Wednesday, 27 October 1971
Venerable Brother and dear sons in Christ,
It is a pleasure for us to receive you today. We know that the occasion of your coming to Rome is the celebration of the fortieth anniversary of your ordination to the priesthood. We are happy to have a part with you in the joy of this event. Your sentiments are those of thankfulness for the many blessings you have received during these years of priestly ministry; We know that you are grateful to the Lord for calling you to serve his people and for sustaining you to this day by his love. We share also in your thanksgiving.
As you recall the happy day of your ordination and the subsequent events that have made up your priestly lives, We would wish to add a word of exhortation and encouragement. With Saint Paul We would remind you to seize this occasion to stir into flame the gift that God gave all of you through ordination (Cfr. 2Tm 1,6). Renew the dedication that you made to Jesus Christ and to his Church. Over the years many changes have occurred in the Church.
By the grace of God you see more clearly now the demands of your ministry and how much the Lord asks of you. And yet, for you, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebr. 13, 8). Your ideals are the same as before: dedication to God’s love and to the humble service of all-especially the poor. Your ministry is still to preach the liberating and uplifting message of Christ’s Gospel and to renew the Sacrifice and Supper of the Lord.
Dear sons, go forth, continue with confidence. And as you work and struggle for the Church - which Christ loves so much - keep your hope fixed forever on the living God (Cfr. 1Tm 4,10).
With deep affection in the Lord, We give you Our Apostolic Blessing.
It is our pleasure to greet you this morning in the Vatican. We welcome you as distinguished astronauts, who have made a significant contribution to the world of science.
From the beginning We followed with interest the impressive undertaking of Apollo XV. We are happy to have the occasion to tell you how much We appreciated the message you sent to Us at that time, through the Apostolic Delegate in Washington.
In that message you assured Us that your journey to the moon was undertaken in the hope of contributing “to the progress of human life throughout the world” and that it was “for all mankind”. We express to you this morning our admiration for these aims of yours and assure you of our prayers that your mission will indeed fulfill the expectations of your countrymen and of your brothers on all the continents.
We were pleased to note in that same message of yours how you regarded your God-given talents in the context of a service to be rendered.
We are full of hope that through your efforts men will come to know better the Creator of all things and his marvelous works, and that in harmony they will work together for the building of a peaceful universe, with liberty and justice for all.
We are delighted to welcome you, members of the Council of the Anglican Centre here in Rome.
It is now five years since We spoke hopefully on the occasion of the opening of the Centre, shortly after We had had the pleasure and consolation, still warm in our memory, of welcoming here His Grace Michael Ramsey, Archbishop of Canterbury.
During these five years the Anglican-Roman Catholic dialogue and the Anglican Centre in Rome, inaugurated together, have prospered together. Both are symbols and expression of the commitment we share to the cause of Christian unity, which must be the fruit of a growth both of mutual knowledge and mutual love.
We never cease to give thanks to our common Father for the grace of this hope and aspiration, and for the perseverance and wisdom he grants to those who pursue it.
Some of you have been deeply engaged in this labour of knowledge and love from the beginning, all of you are now at one in this task. It is a joy for us to speak with you and to invoke the generous blessing of Almighty God on the work of the Centre and on that of the International Commission as it moves into an important phase in the search for organic unity.
We are very pleased to welcome the priests who have been participating in the Institute for Continuing Theological Education at the North American College. We are confident that your time in Rome has enabled you to renew and deepen the grace which God bestowed upon you in the laying on of hands (Cfr. 2Tm 1,6).
You know well how much the faithful today desire greater knowledge of the Christian teaching. They have so many questions that trouble them. It is the noble task of the priest to offer them the doctrine of the Church in its authentic form, but presented in a manner suitable to the mentality and concerns of our times (Cfr. Discourse of Pope John XXIII at the Solemn Opening of the Second Vatican Council). Thus you have done well by turning to scriptural and theological studies in order to find the best ways to bring to your people a profound and true understanding of the faith which they profess. Your willingness to spend three months in intense learning and reflection is a wonderful sign of your zeal and desire to offer to others as effectively as possible the doctrinal riches of the Church.
But we must never forget who is the center of all our preaching: it is always Christ whom we must proclaim. It is his Gospel that we must bring to our listeners-a Gospel of joy, because it saves; a Gospel of sacrifice, because it demands total self-giving; a Gospel of love, because it announces the infinite mercy of our heavenly Father. It is Our prayer that you return to your people strengthened in that joy, in that self-giving, in that love, so that you will, through the grace of our Lord, be increasingly effective witnesses to his Gospel and ministers of his life to his brothers and sisters.
We express Our appreciation and gratitude to Bishop Hickey, to Father Mahowald and to all who have made this Institute possible. We assure you of Our prayers and We impart to you Our paternal Apostolic Blessing.
We are very happy to welcome the newly-ordained priests of the North American College. With great joy We greet also your parents who have given you the example of faith and love with which you have accepted the call of Christ. We greet also Bishop Hickey, Bishop-elect Marshall and the faculty of the College who have worked so zealously with you and for you.
You have received a great gift. At the Last Supper our Lord said to his Apostles: “I call you friends, since I have made known to you all that I heard from my Father” (Jn 15,15). These words have very appropriately been associated with ordination to the priesthood; all of your prayer, all of your study, all of your preparation has been for that one purpose: friendship with Christ. He has offered you an intimate knowledge of himself. He has invited you to a profound love. That knowledge and love have now culminated in the great privilege which he granted you yesterday: to share his ministerial priesthood.
Again at the Last Supper, in his priestly prayer, our Lord said to his Father: “As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world” (Jn 17,18). And now you are sent by Jesus Christ to bring to mankind the consolation of his mercy, the wisdom of his Gospel, the joy of his presence. You have heard his voice in faith and prayer, in Scripture and Liturgy, in the Church and in the World. And now you are sent to preach his message and to nourish the faith and hope of his brothers and sisters. They need his words so much. Your preaching will reach its perfection and fulfilment in your sacramenta1 ministry through which the Christian people meet their Savior and are more closely United with him.
You are filled with great joy because of the new commission which you have received. We rejoice with you and We assure you of Our prayers. Remember always that you are part of a fellowship, a brotherhood of priests who serve the Lord in every part of the World and in every generation of history.
To you, mothers and fathers, We say: may the happiness of these days be with you always. Pray without ceasing for your sons and for al1 priests that they may be faithful to the end.
With paterna1 affection We impart to al1 of you and to your loved ones Our special Apostolic Blessing.
* * *
Il Nostro paterno saluto si rivolge ora ai novelli sacerdoti della Congregazione dei Chierici Regolari di S. Paolo, che abbiamo la gioia di vedere qui intorno a Noi, accompagnati da un folto gruppo di Superiori, Confratelli e congiunti.
Vi accogliamo, carissimi sacerdoti, con le stesse parole dell’Apostolo delle genti: « Os nostrum patet ad vos . . . cor nostrum dilatatum est » (2Co 6,11).
Sì, il Nostro cuore si apre a viva commozione e speranza, ogni qualvolta veniamo a contatto con giovani che, come voi oggi, hanno raggiunto il sospirato traguardo del sacerdozio, dopo un lungo difficile vittorioso itinerario. La sacra ordinazione da voi quest’oggi ricevuta vi ha costituito ministri di Dio, banditori del Vangelo di Gesù Cristo, dispensatori del Suo Sangue e della Sua Parola. È la conclusione di una misteriosa e meravigliosa storia di grazia scritta da Dio nel segreto delle vostre anime. Ma è anche l’inizio di una nuova luminosa ascesa.
Con quale compiacenza, perciò, figli carissimi, pensiamo al prossima vostro ingresso nel campo del sacro ministero! Con quanta speranza per il bene di tante anime, specialmente giovanili! E anche con quanta trepidazione per le difficoltà e i pericoli che certamente dovrete incontrare! Le conquiste del regno di Dio non sono facili; Gesù ce lo ha detto, ammonendo che il regno dei Cieli è oggetto di violenza « vim patitur » (Mt 11,12); e se questo è vero per gli operai del Vangelo di ogni epoca, tanto più vale per il nostro tempo. Lasciate pertanto che noi fin d’ora, a conforto delle fatiche che vi attendono, vi ricordiamo le parole di esortazione di S. Paolo: « In omnibus exhibeamus nosmetipsos sicut Dei ministros in multa patientia . . . in castitate, in scientia, in longanimitate, in suavitate, in Spiritu Sancto, in caritate non ficta, in verbo veritatis, in virtute Dei » (2Co 6, 4, 6-7). Ecco la fisionomia spirituale dell’uomo apostolico, alla quale voi non mancherete di conformarvi in ogni circostanza del vostro arduo servizio.
Noi pregheremo per voi, affinché la vostra vita sacerdotale sia sempre sotto la luce irraggiante di questo santo giorno. E intendiamo comprendere nella Nostra preghiera i vostri benemeriti Superiori che vi hanno seguito nel periodo della preparazione, e i genitori che oggi con voi esultano di purissima gioia spirituale, avendo compiuto lietamente l’offerta di voi alla Chiesa; che il Signore tutti li rimeriti per tanti sacrifici sostenuti, come Lui solo può e sa fare.
Pegno e riflesso delle divine ricompense vuole essere la Nostra Apostolica Benedizione, che di cuore impartiamo a voi, ai vostri Superiori e familiari vicini e lontani, in nomine Domini.
We are pleased to welcome you, the 1971 Class of White House Fellows. We hope that your program this year is proving to be beneficial not only for yourselves, but also for your government. The dedicated and zealous efforts of young men and women are always a source of new vigor and creativity for institutions. Their ideals and energies are necessary for every organization, every society, every nation, because young people are especially sensitive to injustices and compassionate in the face of the afflictions endured by so many. Thus you are able to fulfill an important role for your country, since you are a part of that dialogue between the generations that is so essential for orderly progress and the establishment of authentic values.
It is our hope that your work now and later will help to enrich the life of the community, to promote peace and justice among all men and to bring about an ever greater realization of the fundamental and noble principles upon which your nation is built. Through you We greet your fellow-citizens and We assure all of you of Our prayers that Almighty God will grant you every blessing of wisdom and guidance as you share in the difficult but rewarding search to resolve the complex problems of our times.