Thursday 5 May, 1988
Dear Brothers in our Lord Jesus Christ,
1. I have been pleased to meet individually with each of you, the Bishops of the Zambia Episcopal Conference, on the occasion of your ad limina visit and now I join together with all of you in this moment of collegial communion. Our assembly today calls to mind that it was the will of the Lord Jesus that Peter and the other Apostles form a college. We are gathered here as their successors in the bonds of unity, charity and peace (Cfr. Lumen Gentium LG 22).
I wish to express my gratitude for the kind words of greeting which you have conveyed on behalf of your priests, Religious and laity. Each of you represents in a special way the local Church entrusted to your care and thus I wish to offer through you my cordial greetings to all the People of God in Zambia. Repeating the words of the Apostle Paul, “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all, making my prayer with joy, thankful for your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now” (Ph 1,3-5).
As shepherds of the local Churches in Zambia you have come “to see Peter” (Ga 1,18) and together with him to renew once again your profession of faith in Jesus, “for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Act. 4, 12). In the name of Jesus and through the Holy Spirit we give thanks and praise to the Father for the many graces and blessings bestowed on the Church in Zambia since the first missionaries preached the Gospel and planted the seed of the faith in many hearts.
2. It is with joy that I have learned of the preparations now under way to celebrate in 1991 the centenary of the arrival of the Catholic faith in your region of Africa. For the years leading up to the jubilee you have chosen as a theme: “The Formation of Adult Christians, Truly African in Families and in Small Christian Communities”. Your choice of this theme emphasizes the urgent pastoral priority for the Church in Zambia to form lay leaders. Moreover it echoes a concern which was repeatedly expressed during the fast Synod of Bishops on the Vocation and Mission of the Laity. In their concluding message addressed to the People of God the Synod Fathers state: “There exists everywhere among the lay faithful a real thirst for the interior life, a thirst for a deeper spirituality, and a fervent desire to share in the missionary and apostolic work of the Church... The integral spiritual formation of all the faithful, lay, religious and clergy, should be a pastoral priority today” (SYNODI EPISC. 1987 Nuntius ad Populum Dei, 12).
In this central endeavour of the formation of lay leaders for the future of the Church in Zambian society, I note the particular emphasis which you are giving to “small Christian communities” as a means of improving the full and active participation of the faithful as well as their catechesis. These communities provide a setting for sharing more intensely in the Church’s life. They can also be useful in uniting the People of God in order to meditate upon the Word of God and to celebrate the sacraments. Thus they offer the important opportunity of forming adult Christians, deepening their faith through catechesis, prayer and fraternal charity. At the same time the “small Christian communities” must always remain a part of your local Churches and never become isolated. In this way they will fulfil their most fundamental vocation and themselves become proclaimers of the Gospel (Cfr. PAULI VI Evangelii Nuntiandi EN 58).
3. It is my fervent prayer that you will renew your efforts in the great task of evangelization which constitutes the essential mission of the Church. I wish to praise all the courageous initiatives that you have already undertaken for proclaiming the Gospel and I am aware of the many difficulties which you must face in communicating the Good News of salvation to many who have not yet heard of or accepted Christ. The Church exists in order to evangelize and you are called to lead your flocks in giving daily witness to Christ in a society where many are in search of a fuller understanding of God and of his designs for the human family.
Your dedicated witness of an exemplary Christian life constitutes an initial act of evangelization but it must be accompanied by the explicit proclamation of the Kingdom of God and the person of Jesus Christ, who by his Cross and Resurrection won for us our eternal salvation. This clear message of salvation in Christ is the foundation of all the Church’s attempts at evangelization. And as you well know, the proclamation of the Gospel and the courageous witness of Christian life need to be sustained by continual prayer, ever more fervent participation in the sacraments and personal sacrifice.
4. My dear Brothers: I wish to emphasize the important role of the Christian family, the “domestic Church”, in evangelizing society and in building up the Kingdom of God. There already exists in your culture a deep sense of the family bond, which can be perfected and can greatly foster the Christian vision of married life as a community of love.
The family has a special role in transmitting the Gospel. In a family all the members are called to evangelize and to be evangelized. The parents through their love and example share the Gospel with their children, but they in turn are affected by their children living the same Gospel. Truly Christian families have an influence on other families and become an important means for the evangelization of their own neighbourhoods.
Even in situations where the proclamation of the truth about Christian marriage is difficult and the breakdown of the family risks assuming serious proportions, we can never grow tired of asserting that marriage is “a mutual gift of two persons”, and that “this intimate union, as well as the good of children, imposes total fidelity on the spouses and argues for an unbreakable oneness between them”.
The youth should hold a special place in your many pastoral concerns. The Church in Zambia on both the diocesan and national levels is called to commit herself ever more willingly to her young people lest they become estranged from Gospel values. The apostolate to youth through religious education and personal witness must aim at deepening young people’s faith. New and effective forms of the youth apostolate need to be discovered so that ever greater numbers of young people can be drawn to active participation in the Church.
5. In all your local Churches there is an increase of candidates for the priesthood. In addition to the seven minor seminaries, I am pleased to know that you have recently established the Emmaus Spirituality Centre where the seminarians spend a year in spiritual formation before they study Philosophy at Saint Augustine’s Major Seminary in Mpima and then go to do their theological studies at Saint Dominic’s Major Seminary in Lusaka.
In large measure the future of the Church in Zambia depends on the dedication of her priests to the service of the People of God in communion of faith and pastoral zeal with their Bishops. It is your responsibility to ensure that your seminarians receive an adequate spiritual, academic and pastoral formation for the priesthood. I offer you my prayerful support in this endeavour of priestly formation which is essential to the Church’s mission and I know that with active and loving concern you will always be true fathers in Christ to your seminarians (Cfr. Optatam Totius OT 5).
At this time I wish to express my fraternal affection for all the priests, both Zambian and from elsewhere, who actively collaborate with you in shepherding the flock of Christ entrusted to your care. An essential aspect of your apostolic charge is to strengthen your brother priests in faith and to confirm them in their identity as “other Christs”, who offer their lives in union with Christ for the salvation of the world. The ministerial priesthood is most clearly expressed in the proclamation of the Gospel and in the celebration of the Eucharistic Sacrifice. A priest obtains in the Eucharist and in the frequent reception of the Sacrament of Penance the strength to make the daily offering of his life as well as the grace needed to remain faithful to his promise of celibacy.
It is also important that you strive to be true brothers to your priests. If you are, you will know the special burdens which trouble them and you will with compassion and understanding try to help them and if necessary offer fraternal correction as well as call them to obedience (Cfr. PAULI VI Sacerdotalis Caelibatus, 92).
Young priests need special attention on the part of the Bishop in their first years of pastoral ministry. Besides the normal difficulties which they experience in beginning their new life as priests, their adjustment is made even more difficult by the isolation in which they sometimes find themselves without the support of other brother priests. Much can be done to remedy these problems by providing opportunities for priests to meet and to continue their spiritual and theological formation.
I cannot fail to mention the members of Institutes of consecrated life which constitute for the Church an indispensable element in the great task of evangelization. Their dedication to health care, education and social work has helped to attract numerous vocations and I encourage you to express the great esteem that the Church has for them in their vocation of consecrated love. It is important that Bishops take an active interest in the Religious present in their Dioceses, and that in full respect for their special charism they involve them in pastoral planning on both the national and diocesan levels. The presence of Religious in your local Churches offers a “sign of contradiction” to any who would try to portray the Christian vocation as an easy or worldly endeavour.
6. I acknowledge with satisfaction that the Church in Zambia enjoys today ample freedom in the field of social communications and I encourage you to intensify your efforts in making ever greater use of these important means of evangelization. There need to be well-trained individuals in the fields of radio, television and the press who can present clearly the teachings of the Church and respond to questions concerning Christian faith and morality, including social justice.
You have made much progress in ecumenical dialogue and today you enjoy cordial relations with the Anglican Communion and the other Ecclesial Communities present in Zambia. The document entitled “Christian Liberation, Justice and Development” which you recently published in collaboration with the Christian Council of Zambia and the Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia offers hope of increasing ecumenical collaboration between the different Communities in your country. It gives an analysis of the socio-economic crisis which Zambia is undergoing at the present time and which calls Christians to work strenuously for the promotion of development, social justice and liberation from all forms of oppression.
7. I am deeply concerned about the large number of refugees, principally from Angola and Mozambique, who have come to your country seeking safety, food and shelter. I commend you in all the initiatives which you have undertaken to provide for their physical and spiritual well-being. You are endeavouring to alleviate the sufferings of these people. Besides responding to their immediate needs, you must provide for their spiritual assistance as well. It is my fervent prayer that the international community will continue to respond generously in helping you to meet the difficult problem of refugees in your region.
I thank all of you, dear Brothers, for your dedication as pastors of the Lord’s flock. I commend each of you to the intercession of Mary, who believed that the Lord’s promises to her would be fulfilled (Cfr. Luc Lc 1,45). And in the love of Jesus her Son I impart my Apostolic Blessing to you and to your clergy, Religious and laity.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
1. It is with joy that I greet you, dear Albanian sons and daughters, who have come from various countries of Europe and America, on the occasion of the Marian Year. During your pilgrimage to the shrine of Genazzano, where according to tradition is venerated the picture of Our Lady of Shkodër, Patroness of Albania, it has been your desire to pause at the tomb of the Apostle Peter and to meet his Successor, in order to be “confirmed in the faith” (Cfr. Luc Lc 22,32). You are indeed welcome here!
This meeting fills our hearts with emotion. I see in your faces the ancient pride of the Albanian people, but I also see your nostalgia for your homeland, “the land of the eagles”, a nation most noble by reason of ancient memories, illustrious traditions and long struggles for freedom. This land, geographically so near, is particularly dear to me. And how could it fail to be, since it preserves the memory of the presence of the Apostles Andrew and Paul, of the apostolic origin of Durrës, the first Episcopal see, the martyrdom of Saint Astius, and then, down the centuries, a long series of martyrs and confessors? How could I fail to have a particular affection for a nation whose Catholic community has always been faithful to communion with the Apostolic See, even in the most difficult and painful circumstances?
2. Dear brothers and sisters, today I wish to greet in you the whole people of Albania, with great respect and cordial friendship. I know your often tormented history. I know how rightfully proud you are of your fine traditions and customs. Every stage of your centuries-long history is marked by your resolve to affirm and defend your spiritual and cultural identity.
The Catholic faithful, together with the other sections of the national community, have shared in this impassioned commitment, which as it were constitutes the unifying motivation of the national community. Today, you bear convincing witness to this, for, though you are far from your homeland, you try to preserve the integrity and authenticity of the heritage of your tradition, in order to pass it on to the younger generation. What you do in order to preserve the Albanian language, culture and customs, even in the most varied surroundings, is a valuable contribution to your nation.
This is being done by the Catholics, who at one and the same time feel that they are affectionate and faithful children of Holy Mother Church and of their own land. And this is being done by the Church, which is not foreign to but incarnate in each people, whose values she makes her own, illuminating them with the light of the Gospel of Christ. For the obedience of faith finds a spontaneous expression in everything true, good and right that belongs to the heritage of each people.
3. In my Message for this year’s World Day of Peace, I made a point of mentioning that religion, when it is lived in full freedom and in all its personal and community exigencies, constitutes a factor of communion of minds, of collaboration for the common good and of peace. Religion cannot be indifferent, and still less hostile, to the growth of the human person and of the civil community. For it offers the contribution of faith lived in charity, in solidarity, in mutual understanding, in witness to the truth, in the quest for peace.
In the different ages of your country’s history, there have not been lacking particularly eloquent examples of this effective sharing on the part of the Catholic community – and its individual members – in the life, progress and independence of the nation. With all my heart I share with you the hope that the Church which for two thousand years has been rooted in Albanian soil may be able to enjoy freedom once more, in order to continue to be an element of national cohesion and a factor of unity and peace in the heart of your people.
4. Dear brother and sisters, in your fidelity to Christ and the Church I see proof that in the sons and daughters of Albania the aspiration to religious freedom is alive. In their name, in the name of the whole Church, I address a fresh appeal for the recognition of this fundamental need of the spirit.
In this Marian Year, and in the context of your pilgrimage, this invocation becomes a prayer.
Virgin of Shkodër, Patroness of Albania, our sweet Mother! You bear in your heart the lives of the peoples: look to this nation, which received the first proclamation of the Gospel from the Apostles, and which has always venerated you with tender filial love. Today too, in the darkness of trial, this nation has trusting recourse to your maternal help.
You precede the Church in the pilgrimage of faith: look upon your Albanian sons and daughters, as they experience the path of trial and tribulation. Sustain the weak, give comfort to the afflicted, keep the faith alive in the hearts of all.
Mother of the Saviour, bless the Christian families, which express a fundamental dimension of the Church of your Divine Son.
Mother of hope, hasten the day when this noble people can once more see recognized the deepest aspirations of its spirit, when all its sons and daughters will be once more united and in harmony, in the building of a future of justice and peace.
With my Apostolic Blessing.
1. I am happy to welcome you to the Vatican, and I greet you with the words of the Apostle Paul: “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (1Co 1,3).
The ecumenical nature of your group brings to mind the words of the Second Vatican Council, that “cooperation among all Christians vividly expresses that bond which already unites them, and it sets in clearer relief the features of Christ the Servant” (Unitatis Redintegratio UR 12). The bond which unites us is nothing less than the pouring into our hearts of the Holy Spirit (Cfr. Rom Rm 5,5), through our baptismal configuration with Christ. It has to be our ardent prayer that an increased awareness of the nature and significance of that bond will make our witness before the world more authentic and convincing. Essential to that witness is the spirit of service with which we seek to respond to the needs of our brothers and sisters.
2. I am fully aware of how deeply committed you are, as leaders of the Christian Churches and communities in your country, to proclaiming the Gospel message of salvation and to affirming, in the historical and social circumstances of your peoples, the values intrinsic to that message and inseparable from it, such as peace, solidarity, justice and the equal human dignity of all. In the one “house of God” (Cfr. Hebr. 3, 6) there is room for everyone, but above all for the weakest and poorest and most vulnerable of the brethren.
I know the anguish that you experience as you see, day by day, the terrible toll that the system of apartheid continues to take on the lives of individuals and families, and on society itself. You are aware of the Holy See’s constantly declared defence of human dignity and human rights, and its opposition to all forms of racial discrimination. I do not hesitate to repeat once again that “every form of discrimination based on race, whether occasional or systematically practised, and whether it is aimed at individuals or whole racial groups, is absolutely unacceptable” (IOANNIS PAULI PP. II Allocutio ad nationum Unitarum Commissionem contra segregationem racialem v. d. "Apartheid", die 7 iul. 1984: Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, VII, 2 81984) 35 ss). For we believe that what is taught in Scripture applies to every man and woman, that “God created man in his own image” (Gn 1,27) and that all of us “were reconciled to God by the death of his Son” (Rm 5,10).
3. Since reconciliation is at the heart of the Gospel, Christians cannot accept structures of racial discrimination which violate human rights. But they must also realize that a change of structures is linked to a change of hearts. The changes they seek are rooted in the power of love, the divine love from which every Christian action and transformation springs. Christians in South Africa are called to work together to promote among all peoples in your society a sense of effective solidarity, which I have recently described, in another context, as “a firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the common good, that is... to the good of all and of each individual because we are all really responsible for all” (Sollicitudo Rei Socialis SRS 38).
I pray that the Christian communities in South Africa will continue to foster only peaceful means of responding to the difficulties of the present situation. The admonition contained in the Letter of Saint James is most appropriate: “the harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace” (Iac.3, 18). Let us share the hope that in the midst of so much suffering in South Africa, of which the whole world is witness, your ecumenical efforts will plant seeds of justice and peace which, by the help of God’s grace, will come to fruition soon.
May God bless all his sons and daughters in South Africa.
Dear brother Bishops,
1. We have just brought to completion the Church’s annual celebration of the great mysteries of Redemption: Christ’s Death and Resurrection, his Ascension into heaven and the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. It is with joy that I welcome you for your ad limina visit at a time when the celebration of these great mysteries of faith is still so vivid in our minds and hearts.
Pentecost, in particular, reminds us that the Church, even after two millennia, is always young through the working of the Holy Spirit. It was, in part, to enhance awareness of this fact that my predecessor Pope John XXIII convoked the Second Vatican Council. His prayer was that the wonders of the Holy Spirit would be renewed in our day as in a new Pentecost. If we consider the Church’s long history with the eyes of faith, we can find ample confirmation that the wonders of the Holy Spirit are indeed renewed in every age, notwithstanding the obstacles that human sinfulness and weakness impose. In the words of the Council, “Every renewal of the Church essentially consists in an increase of fidelity to her own calling... Christ summons the Church, as she goes her pilgrim way, to that continual reformation of which she always has need, insofar as she is a human and earthly institution” (Unitatis Redintegratio UR 6). We must add that the Church’s fidelity to her calling means fidelity to a living person: Jesus Christ. Through him, her bridegroom and Lord, she enters into communion with the Father and the Holy Spirit.
2. For us Bishops, our relationship to God, or more precisely our communion with the Most Blessed Trinity, is obviously not just an individual experience for our own benefit. Rather, as a gift received in Baptism and sealed by the Spirit in a new way at our Episcopal ordination, this relationship becomes the very source of our ministry to God’s people. A Bishop’s role in his local Church and in the universal communion of faith is not without an intimate and dynamic relationship to his personal commitment to God through Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit.
As the Council reminds us: “It pleased God to sanctify and save human beings not as individuals without any bond or link between them, but rather to make them into a people who might acknowledge him in truth and serve him in holiness” (Lumen Gentium LG 9). According to Saint Paul, together we form the one body of Christ (Cfr. 1Co 12,27), with all that this implies for our relationship with God and with one another, and for the mission we have received through Baptism and Holy Orders. It is within the context of this mystery of ecclesial communion that I wish to reflect briefly with you on some aspects of the Church’s life in Australia.
3. The communal dimension of the Church’s existence is vividly illustrated by her worship and sacramental life. The renewal envisioned by the Council included the earnest desire that all the faithful should be led to “full, conscious and active participation” in the liturgy (Sacrosantum Concilium, 14), and that they should “eagerly frequent those sacraments which were instituted to nourish the Christian life” (Ibid.59). I rejoice with you that liturgical renewal has indeed led to a more active participation in the Church’s worship, and to a new awareness that full participation means actively sharing in the Church’s mission in daily life.
At the same time we recognize that changes in the Church as well as the increased secularization of society have been the occasion for some to absent themselves from her sacramental life, particularly the Sunday Eucharist. This phenomenon is not confined to Australia, but I know that this does not lessen your concern that the proportion of Catholics in your country who regularly attend Sunday Mass has been in decline, despite the apparent stability of Mass attendance due to increases in the Catholic population. This is a trend that wounds the very heart of ecclesial communion, for as the Council teaches: “The goal of apostolic endeavour is that all who are made children of God by faith and Baptism should come together to praise God in the midst of his Church, to take part in the Sacrifice and to eat the Lord’s Supper” (Ibid. 10).
4. One of the outstanding features of the Church in Australia has been the striking witness of the Catholic people’s fidelity to Sunday worship. Your pioneer bishops and clergy instilled into them the truth that “it is the Mass that matters”. People overcame the difficulties of distance and climate in order to participate in the Eucharist. They did so in imitation of their priests, whose self-sacrifice in bringing the Mass to them was in many instances nothing short of heroic. I wish to commend you and your clergy for your fidelity to this tradition and for your efforts to bring the sacraments to God’s people. I would also urge you to consider ways to restore an awareness of the supreme value of participation in the Eucharist among those who have given up Sunday worship.
As a help to us in fulfilling this task, the documents of the Council provide the necessary orientation. They constitute a rich source of inspiration and reflection for all who seek to deepen their appreciation of worship and participation in the liturgy. For the Council Fathers, liturgy is a foretaste of heaven, it is the sacred action par excellence, in which God is glorified and we are made holy. It contributes to our interior formation and gives rise to an authentic Christian spirit, and is therefore of the greatest importance for the spiritual life. The liturgy animates our search for unity and our practice of charity. It is indeed “the summit towards which the activity of the Church is directed; it is also the fount from which all her power flows” (Sacrosantum Concilium, 10) Far from being only an obligation, participation in the Eucharist is an actualization and strengthening of all that is most sacred and most vital in Christian life. People need to be reminded of the immense spiritual riches that sharing in the Eucharist brings to them as members of a royal priesthood.
5. The most effective means of imparting this conciliar teaching is the witness of pastors whose own lives radicate a love and reverence for the liturgy, a love and reverence based on a profound understanding of the sacred mysteries, especially the Eucharist. Sound catechesis is also of capital importance for full participation in the sacraments. Catechesis concerning the significance and necessity of Sunday worship must be imparted both in the home and at school. Those who are no longer in school, especially young adults, need to be constantly encouraged to receive the sacraments and should always be made welcome by the worshipping community. As I have pointed out in “Catechesi Traendae”, “sacramental life is impoverished and very soon turns into hollow ritualism if it is not based on serious knowledge of the meaning of the sacraments, and catechesis becomes intellectualized if it fails to come alive in sacramental practice” (Catechesi Traendae, 23).
Catechesis in general, and especially catechesis about the Eucharist, must insist on the supernatural content of Catholic doctrine. Otherwise the faith of God’s People risks being reduced to the level of subjective religious feelings, or to a “moralism” detached from a doctrinal foundation. Fidelity to the objective content of faith is basic to the Church’s life and mission, and to defend that content and pass it on to each new generation are among the gravest responsibilities of a Bishop’s teaching and pastoral office. I would encourage you to make this a principal aspect of your ministry.
6. All that I have said about the Eucharist also applies to the Sacrament of Penance. On other occasions I have drawn attention to the close link between these two sacraments (Redemptor Hominis RH 20 et Dominicae Cenae, 7). The Introduction to the New Order of Penance expresses this very beautifully when it states that “In the Sacrament of Penance... the Father receives the homecoming son, Christ puts the lost sheep on his shoulder and returns it to the sheepfold, and the Holy Spirit sanctifies his temple again or dwells in it more fully. All this is manifested by a renewed and more fervent sharing in the table of Lord where there is great joy in the banquet given by the Church of God for the son returned from afar” (Ordo Poenitentiae, Praenotanda, 6 d).
As with the Eucharist, the Sacrament of Penance calls for careful catechesis. An evident appreciation of this sacrament on the part of priests themselves will help the laity to realize the necessity and value of individual confession and absolution for growth in holiness and as the ordinary way by which a person who is aware of serious sin is reconciled with God and with the Church (Cfr. Codex Iuris Canonici CIC 960) .
7. I also wish to mention the link between the vitality of sacramental practice and vocations to the priesthood and religious life, which are so important for the future of your local Churches. God’s gift of priestly and religious vocations is mysteriously related to the participation of the faithful in the Eucharistic Sacrifice with reverence and with a worthiness conferred by the Sacrament of Penance. As the chief source of pastoral charity (Cfr . Presbyterorum Ordinis PO 14) , the Eucharist not only sustains priests and Religious in a life of faith and selfless love; it also enkindles that pastoral charity in potential priests and Religious, so that they too may serve Christ and his Church in these special vocations. Fostering love for the sacraments among the young, especially love for the Eucharist, is an important part of promoting vocations.
We must also pray, since what is at stake is not any human project of our own, but rather the realization of God’s plan (Cfr. CONGR. PRO CLERICS Postquam Apostoli, die 25 mar. 1980). During his earthly ministry, Jesus recognized that “the harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few” (Lc 10,2). He then revealed our serious responsibility for overcoming the imbalance between the needs of God’s people and the number of apostolic labourers when he commanded us to “pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest” (Ibid). Here too, the fervour of our prayer for vocations is intimately linked to our love and understanding of the sacraments.
At the same time the local Churches, as well as religious communities, must be energetic in undertaking the research, planning and organization necessary for the promotion of vocations. The quality and number of personnel and resources allotted to this work are not only a measure of the priority given to this challenge, but also a testimony to the firm conviction of the various dioceses and religious communities that God’s generosity will not be lacking to support our human endeavours. We must constantly renew our trust in the immense power of Christ’s Paschal Mystery to raise up and sustain new vocations in the Church.
Dear Brothers, as Australia celebrates her Bicentenary, you and your people are called to reflect on the contribution which the Church has made and is making to your national life and history. It was my special joy to witness this contribution at first hand during my pastoral visit. Together with you, I pray that the people of Australia will not fail to build a society based on the love and worship of Almighty God.May Catholics always be a shining example of this to their brothers and sisters! In this year dedicated to Mary, Mother of Christ and Mother of his Church, I commend you and your clergy and people to her loving intercession, and I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing.