Speeches 2002 - Monday, 28 January 2002


TO THE BISHOPS OF TAIWAN

ON THEIR "AD LIMINA" VISIT


Tuesday, 29 January 2002


Dear Cardinal Shan,
Dear Brother Bishops,

1. It gives me great joy to welcome you, the Bishops of Taiwan, on the occasion of your visit ad Limina Apostolorum, a visit which expresses and strengthens the bonds of ecclesial communion linking the Pastors of the particular Churches with the Successor of Peter in the service of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As you pray at the tombs of the Apostles and reflect on your own ministry in the light of their teaching and example, it is my fervent prayer that you will find fresh inspiration and strength for your work in the building up of Christís body, the Church, in your Dioceses. I think with affection of the Catholic faithful of Taiwan and I ask our heavenly Father to lead them to know ever more perfectly "the immeasurable greatness of his power in us who believe" (Ep 1,19).

2. The Great Jubilee of the Year 2000 was a joyful event for the whole Church, as we pondered with fresh wonder the workings of Godís grace and its power to accomplish far more than we could ever ask or imagine (cf. Eph Ep 3,21-22). During the Jubilee great numbers of people came on pilgrimage to Rome or to other holy places in order to renew their commitment to Christ through prayer and the Sacraments, and in particular to obtain his mercy, especially in the Sacrament of Penance. At the closing of the Holy Door, I stated that "Christianity is born, and continually draws new life from ... contemplation of the glory of God shining on the face of Christ"(Homily at the Closing of the Holy Door, January 6, 2001, No. 6). I expressed the hope that the whole Christian community would set out from this contemplation of Christ with fresh enthusiasm and a new commitment to the search for holiness, in order to testify to his love "by living a Christian life marked by communion, charity and witness before the world" (ibid., No. 8). This is the task which I entrusted to the attention of the particular Churches in the Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio Ineunte, as a way of building on what the Jubilee achieved in the lives of individuals and communities.

Over the past year, the Catholic community in Taiwan has taken up this mission by reflecting on the theme "New Century, New Evangelization", with the aim of contributing with concrete initiatives to the renewal of Church life in your Dioceses. Now is the time to set out with confidence in the Lord and put these proposals into practice in order to respond to the challenges of the new millennium.

3. Your initiatives will bear fruit provided that they reflect the two dimensions necessary in all the Churchís activities: the dimension ad intra and the dimension ad extra. Ad intra: a spirit of prayer and contemplation, vital to the Christian life, must be the hallmark of all we say and do: "Nothing is equal to prayer, for what is impossible it makes possible, what is difficult, easy" (St John Chrysostom, De Anna, 4, 5). Ad extra: the duty to proclaim Christ, convinced that the spreading of the Gospel is "the primary service which the Church can render to every individual and to all humanity in the modern world" (Redemptoris Missio RMi 2). The two are inseparable, for spirituality shows its authenticity in proclaiming and witnessing to Christ, while missionary activity can only produce positive results when it is rooted in an intimate communion with God: without prayer, our evangelization would be in vain; without mission, the Christian community would lose its savour and zest.

Faced with the difficulties affecting the life of faith today, it could be tempting for Pastors to adopt an attitude of resignation and say like the Apostle Peter: "Master, we toiled all night and took nothing" (Lc 5,5). But even when we do not see the results of our pastoral endeavors, we ought not to become discouraged: we plant and water, but it is God who gives the growth (cf. 1Co 3,6). The Lord Jesus constantly invites us to overcome our fear and to "put out into the deep" (Lc 5,4). Convinced that Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth and the Life (cf. Jn Jn 14,6), is the Good News for the men and women of every time and place in their search for the meaning of life and for the truth of their own humanity (cf. Ecclesia in Asia ), we should never be afraid of proclaiming the full truth about him, in all its challenging reality. The Good News has an intrinsic power of its own to draw people.

4. During the recent General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, the figure of Christ the Good Shepherd emerged as the "icon" of the episcopal ministry, the model to which we are to conform ourselves ever more closely. As Shepherds of the People of God in Taiwan, you represent Christ in your particular Churches, since from him you receive the mission and sacred power to act in persona Christi capitis and to teach and govern with authority in his name. This calls for deep and prayerful intimacy with the Lord, so that by taking on the form of Christ the servant (cf. Phil Ph 2,7) you will be able work with humility, generosity and commitment for the good of the faithful entrusted to your pastoral care. In carrying out his first and primary duty, which is the care of souls, cura animarum, the Bishop needs to be close to his people and know them, in order to promote whatever is good and positive, sustain and guide those who are weak in faith (cf. Rom Rm 14,1), and, where necessary, intervene to unmask falsehoods and correct abuses (cf. Homily at the Close of the Tenth General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, October 27, 2001, No. 4). Yours is above all a mission of hope, for you know that the true solution to the complicated problems which burden humanity lies in the reception given to the saving message of the Gospel. For this reason, your pastoral planning for the opening years of the new millennium should be aimed above all at enabling the proclamation of Christ "to reach people, mould communities and have a deep and incisive influence in bringing Gospel values to bear in society and culture" (Novo Millennio Ineunte NM 29).

5. Of course, you do not work alone: the mission belongs to all of Godís people. Your priests are your closest collaborators in the work of evangelization, and, if it is to be successful, you must do all you can to foster in your Dioceses close bonds of priestly brotherhood and a sense of common purpose. The devout and dedicated lives of preists, in direct contact with both Christians and non-Christians, in parishes and the various places where they exercise their pastoral ministry, is the measure of each communityís vitality. The traditional respect for the things of the spirit characteristic of Asian culture is all the more reason for them to be men of prayer, truly expert in Godís ways, eager to share with others the love of God which they have come to know in their own lives. In this way they will be able to respond to the hunger for God which marks modern society, and enter more deeply into the hopes and needs of those to whom they minister. You clearly recognize that fresh efforts have constantly to be made to present the ideal of the priestly life as a valid choice for all those young men who come to a deeper knowledge of the Lord. I am confident that your people will support you when you appeal for more intense prayer for vocations, and when you hold up to them the great grace and privilege that it is when God calls a member of a family to the priesthood or consecrated life.

6. I wish to say a word of gratitude, appreciation and encouragement to the men and women who belong to Taiwanís numerous institutes of consecrated life. Consecrated men and women make a unique contribution to the work of evangelization by living out their consecration through prayer and the apostolate in accordance with the charism of each Institute. By their state of life, which involves the total giving of self to God loved above all else, and which calls for a more intimate consecration to his service, they signify and proclaim in the Church the glory of the world to come (cf. Code of Canon Law, Canon 573) and bear witness to the new creation inaugurated by Christ and made possible in us by the grace and power of the Holy Spirit. Through their generous dedication to social and charitable works, education and health care they have been and continue to be a great spiritual resource for the life of your particular Churches.

You will encourage consecrated men and women to be at the forefront of the apostolate of prayer, which is the secret of a truly vital Christianity (cf. Novo Millennio Ineunte NM 32). There is a widespread demand today for authentic spirituality, which expresses itself in large part as a renewed need for prayer. This is particularly true in societies such as your own which on the one hand has a rich heritage of spiritual traditions and on the other is threatened by currents of materialism and individualism. For this reason, contemplative men and women should not only cultivate carefully the life of prayer to which they are called but should become true teachers of prayer for clergy and laity alike.

7. In the Churchís mission the laity have their own specific responsibility and mission: they are called to be "salt of the earth" and "light of the world" (cf. Mt Mt 5,13-14). By virtue of their Baptism and Confirmation all lay people are missionaries, and it is in the world that they are called to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In the local Church in Taiwan their role is all the more vital: though by comparison their number is small, they act as a leaven in society, transforming it according to the values of the Gospel. Through their faith, goodness and loving service, they can lead to the spread of an authentic Christian culture characterised by respect for life at every stage, a vibrant family life, dedicated care of the sick and the aged, harmony, cooperation and solidarity among all sectors of society, respect for those who think differently and commitment to promoting the common good. In living their Christian vocation the laity look to you for support, encouragement and guidance. They in fact have to face the challenges of contemporary society "not just with worldly wisdom and efficiency, but with hearts renewed and strengthened by the truth of Christ" (Ecclesia in Asia ). Your task is to teach and inspire them, by word and example, to lead fully Christian lives, so that they may be able to bear witness to Christ in their homes, in the workplace and in all their activities.

8. Since it belongs to the essence of each particular Church to live in communion with the universal Church, a Bishop cannot fail to be sensitive to the needs of the Church throughout the world. This is the sollicitudo omnium Ecclesiarum of which the Apostle Paul speaks (cf. 2Co 11,28). In various ways the Church in Taiwan has responded to the needs and aspirations of Christians elsewhere, most especially at the regional level by providing educational opportunities and financial support for Church personnel from other parts of Asia, and in offering resources for missionary activity. Your concern is expressed particularly in the attention you give to your brothers and sisters on the Mainland who have in common with you so many cultural, spiritual and historical values. In this, your efforts are aimed at promoting mutual understanding, reconciliation and fraternal love among all the Catholics of the great Chinese family. I am confident that these efforts, carried out in communion with other particular Churches and the See of Peter, will help to overcome the difficulties of the past, so that ever new opportunities for dialogue and reciprocal human and spiritual enrichment may arise.

9. Dear Brother Bishops, every situation is an opportunity for Christians to show forth the power which the truth of Christ has become in their lives. Although increasing secularization may give the impression that modern society is closed to spiritual and transcendent values, many people are looking for meaning in their lives and for the happiness that only God can give. The conviction that has accompanied me throughout my Pontificate is this: "The absolute and yet sweet and gentle power of the Lord responds to the whole depths of the human person, to his loftiest aspirations of intellect, will and heart" (Homily, October 22, 1978, No. 4). This power, which has its source not in worldly power but in the mystery of the Cross and Resurrection, is the true source of our confidence in the exercise of our ministry. We know that the Lord will never abandon us in our pastoral mission, provided we place our trust in him and call upon him. Set out then with courage, with the assurance that Christ who knows every human heart is with you.

Dear Brothers, with affection in the Lord for all who are in your pastoral care, I entrust the whole Church in Taiwan to the maternal protection of Mary, bright Star of Evangelization in every age, and to all of you I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing.



PASTORAL VISIT TO THE ROME UNIVERSITY THREE AT TOR VERGATA

FOR THE INAUGURATION CEREMONY OF THE 10th ACADEMIC YEAR



Thursday, 31 January 2002



Dear Rector,
Distinguished Guests and Lecturers,
Dear Students,

1. It gives me great joy to visit your university community, for the Solemn Inauguration of the Tenth Academic Year. First of all, I want to greet the rector, Prof. Guido Fabiani, whom I thank for his invitation and words of welcome. I listened attentively as he described the plans of the Athenaeum and I deeply appreciate the openness that distinguishes your academic centre, as well as your desire to cooperate in a special way with Third World countries by making five scholarships available to young people from those countries.

I greet the heads of the various faculties, together with the institutional and academic authorities whose presence enhances this meeting. I also greet respectfully Mrs Letizia Moratti, Minister of Education, Universities and Research, who has honoured us with her presence.

I cordially greet Cardinal Camillo Ruini, Vicar of Rome, the Auxiliary Bishop of the Sector and the priests in charge of the spiritual formation of those who attend this university centre, to which the Church of Rome looks with sympathy and attention. She is ready to cooperate, so that, together, she may offer to the University community a competent service with the goal of creating in the diversity of roles, occasions for dialogue, discussion and proposals. I am sure that this communion of minds will increase, supported by the constant activity of the university's chaplaincy.

Above all, I greet you, dear students, who are being prepared to collaborate in building the society of the future. In a particular way I greet your representative and thank him for his thoughtful words expressing your common sentiments. Your future will depend largely on the conscientious way you apply yourselves in these years to the many disciplines, that are useful tools in the daily quest for the truth about yourselves and the world in which you live.

2. To prepare yourselves for this meeting, you reflected on the contribution that, as undergraduates, you are called to make to the common good, and you concluded that your first duty is to be faithful to the typical mission of a university centre. The essential mission of universities is to be an authoritative guide in the quest for truth: from the simplest truths, such as those about material elements and living beings, to the more complicated truths such as those on the laws of knowledge, of social living, of the use of the science; lastly, of deeper truths, such as the meaning of human action and the values that inspire individual and community activity.

Humanity needs authoritative guides of truth, and, if the university is a workshop of knowledge, those who are engaged in it need to have as the true compass of their activity the intellectual honesty, that makes it possible to sift the false from the true, the part from the whole, the means from the end. This is already a significant contribution to building a future anchored in the sound and universal values of freedom, justice and peace.

3. St Thomas Aquinas, whose feast we celebrated last Monday [28 January], observed that the "genus humanum arte et ratione vivit" [the human race lives by skill and reason] (in Arist. Post. Analyt., 1). Every immediate and scientific knowledge should be referred to the values and traditions that constitute the treasure of a people. Drawing from those values that bind together and, at the same time, distinguish one people from another, the university becomes the magisterial centre of a culture that is truly human and is the ideal environment to harmonize the individual genius of a nation and the spiritual values that belong to the whole human family.

You, my dear Rector, have just recalled what I asserted a few years ago: that man lives a truly human life thanks to culture. Culture and cultures must not be opposed to one another, but rather maintain a dialogue that enriches the unity and diversity of human existence. We are then in the presence of a fruitful plurality that allows the person to develop without losing his own roots, because it helps to preserve the fundamental dimension of his integral being.

The person is a spiritual and material subjectivity, capable of spiritualizing the material, and making it a docile instrument of his/her own spiritual energies, that is, of his intelligence and will. At the same time his spiritual subjectivity is able to give a material dimension to the spirit, in other words, to make the spiritual incarnate and historical. Think, for example, of all the great intellectual, artistic, and technical intuitions that have become "matter", that is, concrete and practical expressions of genius that were first conceived in the mind itself.

4. In every field, the journey of knowledge cannot do without a loyal evaluation using the ethical and moral values connected with the spiritual dimension of the human person. Faith enlightens the set of values innate in the human heart that are a fundamental point of reference. It is enough to look at history with objectivity to realize how important religion has been in the formation of cultures, and how with its influence it has shaped the entire human habitat. To ignore or deny this is not only an error of perspective, but also a disservice to the truth about the human person. Why be afraid to open knowledge and culture to faith? The passion and rigour of the quest have nothing to lose in the sapiential dialogue with the values contained in religion. Did not this osmosis produce the humanism of which our Europe is justifiably proud, as today it reaches toward new cultural and economic triumphs?

Insofar as it depends on the Church, as the Second Vatican Council recalls, "our eagerness for such dialogue, conducted with appropriate discretion and leading to truth by way of love alone, excludes nobody; we would like to include those who respect outstanding human values without realizing who the author of those values is, as well as those who persecute the Church" (Gaudium et spes GS 92).

The Assisi meeting last Thursday showed how the authentic religious spirit promotes a sincere dialogue that opens souls to reciprocal understanding and agreement serving the cause of the human person.

5. Distinguished academic authorities, dear professors and students, I entrust these reflections to you who form the great family of the Third University of Rome. May your work be supported by a passionate dedication, carried out with constancy and generosity, and be inspired by a spirit of understanding and dialogue. The renewal of our society and the building of a better future of peace for everyone depends on you who are occupied in the sector of scientific research.

May Mary, Mother of Wisdom, support you in your passion for the truth and enlighten you in times of difficulty and trial. Never lose heart! The Pope is beside you and blesses you warmly, together with your loved ones.

February 2002




TO THE MEMBERS OF THE ASSOCIATION

FOR THE COMPUTERIZATION OF LEXICOLOGICAL

HERMENEUTICAL ANALYSES (CAEL)


Friday 1 February 2002



Your Eminences,
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

1. I warmly greet you with a sense of gratitude for the goals that motivate you.
I thank Dr Antonio Fazio, Governor of the Bank of Italy, for his words as President of the Honorary Committee of the Association for the "Computerization of Lexicological Hermeneutical Analyses" (CAEL) of St Thomas Aquinas.

I likewise greet the other committee members: Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi, Dr Camdessus, Ambassador Bettini, President of CAEL, and the other speakers.

I express my deepest appreciation for all his work to Fr Roberto Busa, S.J., a pioneer in computer linguistics, and to his team. The 56 volumes of the Index Thomisticus are a proof of their work.

St Thomas impressed his age with his genius and continues to be an outstanding figure for his research and love for the truth that dominate his admirable philosophical and theological edifice.

2. I am pleased to encourage your intention of launching a new enterprise that will be undertaken by an internatonal team of young people, guided by more mature scholars: the elaboration of a Bicultural Thomistic Lexicon that, in twenty or thirty years, will translate all the terms of the enormous Lexicon of St Thomas into modern words.

You have chosen the work of Aquinas as a true and proper encyclopedia of his time, summary of 40 centuries of Mediterranean culture: Jewish, Greek, Latin, Arab and Christian. Indeed the Bicultural Thomistic Lexicon will consider in the opus of St Thomas above all what he has in common with authors who were his contemporaries.

In St Thomas' sapiential vision, even though certain parts of it depend on the science of his time, the cosmos appears to be directed by a single universal programme, in which everything is organically connected. It is a programme incorporated into nature by the Divine Thought, the Creator of the human intelligence that invented information technology.

I entrust the work you are about to begin to divine Providence, as I wholeheartedly impart my affectionate Blessing to those present and to their families.



ADDRESS OF JOHN PAUL II TO

THE PLENARY SESSION OF THE CONGREGATION

FOR CATHOLIC EDUCATION

Monday 4 February 2002



Your Eminences,
Dear Brothers in the Episcopate and in the Priesthood,
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

1. I am very happy to welcome you at the beginning of the Plenary Session of your Congregation. As I greet you warmly, I want to thank your Prefect, Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski for expressing your heartfelt sentiments of respect and homage.

I was attentive to what the Cardinal Prefect explained about your programme and I also saw the material prepared for these days of intense reflection. The Church lives on the continuous fraternal dialogue between the Roman Curia and the Episcopal Conferences. This dialogue normally takes place by way of regular correspondence, but at times it requires more sustained moments of sharing and dialogue. Your Plenary Congregation is one of these moments, that help to develop fruitful collaboration and reinforce the union of minds in the constant readiness for the service of ecclesial communion.

2. You are going to examine some Guidelines for the use of psychological expertise in the admission and formation of candidates to the priesthood. This document is intended to be a useful tool for those involved in the work of priestly formation, who are called to discern the suitability and vocation of a candidate for his own good and that of the Church. Of course, the contribution of psychology has to be incorporated in a balanced way within the process of vocational discernment where it becomes part of the the overall process of formation in a way that safeguards the great value and role of spiritual direction. An atmosphere of faith in which, alone, the generous response to the vocation received from God can mature, will lead to a correct understanding of the meaning and use of psychology, that does not eliminate every difficulty and tension, but, encourages a broader awareness and freer exercise of personal freedom so that the candidate can take up an open and honest struggle; with the irreplaceable help of grace.

It will therefore be right to pay attention to the formation of expert psychologists, who, with good scientific qualifications, will also have a sound understanding of the Christian vision of life and of the vocation to the priesthood, so as to provide effective support for the necessary integration of the human and supernatural dimensions.

3. I also noted with pleasure the great commitment you have made to concluding the Apostolic Visitations to seminaries of common right and your desire to offer them a synthetic overview of the visits to guarantee their effectiveness.

Today, because of the general situation of the Church, it is especially important to pay attention to the seminaries. The intellectual and spiritual formation they impart must be of the highest calibre.

The candidates must be introduced to the practice of prayer, meditation and personal asceticism, based on the theological virtues lived in daily life.

It is especially necessary to foster in the students joy in their own vocation. Celibacy for the Kingdom of God must be presented as a choice that is eminently favourable for the joyful proclamation of the risen Christ. Along the same line, it will be important to instil in the souls of the seminarians the taste for ecclesial and apostolic charity: living in communion with Christ, with superiors and companions, is the most suitable preparation for their future ministerial obligations.

4. You also intend to discuss the formation of the students in canon law. This is a very relevant subject: canon law, based on the juridical and legislative legacy of a long tradition, is considered as a means that, within the primacy of love and grace, secures a just order in the life of the ecclesial society and of the persons who belong to the Church by virtue of Baptism.

In the present circumstances, the Church needs specialists in this discipline, to face today's juridical and pastoral needs that are more complex than they were in the past. The reflections you are proposing in this regard, with the contribution of the Fathers of the Plenary Session who have come from various parts of the world, will enable you to formulate the appropriate instructions for the future action of the Congregation.

5. During these days you will also be focusing on the role of consecrated persons (men and women religious), in the world of education. The Church is indebted to consecrated persons for the marvellous pages of holiness and dedication to the cause of education and evangelization they have written, especially, during the last two centuries. In the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Vita consecrata I was able to highlight their indispensable role in the world of education. Today, while I am well aware of the difficulties of many religious families, I renew my invitation to consecrated persons to continue "to bring to bear on the world of education their radical witness to the values of the Kingdom" (n. 96).

A particular feature of the educational community operating in Catholic schools consists in the presence of both consecrated persons and lay people. Both can and must enrich the educational programme with their own experience. This will happen if, in their spiritual, ecclesial and professional formation, they are able to realize the goal of a shared mission.

6. In the area of vocations, there is the valuable work of the Pontifical Society for Ecclesiastical Vocations, that since 1941 has fostered the pastoral work of promoting vocations. The foremost action (actio princeps) is prayer in obedience to the mandate of Christ: "Pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send labourers into his harvest" (Mt 9,38 Lc 10,2). Thus the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, now in its 39th year, is very valuable for it involves all Christian communities in a common intense prayer so that the Church may have priestly and religious vocations.

I note with satisfaction that through the influence of this Pontifical Society, the idea of holding continental congresses on vocations to priestly ministry and consecrated life has continued. In the coming month of April, after a fruitful involvement of the diocesan and regional communties, the Third Congress for North America will be celebrated in Montreal, after those for Latin America and Europe. It is an event that the whole Church will follow with prayer, as I asked in my Message for the upcoming World Day of Prayer for Vocations. I trust that this important ecclesial event, providentially close in time and place to the celebration of the World Youth Day in Toronto, may bring about in the local Churches a renewed dedication to the recruitment of vocations and a more generous enthusiasm among the Christians of the "New World".

Continue your service for the support of the pastoral care of vocations, in a spirit of joyful gratitude to the Lord for his continuous gift of vocations to the ordained ministry and to consecrated life.

With creative confidence tackle the motives for concern caused by the lack of vocations in some parts of the world, and the serious challenges of the discernment and formation of those who are called.

7. Finally, I thank you for your daily service as a Congregation to the Church in the area of seminaries, universities and schools, in a word, in the vast sector of education. Educational institutions are expected to make a fundamental contribution to building a more human world, founded on the values of justice and solidarity.

As I assure you of my special prayer for your work during the plenary meeting, I invoke an abundance of heavenly light upon you all, for which I cordially impart my Blessing to you.




TO THE CAPUCHIN SISTERS

OF BLESSED FRANCESCA RUBATTO

Thursday, 7 February 2002



Dear Capuchin Sisters of Mother Rubatto!

1. I am happy to meet you at the end of your General Chapter. I greet you wholeheartedly, especially Mother General and the Sisters who with her are involved in the complex work of the governance and direction of your Congregation. I cordially greet all the religious who are occupied all over the world, and spread the good seed of the Gospel with plenty of apostolic and educational activities and closeness to the people, following the Franciscan and Capuchin charism of your Congregation.

In these days you have reflected on your identity and mission, in order to direct the whole institute towards new apostolic ventures. I genuinely hope that, as a result of the deliberations of the Chapter, a renewed zeal for your spirituality and your mission will flourish, on the firm foundations of the original intuition of your Foundress.

2. The life of Mother Francesca Rubatto, whom I had the joy of beatifying on 10 October 1993, was founded on two great pillars: ardent love for God, whom she perceived as her "Supreme Good" (cf. St Francis of Assisi, Lodi di Dio Altissimo, 5: Fonti Francescane, 261), and tireless service to her brothers and sisters, especially the neediest and the most forgotten. Under the guidance of enlightened spiritual directors, your Mother followed the example of St Francis and St Clare to be a humble but eloquent sign of the Gospel lived "sine glossa" (directly without commentary) (cf. Legenda perugina, 69.113: Fonti Francescane, 1622.1672).

As his spiritual daughters, may you too know how to make yourselves poor in your personal lives and your daily activities, choosing the last place, in simplicity and lowliness, and serving the brethren with Franciscan joy. In this way you will be missionary sisters of the people, given over to proclaiming and witnessing to the Gospel to all whom you meet on your path.

Apostolic activity and service to the brothers and sisters will need a great abundance of love, that draws its life from intimate union with God, nourished by prayer and, in particular, by familiarity with Jesus in the Eucharist. Mother Francesca had a living and warm-hearted faith in Jesus present in the Blessed Sacrament, and wanted the Eucharist to be the heart of the religious family she founded. United with Christ in the offering of his life, she expressed her participation in the Easter Mystery through the total gift of herself to her neighbour.

Following the example of your Blessed Foundress, may you too know how to break the bread of your life as consecrated persons in the various kinds of service to your neighbour: from catechesis to education, from nursing the sick to solidarity with the needy, from collaboration in parish pastoral care to the mission ad gentes.

In the face of the new challenges, revive the fundamental inspiration of Mother Francesca, taking it into the new apostolic settings that open before you, supported by her burning love for God and her availability for the needs of others.


Speeches 2002 - Monday, 28 January 2002