisters, they show the "depth of the riches and the wisdom and knowledge of God!" (Rm 11,33).
In order to carry out this teaching mission, they have to foster genuine spiritual and apostolic relationships as part of the ordinary activity of the Church, sharing spiritual goods: the path of faith, the experience of God, the charism and the gifts of the Spirit that bring it about. Thanks to such sharing, more intense and mutual support will grow in every ecclesial Community. Each one will become responsible and, relying on each other, they will advance together in the life of faith according to the charism and ministry of each one.
3. It is an important task, that requires a renewed thirst for holiness. "The spiritual life must have first place in the programme of Families of consecrated life, in such a way that every Institute and community will be a school of true evangelical spirituality" (Vita consecrata VC 93). The daily life of consecrated men and women, made luminous by constant contact with the Lord in silence and in prayer, by gratuitous love and service, especially for the poorest, witnesses that freedom is the fruit of having found the pearl of great price (cf. Mt Mt 13,45-46), Christ, for whom one is ready to abandon everything, affections and earthly security, saying with joy: Teacher, "I will follow you wherever you go" (Lc 9,57). It is the path of consecrated persons in many parts of the world, who even arrive at the supreme gift of their life with martyrdom.
In this deep relationship of love for Christ and of spiritual following in his footsteps, we can find the hope for the future of consecrated life. Consecrated life calls for a personal, voluntary, free, and loving commitment to holiness. Consecrated men and women are called to show forth a real spiritual "expertise" in this journey, tackling with joyful hope the sacrifice and detachment, the hardships and the expectations that are part of this path. It is the way to return to the Father's house, that Christ has opened to us and on which he has gone before us. It is at once detachment and quest; it unites the fatigue of renunciation with the joyful aspect of love (cf. Lk 9,23ff). Faithful to their vocation, they will one day be able to rejoice with the Psalmist: "Blessed are those who dwell in thy house, ever singing thy praise! Blessed are the men whose strength is in thee, in whose heart are the highways to Zion. As they go through the Bitter Valley they make it a place of springs; the autumn rain covers it with blessings. They walk with ever growing strength, they will see the God of gods in Sion" (Ps 83 , 5-8).
4. Consecrated persons will show forth the good example of holiness by the way they make communion the first thing that appears in consecrated life in every age. Every religious community is called to be a place where naturally one learns to pray, where one is educated to recognize and contemplate the face of Christ, growing day by day in radically following the Lord, seeking with sincerity the truth about oneself and firmly orienting oneself to serving the Kingdom of God and his justice.
Authentic communion is born from the humble and active sharing of the faith. It leads to putting in common the gifts of goodness and grace, as well as the limits and the poverty of every person for each one to take them up and celebrate together the mercy of the Father.
Thus true communion in Christ fosters a new style of apostolate. The proclamation of the Gospel of consecrated life, when it comes from an intense and generous fraternity, becomes more living and effective. The Apostle St John teaches this in his first Letter: "That which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life, we proclaim also to you, so that you may have fellowship with us" (1Jn 1,1 1Jn 1,3).
In this way, even what is special about consecrated life, the vows and the particular spirituality, becomes a gift received not to be jealously hoarded, but to be given humbly and generously to the People of God with word and witness, so that all, even the distant or the hostile, can appreciate the great originality of Christianity.
5. In the history of the Church, consecrated life has always been in the forefront of the work of evangelization. Today, as she becomes a pilgrim, walking beside everyone, sharing lives, she warms the heart with the love received in the contemplation of the face of Christ and leads a person to the abundant running waters of divine grace, sharing the bread of the Eucharist and of charity. In this mysterious journey, interwoven with giving and receiving, giving up and accepting, consecrated persons learn to recognize the challenges of today's society.
Following Christ poor, chaste and obedient, with all their heart and strength, they offer the witness of a life that can give hope to every form of commitment and be an alternative to the world's way of living.
The witness becomes the best way to encourage vocations to the consecrated life. Yes, it is necessary to present to young people the face of Christ contemplated in prayer and tenderly served in our brothers and sisters with selfless love. We must be convinced that "we shall not be saved by a formula but by a Person" (Novo Millennio ineunte NM 29). Jesus assures us: "I am with you always, to the close of the age" (Mt 28,20). It is not enough for us to "speak" about Him; we must also make him "seen", with the bold witness of faith and charity. Christ must become the sure reference point; his Face the source of light, strength and mercy, that illumines the world. Only in Him will we find the supernatural energy that can transform the world according to the divine plan.
With the prayer that your session may be fruitful, thanks to the light and guidance of the Holy Spirit, I cordially impart to you and to all the members of the Institutes of consecrated life and of the Societies of apostolic life my Apostolic Blessing.
From the Vatican, 21 September 2001