Speeches 1973

January 1973




Saturday, 13 January 1973

Mr Ambassador,

We are happy to welcome you and to receive the Letters of Credence by which His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I accredits you as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Holy See.

We thank you for the gracious message of good wishes which you bring on this occasion from the Emperor and the people of Ethiopia and for the kind words which you have spoken in our regard.

His Imperial Majesty is well known to us: we have met him here in Rome and in Geneva. We know how eminent he is among the leaders of Africa and how his wise counsel has oftentimes served the cause of peace on the continent. We are equally aware that in the international forum the Emperor is a dedicated promoter of the interests and rights of developing nations, and we cherish a sincere regard and esteem for him.

It is hardly necessary for us to speak of our own profound interest in the problems of development. The efforts of the Catholic Church in Ethiopia, especially in the fields of education and medical care, testify to the seriousness of that interest and concern. We would express here our gratitude for the benevolence with which His Imperial Majesty regards the work and institutions of the Catholic Church in his country.

It seems to us only natural that the friendliest of relations should exist between Ethiopia and the Holy See, by reason of the history of Ethiopia’s Christian tradition. We admire that tradition, stretching as it does into the distant past and discernible today in the great ancient monasteries that keep silent watch over the heights of the vast Ethiopian mountains, guarding the secrets of centuries in their contemplation of the Word of God, in their beautiful liturgy, in their treasures of religious art and manuscripts enriched by the living experience of Christianity.

We appreciate too the spirit of understanding and ecumenism which this deep religious sense has fostered, and we look forward to a harvest of mutual friendship and cooperation between your country and the Apostolic See.

Finally, we pray that God will bless His Imperial Majesty, his family and all the beloved people of Ethiopia with every gift of prosperity, peace and happiness.

To you personally, Mr Ambassador, we extend our best wishes for the happy accomplishment of your mission.

*AAS 65 (1973), p.41-42;

Insegnamenti di Paolo VI, vol. XI, p.39-40;

L’Attività della Santa Sede 1973, p.24-25;

ORa n.4 p.2.

February 1973




Sunday, 25 February 1973

Dear sons and daughters of Australia
dearly beloved in Jesus Christ

On this final day of the International Eucharistic Congress, a day especially dedicated to peace in the world, we are happy to send our greetings to you from the Vatican. Though very many miles separate us at this moment, we are glad to be able to speak to you and to assure you that we have been praying with you and for you during these days of grace. Most especially we have prayed that the general theme of the Congress -“Love one another as I have loved you”- would become very real in your hearts, that you would see ever more clearly how you are loved by the Saviour and how, loving him in return, you must love one another. If these days have brought this grace, then they have been wonderful days indeed, days which have given glory to God, refreshment to your spirit and new substance to man’s hope for peace in this world.

If men were truly to pattern their love for each other upon Christ’s love for them as shown in the Eucharist, where would there be room for hatred? Where could there be violence and social injustice? How could indignity, discrimination, and lack of respect possibly be part of men’s lives? The pattern is clear enough: Jesus has loved us and continues to love us with a love that is complete, understanding, sacrificing, ennobling, a simple love which knows no bounds and sets no limits. We earnestly hope that the Eucharistic Congress has taught well the lesson of love. We hope that men and women the world over have seen and heard the challenge of the Congress, and that they will put it into practice in their lives, since this challenge carries within it the key to peace. We have said that peace is possible. Peace is possible because love is possible; and we know that love is possible because we have been given an example by the Eucharistic Lord.

This then has been our wish for you, and for the World. We thank God for the many graces given and we pray that he will reward all those who have cooperated in promoting the Congress and all those who have taken part in it. To all of you-beloved Australian people and all who have come from around the World to render homage to Jesus Christ-we gladly impart our Apostolic Blessing. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit .

March 1973



Thursday, 8 March 1973

Los Angeles

We are pleased to express to the people of Los Angeles our joy at the nomination of their Archbishop to the College of Cardinals.

It was our intention by this act to honor once again the Church of Our Lady of the Angels: to honor her beloved clergy, religious and laity, who have done so much and worked so hard together for the spreading of Christ’s Gospel.

We know what this occasion means, particularly for the clergy, who feel so close to their Archbishop and are so happy at his appointment. They especially are aware-as Paul told the Philippians- how Timothy “has proved himself by working with me on behalf of the Good News” (Ph 2,22).

It is our hope that all the priests of Los Angeles will feel more closely one with us, and that the ecclesial bonds that unite them with their Ordinary will draw them closer to the Successor of Peter. It is our prayer that this day in Rome will also mark the beginning for all of you of a new era of interior renewal and ever increasing zeal: that the entire People of God will be “united, heart and soul” (Act. 4, 32) in the Holy Spirit for the glory of Christ’s name.

We ask you to convey our message and our blessing to the whole Archdiocese. We send our special greetings to Cardinal McIntyre, whom we recall on this occasion with particular affection and warm friendship.

Upon all of you we invoke the assistance of our Lady of the Angels, “wishing you grate, mercy, and peace from God our Father and from Christ Jesus our Lord” (1Tm 1,2). We cordially give each of you our Apostolic Blessing.

Señor Cardenal y amadísimos hijos:

Recibimos con gran satisfacción esta visita, que nos permite estar, siquiera unos minutos, con Usted rodeado de sus familiares, de sus inmediatos colaboradores y de sus fieles, quienes tanto aprecian la virtud, el celo y la preocupación apostólica de su Pastor. A todos damos la bienvenida, adivinando ya con sola su presencia los sentimientos que suscita en vosotros el estar hoy cerca del Papa.

Venís de la amadísima España, donde se vive esa proximidad espiritual al Sucesor de Pedro. Nuestra respuesta a tanto afecto y adhesión ha quedado plasmada una vez más al elegir para el Sacro Colegio Cardenalicio a dos venerables Hermanos destacados del Episcopado Español, vinculados a dos sedes tan importantes como Toledo y Barcelona. A la alegría de tener aquí presente a Usted se une la esperanza de encontrar pronto, completamente restablecido, al Arzobispo de Barcelona.

Os despedimos reiterándoos nuestra cordial felicitación, y os bendecimos a todos vosotros, a la Archidiócesis de Toledo y a España entera.

We greet you, dear Cardinal Medeiros, with the words of greeting so often used by our Lord: Peace be with you. We are very pleased to welcome you and those who have come with you to share in the joy and happiness of the Consistory.

We take this occasion to express the hope that you will always have that precious gift which Jesus Christ offers us: his peace. Certainly you know how abundantly he extends to us this gift in te Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and in our prayerful contemplation of him. You know too the peace that comes from our vocation to be the instruments of his compassion and love.

But we are confident that the events of the past few days have reconfirmed you in that further peace which comes from the unity of the Church: the unity of bishops with the See of Peter and among themselves, and their unity with their priests, religious and people.

May the Lord grant to you and to your entire Archdiocese a growing awareness of this unity and progress in it, for the glory of his Name. With the prayer that the peace of Jesus Christ will always be yours, we impart to all present here and to the Church in Boston our Apostolic Blessing.

Wir heissen Sie alle herzlich willkommen. Ein wahrhaft freudiger Anlass führt Sie zu Uns. Wir haben Ihren Bischof zum Kardinal erhoben. Er und Sie alle möchten Uns dafür danken. Wir sagen Ihnen: es ist auch für Uns eine Ehre einen so hervorragenden Mann durch diese neue Würde noch mehr mit Unserer Person und Unserem Amt verbunden zu sehen. Wir haben schon einige Bücher Ihres Kardinals gelesen. Wir bewundern die Tiefe und Gottbezogenheit seiner Gedanken, seine Liebe zur Kirche.

Wir begrüssen es deshalb, sehr verehrter Herr Kardinal, dass Sie sich an der Spitze der Glaubenskommission der deutschen Bischofskonferenz mit den Fragen des Glaubens befassen. Unsere guten Wünsche begleiten Sie.

Ein herzlicher Gruss gilt auch den hier versammelten Familienmitgliedern des neuen Kardinals. Seine Berufung ist auch für Sie Ehre und Auszeichnung. Ihnen allen Unseren besonderen Glückwunsch.

Unser Gruss richtet sich aber auch an die Kirche von Mainz, hier so würdig vertreten durch den Herrn Weihbischof, den Herrn Generalvikar und das Domkapitel. Die Erhebung Ihres Bischofs zum Kardinal bewirkt, dass nicht nur er mit Uns viel enger verbunden ist, sondern auch die Kirche von Mainz: Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae specialis filia.

Indem Wir Sie bitten, für Uns und Unsere Aufgabe zu beten, erteilen Wir Ihnen allen von Herzen Unseren Apostolischen Segen.

Nous sommes très heureux, Frère bien-aimé, de partager quelques instants la joie de tous ceux qui vous ont entouré, en ces jours de fête, de leur affection et de leur prière: et tout d’abord les membres de votre famille, vos amis de Bordeaux et de Coutances, vos Frères dans l’Episcopat, vos diocésains de Toulouse. En vous voyant, Nous évoquons la memoire des autres Cardinaux qui vous ont précédé en cette illustre cité de Toulouse, notamment pour ne citer que les derniers, Ie Cardinal Saliège et le Cardinal Garrone, notre actuel collaborateur.

Chers amis, Nous avons donc tenu à associer de plus près à notre charge universelle votre Archevêque, dont Nous savons le zèle pastoral, le témoignage courageux, le souci Patient de la promotion du laïcat et des vocations sacerdotales, l’amitié fidèle et ferme qu’il porte à ses prêtres. De notre côté, Nous l’encourageons de toutes nos forces, et Nous vous encourageons avec lui, à susciter et à soutenir des communautés vraiment chrétiennes, dynamiques en tous leurs membres, où brillent la fidélité à l’évangile, l’amour de l’Eglise, la joie de servir humblement le Christ en même temps que ses frères. N’est-ce pas de ce témoignage dont le monde a d’abord besoin? Que le Seigneur vous réconforte, vous et tous ceux que vous représentez ici: en son nom, de tout coeur, Nous vous bénissons.
Brasile - Bahia

Senhor Cardeal e amados Filhos da Bahia:

É nos grato este encentro, em faustoso momento de alegria. Em Cristo e em Igreja, a todos vos saudamos:

- saudamos o Excelentíssimo Representante do Governo do Estado da Bahia, os membros do Clero e do Laicado de São Salvador, e, em particular, os familiares do Senhor Cardeal; e, por vós, a todos os que representais, pois certamente todos eles muito quereriam estar também aqui, nesta hora.

E ao Senhor Cardeal, com grande estima, queremos reafirmar o nosso apreço, diante deste seleto grupo da sua terra e dileto rebanho: pelo ativo zelo e dedicação, em prol do bem das almas e da Igreja, em plano diocesano, nacional e eclesial. Ternos bem presente, de fato, a generosa e abnegada colaboração em diversas iniciativas e entidades, no seu País, na América Latina e nos Organismos Centrais da Santa Sé. Bem haja, Senhor Cardeal, e que o Altíssimo o ajude a continuar!

Continuar, porque o Cardinalado, com a honra que confere, é um chamado:

- à sua pessoa, antes de mais, com as novas e amplas perspectivas que se abrem ao seu labor e empenho apostólico;

- à sua grei, que comunga nesta distinção e dela vai tomar estímulo, por certo, para prosseguir atuando o lema que o seu belo topônimo - Salvador - Ihe aponta: baseada em sólida tradição cristã e percorrendo as sendas do progresso, contribuir para instaurar todas as coisas em Cristo, estendendo, deste modo, a Salvação;

- enfim, chamado ao Brasil inteiro, para, a partir do mesmo binômio - tradição e progresso, sob o sinal de Cristo -, ser cada vez mais próspero e cristão, para felicidade de todos os brasileiros.

Com a nossa Bênção Apostólica!
Brasile - São Paulo

Senhor Cardeal,

Sentimo-Nos feliz em saudar, na sua pessoa, a vetusta e ao mesmo tempo jovem e promissora Igreja de São Paulo, bem como os familiares que o rodeiam, neste momento, e os que eles aqui representarn, espiritualmente presentes.

O cosmopolitismo, a caráter ecumênico e o elevado grau de progresso que a sua Sede apresenta constituem, para Nós, um índice do Brasil atual; e, mais ainda, urna boa promessa do Brasil de amanhã, para o mundo e para a Igreja de Cristo.

São Paulo, de fato, é escrínio de heranca cristã, antiga e preciosa, que Ihe vem dos Nóbrega e Anchieta. Bem guardada ao longo dos tempos, sob o manto maternal de Nossa Senhora Aparecida, foi ela cultivada pelo zelo dos Pastores que o precederam, dos quais dois ainda vivos, felizmente - os Senhores Cardeais Motta e Rossi -, o último deles agora Nosso direto colaborador.

Isto, para dizer-lhe, Senhor Cardeal, que a Igreja espera muito da sua pessoa, da sua grei e do Brasil inteiro. Não é, acaso, o verde da esperança o símbolo prevalecente da sua Pátria?

E quem espera, acredita, confia e ama: na força da comunhão eclesial, com todos os dons de Deus, e nos imensos recursos do seu País, com a sua pujante juventude e boa vontade das suas gentes, assenta a confiança, a estima e o desejo de todo o bem, de que o fazemos intérprete, junto do seus diletos diocesanos, paulistanos e paulistas, e de todos os brasileiros.

Com a Nossa Bênção Apostólica!

Señor Cardenal y amadísimos hijos:

Nos complacemos en expresar nuestra fraterna felicitación y nuestro saludo lleno de afecto a Usted, Señor Cardenal, a quien hemos querido contar entre nuestros colaboradores dentro del Sacro Colegio Cardenalicio, conociendo bien sus dotes de Pastor, su fidelidad y su apertura de espíritu en la solución de los problemas que el mundo moderno plantea a la Iglesia. Y también nuestro saludo paterno y nuestra felicitación a quienes le acompañáis: en vosotros vemos representada toda la Arquidiócesis de Córdoba, a la cual exhortamos a sentirse siempre unida en torno a su Arzobispo, y con él a toda la Iglesia, permaneciendo firme en la misma fe y vibrando con la misma caridad.

Nuestro pensamiento no puede menos de ir hoy a toda la Iglesia en la República Argentina, formulándole los mejores votos de activa vida cristiana, correspondiente a sus gloriosas tradiciones religiosas y a las esperanzas y necesidades de vuestro Pueblo.

A todos os bendecimos de corazón y os pedimos que os hagáis portadores de nuestra paterna Bendición para todos los amadísimos hijos argentinos.



Saturday, 10 March 1973

Australia - Melbourne

We are most happy to welcome you, dear Cardinal Knox, and to greet those who have accompanied you to the Consistory. These have been wonderful days for the Church of Melbourne.

We have learnt with pleasure of the grace-filled moments of the Eucharistic Congress. We know that it was a time of joy for you and for your people. Now you have come to Rome and have been made a Cardinal of the Catholic Church. This too is a great happiness for you and for your people. We pray that all may see that both events have the same purpose, to testify to the goodness of God and the beauty of brotherhood among men. We rejoice with you and with your people and we thank God for the consolation which is in your hearts after the days of the Congress and the days of the Consistory. To you, to those who have come with you and to all in your pastoral care we impart our special Apostolic Blessing.
Australia - Sydney

Our greetings and the peace of Christ we extend to you, dear Cardinal Freeman, and to those who have come with you for the Consistory. You have been made a Cardinal of the Catholic Church. We are sure that this has been a source of joy to you and we know that your people rejoice with you. We pray that all may see in this honour a sign of the affection we have for you and for the whole Archdiocese of Sydney. We recall with particular pleasure our visit to your land, which is so far away from us yet so close to our heart. It is one of the very reasons why we have chosen you, to testify to all men that, among the children of God and the brothers and sisters of Christ, miles cannot separate what grace has united. May your new dignity speak the message of love and unity to your people; may they see in your elevation a meaningful sign of the love for them which is in the heart of the Vicar of Christ. To you, to our venerable brother and dear friend, Cardinal Gilroy, to those who have accompanied you in pilgrimage and to all in your pastoral care we impart our special Apostolic Blessing.

We are pleased to greet you, dear Cardinal Otunga, and to welcome those who have come with you to the Consistory. You have been chosen to be a Cardinal of the Church, not only to honour you as a person and a Pastor, but also to show our affection for the beloved people of Africa and of Kenya in particular. The honour which has come to you is a sign of the maturity of the Church in your country, a testimony to the labours of those who have brought the Gospel message to your people and a pledge of even greater strides to be made in the name of Christ among those who are your brothers, our brothers, brothers of Christ himself. We hope that you will take back to Kenya many pleasant memories of these days. Even more, we hope that you will carry with you the message of unity and love which you have seen here at the See of Peter. To you, to those who have come with you and to all in your pastoral care we are happy to impart our special Apostolic Blessing.

Frère bien-aimé, Notre joie de vous accueillir surpasse nos humbles paroles. Votre personne, les prêtres et les diocésains de Brazzaville qui vous entourent, sont un signe tellement réconfortant de la continuelle et mystérieuse croissance du Corps du Christ qu’est l’Eglise. Si les méritants Pasteurs qui vous ont précédé, si les premières communautés chrétiennes du Congo, à peine centenaires, avaient participé aux mémorables cérémonies du récent Consistoire, ils auraient été à la fois étonnés et enthousiasmés de voir le jeune Archevêque de Brazzaville déjà agrégé au Collège cardinalice, et l’Eglise d’Afrique si visiblement participante aux responsabilités du Pasteur universel.

Permettez-Nous de vous encourager à nouveau, Monsieur le Cardinal, ainsi que votre communauté diocésaine ici représentée, à poursuivre dans l’espérance, le travail d’Evangélisation si prometteur que vous accomplissez très courageusement. L’heure est à l’unité et à l’amour au sein du corps épiscopal, au sein des communautés chrétiennes, l’heure est à l’action patiente et harmonieusement conjuguée des Pasteurs et des fidèles. La crédibilité de l’Evangile est à ce prix. Nous sommes certain que vous comblerez notre espérance qui est celle du Christ-Sauveur.

Avant que vous repreniez ensemble le chemin de l’Afrique, pour témoigner avec humilité et avec force de tout ce que vous avez vu et entendu près du tombeau des Apôtres, Nous vous accordons de tout coeur une particulière Bénédiction Apostolique.




Wednesday, 7 March 1973

Dear children,

This is the hope speaking to you from the Vatican.

Each year at this time it is our practice to remind you of the millions of children throughout the world who are in need of your help and the help of your parents. Hungry and sick, many of these boys and girls have no one to turn to, except to the people in richer countries such as the United States. Many times their only source of help is what you make possible through your small acts of sacrifice and self-denial during Lent.

You know, boys and girls, that in some countries of the world there is still violence, and so often it is the children who suffer most. Through your Catholic Relief Services, you can do much to help the children of these countries.

In other parts of the world, also, many children suffer silently because their countries have not shared equally in the world’s riches. Millions of these boys and girls have no schools; no doctors to treat them when they are sick; not enough food to keep them healthy. For some, things are made even worse by disasters, such as floods and earthquakes. Our heart goes out particularly to the refugees. We know of those, for instance, who have left their homes to seek refuge in camps where there is little to eat, and where disease and death are ever present. When one is hungry it hurts. When one is hungry and homeless, it hurts even more.

For this reason, each year we are encouraged when we learn of the charity of the generous people of America. You may think that your own part in this great work is not important. This, boys and girls, is not the case. Actually, the little things you do, when added all together, become a mighty force for good. Each little help you give will probably keep another child alive.

We are happy to learn also that this year, in the high schools throughout your country, the bishops are encouraging American youth to become involved in easing the misery of the people of the poorer countries. They are encouraging the young people to support a particular project, a particular work of charity. For example, providing the money needed for digging a well, or supplying tools for a workman, or seeds for a farmer.

Feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, healing the sick and giving drink to the thirsty are God’s work. We know you will want to be part of it again. We are pleased that you will share in this Lenten appeal, through the Catholic schools or through your parish religious instruction classes.

Our Blessed Lord will be glad, too, that you have chosen to do this once again, because, by helping organizations like Catholic Relief Services, you show your love not only for your neighbor, but for Christ himself.

Thank you, boys and girls, for your zeal and for your generosity. In Christ’s name, we are pleased to impart to you, to your dear parents and teachers, to the priests and religious of your parish, and to all our sons and daughters in America, our affectionate Apostolic Blessing: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.




Saturday, 17 March 1973

Beloved sons,

It is always a great pleasure for us to receive young priests and to be able to speak to them words of encouragement and challenge. It is a special joy for us today on this feast to receive the newly-ordained priests from Saint Patrick’s College in Rome. We wish to tell you first of all of our affection for you in Christ Jesus. For us you are a sign of the Church’s vitality, a proof that the Lord’s grace is active and victorious in this age of the Church, as in every period of the past. By your vocation you show the primacy of the supernatural and through your abnegation, sacrifice and fervour you give eloquent expression in a concrete way to the Church’s task of being ready to meet the Lord when he comes again. We praise the providence of God that has brought you to this day.

It is our hope and our intention to confirm you in the faith and zeal that is yours as you begin your priestly ministry of service. We also wish to confirm you in your generosity and fidelity and to assure you of their value and importance.

If you are ever tempted to think that your vocation-your individual vocation as a priest-is not important, then recall Saint Patrick and our words today: how the salvation history and destiny of an entire people-your own-could, in the plan of God, be linked with the zeal and generosity, the fidelity and perseverance of one man, who followed his divine calling and with great personal responsibility exercised his ministry within the communion of the Church. Yes, dear sons, you are called to this responsibility of a ministry which is to be exercised within the communion of Christ’s Church.

Through your ministry, sustained by grace and made fruitful in the Holy Spirit, you must lead men to Christ and, through him, to the Father. It is the Lord Jesus who has called you. The Church sends you forth. The Pope blesses you. And on this joyous occasion we extend our greetings and good wishes to your families and in particular to your parents, who have loved you, prayed for you and sustained you. To all of you we impart our Apostolic Blessing.


Saturday 24, March 1973

Mr Ambassador,

It gives us great pleasure to welcome you and to receive the Letters of Credence by which His Highness the Emir of Kuwait accredits you as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the State of Kuwait to the Holy See.

The formality of the moment does not prevent us from telling you why we find the establishment of diplomatic relations between your country and the Holy See a source of satisfaction. We regard it as an important sign of the times in which we live and we consider our meeting today as an example of the growing communication, understanding and mutual esteem which is drawing men of every race, heritage and tradition closer together. This spirit of openness and universality is indeed a source of great hope for the future.

It is because mutual esteem and respect must find their expression in practical collaboration that we can truly regard the establishment of relations as a step along the path to brotherhood, peace and justice in the world. It is the resolute desire of the Holy See to collaborate according to its possibilities for the achievement of these goals, and in this connection we thank Your Excellency for your complimentary remarks regarding the efforts of the Holy See to promote these essential values.

At the local level, we can assure you that the Catholic Church in Kuwait will continue to work for the betterment of all, and we express the hope that the Church in your country will ever enjoy the freedom granted to it for the fulfilment of its religious and educational work.

Finally we ask you to convey our greetings to His Highness the Emir of Kuwait, together with our sincere good wishes that the people of Kuwait may continue to progress in tranquillity and peace. While we invoke every divine favour upon the people of your land, we would assure Your Excellency of every assistance on our part for the happy fulfilment of your duties as Ambassador.

*AAS 65 (1973), p.249-250;

Insegnamenti di Paolo VI, vol. XI, p.282-283;

L’Attività della Santa Sede 1973, p.107-108;

ORa n.14 p.12.

April 1973




Monday, 9 April 1973

Beloved sons in Jesus Christ,

Once again it is our happiness to be with a group of newly-ordained priests from the Pontifical Beda College. We welcome you with all our heart.

Because of our deep affection for you in the Lord, we wish to say a word to you about your new office in the Church. Yours is the great responsibility, within the body of the priesthood, to build up the Christian people through the Eucharist, and to bring them the fullness of God’s Word. It is up to you to transmit to this generation the lifegiving, liberating and uplifting revelation of Jesus Christ. This and this alone is the secure foundation on which your fellowmen can base their lives. You are called upon to speak this message of God’s love and to exemplify this love yourselves in the total giving of your lives, offered in union with the Sacrifice of the Mass. You are moreover to preach, in season and out of season, the exigencies of Christian conduct for a pilgrim people; and your words must be marked by the simplicity of the Gospels, the candour of the Apostles and the charity of Christ.

Yours is a ministry of reconciliation between God and man, and between brothers. You are committed with all your being to the cause of divine forgiveness, Christian unity and human solidarity, because you share sacramentally in the mediation of the great High Priest. His mission is your mission; the priesthood with which you are invested is his priesthood. Your life is a sharing in his, and it makes no sense at all apart from him.

We ask you then, dear sons, to realize more and more the nature of your ministry and everything that it involves for God’s glory and the benefit of man. We ask you to be mindful that the destinies of many persons are linked with your own priestly vocation, your fidelity to it and the mature exercise of the responsibility to which the Lord has called you. Your brethren, Christ’s brethren, depend on you. Christ wanted it this way.

And our prayer for you is "that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment" (Ph 1,9), and that your joy may be full: ut gaudium vestrum sit plenum (Jn 16,24). May the grace of the Lord sustain you in moments of difficulty and temptation, and may our Blessed Mother be close to each of you.

At the same time we also wish to greet your beloved parents, your relatives and friends and all those who - in a degree and manner known only to the Lord - have helped you to become priests of Jesus Christ. In his Name we impart to each of you our Apostolic Blessing.




Monday 9, April 1973

We are happy to welcome to Rome and to the Vatican the members of the Supreme Council of the Knights of Columbus, led by their Supreme Knight, Mr John W. McDevitt, and accompanied by their Supreme Chaplain, Bishop Greco. You have come to Rome for a meeting of your Supreme Board in special observance of the fiftieth anniversary of your work in the Eternal City. Fifty years ago you responded in Christian brotherhood to the request for help voiced by our predecessor Benedict XV, and through the years your assistance has been unfailing and generous. Indeed, you have been brothers to the poor, to the sick, to the young, to the aged and to the underprivileged. In the name of all those whom you have helped by your brotherly compassion, we thank you from our heart.

The glory of the Knights of Columbus is not based on humanitarian works alone. Even more admirable have been your insistence upon the supremacy of God and your fidelity to the Vicar of Christ. In truth you can call yourselves "Brothers", because you call God your Father and have declared yourselves ready to do his will and serve his cause. We urge you to make ever deeper your resolve to serve God, in your personal lives and in the works you undertake. His laws must lead you; his children you must help. You can have no higher goal, no greater calling.

Finally, we encourage you to continue in your fidelity to the Pope. As you yourselves have publicly declared, in a resolution passed by the Supreme Council, your intention must ever be to adhere "to the pastoral direction of the Supreme Pontiff and of the bishops in all those matters pertaining to the . . . Christian faith and Christian morality . . .". If you do this, you will bring not only happiness to the Pope but peace to your own souls, a peace which carries within it a promise of that reward which awaits those who are faithful to the will of Christ.

Again we welcome you. We hope that your visit will be pleasant and that you will be especially pleased as you visit the various projects made possible by your generous and brotherly spirit. We assure you of our prayers and gladly impart to your families and to your Brother Knights wherever they are our Apostolic Blessing.

May 1973



Speeches 1973