S. John Paul II Homil. 1229
1229 “All the peoples of the earth will adore you, O Lord!” This is a vision which speaks to us of the future, it makes us look far ahead. There is an evocation of the ancient messianic prophecy, which will fully come to pass when Christ the Saviour returns in glory at the end of history. However the prophecy has had a first fulfilment, which is both historical and prophetic, when the Wise Men came to Bethlehem, bearing their gifts. Here was the beginning of the manifestation of Christ – his “epiphany” precisely – to those who represented the peoples of the world.
This is a prophecy which is being fulfilled by degrees in the course of time, according as the Gospel proclamation penetrates the hearts of people and is planted in every part of the world. Was not the Great Jubilee a kind of epiphany? By coming here to Rome or by going on pilgrimage elsewhere in the many Jubilee Churches, countless individuals in a sense set out in the footsteps of the Wise Men in search of Jesus. The Holy Door is simply the symbol of the meeting with him. It is Christ who is the true “Holy Door”; it is he who makes it possible for us to enter the Father’s house and who introduces us into the intimacy of the divine life.
2. “All the peoples of the earth will adore you, O Lord!” Here especially, in the centre of Catholicism, the impressive flow of pilgrims from all continents have given us this year a vivid image of the journey of the world’s peoples towards Christ. All kinds of people came, all with the desire to contemplate the face of Christ and to obtain his mercy.
“Christ yesterday and today / the beginning and the end / Alpha and Omega; / all time belongs to him, / and all the ages; / to him be glory and power / through every age for ever” (Liturgy of the Easter Vigil). Yes, this is the hymn that the Jubilee, in the evocative context of the transition to the new millennium, wished to raise to Christ, Lord of history, two thousand years after his birth. Today this extraordinary year officially closes, but the spiritual gifts poured out during the year remain; the great “year of the Lord’s favour”, which Christ began in the Synagogue of Nazareth (cf. Lk Lc 4,18-19) and which will endure to the end of time, continues.
While today we close the Holy Door, a “symbol of Christ”, the Heart of Jesus remains more open than ever. He continues to say to a humanity in need of hope and meaning: “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Mt 11,28). Apart from the numerous celebrations and initiatives which have marked it, the great legacy which the Jubilee leaves us is the living and consoling experience of “meeting Christ”.
3. Today, I wish to express the gratitude and praise of the whole Church. For this reason, at the end of this celebration, we shall sing a solemn Te Deum of thanksgiving. The Lord has worked marvels for us, he has filled us with his mercy. Today we must make our own the happiness which filled the Wise Men on their journey to Christ: “When they saw the star they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy” (Mt 2,10). Above all, we must imitate them as they place at the Child’s feet not only their gifts but also their lives.
For the sake of her children and all humanity, the Church has sought in this Jubilee year to be more resolute in fulfilling the role which the star fulfilled in guiding the Wise Men on their journey. The Church lives not for herself, but for Christ. She wants to be the “star”, the point of reference which helps people find the path which leads to him.
The theology of the Fathers loved to speak of the Church as mysterium lunae, in order to emphasize that, like the moon, she shines not with her own light, but reflects Christ, who is her Sun. And I gladly recall that this is how the Second Vatican Council’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church begins: “Christ is the light of the nations, lumen gentium!” And the Council Fathers went on to express their burning desire to “enlighten all people with the light of Christ reflected on the face of the Church” (No. 1).
Mysterium lunae: the Great Jubilee has enabled the Church to live with special intensity this vocation of hers. It is to Christ that she has pointed in this year of grace, echoing once more the words of Peter: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life!” (Jn 6,68).
4. “All the peoples of the earth will adore you, O Lord!” The universality of the call of the nations to Christ has been made more strikingly evident this year. People of every continent and language have come together in this Square. Countless voices have been raised here in song, as a symphony of praise and a proclamation of brotherhood.
Of course I cannot mention at this moment all the many different gatherings that have taken place. But I remember the children who opened the Jubilee with their abounding sense of celebration, and the young people who conquered Rome with their enthusiasm and the earnestness of their witness. I think of the families, who presented a message of faithfulness and communion, so necessary in our world, and of the elderly, the sick and the handicapped, who offered such an eloquent testimony of Christian hope. I think of the Jubilee of those in the world of culture and learning who are daily engaged in the search for truth.
1230 The pilgrimage which two thousand years ago led the Wise Men from the East to Bethlehem, in search of the new-born Christ, has been repeated this year by millions and millions of Christ’s disciples, who have come here not with “gold, frankincense and myrrh” but bringing their own hearts, rich in faith and in need of mercy.
5. For this reason the Church rejoices today, exulting in the summons of Isaiah: “Arise, shine forth, for your light has come... And nations shall come to your light” (Is 60,1). This sense of joy contains no vain triumphalism. How could we possibly succumb to this temptation, precisely at the end of such an intensely penitential year? The Great Jubilee has offered us an extraordinary opportunity to carry out “the purification of memories”, seeking God’s forgiveness for the infidelities of the Church’s children during these two thousand years.
Before Christ crucified we remembered that, in contrast to the overflowing grace which makes the Church “holy”, we her children are deeply marked by sin, and cast a shadow upon the face of the Bride of Christ: no self-exaltation therefore but a deep sense of our limitations and weaknesses. Yet we cannot but be filled with joy, with that inner joy to which the Prophet calls us, a joy rich in thanksgiving and praise, because it is based on our awareness of the gifts received and our certainty of Christ’s enduring love.
6. Now it is time to look to the future, and the story of the Wise Men can in a certain way give us our spiritual bearings. First of all, they tell us that when we encounter Christ, we must learn to stop and experience deeply the joy of intimacy with him. “When they entered the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and bowing down they worshipped him”: from now on their lives would be for ever given to the Child for whom they had endured the rigours of the journey and the deceitfulness of men. Christianity is born, and continually draws new life, from this contemplation of the glory of God shining on the face of Christ.
A face to be contemplated, seeing in his eyes the “features” of the Father and allowing ourselves to be filled with the Spirit’s love. The great Jubilee pilgrimage has reminded us of this fundamental Trinitarian aspect of the Christian life: in Christ we also meet the Father and the Spirit. The Trinity is the origin and the fulfilment. From the Trinity all things come, and to the Trinity all things return.
And yet, as in the case of the Wise Men, this immersion in contemplation of the mystery does not stop us from journeying on, indeed it compels us to start out afresh on a new stage of the journey on which we become proclaimers and heralds. “They returned to their own country by a different way”. The Wise Men were in a sense the first missionaries. Their encounter with Christ did not keep them in Bethlehem, but made them set out anew on the paths of the world. We need to set out anew from Christ and, in so doing, to set out anew from the Trinity.
7. This is precisely what is asked of us, dear Brothers and Sisters, as the fruit of the Jubilee which concludes today.
In connection with this commitment which awaits us, in a short while I will sign the Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio Ineunte, in which I offer some reflections which can help the whole Christian community to “set out” with fresh enthusiasm after the Jubilee event. Of course, it is not a question of organizing, in the short term, other major initiatives. We return to our normal activities, but this is something quite different from taking a rest. Rather, we need to draw from the experience of the Jubilee useful lessons which can give inspiration and effective direction to our new commitment.
8. I offer these reflections to the particular Churches, as a sort of “legacy” of the Great Jubilee, so that the Churches can incorporate them in their pastoral planning. There is an urgent need first of all to build on the desire to contemplate Jesus Christ which the experience of this year has given us. In the human face of the Son of Mary we recognize the Word made flesh, in the fullness of his divinity and his humanity. The greatest artists – of East and West – have striven to capture the mystery of that Face. But is the Spirit, the divine “iconographer”, who etches that Face in the hearts of all who contemplate him and love him. We need to “set out anew from Christ”, with the zeal of Pentecost, with renewed enthusiasm. To set out from him above all in a daily commitment to holiness, with an attitude of prayer and of listening to his word. To set out from him in order to testify to his Love by living a Christian life marked by communion, charity, and witness before the world. This is the programme which I suggest in the present Apostolic Letter. It can all be reduced to one word: “Jesus Christ!”.
At the very beginning of my Pontificate, and countless times since, I have exclaimed to the sons and daughters of the Church and to the world: “Open wide the doors to Christ”. I wish to do so yet again, at the conclusion of this Jubilee, at the beginning of this new millennium.
9. “All the peoples of the earth will adore you, O Lord!”. This prophecy is already fulfilled in the heavenly Jerusalem, where all the just of the world, and especially so the many witnesses to the faith, are mysteriously gathered in that holy city where the sun is no more, since the Lamb is its sun. There above, angels and saints join their voices in singing the praises of God.
1231 The pilgrim Church on earth, in her Liturgy, in her proclamation of the Gospel, in her witness, echoes each day that heavenly song. May the Lord grant that, in the new millennium, the Church will grow ever more in holiness, that she may become in history a true epiphany of the merciful and glorious face of Christ the Lord. Amen!
6 January 2001
Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord
Dear Brothers and Sisters!
1. In a few moments we will solemnly sing the Te Deum in thanksgiving to God for the priceless gift that the Holy Year has been for the Church and for humanity.
Joining us in giving thanks are the Dioceses of the whole world, which have intensely celebrated this Jubilee in constant communion with the Church of Rome. Nor can we forget the heartfelt participation of Christians belonging to other Churches and Ecclesial Communities, or the sharing by followers of other religions in the joy of Christians at this extraordinary event.
2. I feel the need at this time to express my sentiments of deep gratitude to the institutions and officials of the Italian Government, the Lazio Region, and the Province and Municipality of Rome for their generous commitment to making the Jubilee a success.
I thank the Central Committee for the Great Jubilee and those who collaborated in its various commissions and departments. I thank those who organized the sacred liturgies and prayer services, and those who offered the valuable service of listening to the pilgrims and hearing confessions.
My warm thanks to the police, to those who worked in the hospitality, information and health-care services; to the Roman Jubilee Agency and to the nearly 70,000 volunteers of every age and background who took turns continuously throughout the Jubilee Year; and to the families who welcomed pilgrims, especially the young people, into their homes. There are really so many who did their part: they should all feel included in my deep, heartfelt gratitude.
In addition, I cannot fail to thank those who contributed spiritually to the Jubilee's success: I am thinking of the cloistered nuns and monks, as well as the many people, especially the elderly and the sick, who constantly prayed and offered their sufferings for the Jubilee. In particular, I would like to thank the sick who gathered each month in the Basilica of St Mary Major and those who joined them from every part of Italy.
I thank everyone from my heart!
1232 Dear French-speaking pilgrims, I offer you a cordial greeting. At the end of the Great Jubilee, I hope that your participation in it will bear fruits of grace for yourselves, your families and your diocesan communities. I am confident that everything you have done will help to make the faith grow in your country and contribute to a better life. I grant you all an affectionate Apostolic Blessing.
I am pleased to greet the English-speaking people taking part in this final act of the Great Jubilee: may the abundant graces and blessings of this Holy Year continue to touch your lives and truly fill your homes, your families and friends, and the entire world with the lasting fruits of faith, hope and love!
I cordially greet the pilgrims from German-speaking countries. The Holy Door was closed today, but access to the living Christ always remains open. So the end of the Great Jubilee is also an important beginning: Christ wants you to set out anew. For this, may God's faithful blessing go with you.
I affectionately greet the Spanish-speaking pilgrims. May the special meeting with Christ that this Great Jubilee has meant and the graces received throughout it inspire your whole life in the years to come, making each of you a witness to God's love and mercy.
Dear brothers and sisters, the Jubilee was really a year of the Lord's grace. Take to your homes the certainty of the peace and mercy of Christ, our Passover, and live with firm hope in the Risen One, for he awaits you in his Father's house. God bless you!
For all my compatriots I hope that the spiritual gifts given to us during the Holy Year will last and bear abundant fruits in their personal, family and community life. May Christ, "the only Saviour of the world", enrich everyone with his blessing and lead them all on the paths of the new millennium.
Feast of the Baptism of the Lord
Dear Brothers and Sisters!
1. Today's feast, which closes the Christmas season, offers us the chance to go as pilgrims in spirit to the banks of the Jordan in order to take part in a mysterious event: Jesus' Baptism by John the Baptist. We have heard the Gospel account: "When Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form, as a dove, and a voice came from heaven, "You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased'" (Lc 3,21-22).
Jesus reveals himself, then, as the "Christ", the Only-begotten Son, the object of the Father's predilection. And so he begins his public life. This "manifestation" of the Lord follows that of the Holy Night in the humility of the crib and yesterday's meeting with the Wise Men, who in the Child adore the king foretold by the ancient Scriptures.
1233 2. This year I again have the joy of administering, on such a significant occasion, the sacrament of Baptism to a number of infants. I greet their parents, their godparents and all the relatives who have accompanied them here.
These children will shortly become living members of the Church. They will be anointed with the oil of catechumens, the sign of Christ's gentle strength, given to them to fight against evil. Blessed water will be poured over them, an effective sign of interior purification through the gift of the Holy Spirit. They will then be anointed with chrism to show that they are thus consecrated in the image of Jesus, the Father's Anointed One. The candle lighted from the paschal candle is a symbol of the light of faith which their parents and godparents must continually safeguard and nourish with the life-giving grace of the Spirit.
So I address you, dear parents and godparents. Today you have the joy of offering these infants the most beautiful and precious gift: new life in Jesus, the Saviour of all mankind.
From you, fathers and mothers, who have already cooperated with the Lord in bringing these little ones into the world, he asks further cooperation. He asks you to support the action of his saving Word through your commitment to the education of these new Christians. Be always ready to carry out this task faithfully.
And from you, godparents, God expects a special cooperation, which is expressed by supporting the parents in educating these infants according to the teachings of the Gospel.
3. Christian Baptism, strengthened by the sacrament of Confirmation, makes all believers co-responsible, in the way proper to each one's specific vocation, for the Church's great mission. Everyone in his own field, with his own identity and in communion with others and with the Church, must sense his solidarity with the only Redeemer of the human race.
This brings us back to what we have just experienced in the Jubilee Year. It showed the Church's vitality to the eyes of all. For the Christian the task remains, as the legacy of this extraordinary event, of confirming his faith in the ordinary context of daily life.
Let us entrust to the Blessed Virgin these little ones who are taking their first steps in life. Let us ask her to help us, above all, to walk in conformity with the Baptism we once received. Let us also ask her that these little ones, dressed in white robes as a sign of their new dignity as God's children, may be true Christians and courageous witnesses to the Gospel throughout their lives.
Praised be Jesus Christ!
Basilica of St Paul-Outside-the-Walls
1234 1. "I am the way, and the truth, and the life" (Jn 14,6). These words from the Gospel of John have shone brightly on this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity which ends today; they shine forth as a kind of programme for the new millennium on which we have set out.
I gladly express my respectful and heartfelt greeting to the Delegates of the various Churches and Ecclesial Communities who have responded to my invitation and are here today to take part in this Ecumenical Celebration of the Word. With this celebration we solemnly conclude the days dedicated to more intense prayer for the great cause which is so close to our hearts.
Through the members of the Delegations gathered here I wish to convey to the leaders and faithful of the various Confessions my good wishes and my fraternal embrace of peace.
2. "I am the way, and the truth, and the life." The human heart, like the hearts of Jesus' disciples, is often troubled in the face of life's unforeseen events (cf. Jn Jn 14,1). Many people, especially the young, ask what path they should take. In the storm of words that they endure every day, they ask: Where is the truth? Which road should we take? How can we overcome the power of death with life?
These are basic questions which express the reawakening in many of a longing for the spiritual dimension of life. These questions Jesus has already answered, when he affirmed: "I am the way, and the truth, and the life." The task of Christians today is to repropose this decisive proclamation with all the power of their witness. Only in this way can the men and women of today discover that Christ is the power and the wisdom of God (cf. 1Co 1,24), that he is the fulfilment of every human longing (cf. Gaudium et spes GS 45).
3. The ecumenical movement of the 20th century had the great distinction of clearly reaffirming the need for this witness. After centuries of separation, misunderstanding, indifference and even conflict, there has been a rebirth among Christians of the realization that faith in Christ unites them, and that this faith is a force capable of overcoming all that separates them (cf. Encyclical Letter Ut unum sint, n. 20). By the grace of the Holy Spirit, with the Second Vatican Council the Catholic Church has committed herself irrevocably to travel the path of the ecumenical quest (cf. ibid., n. 3).
The differences that still exist between us must not and cannot be downplayed. True ecumenical commitment is not a search for compromise, nor does it make concessions where the Truth is concerned. It knows that divisions between Christians are contrary to the will of Christ; it knows that they are a scandal that weakens the voice of the Gospel. Its efforts are aimed not at ignoring divisions but at overcoming them.
At the same time, awareness of what is still lacking for full communion helps us to appreciate more fully what we already share. In fact, despite the misunderstandings and the many problems that still keep us from feeling fully united, important elements of holiness and truth which belong to the one Church of Christ, even outside the visible boundaries of the Catholic Church, urge us on to full unity (cf. Lumen gentium LG 8,15 Unitatis redintegratio UR 3). It is not that outside the Catholic Church there is an ecclesial void (cf. Ut unum sint UUS 13); indeed, there are many fruits of the Spirit, such as holiness and witness to Christ - sometimes even to the shedding of blood - which evoke our admiration and gratitude (cf. Unitatis redintegratio UR 4 Ut unum sint, nn. 12, 15).
The dialogues which have developed since the Second Vatican Council have brought a new awareness of the heritage and task common to Christians, and have produced very significant results. We have not yet of course reached the goal, but we have taken important steps forward.
From being far apart and, often, adversaries - as we once were - we have grown closer and become friends. We have rediscovered Christian brotherhood. We know that our Baptism incorporates us into the one Body of Christ, in a communion that, while not yet full, is nonetheless real (cf. Ut unum sint UUS 41-42). We have every reason to praise the Lord and thank him.
4. With a profoundly grateful heart I think back to the Jubilee Year. From the ecumenical point of view, the Jubilee recorded moments that were truly prophetic and moving (cf. Novo millennio ineunte NM 12).
1235 There remains the vivid memory of the gathering in this basilica on 18 January 2000, when for the first time a Holy Door was opened in the presence of Delegates of Churches and Ecclesial Communities from all over the world. Indeed, the Lord granted me still more: I was able to cross the threshold of that Door, the symbol of Christ, together with the representative of my Eastern Brother, Patriarch Bartholomew, and with the Primate of the Anglican Communion. For a brief moment - all too brief! - we walked together. But how encouraging that short journey was, a sign of God's providence along the remainder of the road that we must still travel! We gathered once more in the company of representatives of many Churches and Ecclesial Communities at the Colosseum on 7 May for the commemoration of the 20th Century Witnesses to the Faith: we felt this celebration as a seed of life for the future (cf. Novo millennio ineunte NM 7,41).
With joy I took part in the initiative of the Ecumenical Patriarch, Bartholomew I, to celebrate the millennium with a day of prayer and fasting on the vigil of the Transfiguration, 6 August 2000. It is with feelings of deep emotion that I think back to the ecumenical meetings which I was able to have during my pilgrimage to Egypt, Mount Sinai, and especially the Holy Land.
I have grateful memories of the visit of the Delegation sent by the Ecumenical Patriarch for the feast of Sts Peter and Paul, and the visit of the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, Karekin II. Nor can I forget the many representatives of other Churches and Ecclesial Communities whom I have met in Rome during these last months.
5. The Jubilee also drew attention in a positive way to the painful divisions which still exist. It would be less than honest to disguise or ignore them. But they should not lead us to mutual recriminations or discouragement. The pain resulting from misunderstanding or mistakes must be overcome by prayer and penance, by signs of love, by theological investigation. The questions which remain open are not an obstacle to dialogue; rather, they ought to be seen as an incentive to frank and charitable discussion. The question remains: Quanta est nobis via? How long until our journey comes to an end? It is not ours to know the answer, but we are encouraged by hope, knowing that we are being led by the presence of the Risen One and the inexhaustible power of his Spirit, always capable of new surprises (cf. Novo millennio ineunte NM 12).
On the strength of this certainty, we look to the new millennium. It lies before us like a boundless stretch of water into which we must cast our nets (cf. Lk 5: 6ff.). My thoughts turn first of all to the young people who will build the new century and who have the ability to change its character. We have a duty to them of bearing common witness.
6. A fundamental task in this perspective is the purification of memory. In the second millennium we were hostile and divided; we condemned and fought one another. We must forget the shadows and the wounds of the past and strain forward towards the coming hour of God (cf. Phil Ph 3,13).
To purify our memories also means to develop a spirituality of communion (koinonia), on the model of the Trinity, a communion which embodies and reveals the very essence of the Church (cf. Novo millennio ineunte NM 42). We need to live and practise that communion which, though not yet full, already exists between us. Leaving behind distrust, we must meet, know one another better, learn to love one another, and work together fraternally as much as possible.
Yet the dialogue of charity would not be genuine without the dialogue of truth. Overcoming our differences involves serious theological study. We cannot gloss over those differences; we cannot alter the deposit of faith. But we can certainly try to understand more deeply the Church's teaching in the light of the Sacred Scriptures and the Fathers, and to explain that teaching in a way that makes it intelligible today.
All the same, it is not up to us to "create unity". Unity is the Lord's gift. And so we must pray, as we have done during this week, that we may be given the Spirit of unity. At every celebration of the Eucharist the Catholic Church prays: "Look not on our sins but on the faith of your Church, and grant us the peace and unity of your kingdom". Prayer for unity is a part of every Eucharist. It is the soul of the whole ecumenical movement (cf. Ut unum sint UUS 21).
7. The new year just begun is a very promising time for us to bear witness together that Christ is "the way, and the truth, and the life". We shall have the opportunity for this, and already there are hopeful signs on the horizon. In 2001, for example, all Christians will celebrate Christ's Resurrection on the same date. This should encourage us to reach agreement on a common date for this feast. Christ's victory over death and hatred has also inspired the initiative of the World Council of Churches to devote the next 10 years to eliminating violence.
I myself have high expectations for the journeys that will take me to Syria and Ukraine. It is my desire that they should contribute to reconciliation and peace between Christians. Once more I will become a pilgrim on the pathways of the world, in order to bear witness to Christ, "the way, and the truth, and the life".
1236 Your presence today at this celebration, dear Delegates of the Churches and Ecclesial Communities, encourages me in my commitment, a commitment which I see as an essential part of my ministry. Let us go forward together, with new enthusiasm, on the path to full unity! Christ travels this path with us.
To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
V Day of Consecrated Life
1. "Come, Lord, to your holy temple" (Response of the Responsorial Psalm, Italian Lectionary).
With this invocation, which we sang in the Responsorial Psalm, the Church, on the day when she recalls the Presentation of Jesus at the temple in Jerusalem, expresses the desire to be able to welcome him again at this present moment in her history. The Presentation is an evocative liturgical feast, fixed since ancient times on the 40th day after Christmas, following what Jewish law had prescribed for the birth of all first-born males (cf. Ex Ex 13,2). Mary and Joseph observed it faithfully, as the Gospel account tells us.
Christian traditions of the East and West have been interwoven, enriching the liturgy of this feast with a special procession in which the light of candles both large and small is a symbol of Christ, the true Light who came to illumine his people and all peoples. Today's feast is thus connected with the Nativity and Epiphany of the Lord. However, it also serves as a bridge to Easter by recalling the prophecy of the elderly Simeon, who on that occasion foretold the dramatic destiny of the Messiah and his Mother.
The Evangelist has even recorded the details of this event: Simeon and Anna, two elderly persons filled with faith and the Holy Spirit, received Jesus at the temple in Jerusalem. They personify the "remnant of Israel", watchful in expectation and ready to meet the Lord, as the shepherds did on the night of his birth in Bethlehem.
2. In the opening prayer of today's liturgy, we asked that we too might be presented to the Lord with our hearts free from sin, following the example of Jesus, the first-born of many brethren. You, men and women religious and consecrated lay people, are called in a particular way to share in this mystery of the Saviour. It is a mystery of sacrifice, in which glory and the cross are indissolubly joined according to the paschal character of Christian life. It is a mystery of light and suffering; a Marian mystery, in which the martyrdom of her soul is foretold to the Mother, blessed along with her Son.
We could say that today a special "offertory" is celebrated throughout the Church, one in which consecrated men and women spiritually renew the gift of themselves. By doing so, they help the Ecclesial Communities to grow in the sacrificial dimension that constitutes them inwardly, builds them up and spurs them along the world's highways.
I greet you with great affection, dear brothers and sisters who belong to many families of consecrated life and gladden St Peter's Basilica with your presence. In particular I greet Cardinal Eduardo Martínez Somalo, Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, who is presiding at today's Eucharistic celebration.
S. John Paul II Homil. 1229