S. John Paul II Homil. 1432

1432 In raising Joseph Sebastian Pelczar to the glory of the altars, I ask that through his intercession, the splendour of his holiness may be an encouragement for the Sisters Servants of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, for the Church of Przemysl and for all believers in Poland and throughout the world, to nurture this love for Christ and for his Mother.

3. Throughout her life, St Ursula Ledóchowska fixed her gaze on the face of Christ, her Bridegroom, with fidelity and with love. In a particular way, she united herself to Christ in agony on the Cross. This union filled her with an extraordinary zeal in the work of proclaiming in words and in deeds the Good News of God's love. She brought it first of all to children and young people, but also to all who were in need: the poor, the abandoned, the lonely. She addressed to all the language of love, borne out by her work. With the message of God's love she crossed Russia, the Scandinavian countries, France and Italy. In her day she was an apostle of the new evangelization, demonstrating a constant timeliness, creativity and the effectiveness of Gospel love by her life and action.

Through love for the Eucharist she also drew the inspiration and strength for the great work of her apostolate. She wrote: "I must love my neighbour as Jesus loved me. Take and eat.... Eat my strength, I am available for you.... Take and eat my abilities, my talents... my heart, so that with his love he may warm and brighten your life.... Take and eat my time, may it be at your disposal.... I am yours, as Jesus the Host is mine". Do not these words echo the gift with which Christ, in the Upper Room, offered himself to his disciples of all times?

In founding the Congregation of the Ursuline Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Agony, she passed on to it this spirit. "The Most Blessed Sacrament", she wrote, "is the sun of our life, our treasure, our happiness, our all on the earth.... Love Jesus in the tabernacle! Always leave your heart there, even if you are busy at work. It is there that Jesus dwells, whom we must love ardently with all our heart. And if we cannot love him, let us at least seek to love him - to love him more and more".

In the light of this Eucharistic love, St Ursula could glimpse a sign of the times in every circumstance, in order to serve God and her brothers and sisters. She knew that for believers, every event, even the least important, becomes an opportunity to carry out God's plans. What was ordinary, she made extraordinary; what was part of daily life, she transformed so that it became eternal; what was banal, she made holy.

If today St Ursula has become an example of holiness for all believers, it is because her charism can be grasped by those who, in the name of the love of Christ and of the Church, want to witness effectively to the Gospel in today's world. We can all learn from her how to build with Christ an ever more human world - a world in which values such as justice, freedom, solidarity and peace will be more and more fully achieved. From her we can learn how to put into practice every day the "new" commandment of love.

4. "This is his commandment, that we should believe... and love one another" (
1Jn 3,23). The Apostle John exhorts us to accept the boundless love of God, who for the salvation of the world gave his Only-begotten Son (cf. Jn Jn 3,16). Christ expressed this love in a sublime manner when he poured out his Blood as "an infinite price of redemption" for all humanity. Maria De Mattias was won over in the depths of her spirit by the mystery of the Cross and founded the Institute of the Sisters Adorers of the Blood of Christ "under the emblem of the Divine Blood". Love for Jesus crucified was expressed in her in passion for souls and in humble devotion to her brothers and sisters, her "beloved neighbour", as she liked to say. "Let us encourage one another", she urged, "to suffer willingly out of love of Jesus who with such great love shed his blood for us. Let us work hard to win souls for heaven".

St Maria De Mattias entrusts this message to her spiritual sons and daughters today, spurring all to follow the Lamb who gave himself in sacrifice for us, even to the point of giving up their life.

5. This same love sustained Virginia Centurione Bracelli. In response to the exhortation of the Apostle John, she wanted to love not only "with words", "or with her lips", but "with deeds and in truth" (cf. 1Jn 3,18). Disregarding her noble origins, she devoted herself to assisting the lowliest with extraordinary apostolic zeal. The effectiveness of her apostolate stemmed from her unconditional adherence to God's will, which was nourished by ceaseless contemplation of, and obedient listening to, the word of the Lord.

In love with Christ and for his sake ready to give herself for her brothers and sisters, St Virginia Centurione Bracelli leaves the Church the witness of a simple and active saint. Her example of courageous fidelity to the Gospel also continues to exert a powerful influence on people in our time. She used to say: when God is one's only goal, "all disagreements are smoothed out, all difficulties overcome" (Positio, n. 86).

6. "Abide in me!". In the Upper Room, Jesus repeated several times this invitation which St Joseph Sebastian Pelczar, St Ursula Ledóchowska, St Maria De Mattias and St Virginia Centurione Bracelli accepted with total trust and willingness. It is a pressing and loving invitation that is addressed to all believers. "If you abide in me", the Lord assures us, "and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you" (Jn 15,7).

1433 May each one of us experience in our own life the efficacy of Jesus' assurance!

May Mary, Queen of the Saints and a model of perfect communion with her divine Son, help us. May she teach us how to continue "to abide" in Jesus, united to him as branches to the vine, and never to cut ourselves off from his love. Indeed, without him we can do nothing, for our life is Christ, alive and present in the Church and in the world. Today and forever. Praised be Jesus Christ!





Harbour Square in Dubrovnik

Friday, 6 June 2003

1. "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" (Mc 10,17). This was the question asked by the young man who met Jesus that day and knelt down before him.

Today, dear brothers and sisters, gathered in this liturgical assembly as disciples of the "Good Teacher", we too put this question to Jesus, for we wish to know the path which leads to undying life.

Jesus’ response is simple and immediate: "Keep the commandments!". It comes from the One who is the true source of truth and life. Gathered for this joyous celebration, the people of Dubrovnik, together with the pilgrims who have come from the rest of Croatia, from Bosnia-Hercegovina, from Montenegro and from other countries, accept with trepidation the invitation of the Good Teacher, and they implore his help and grace in order to be able to respond with generosity and conviction.

2. With affection I greet you, dear brothers and sisters, together with your Bishops and the priests and religious who accompany you on the path of your witness to Christ. I cordially greet the Bishop of Dubrovnik, the Most Reverend Zelimir Puljic, whom I thank for his kind words of welcome, and in a special way the Daughters of Mercy founded by the new Blessed. My respectful greetings also go to the civil and military authorities; I thank them and all those who have helped to make my visit possible.

In the footsteps of my predecessor Pius IV who was Archbishop here, I have come with joy to this ancient and glorious city of Dubrovnik, a city proud of its history and its traditions of freedom, justice and the advancement of the common good. This is seen in the lapidary phrase inscribed on the fortress of Saint Lawrence: Non bene pro toto libertas venditur auro ("Freedom cannot be sold for all the money in the world") and above the door of the Council Hall in the Governor’s Palace: Obliti privatorum, publica curate ("Forget all private interests, and tend to public concerns").

It is my hope that the patrimony of human and Christian values, accumulated down the centuries, will continue, with the help of God and of your Patron Saint Blase, to be the most precious treasure of the people of this country.

1434 3. "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" (Mc 10,17). This is the question that Sister Marija of Jesus Crucified asked her Lord from the time of her youth in Blato on the island of Korcula, when she took active part in the life of her parish and devoted herself generously to others in the Association of the Good Shepherd, in the Association of Catholic Mothers, and in the people’s Kitchen.

The response echoed clearly in her heart: "Come and follow me!" Overwhelmed by the love of God, she chose to consecrate herself to him for ever and to fulfil her aspiration to total devotion to the spiritual and material well-being of those most in need. Later she founded the Congregation of the Daughters of Mercy of the Third Order Regular of Saint Francis, with the specific task of "spreading knowledge of God’s love through the spiritual and corporal works of mercy." Difficulties were not lacking, but Sister Marija persevered with indomitable courage, offering up her sufferings as so many acts of worship and supporting her Sisters by her words and her example.

For forty years she guided her Institute with maternal wisdom, opening it to missionary commitment in various countries of Latin America.

4. The figure of Blessed Marija Propetoga Isusa reminds me of all the women of Croatia, those who are wives and mothers, those whose lives were for ever changed by the grief of losing a family member in the cruel war of the 1990s or by other bitter troubles which they have endured.

I think of you, dear women, because by your sensitivity, generosity and strength, "you enrich the world’s understanding and help to make human relations more honest and authentic" (Letter to Women, 2). In a special way God has entrusted children to your care, and thus you are called to become an important support in the life of every person, especially within the context of the family.

The frenetic pace of modern life can lead to an obscuring or even a loss of what is truly human. Perhaps more than in other periods of history, our time is in need of "that ‘genius’ which belongs to women, and which can ensure sensitivity for human beings in every circumstance" (Mulieris Dignitatem MD 30).

Women of Croatia, conscious of your lofty vocation as "wives" and "mothers", continue to see every person with the eyes of the heart. Continue to reach out to them and to stand beside them with the sensitivity born of your maternal instinct. Your presence is indispensable in the family, in society, and in the ecclesial community.

5. In a particular way, I think of you, consecrated women, who, like Marija Petkovic, who have accepted the invitation to follow with undivided heart Jesus Christ, chaste, poor and obedient.

Be tireless in responding faithfully to the one Love of your life. For the consecrated life is not only a generous commitment on the part of a human being; it is first and foremost a response to a gift from on high which cries out to be accepted in complete openness. May the daily experience of God’s freely-given love inspire you to give your lives unreservedly to the service of the Church and of your brothers and sisters commending all things, present and future, to his hands.

6. "Jesus looking upon him loved him" (Mc 10,21). God turns a loving gaze upon all those who desire to do his will and to walk in his ways (cf. Ps Ps 1,1-3). All people, each according to his or her specific vocation, are called to bring about within themselves and all about them the plan of God. That is why the Spirit of the Lord fills God’s faithful ones with "compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness and patience" (Col 3,12). Only thus can the earthly city be built in the image of the heavenly city.

May your Christian community grow and be strengthened in mutual forgiveness, charity and peace: this is the prayer that the Pope today raises to the Lord for all of you.

1435 "And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him" (Col 3,17).

To Christ be glory for ever and ever!

At the end of the Beatification Mass, the Holy Father added a few words to the faithful present.

I have always wanted to visit Dubrovnik. Today, this has happened. Thanks be to God! And I thank you for this wonderful welcome, for this Liturgy, for these natural beauties. I bless you all. I bless your families. I bless the young people and say to them: "Take courage!". I bless the children and the sick. May God bless the birth place of the new Blessed, the city of Dubrovnik and all of Croatia!




Sportive Airport of Osijek/Cepin

Saturday, 7 June 2003

1. "I beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called" (Ep 4,1). Saint Paul wrote these words to the Ephesians. His exhortation, dear brothers and sisters, resounds today in our assembly with particular timeliness.

But what is the vocation of a Christian? The answer is demanding, but clear: the vocation of Christian is holiness. It is a vocation which has its roots in Baptism and is proposed anew by the other sacraments, and principally by the Eucharist.

Dear brothers and sisters of the Dioceses of Djakovo and Srijem, the Bishop of Rome has come among you today in order to to remind you, in the name of the Lord, that you are called to holiness in every season of life: in the spring of youth, in the summer of maturity, then in the autumn and winter of old age, and at last at the hour of death and even beyond death, in the final purification preordained by God’s merciful love.

2. I wish to recall this fundamental truth today, as I celebrate together with you the solemn conclusion of the second Synod of your local Church, to which you have devoted almost five years of prayer and reflection on the theme: "You are the Christ, for us and for all men and women." May the Synod produce abundant fruits for a renewal of Christian commitment in this land which is firmly linked to the See of Peter. Indeed, today, 7 June, is the anniversary of the letters sent in 879 by Pope John VIII to Prince Branimir and to Bishop Theodosius, which mark a significant date in your history

I cordially greet your Bishop, Marin Srakic, and I thank him for his words of welcome at the opening of this liturgical celebration. Together with him I greet your Auxiliary Bishops and your Bishop Emeritus, Ciril Kos. I embrace with affection the Bishops and all the faithful of the Dioceses of the Ecclesiastical Province of Zagreb, which is celebrating the hundredth and fiftieth anniversary of its establishment. My thoughts also go to the pilgrims who have come with their Pastors from Bosnia-Hercegovina, from Hungary, and from Serbia and Montenegro.

1436 In this city of Osijek, I wish to recall Cardinal Franjo Šeper, who was born here. A faithful servant of the Church, he was my valued co-worker as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the beginning of my Pontificate.

I greet our brothers and sisters who share with us faith in Jesus, the Son of God and the one Saviour of the world. In particular I greet Metropolitan Jovan and the other Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church. I ask them to convey to His Beatitude Patriarch Pavle my fraternal greetings in the love of Christ. My greeting also goes to our brothers and sisters of the Communities born of the Reformation.

I also offer respectful greetings to the members of the Jewish Community and to the followers of Islam. Finally my respectful greetings go to the civil and military Authorities, whom I thank most heartily for their commitment to the preparation of this Pastoral Visit.

3. "I appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide" (
Jn 15,16). How can we not be grateful to God for the clearer awareness which, in the years following the Second Vatican Council, the lay faithful – men and women alike – have gained of the baptismal dignity that is theirs? Christ’s followers can never cultivate sufficiently the awareness of their proper identity. This in fact is the model for their mission.

Consequently there are essential questions to which we continually need to respond: What have I done with my Baptism and my Confirmation? Is Christ truly the centre of my life? Do I give space to prayer during my day? Do I live my life as a vocation and a mission?

4. At the beginning of the third millennium God is calling believers, and the laity in particular, to a renewed missionary outreach. Mission is not "something added on" to the Christian vocation. Indeed, the Council states that the Christian vocation is by its very nature a vocation to the apostolate (cf. Apostolicam Actuositatem AA 2).

Dear brothers and sisters, the Church in Slavonia and Srijem has need of you! After the trying times of the war, which has left the people of this region with deep wounds not yet completely healed, a commitment to reconciliation, solidarity and social justice calls for courage on the part of individuals inspired by faith, open to brotherly love and concerned for defending the dignity of the human person made in the image of God.

Dear lay faithful, men and women, you are called to assume generously your own share of responsibility for the life of the ecclesial communities to which you belong. The image which parishes present, as places of welcome and of mission, also depends upon you. As sharers in the priestly, prophetic and royal office of Christ (cf. Lumen Gentium LG 34-36), enriched by the gifts of the Holy Spirit, you can make your contribution in the areas of liturgy and catechesis, and in the promotion of missionary and charitable initiatives of various kinds. No baptized person can remain idle!

Do not grow discouraged in the face of complex situations! Seek in prayer the source of all strength for the apostolate and draw from the Gospel the light to guide your steps.

5. "Great is the Lord in all his works," proclaims the Responsorial Psalm. On my flight to Osijek, I was able to admire the beauty of the plain of Slavonia – known as "the granary of Croatia" – and my thoughts naturally turned to the field workers, so numerous in this region. I greet them with particular affection.

Dear brothers and sisters, I know that your life is a hard one and that the yield of the earth’s fruits does not at times match the hard work which is demanded of you. I also know that farm work has its own serious difficulties: it has lost a part of its value and young people were already choosing urban life even before the last war, which left many villages with scarcely any inhabitants.

1437 I invite you to not lose confidence and to bear in mind that by your manual work – which eloquently recalls the Biblical duty entrusted to man of "subduing" the earth and to "having dominion" over the visible world (cf. Gen Gn 1,28) – you are daily "cooperators" of God the Creator. Know that the Pope and the Church are close to you and, with great esteem for the importance and dignity of your daily toil, they pray that agriculture and field workers, both men and women, will receive due recognition within the overall development of the community (cf. Gaudium et Spes GS 67 Laborem Exercens LE 21).

6. The Apostle Paul has reminded us that there is "one God and Father of us all, who is above all and through all and in all" (Ep 4,6). It is he, God the Father, who calls all of us to holiness and to mission. By experiencing fully the newness of Easter, Christians can transform the world and build the civilization of truth and love. To him, who reigns in glory in every age be praise, glory and honour!

I commend you to Mary, the Spouse of Joseph and the Mother of Jesus, whom you greatly venerate at the shrines of Aljmaš and Vocin. May she be your teacher and obtain for you the spirit of contemplation which was hers in Nazareth, the courageous strength which she showed at Calvary and the missionary openness to the Spirit which, together with the original community, she received at Pentecost. May Mary bring all of you to Jesus!





Solemnity of Pentecost

Sunday, 8 June 2003

1. In the final days of his earthly life, Jesus promises his disciples the gift of the Holy Spirit as his greatest legacy, the continuation of his own presence (cf. Jn Jn 14,16-17).

The Gospel just proclaimed has enabled us to relive the moment in which that promise became a reality: the Risen Lord enters the Upper Room, greets the disciples, breathes on them and says: "Receive the Holy Spirit" (Jn 20,22). Pentecost, described in today’s first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, is the event that made publicly evident, fifty days later, the gift which Jesus bestowed upon his disciples on the evening of Easter.

The Church of Christ is always, so to speak, in a situation of Pentecost: she is always gathered in the Upper Room in prayer, and at the same time, driven by the powerful wind of the Spirit, she is always on the streets preaching. The Church is kept ever young and alive, one, holy, catholic and apostolic, because the Spirit constantly descends upon her in order to remind her of all that the Lord has said to her (cf. Jn Jn 14,25) and to guide her into the fullness of truth (cf. Jn Jn 16,13).

2. Today I wish to greet with special affection that portion of the Church which makes its pilgrim way in the land of Croatia, gathered here around its Pastors and represented in its richness and variety by the faithful coming from different regions of the country.

I embrace the Archbishop of Rijeka, the Most Reverend Ivan Devcic, who has greeted me in the name of all present, and Archbishop Emeritus Josip Pavlišic, who was present with me at the Second Vatican Council: I join him in giving thanks to God for the sixty-fifth anniversary of his Priestly Ordination which he celebrated last April. I wish to greet in particular the President of the Episcopal Conference, the Most Reverend Josip Bozanic, the Archbishop of Zagreb, and all the Bishops of Croatia, as well as the Cardinals and Bishops who have come from other countries.

My respectful greetings go also to the President of the Republic and to the other civil and military Authorities. I thank them for their presence and for their valuable assistance in the planning and realization of this, my third Pastoral Visit in Croatia.

1438 I offer a special greeting to the many families present here on this day dedicated to the family: you are an important part of society and the Church, for "marriage and the family constitute one of the most precious of human values" (Familiaris Consortio FC 1).

3. We have gathered at the foot of this hill, beneath the Shrine of Trsat, where, according to a devout tradition, the house of the Virgin Mary stopped. Recalling the life of Jesus, Mary and Joseph at Nazareth reminds us of the austere beauty and simplicity, and the sacredness and inviolability of the Christian family.

In contemplating Mary and Joseph as they present the Child Jesus in the Temple or on their pilgrimage to Jerusalem, Christian parents can see a reflection of themselves as they take part in the Sunday Eucharist with their children or gather in prayer at home. Here I would recall the programme that your Bishops initiated years ago at Nin: "The Croatian Catholic family prays daily and celebrates the Eucharist every Sunday". If this is to happen, it is essential to show respect for sacredness of Sunday, which enables members of the family to recollect themselves and to join in giving due worship to God.

Nowadays the family, also in Croatia, requires special consideration and concrete policies aimed at promoting and protecting its essential nature, its development and its stability. Among other things, I am thinking of the serious problems associated with housing and employment. It must not be forgotten that in helping the family we also help to resolve other important problems, such as providing assistance to the sick and the elderly, stopping the spread of crime, and finding a remedy to drug use.

4. Dear Christian families, do not be afraid to present to others, first and foremost by the witness of your lives, God’s authentic plan for the family as a community of life founded on marriage, in other words, on the stable and faithful union of a man and a woman, bound to each other by a bond which is publicly manifested and recognized.

It is your responsibility to provide for the human and Christian education of your children, trusting also in the expert assistance of committed and well-trained educators and catechists. This city of Rijeka venerates as its patron Saint Vitus, a young man who did not hesitate to give his life in order to preserve that fidelity to Christ which he had learned from his holy parents Modestus and Crescentia. Like them, you too must help your children to encounter Jesus and to follow him, even amid the temptations to which young people are continuously exposed, along the path that leads to authentic joy.

In carrying out your ministry as parents, do not tire of repeating the invocation that for centuries the citizens of Rijeka have confidently raised before the miraculous Crucifix venerated in their Cathedral: "Pomogao nam sveti Križ svetog Vida!" (May the holy Cross of Saint Vitus come to our aid!).

5. Society today is tragically fragmented and divided.This is the reason why it is so desperately unfulfilled. But Christians do not become resigned to weariness or paralyzed by inertia. May you be a people of hope! May you be a people which prays: "Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live" (Ez 37,14). May you be a people which believes in the Word spoken by God and accomplished in Christ: "I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land; then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken, and I have done it, says the Lord" (Ez 37,14).

Christ’s desire is that all people should be one in him, so that all may experience the fullness of his joy (cf. Jn Jn 15,11 Jn 17,13). Today too he expresses this desire, for the Church which is ourselves. For this reason he, together with the Father, has sent us the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is tirelessly at work, overcoming every division and healing every wound.

6. Saint Paul has reminded us that "the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control" (Ga 5,22-23). Today the Pope invokes these gifts of the Spirit on all the Christian married couples of Croatia, that by their mutual gift of self, in fidelity to the duties of marriage and in service to the cause of the Gospel, they may be in the world a sign of God’s love for humanity.

I invoke these gifts upon all of you who take part in this celebration and upon all who here reconfirm your commitment to bear witness to Christ and his Gospel.

1439 "Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love" (Gospel Acclamation).

Come, Holy Spirit! Amen.





Forum Square, Zadar

Monday, 9 June 2003

1. As my Apostolic Journey to Croatia draws to an end, I am happy to join you, the faithful of the Archdiocese of Zadar and neighbouring areas, here in Forum Square, in the shadow of the Cathedral of Saint Anastasia, the martyr from Sirmio. We are gathered here to celebrate Midday Prayer, the hour of Sext.

I greet you with affection in the name of the Lord, as I recall the presence of my predecessor, Pope Alexander III, who stopped in this city in March 1177 and visited several places in the vicinity. I greet your Archbishop, the Most Reverend Ivan Prendja, who has welcomed me in the name of all present, and Archbishop Emeritus Marijan Oblak, who took part with me in the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council. With fraternal affection I greet the Bishops of Croatia, who surround me today and have accompanied me throughout this Pastoral Visit. My greetings also go to the Serbian Orthdox Bishop of Dalmatia Fotije.

Lastly, I greet with respect the President of the Republic, whom I thank most heartily for being present at this gathering, and the other civil and military authorities, to whom I express my gratitude for everything that they have done to make my visit possible.

2. Our liturgical assembly takes place on the day after the Solemnity of Pentecost, the day on which Croatians celebrate the feast of Mary, Mother of the Church. The reading we have just heard portrays Mary in the Cenacle, surrounded by the early community. The small group, gathered in "the upper room" of the house (Ac 1,13), prays and waits. With the coming of the Holy Spirit the doors of the room will burst open and enable the Gospel proclamation to go out to the streets of Jerusalem, and then to set forth on the paths of the world.

As on the day of Pentecost, the Blessed Virgin has remained spiritually in the midst of the Christian faithful down the centuries, invoking the constant outpouring of the Spirit’s gifts upon the Church as she faces the challenges which arise in different periods of her history.

In this way Mary carries out in its fullness her mission as Mother: she is Mother not only because she gave birth to and nurtured the Son of God; she is also Mother because she is "the Virgin who has become the Church," as Saint Francis of Assisi loved to call her (cf. Fontes Francescani, 259). Francis too passed through Zadar at the beginning of the thirteenth century, during his journey to the East and the Holy Land.

3. The Virgin Mary, gathering around herself the Apostles and the disciples who were tempted to disperse, commended them to the "fire" of the Spirit who would launch them on the adventure of mission. The "sensus fidei" of the Christian People would recognize Mary’s active presence not only in the earliest community, but also throughout the Church’s history. For this reason the Church has not hesitated to grant her the title of "Queen of the Apostles."

1440 The Most Holy Virgin, who, in the words of the Evangelist Luke, "kept all these things, pondering them in her heart" (2:19), continues to set before the memory of believers the historical events which are the foundation of their faith. As a witness to the origins of the Church and the guarantor of the fidelity of Christians in every generation, Mary repeats in every age the words she spoke at the wedding feast of Cana: "Do whatever he tells you" (Jn 2,5).

4. Mary’s words and example represent a sublime school of life, at which apostles are formed. Apostles in the past and apostles today. Mary continues to prepare them for mission by her assiduous prayer to the Father, by her closeness to her Son, and by her openness to the promptings of the Spirit.

It pleases me to know that this Archdiocese has witnessed in recent years the growth and expansion of different forms of lay engagement and apostolate. Dear brothers and sisters, learn from Mary how to be credible witnesses and generous apostles, as you make your own contribution to the great enterprise of the new evangelization. And never forget that a genuine apostolate demands as a prior condition a personal encounter with Jesus, the Living One, the Lord (cf. Rev Ap 1,17-18).

5. Mary Most Holy remains a model for all who hear the word of God and put it into practice (cf. Lc 8,21). How then could there not be a profound spiritual understanding between all believers and the Virgin of the Magnificat? The poor and the humble in every age were not mistaken when they made Mary in silence their Advocate and Mary in service their Queen.

Let us too draw near to her and learn to imitate her docility and openness to God. Let us too, the pilgrims of the third millennium, commend ourselves to her intercession, so that by her prayers she may sustain our faith, nourish our hope and make fruitful our charity:

Holy Mary, Mother of God and our own Mother,
look upon all your children
and come to our aid.

Guide us to Christ, the Way, and the Truth, and the Life;
from the Father implore for us the gifts of the Spirit,
protection from every snare, and freedom from all evil.

1441 Help us ever to bear witness
to the fruitfulness of love and the authentic meaning of life;
teach us to build with you the Kingdom of your Son
the Kingdom of justice, love and peace.

Pray for us and be our
Patronness now and always.

And You who are also Madonna of
the great Croatian Baptismal Vow,
Queen of the Holy Rosary,
today we entrust to You ourselves,
all of this land
1442 and the entire Croatian people.

At the end of Midday Prayer at the "Forum" in the city of Zadar, the Holy Father delivered the following Address as part of the conclusion of his five-day trip to Croatia.

As I am about to leave for Rome, I would like once again to say a grateful goodbye to each and every one of you.

I first thank my Brother Bishops of Croatia who have welcomed me and accompanied me to their local Churches, whose vitality and apostolic zeal impressed me: I cherish in my heart those moments of communion.

I thank the Authorities of the country and the President of the Republic in particular. I am grateful to them for working so hard to organize my visit. I thank those in charge of security, those who work in the media and all who, in their different more or less visible ways, cooperated to ensure the success of these days.

I am especially grateful to you, beloved people of Croatia, for opening your arms and hearts to me on the roads of Dalmatia, Slavonia and Quarnaro. I remember your distress because of the war that still marks your faces and your lives, and I feel close to all who are suffering its tragic consequences. However, I also know your strength, your courage and your hope, and I know that your constant perseverance will enable you to see better days.

I am grateful to you too, Croatian young people. God keep you!

God bless you, Croatia!

S. John Paul II Homil. 1432