10th WORLD YOUTH DAY
Saturday, 14 January 1995
Ladies and Gentlemen,
1. "Radio Veritas" Asia is celebrating twenty-five years of outstanding service to the proclamation of the Gospel and to human development. It gives me great joy to mark this significant anniversary right here in the Philippines, the host country of this important instrument of the Church’s apostolate. Together with all of you, I give thanks to God for all that "Radio Veritas" has accomplished over the last quarter of a century to advance the Church’s mission, even enabling her voice to be heard in many places not otherwise accessible.
"Radio Veritas" Asia began as the fruit of a strong missionary commitment on the part of South–East Asian Bishops gathered for a general meeting in 1958. Their idea was to enable Asians to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ from other Asians. The actual realization of that ambitious project is linked to the memory of Cardinal Rufino Santos, who watched over the Radio’s first difficult years of existence. Today, "Radio Veritas" Asia continues to be a powerful expression of the co-responsibility of the Bishops of Asia in pursuing with vision and enthusiasm the Church’s missionary mandate. The fact that the Gospel is heard in so many of this continent’s languages truly makes "Radio Veritas" "the voice of Asian Christianity".
Here I must mention with gratitude the consolation and strength which your broadcasts have provided to the Church of Silence and to all those Christians who have suffered and continue to suffer for their fidelity to the one whom Christ has made the visible foundation of the Church’s unity.
2. An anniversary such as this also invites us to look to the future, with its hopes and challenges.For "Radio Veritas" Asia the future can only mean an ever greater commitment to evangelization as the third Millennium of the Redemption approaches. As I wrote in the Encyclical "Redemptoris Missio", "the moment has come to commit all of the Church’s energies to a new evangelization and to the mission ad gentes. No believer in Christ, no institution of the Church can avoid this supreme duty: to proclaim Christ to all peoples" (John Paul II, Redemptoris Missio RMi 3). "Radio Veritas" must be helped to fulfil this task, even though this will certainly involve even greater sacrifices and renewed commitment on the part of the Churches in Asia. The Lord of the harvest will surely bestow his abundant gifts upon those who make it possible to preach the Gospel to the ends of the earth.
"Radio Veritas" Asia faces the urgent task of finding ever more effective ways of sustaining and informing the faith of those who already believe in Christ, and of proclaiming him and his Kingdom to those who do not yet know him. Through its religious programs, "Radio Veritas" Asia spreads knowledge of Gospel truths and values, and makes possible a far-reaching, often barely conscious dialogue of the mind between the message of salvation in Jesus Christ and the "seeds of the Word" present in the ancient traditions of Asia, both cultural and religious. The proclamation of the Gospel, when carried out with respect and with the attitude of sharing a precious gift with those who have not yet received it, is an invaluable service to the human family, shaping people’s hearts in accordance with truth and love. "Radio Veritas" Asia can be proud of the respectful dialogue which it fosters with the followers of other religions, who make up such a large part of its listeners. Today more than ever, the followers of the various religious traditions need to know each other better, in order to work together in defending those common human and spiritual values without which a society worthy of man cannot be built. Through its educational, news and entertainment programs, "Radio Veritas" Asia contributes to the human development of countless individuals and families.
3. I wish to express appreciation to President Ramos and the Philippine Authorities for extending for another twenty-five years the Act allowing "Radio Veritas" Asia to function on Filipino soil. I hope that in the future more and more the international character of this unique means of pastoral service will be recognized. For all that "Radio Veritas" Asia represents in the Church’s pastoral and missionary outreach on this continent, I wish to say a special word of thanks to the Board of the Philippine Radio Educational and Information Center and the Management Council, as well as to the members of the Office of Social Communications of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences.
I thank the Radio’s supporters and benefactors: in particular, the Pontifical Missionary Work of the Propagation of the Faith, represented here by Cardinal Jozef Tomko, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples; the Bishops’ Conference of Germany and the Archdiocese of Cologne; as well as the mission aid societies such as MISSIO, "Misereor", Aid to the Church in Need, and the Holy Childhood Association. In a special way I acknowledge with gratitude the constant commitment of the German Government which has supported the work of "Radio Veritas" from its inception.
4. Dear friends: Jesus used the parable of the sower to illustrate the lavish generosity with which God spreads his word of light and life. In the spirit of that parable, another image comes to mind – an image taken from our modern technological civilization – that of a great radio transmitter which constantly broadcasts the Good News over the fields and byways of the world. This is the mission of "Radio Veritas" Asia, and I pray that its efforts to spread the word of God far and wide among the peoples of this continent will always be sustained by the grace of Christ and the power of his Holy Spirit. May God’s peace abound in the hearts of all those who co-operate in this worthy enterprise.
10th WORLD YOUTH DAY
Saturday, 14 January 1995
From Manila, where I have come for the celebration of the Tenth World Youth Day, I wish to send a special and affectionate greeting to all Chinese Catholics who make present and visible on Chinese soil the Church of Christ, One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic, a community of faith, hope and charity.
Dear brothers and sisters of the Church in China, I am well aware of the difficulties amid which you are called to bear witness to your faith in Christ. The Second Vatican Council speaks of the whole Church in a way that is very applicable to your experience: "Like a pilgrim in a foreign land, the Church presses forward amid the persecutions of the world and the consolations of God, proclaiming the Cross and Death of the Lord until he comes (cf. 1Co 11,26). By the power of the Risen Lord she is given strength to overcome patiently and lovingly the afflictions and hardships which assail her from within and without, and to show forth in the world the mystery of the Lord in a faithful though shadowed way, until at the last it will be revealed in total splendour" (Lumen Gentium LG 8).
To you, dear Catholics of China, Divine Providence has entrusted the task of living the faith in the midst of a people of ancient cultural traditions. You are called to be "the salt of the earth" and "the light of the world", "that all may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven" (Mt 5,16). Keep your gaze fixed then on "Christ, the light of the nations". Do not be afraid: he has overcome the world (cf. Jn. Jn 16,33), he is with you always (cf. Mt. Mt 28,20).
Your witness will be all the more eloquent if it is expressed in words and deeds of love. Jesus said so: "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another" (Jn 13,35). Love among yourselves, first of all, but love also for all your Chinese brothers and sisters: a love which consists of understanding, respect, forbearance, forgiveness and reconciliation within the Christian community; a love which involves service, self–sacrifice, fidelity, hard work, honesty and justice in society as a whole.
Genuine love however cannot be separated from truth. Saint Paul reminds the Ephesians to: "live by the truth and in love" (Ep 4,15). Dear brothers and sisters, the profound unity which marks every Catholic community throughout the world must be based on the truth which shines forth in the Gospel and on the charity which is born of the heart of Christ. This must also be the case with you! Every day I pray for you, asking the Lord to help you remain united as living members of the one Mystical Body of Christ.
Unity is not the result of human policies or hidden and mysterious intentions. Instead, unity springs from conversion of the heart, and from sincere acceptance of the unchanging principles laid down by Christ for his Church. Particularly important among these principles is the effective communion of all the parts of the Church with her visible foundation: Peter, the Rock. Consequently, a Catholic who wishes to remain such and to be recognized as such, cannot reject the principle of communion with the Successor of Peter.
How many testimonies of faith, how many messages of fidelity I have received from communities throughout China! Bishops, priests, Religious and lay people have wished to reaffirm their unshakable and full communion with Peter and the rest of the Church. As Pastor of the Universal Church, my heart greatly rejoices at this. I earnestly invite you all to seek paths to communion and reconciliation, paths which draw their light and inspiration from the Truth himself: Jesus Christ.
I entrust all of you to the maternal protection of Mary, Queen of China.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God the Father and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.
10th WORLD YOUTH DAY
Saturday, 14 January 1995
Dear Young People of the Tenth World Youth Day,
1. In your questions I see repeated once more the scene from the Gospel, where a young man asks Jesus: Good Teacher, what must I do (cf. Mk. Mc 10,17)? The first thing that Jesus looked for was the attitude behind the question, the sincerity of the search. Jesus understood that the young man was sincerely looking for the truth about life and about his own personal path in life.
This is important. Life is a gift of a certain period of time in which each one of us faces a challenge which life itself brings: the challenge of having a purpose, a destiny, and of striving for it. The opposite is to spend our lives on the surface of things, to "lose" our lives in futility; never to discover in ourselves the capacity for good and for real solidarity, and therefore never to discover the path to true happiness. Too many young people do not realize that they themselves are the ones who are mainly responsible for giving a worthwhile meaning to their lives. The mystery of human freedom is at the heart of the great adventure of living life well.
2. It is true that young people today experience difficulties that previous generations experienced only partially and in a limited way. The weakness of much of family life, the lack of communication between parents and children, the isolating and alienating influence of a large part of the media, all these things can produce confusion in young people about the truths and values which give a genuine meaning to life.
False teachers, many belonging to an intellectual elite in the worlds of science, culture and the media, present an anti-Gospel. They declare that every ideal is dead, contributing in this way to the profound moral crisis affecting society, a crisis which has opened the way for the toleration and even exaltation of forms of behavior which the moral conscience and common sense formerly held in abhorrence. When you ask them: what must I do?, their only certainty is that there is no definite truth, no sure path. They want you to be like them: doubtful and cynical. Consciously or not, they advocate an approach to life that has led millions of young people into a sad loneliness in which they are deprived of reasons for hope and are incapable of real love.
3. You ask, "what are my expectations of young people?". In "Crossing the Threshold of Hope" I have written that "the fundamental problem of youth is profoundly personal. Young people... know that their life has meaning to the extent that it becomes a free gift for others" (John Paul II, Crossing the Threshold of Hope, p. 121). A question therefore is directed to each one of you personally: are you capable of giving of yourself, your time, your energies, your talents, for the good of others? Are you capable of love? If you are, the Church and society can expect great things from each one of you.
The vocation to love, understood as true openness to our fellow human beings and solidarity with them, is the most basic of all vocations. It is the origin of all vocations in life. That is what Jesus was looking for in the young man when he said: "Keep the commandments" (cf. Mk. Mc 10,19). In other words: "Serve God and your neighbor according to all the demands of a true and upright heart". And when the young man indicated that he was already following that path, Jesus invited him to an even greater love: "Leave all and come, follow me: leave everything that concerns only yourself and join me in the immense task of saving the world" (cf. ibid., 10:21). Along the path of each person’s existence, the Lord has something for each one to do.
"As the Father sent me, so am I sending you" (Jn 20,21). These are the words which Jesus addressed to the Apostles after his Resurrection. These are the words of Christ which guide our reflection during this Tenth World Youth Day. Today the Church and the Pope address these same words to you, to you, the young people of the Philippines, the young people of Asia and Oceania, the young people of the world.
4. Two thousand years of Christianity show that these words have been wonderfully effective. The little community of the first disciples, like a tiny mustard seed, has grown to be like a very big tree (cf. Mt. Mt 13,31-32). This great tree, with its different branches, reaches all the continents, all the countries of the world, the great majority of which are represented here by their delegates. Dear Filipino young people: on that tree, your country is an especially strong and healthy branch, stretching out to the whole vast continent of Asia. In the shade of this tree, in the shade of its branches and leaves, the peoples of the world can find rest. They can gather under its welcoming shade to discover, as you have been doing here during the World Youth Day, the marvellous truth which is at the center of our faith: that the Eternal Word, of one being with the Father, through whom all things were made, became flesh and was born of the Virgin Mary.
He dwelt among us.
In him was life, and the life was the light of men.
And from his fullness have we all received, grace upon grace (cf. Jn., prologue).
Through prayer and meditation, this evening Vigil is meant to help you to realize more clearly what the extraordinary "Good News" of salvation through Jesus Christ means for your lives. The "Good News" is for everyone. That is why the World Youth Day is held in different places.
5. On Palm Sunday last year, in Saint Peter’s Square in Rome, young Catholics from the United States handed over to representatives of the Church in the Philippines the World Youth Day Cross. The Pilgrim Cross goes from one continent to another, and young people from everywhere gather to experience together the fact that Jesus Christ is the same for everyone, and his message is always the same. In him there are no divisions, no ethnic rivalries, no social discrimination. All are brothers and sisters in the one family of God.
This is the beginning of an answer to your question about what the Church and the Pope expect of the young people of the Tenth World Youth Day. Later we shall continue our meditation on the words of Jesus: "As the Father sent me, so am I sending you", and their significance for the young people of the world.
6. Your questions this time concern the Person and the work of Jesus Christ our Redeemer. You feel the mystery of his Person drawing you to know him better. You see how his words inspired his disciples to go out and preach the Gospel to every people, thus beginning a mission which continues to this day and which has taken the Church to every corner of the world. You want to be sure that if you follow him you will not be let down or disappointed.
In other words, how can we explain the extraordinary effect of his life, and the effectiveness of his words? Where do his power and authority come from?
7. Una lectura atenta del Evangelio de San Juan nos ayudará a encontrar una respuesta a nuestra pregunta.
Vemos cómo Jesús, a pesar de las puertas cerradas, entra en la habitación donde los discípulos están reunidos (cf. Jn. Jn 20,26). Les muestra sus manos y su costado. ¿Qué indican estas manos y este costado? Son los signos de la Pasión y Muerte del Redentor en la Cruz. El Viernes Santo estas manos fueron traspasadas por los clavos, al levantar su cuerpo en la cruz, entre el cielo y la tierra. Y cuando la agonía había llegado a su fin, el centurión romano traspasó también su costado con la lanza, para asegurarse de que ya no vivía (cf. ibid., 19:34). Inmediatamente brotaron sangre y agua, como una prueba patente de su muerte. Jesús había muerto realmente. Murió y fue colocado en el sepulcro, como era costumbre sepultar entre los Judíos. José de Arimatea le cedió la tumba familiar, que poseía cerca de sitio. Allí yació Jesús hasta la mañana de Pascua. Ese día, muy de mañana, algunas mujeres vinieron de Jerusalén para ungir el cuerpo inerte. Pero encontraron que la tumba estaba vacía. Jesús había resucitado.
Jésus ressuscité rejoint les Apôtres dans la salle où ils sont réunis. Et, pour prouver qu’il est bien celui qu’ils avaient toujours connu, il leur montre ses blessures: ses mains et son côté. Ce sont les marques de sa Passion et de sa Mort rédemptrices, la source de la force qu’il leur transmet. Il dit: “De même que le Père m’a envoyé, moi aussi je vous envoie... Recevez l’Esprit Saint” (Ibid., 20:21-22).
8. La Risurrezione di Gesù Cristo è la chiave per comprendere la storia del mondo, la storia di tutto quanto il creato, ed è la chiave per comprendere specialmente la storia dell’uomo. L’uomo, al pari di tutto il creato, è sottoposto alla legge della morte. Leggiamo nella Lettera agli Ebrei: “È stabilito che gli uomini muoiano” (cf. Heb. He 9,27). Ma grazie a quanto Cristo ha operato, quella legge è stata sottomessa a un’altra legge, la legge della vita. Grazie alla Risurrezione di Cristo, l’uomo non esiste più solamente per la morte, ma esiste per la vita che si deve rivelare in noi. È la vita che Cristo ha portato nel mondo (cf. Jn. Jn 1,4). Di qui l’importanza della nascita di Gesù a Betlemme, che abbiamo appena celebrato nel Natale. Per questo motivo la Chiesa si prepara al Grande Giubileo dell’Anno 2000. La vita umana che a Betlemme fu rivelata ai pastori e ai saggi che vennero dall’Oriente in una notte stellata ha dato prova della sua indistruttibilità nel giorno della Risurrezione. Vi è un legame profondo tra la notte di Betlemme e il giorno della Risurrezione.
9. The victory of life over death is what every human being desires. All religions, especially the great religious traditions followed by most of the peoples of Asia, bear witness to how deeply the truth regarding our immortality is inscribed in man’s religious consciousness. Man’s search for life after death finds definitive fulfilment in the Resurrection of Christ. Because the Risen Christ is the demonstration of God’s response to this deeply-felt longing of the human spirit, the Church professes: "I believe in the resurrection of the body and in life everlasting" ("Symbolum Apostolorum"). The Risen Christ assures the men and women of every age that they are called to a life beyond the frontier of death.
The resurrection of the body is more than just the immortality of the soul. The whole person, body and soul, is destined to eternal life. And eternal life is life in God. Not life in the world, which, as Saint Paul teaches, is "subject to futility" (Rm 8,20). As a creature in the world, the individual is subject to death, just like every other created being. The immortality of the whole person can come only as a gift from God. It is in fact a sharing in the eternity of God himself.
10. How do we receive this "life in God"? Through the Holy Spirit! Only the Holy Spirit can give this new life, as we profess in the Creed: "I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life". Through him we become, in the likeness of the only-begotten Son, adopted children of the Father.
When Jesus says: "Receive the Holy Spirit!" he is saying: Receive from me this divine life, the divine adoption which I brought into the world and which I grafted on to human history. I myself, the Eternal Son of God, through the power of the Holy Spirit, became the Son of man, born of the Virgin Mary. You, through the power of the same Spirit, must become – in me and through me – adopted sons and daughters of God.
"Receive the Holy Spirit!" means: Accept from me this inheritance of grace and truth, which makes you one spiritual and mystical body with me. "Receive the Holy Spirit!" also means: Become sharers in the Kingdom of God, which the Holy Spirit pours into your hearts as the fruit of the suffering and sacrifice of the Son of God, so that more and more God will become all in all (cf. 1Co 15,28).
11. Dear young people: our meditation has reached the heart of the mystery of Christ the Redeemer. Through his total consecration to the Father, he has become the channel of our adoption as the Father’s beloved sons and daughters. The new life which exists in you by reason of Baptism is the source of your Christian hope and optimism. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and for ever. When he says to you: "As the Father sent me, so am I sending you", you can be certain that he will not let you down; he will be with you always!
Dear young Friends
12. The enthronement of Our Lady of Antipolo invites us to look to Mary to see how to respond to Jesus’ call. First, she kept all things, pondering them in her heart. She also went in haste to serve her cousin Elizabeth. Both attitudes are essential parts of our response to the Lord: prayer and action. That is what the Church expects of her young people. That is what I have come here to ask of you. Mary, Mother of the Church and our Mother, will help us to hear her Divine Son.
13. "As the Father sent me, so am I sending you". These words are addressed to you. The Church addresses them to all young people around the world. Today though they are being addressed especially to the young people of the Philippines; and to the young people of China, of Japan, Korea and Vietnam; to the young people of Laos and Cambodia; to those of Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia; to the young people of India and of the Islands of the Indian Ocean; to the young people of Australia and New Zealand, and of the Islands of the vast Pacific.
Sons and daughters of this part of the world, the home of the greatest part of the human family, you are called to the same task and challenge to which Christ and the Church call the young people of every continent: the young people of the Middle East, of Eastern Europe and Western Europe, of North America, of Central and South America, of Africa. To each one of you Christ says: "I am sending you".
14. Why is he sending you? Because men and women the world over – north, south, east and west – long for true liberation and fulfilment. The poor seek justice and solidarity; the oppressed demand freedom and dignity; the blind cry out for light and truth ( cf. Lk. Lc 4,18). You are not being sent to proclaim some abstract truth. The Gospel is not a theory or an ideology! The Gospel is life! Your task is to bear witness to this life: the life of God’s adopted sons and daughters. Modern man, whether he knows it or not, urgently needs that life – just as two thousand years ago humanity was in need of Christ’s coming; just as people will always need Jesus Christ until the end of time.
15. Why do we need him? Because Christ reveals the truth about man and man’s life and destiny. He shows us our place before God, as creatures and sinners, as redeemed through his own Death and Resurrection, as making our pilgrim way to the Father’s house. He teaches the fundamental commandment of love of God and love of neighbor. He insists that there cannot be justice, brotherhood, peace and solidarity without the Ten Commandments of the Covenant, revealed to Moses on Mount Sinai and confirmed by the Lord on the Mount of the Beatitudes (cf. Mt. Mt 5,3-12) and in his dialogue with the young man (cf. ibid., 19:16-22).
The truth about man – which the modern world finds so hard to understand – is that we are made in the image and likeness of God himself (cf. Jn. Jn 1,27), and precisely in this fact, apart from any other consideration, lies the inalienable dignity of every human being, without exception, from the moment of conception until natural death. But what is even more difficult for contemporary culture to understand is that this dignity, already forged in the creative act of God, is raised immeasurably higher in the mystery of the Incarnation of the Son of God. This is the message which you have to proclaim to the modern world: especially to the least fortunate, to the homeless and dispossessed, to the sick, the outcasts, to those who suffer at the hands of others. To each one you must say: Look to Jesus Christ in order to see who you really are in the eyes of God!
16. Increasing attention is being given to the cause of human dignity and human rights, and gradually these are being codified and included in legislation both at national and international levels. For this we should be grateful. But the effective and guaranteed observance of respect for human dignity and human rights will be impossible if individuals and communities do not overcome self-interest, fear, greed and the thirst for power. And for this, man needs to be freed from the dominion of sin, through the life of grace: the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Jesus says to you: "I am sending you to your families, to your parishes, to your movements and associations, to your countries, to ancient cultures and modern civilization, so that you will proclaim the dignity of every human being, as revealed by me, the Son of Man". If you defend the inalienable dignity of every human being, you will be revealing to the world the true face of Jesus Christ, who is one with every man, every woman and every child, no matter how poor, no matter how weak or handicapped.
17. How does Jesus send you? He promises neither sword nor money nor power, nor any of the things which the means of social communications make attractive to people today. He gives you instead grace and truth. He sends you out with the powerful message of his Paschal Mystery, with the truth of his Cross and Resurrection. That is all he gives you, and that is all you need.
This grace and truth will in turn give rise to courage. Following Christ has always demanded courage. The Apostles, the martyrs, entire generations of missionaries, saints and confessors – known and unknown, and in every part of the world – have had the strength to stand firm in the face of misunderstanding and adversity. This is also true here in Asia. Among all the peoples of this continent Christians have paid the price of their fidelity and that is the sure source of the Church’s confidence.
18. And so we come back to your original question: what does the Church and the Pope expect of the young people of the Tenth World Youth Day? That you confess Jesus Christ.And that you learn to proclaim all that the message of Christ contains for the true liberation and genuine progress of humanity. This is what Christ expects of you. This is what the Church looks for in the young people of the Philippines, of Asia, of the world. In this way your own cultures will find that you speak a language which is already echoed in some way in the ancient traditions of Asia: the language of true interior peace and the fullness of life, now and for ever.
Because Christ says to you: "I am sending you", you become a sign of hope and the object of our trust in the future. In a special way, you, the young people of the Tenth World Youth Day, are a sign, an "epiphany" of Jesus Christ, a manifestation of the Kingdom of God.
19. Lord Jesus Christ!
Through this Tenth World Youth Day, put "new life" into the hearts of the young people gathered here in Luneta Park, in Manila, in the Philippines.
Saint John writes that the life you give is the "light of men" (Jn 1,4). Help these young men and women to take that light back with them to all the places from which they have come. Let their light shine for all peoples ( cf. Mt. Mt 5,16): for their families, for their cultures and societies, for their economic and political systems, for the whole international order.
Coming into the room where the disciples were gathered, after your Resurrection, you said: "Peace be with you!" (Jn 20,21). Make these young people bearers of your peace. Teach them the meaning of what you said on the Mountain: "Blest are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons and daughters of God" (cf. Mt. Mt 5,9).
Send them as the Father sent you: to free their brothers and sisters from fear and sin; for the glory of our Heavenly Father. Amen.
[At the end of the Prayer Vigil, John Paul II addresses the young people in the following words].
You are very good young people. It is incredible but it is true. You are indeed very good young people. We need the Filipinos to inspire us. This is true. You are all wonderful. Do you know where the next world youth day will be held? It will be in Paris! I just revealed a top secret. May I invite the Bishops to give the blessing?
10th WORLD YOUTH DAY
Sunday, 15 January 1995
Dear Brother Bishops, ,
1. In preparing for this meeting with the Pastors of the Church in Asia I have prayed to be an apt instrument of the Holy Spirit who at all times and in every place gives life to the Church and, according to Christ’s promise, leads her into all the truth (cf. Jn. Jn 16,13). I have prayed to be able – in the words of the Psalm – to sing "his praise in the assembly of the faithful" (Ps 149 :1). It is certainly with a song of praise and thanksgiving to God in my heart that I join you in marking the happy occasion of the Silver Jubilee of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences.
I have been deeply touched by Archbishop Rozario’s warm words of welcome and I also wish to thank the other Bishops for their thoughtful remarks on the vital questions of proclamation, life and ecology, which form the subject of your reflections during these days.
2. The Assemblies of your Federation – of which this is the Sixth – not only provide a forum for exchanging pastoral experiences and discussing issues of common interest. More significantly, they give expression to the profound ecclesial communion and affective collegiality which unite the Bishops of South, Southeast and East Asia with one another and with the See of Peter. Together with our brother Bishops throughout the world we feed the one flock which Christ has redeemed with his precious blood (cf. 1P 1,19). With one accord therefore, let us give thanks to God for the "bonds of unity, charity and peace" which link us with each other under "the chief Shepherd" (Ibid., 5.4), whose servants we are.