Speeches 2005-13 28059


Dear Italian Brother Bishops,

I am pleased to meet you once again all together on the occasion of this important annual event for which you gather at your Assembly to share the anxieties and joys of your ministry in the dioceses of the beloved Italian nation. Your Assembly, in fact, visibly expresses and promotes that communion by which the Church lives and which is also put into practice in the harmony of your pastoral initiatives and action. I come in person to uphold with my presence that ecclesial communion which I have seen constantly growing and being reinforced. I thank in particular the Cardinal President who, on behalf of you all, has confirmed the fraternal adherence and cordial communion with the Magisterium and pastoral service of the Successor of Peter, thereby reaffirming the special unity that binds the Church in Italy to the Apostolic See. In recent months I have truly received a great many moving testimonies of this adherence. I cannot but offer you my heartfelt thanks! In this atmosphere of communion it is possible to nourish profitably with the word of God and the grace of the sacraments the Christian people, deeply rooted in the land, who feel a keen sense of faith and a true sense of belonging to the ecclesial community. This is all thanks to your pastoral guidance, your generous service to so many priests and deacons, religious and lay faithful who with assiduous dedication support the ecclesiastical fabric and the daily life of the numerous parishes scattered in every corner of the country. Let us not conceal from ourselves the difficulties they encounter in our time in leading their members to adhere fully to the Christian faith. Indeed, in this perspective various sources are calling for the renewal of their lay members through increased cooperation and missionary co-responsibility.

For these reasons, in your pastoral action you have appropriately desired to implement the missionary commitment that has marked the Church's progress in Italy since the Council. You have done so by making the fundamental task of education the focus of your Assembly's reflection. As I have had the opportunity to say on several occasions, this is a constitutive and ongoing requirement in the Church's life, which today is tending to acquire a character of urgency and even emergency. In these days you have been able to listen, reflect and discuss the need to start an educational type of project that springs from a consistent and complete vision of man, which can only derive from the perfect image and fulfilment that we have in Jesus Christ. He is the Teacher at whose school we must rediscover the educational task as a most lofty vocation to which every member of the faithful is called in different ways. At a time when relativist and nihilistic concepts of life exert a strong attraction and the very legitimacy of education is called into question, the first contribution we can offer is that of witnessing to our faith in life and in the human being, in human reason and in the human capacity to love. This is not the fruit of an ingenuous optimism but comes to us from that "trustworthy hope" (Spe Salvi ) that is given to us in faith in the redemption brought by Jesus Christ. With reference to this well-founded act of love for man, an educational alliance can arise between all who have responsibility in this delicate context of social and ecclesial life.

Next Sunday, the conclusion of the three-year Agora of Italian Youth that has involved your Conference in a structured process for the animation of your youth ministry is an invitation to check the educational process under way. It also asks you to embark on new projects for a specific group, that of the new generations, extremely broad and significant for the educational responsibilities of our ecclesial communities and of society as a whole. Furthermore, the task of formation, extends to adults who are not excluded from a real responsibility for continuing education. No one is excluded from the duty of taking care of his or her own growth and that of others until we all attain to "the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (
Ep 4,13).

The difficulty of forming authentic Christians is intricate and merges with the complex task of helping men and women to grow more responsible and mature. Knowledge of truth and goodness and free adherence to them form the core of the educational project, which can give shape to a global growth process, duly prepared and accompanied. For this, in addition to an adequate project that points to the goal of education in the light of the approved model to be followed, authoritative educators to whom the new generations can look with trust are essential. In this Pauline Year, which we have lived by deepening our knowledge of the words and example of the great Apostle to the Gentiles, and which you have celebrated in various ways in your dioceses and, precisely yesterday, all together in the Basilica of St Paul Outside-the-Walls, his invitation rings out, especially effectively: "Be imitators of me" (1Co 11,1). These are courageous words. A true educator stakes himself first and is able to combine authority and exemplarity in the task of educating those entrusted to his care. We ourselves are aware of this, placed as we are as guides among the People of God, we to whom in turn the Apostle Peter addressed the invitation to tend God's flock by being "examples to the flock" (1P 5,3). These too are words on which to meditate.

The circumstance which, after the Year dedicated to the Apostle to the Gentiles, sees us prepared to celebrate a Year for Priests is therefore particularly fortunate. We are called, together with our priests, to rediscover both the grace and the duty of the priestly ministry. This ministry is a service to the Church and to the Christian People that demands a profound spirituality. In response to the divine vocation, this spirituality must be nourished by prayer and by an intense personal union with the Lord in order to serve him among the brethren through preaching, the sacraments, an orderly community life and assistance to the poor. Thus, throughout the priestly ministry the importance of the commitment to education stands out, in order to develop people who are free, truly free, and hence responsible, mature and aware Christians.

There is no doubt that the sense of solidarity profoundly rooted in Italian hearts draws vitality from the Christian spirit. Furthermore, it finds a way of expressing itself with particular intensity in certain dramatic circumstances in the country's life, the most recent of which was the devastating earthquake that hit some parts of the Abruzzo region. As your President mentioned earlier, during my Visit to that tragically damaged region I was not only able to take stock personally of the bereavement, suffering and disastrous effects of that terrible quake but also and I found this most striking besides the strength of mind of those people, the prompt wave of solidarity that was organized from every single part of Italy. Our communities responded with great generosity to the requests for aid from that region by supporting the initiatives promoted by the Bishops' Conference through Caritas. I would like to renew to the Bishops of Abruzzo and, through them, to the local communities, the assurance of my constant prayers and of my permanent affectionate closeness.

For months we have observed the effects of the heavy blow the financial and economic crisis has dealt, on a global scale and, if in varying degrees, to all countries. Despite the measures implemented at various levels, the effects of the crisis on society are not failing to make themselves felt even acutely, especially by the more fragile social sectors of society and families. Thus I would like to express my appreciation and encouragement of the initiative of the solidarity fund called "Prestito della speranza" [loan of hope] which next Sunday will be an opportunity to participate unanimously in the national collection which constitutes the basis of the fund. This renewed request for generosity, which comes in addition to the many projects implemented by numerous dioceses, in recalling the gesture of the collection organized by the Apostle Paul for the Church in Jerusalem, is an eloquent testimony of the mutual sharing of burdens. In a difficult period, which is affecting above all those who have lost their jobs, sharing becomes a true act of worship that is born from the charity inspired by the Spirit of the Risen One in believers' hearts. It is an eloquent sign of the inner conversion generated by the Gospel and a touching manifestation of ecclesial communion.

An essential form of charity to which the Churches in Italy are deeply committed is also intellectual. A significant example of this is the endeavour to spread a mindset in favour of life in all its aspects and phases, with special attention to life scarred by conditions of great frailty and precariousness. This commitment is clearly witnessed by the manifesto: "Free to live. Loving life to the end", which sees the Italian Catholic laity working together to ensure that knowledge of the full truth about man and the promotion of the authentic good of people and of society is not lacking in Italy. The "yeses" and "nos" that are expressed in the manifesto outline a true educational action and are an expression of strong, practical love for every person. My thoughts, therefore, return to the central theme of your Assembly the urgent duty of education which requires that the faithful be rooted in the word of God and spiritual discernment, cultural and social planning, and the witness of unity and of free giving.

Dear Brothers, there are only a few days to go before the Solemnity of Pentecost in which we shall be celebrating the gift of the Spirit who breaks down barriers and opens people to an understanding of the whole truth. Let us invoke the Consoler who does not abandon those who turn to him and entrust to him the journey of the Church in Italy and of every person who lives in this most beloved country. May the Spirit of Life come down upon all of us and kindle in our hearts the flame of his infinite love.

I warmly bless you and your communities!


Your Excellency,

I am pleased to extend a cordial welcome to you as you present the Credential Letters appointing you as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Mongolia to the Holy See. Grateful for the warm greeting which you have conveyed to me on behalf of your President, Mr. Nambaryn Enkhbayar, I reciprocate with my own best wishes for his health and well-being. I assure him and all the citizens of Mongolia of my prayers as they continue to promote peace and social harmony at home and abroad.

I am grateful, Mr. Ambassador, that the cooperative spirit which has marked the diplomatic ties between Mongolia and the Holy See has yielded much fruit. An explicit and mutual recognition of the benefits to be gained through diplomatic relations paved the way for the establishment of the Apostolic Prefecture of Ulaanbaatar, thus making it possible to coordinate more effectively the pastoral care of Catholics in Mongolia and to give a new impetus to their charitable activities for the good of all your fellow citizens. A particular sign of this fruitful collaboration was the dedication of Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral in July of 2002, which took place on the auspicious occasion of the 10th Anniversary of diplomatic ties between Mongolia and the Holy See. I wish to voice personally my deep gratitude for all that your Government and the local civil authorities did to make this historic event possible. Not only did it help to build a sense of unity between the Catholic faithful in your land and their fellow believers throughout the world, it also bore clear witness to Mongolia’s long-standing respect for religious freedom. This fundamental human right, enshrined in Mongolia’s Constitution and upheld by its citizens as conducive to the full development of the human person, allows them to search for the truth, engage in dialogue and fulfil their duty to worship God immune from any undue coercion.

The opportunity for adherents of different religions to speak and listen to one another has a vital role in strengthening the human family. You have referred to the bold initiative of Chinggis Khan in the 13th century to invite Muslims, Christians, Buddhists and Daoists to live together on the steppes of Mongolia: a gesture that continues to find expression in the openness of the Mongolian people, who treasure the religious customs passed down from generation to generation, and who show a profound respect for traditions other than their own. This religious earnestness was especially evident as Mongolia emerged from years of oppression under a totalitarian regime. In this time of greater peace and stability, I heartily encourage forums that facilitate the amicable exchange of ideas about religion and how it contributes to the good of civil society. Peoples who practise religious tolerance have an obligation to share the wisdom of this tenet with the entire human family, so that all men and women might perceive the beauty of tranquil co-existence and have the courage to build a society that respects human dignity and acts upon the divine injunction to love one’s neighbour (cf.
Mc 12,32).

Your Excellency, this spirit of fraternal cooperation will serve Mongolia well as she strives to achieve goals for development in the years ahead. As you have noted, foremost among these is the reduction of poverty and unemployment. These objectives are placed within the framework of the overall economic growth and equitable distribution of goods your country wishes to sustain in the long-term future. The values of fairness and trust in the marketplace upheld by the Mongolian people provide a sure foundation to meet these goals. Criteria for designing programmes to this end must reflect social as well as commutative justice (cf. Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, 303); they must take into account the objective value of work rendered, the dignity of the subjects who perform it, the varying needs of citizens, and the merit that justly corresponds to the quality of work done (cf. Centesimus Annus CA 35).

Mongolia is a country which acknowledges that human well-being cannot be measured solely in terms of wealth. Educational achievement – of which literary and artistic accomplishments are reliable indicators – is also an essential feature of a flourishing society. I am appreciative that your country has singled out the need to expand educational opportunities for the betterment of all its people. Systems of instruction must not, of course, neglect the technological formation that enables students to acquire and maintain gainful employment in this age of rapid globalization and technological progress. At the same time, an integral education attends to man as a whole rather than simply his ability to produce. In particular, the young deserve a comprehensive intellectual and spiritual formation that opens their eyes to the dignity of every human person and inspires them to hone the virtues necessary to place themselves at the service of all mankind. I therefore encourage the initiatives undertaken by your Government to increase access to education and to buttress it with a clear view of what is genuinely good for human beings.

For its part, the Catholic community, though still small in Mongolia, is eager to offer its assistance in fostering interreligious dialogue, promoting development, expanding educational opportunities, and furthering the noble goals that strengthen the solidarity of the human family and turn its gaze to the action of the divine in the world. While recognizing the due autonomy of the political community, the Catholic Church is compelled to cooperate with civil society in ways suitable to the circumstances of the time and place in which the two find themselves living together.

I therefore thank you, Mr. Ambassador, for the kind assurance of Mongolia’s desire to build upon the accomplishments that have sprung from the diplomatic relations forged between your nation and the Holy See. As you begin your mission, I assure you that the various offices of the Roman Curia are ready to assist you in the fulfilment of your duties, and I invoke the abundant blessings of Almighty God upon you, the members of your family and all the citizens of Mongolia.


Madam Ambassador,

I am pleased to welcome you today and to accept the Letters accrediting you as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of India to the Holy See. Thanking you for the kind words which you have addressed to me in your own name and on behalf of the Government, I would ask to reciprocate my own respectful greetings to Her Excellency, Mrs Pratibha Patil, President of the Republic, and to the re-elected Prime Minister, His Excellency Mr Manmohan Singh, assuring them of my prayers for their well-being and for that of all the people of India.

India is a land fertile with ancient wisdom. Her people, representing many different religions and cultures, are sensitive to the need for self-awareness, integrity and harmonious coexistence with one’s neighbour for overall personal and social well-being. The immense variety within your borders opens a range of possibilities for dialogue between philosophies and religious traditions intent upon probing life’s deepest questions. Cultivating this dialogue not only enriches your own Nation but serves as an example to others throughout Asia and indeed throughout the world.

Notwithstanding the financial hardships currently facing the entire global community, India has made remarkable economic strides in recent years. Other nations have drawn inspiration from the diligence, human ingenuity and foresight which have contributed to your country’s growth. Increased prosperity calls for heightened vigilance to ensure that the poor are protected from being exploited by the unbridled mechanisms of the economy which often tend to profit only an elite few. Hence the motive for your Country’s ambitious rural jobs programme which was designed to help the disadvantaged – especially the rural poor – to earn a subsistent wage by participating in building projects and other cooperative initiatives. Programmes such as this show that labour is never a mere commodity but a specifically human activity. They must therefore be implemented in a way that upholds human dignity and repudiates any temptation to favouritism, corruption or fraud.

The principle of subsidiarity is of particular value in this regard. A society that allows subordinate organizations to perform their proper activities encourages citizens to take an active part in building up the common good, placing themselves at the service of others and committing themselves to resolving differences justly and peacefully. Subsidiarity both presupposes and fosters individual responsibility, enjoining all members of society to seek the good of others as their own. While bureaucratic structures are necessary, it must always be kept in mind that the various levels of governance – national, regional, and local – are oriented towards the service of citizens, as they themselves are administered by citizens.

Democratic systems of governance must be kept in check by broad social participation. Having recently completed an important round of national elections, India has shown the world that this key democratic process is not only possible, but can be conducted in an atmosphere of civility and peace. As the newly elected face the challenges ahead of them, I am confident that the same spirit of patient cooperation will prevail, sustaining them in their weighty responsibility of drafting laws and deliberating social policy. May they be ready to subordinate special interests, placing them within the wider context of the common good which is an essential and indispensable goal of political authority (cf. Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, 409).

Madam Ambassador, as Chief Shepherd of the Catholic Church, I join religious and governmental leaders throughout the world who share a common desire that all members of the human family enjoy the freedom to practise religion and engage in civil life without fear of adverse repercussions on account of their beliefs. I therefore cannot help but express my deep concern for Christians who have suffered from outbreaks of violence in some areas within your borders. Today I have the opportunity to express my appreciation for your Country’s efforts to provide the afflicted with shelter and assistance, relief and rehabilitation, as well as for the measures taken to implement criminal investigations and fair judicial processes to resolve these issues. I appeal to all to show respect for human dignity by rejecting hatred and renouncing violence in all its forms.

For her part, the Catholic Church in your Country will continue to play a role promoting peace, harmony and reconciliation between followers of all religions, especially through education and formation in the virtues of justice, forbearance and charity. Indeed, this is the inherent goal of all genuine forms of education since – in conformity with the dignity of the human person and the call of all men and women to live in community – they aim at cultivating moral virtues and preparing young people to embrace their social responsibilities with a refined sensibility for what is good, just and noble.

Madam Ambassador, as you assume your responsibilities within the diplomatic community accredited to the Holy See, I offer you my good wishes for the successful fulfilment of your high mission. I assure you that the various offices and departments of the Roman Curia will always be ready to assist you. Upon yourself and upon the beloved people of India I invoke abundant divine blessings.


Mr Ambassador,

I am pleased to welcome you to the Vatican at the time when you are presenting the Letters accrediting you as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Benin to the Holy See. I express my gratitude to you for your kind works and for the cordial message you have conveyed to me from H.E. Mr Boni Yayi, President of the Republic. To reciprocate, recalling his welcome visit to me in the Vatican, I should be grateful to you if you would kindly express to him my gratitude and the assurance of my cordial good wishes for the entire nation, that it may progress courageously on the paths of human and spiritual development.

As you highlighted in your address, Mr Ambassador, the current world crisis risks jeopardizing the praiseworthy development efforts of numerous countries. It is therefore more necessary than ever that all the members of the nation work together at the service of the common good. This demands from this very moment the establishment of an authentic democracy, founded on a correct concept of the human person. In recent years your country has courageously set out on this path, with the support of the Catholic Church in particular and of other religious elements. The development of this democratization process is a guarantee of the country's social peace, stability and unity if it is based on the dignity of every person, respect for human rights and for the "common good", accepted as the purpose and guiding criterion for political life (cf. Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, n. 407). In this perspective, the establishment of a sincere dialogue between people and Institutions is of the utmost importance.

I would also like to acknowledge the engagement of your country in the consolidation of peace and stability in various parts of the world. This token of solidarity with sorely-tried nations, especially in Africa, makes a substantial contribution to the promotion of the values of good, truth and justice, and to the safeguard of innocent lives. The search for peace and reconciliation is a grave responsibility for those who are in charge of guiding the nations, since violence, that is never a solution to problems, is an unacceptable attack on human dignity.

Your presence here this morning, Mr Ambassador, testifies to the good relations that exist between Benin and the Holy See. In this framework, allow me to recall here Cardinal Bernardin Gantin's eminent achievements, as he gave a special impetus to the life of the Catholic community in your country and whose personality is still respected and admired by all the Beninese. May his generous commitment to the Church, to Benin and to Africa continue to be for many of your fellow-citizens an example of self-denial and the gift of self for others!

As you emphasized, Your Excellency, Benin is a land of acceptance, hospitality and tolerance. Implanted among the Beninese people for many years, the Catholic Church pursues the work she has undertaken to serve the nation, thus making her own contribution to the development of the country in numerous sectors, especially in education, health care and human advancement. She thereby intends to associate herself with the national effort so that each person and likewise each family may live a dignified life. The Church's participation in social life is an important part of her mission. In fact, since she hopes to proclaim and to actualize the Gospel in the heart of social relations, the Church cannot be indifferent to the realities that constitute human life. I therefore rejoice to know that the Church's good works are appreciated by the population and that they also enjoy the Authorities' support.

The development of harmonious relations between Catholics and the members of other religions, which in your country usually consist of reciprocal understanding, must also be encouraged. Cultural or religious diversities must pave the way to an enrichment in the quality of society as a whole. As I have had the opportunity to say recently, "Together we must show, by our mutual respect and solidarity, that we consider ourselves members of one family: the family that God has loved and gathered together from the creation of the world to the end of human history" (Address to the participants in the Catholic-Muslim Forum, 6 November 2008). It is therefore desirable that an ever truer and clearer mutual knowledge allow the expression of understanding on the fundamental values, especially on those that concern the protection and promotion of life and of the family, as well as cooperation in everything that furthers the common good.

Mr Ambassador, may I be permitted to greet through you the Catholic community in your country, united around its Bishops. I hope that Catholics will sow hope and peace among the people of Benin. I ask them to collaborate with everyone to build a society that is more and more supportive and fraternal.

Mr Ambassador, today, when you are beginning your mission to the Apostolic See, I extend to you my best wishes for success and assure you that you will always find with my collaborators understanding and support in order to carry it out successfully.

I wholeheartedly invoke upon you, upon your family, upon your collaborators and upon all the people of Benin and their leaders, an abundance of Blessings from the Almighty.


Mr Ambassador,

I am pleased to welcome you to the Vatican and to accept the Letters of Credence by which you are appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of New Zealand to the Holy See. I would ask you kindly to convey to the Governor General, and to Prime Minister John Key and his Government, together with all the people of New Zealand, my sincere best wishes and the assurance of my prayers for the well-being of the country.

The Church’s engagement with civil society is anchored in her conviction that authentic human progress – whether as individuals or communities – is dependent upon the recognition of the spiritual dimension proper to every person. It is from God that men and women receive their essential dignity (cf. Gen Gn 1,27) and the capacity to transcend particular interests in order to seek truth and goodness and so find purpose and meaning in their lives. This broad perspective provides a framework within which it is possible to counter any tendency to adopt superficial approaches to social policy which address only the symptoms of negative trends in family life and communities, rather than their roots. Indeed, when humanity’s spiritual heart is brought to light, individuals are drawn beyond themselves to ponder God and the marvels of human life: being, truth, beauty, moral values, and relationships that respect the dignity of others. In this way a sure foundation to unite society and sustain a common vision of hope can be found.

The young people of Aotearoa rightly enjoy a reputation for generosity and a keen sense of what is fair. Appreciating the many privileges they are offered, they readily engage in voluntary work and service to others while assuming the ample opportunities they are afforded for personal achievement, and cultural and academic development. World Youth Day, held for the first time in Oceania last year, gave me an opportunity to experience something of the spirit of the thousands of young New Zealanders who took part. I pray that this new generation of Christians in New Zealand will channel their enthusiasm into forging friendships across divides and creating places of living faith in and for our world, settings of hope and practical charity. In this way they can assist other young people who might be misled by the lure of false promises of happiness and fulfilment, or find themselves struggling on the margins of society.

Your Excellency, cultural diversity brings much richness to the social fabric of New Zealand today. The growing presence within your shores of migrant communities from various religious traditions together with the Government’s increasing participation in Pacific and Asian affairs has raised the awareness of the fruits that can be obtained through inter-religious dialogue. Indeed, not so long ago, your nation hosted the Third Asian-Pacific Regional Interfaith Dialogue in the historic setting of Waitangi. Yet some continue to question the place of religion in the public sphere and struggle to imagine how it might serve society, particularly in a highly secular culture. This of course heightens the responsibility of believers to bear witness to the significance of the essential relationship of every man and woman to God, in whose image they are made. When God’s gift of human reason is exercised in reference to the truth he reveals to us, our powers of reflection are adorned with wisdom, and thus reach beyond the empirical and the piecemeal, and instead give expression to our deepest common human aspirations. In this way public debate, rather than being entrapped by the narrow horizon of particular interest groups, is broadened and held accountable to the true source of the common good and dignity of every member of society. Far from threatening the tolerance of differences or cultural plurality, truth makes consensus possible, ensures that political choices are determined by principles and values, and enriches culture with all that is good, uplifting and just.

New Zealand’s diplomatic activity predominant in the Pacific and considerable in Asia and beyond is marked by a strong commitment to justice and peace, good governance, sustainable economic development and the promotion of human rights. Your generous commitment of personnel to peace-keeping initiatives can be found from Solomon Islands to Sudan, and New Zealand’s innovative approaches to foreign aid include an outstanding recent example of the development of eco-tourism in Afghanistan. As Your Excellency has indicated, the Holy See has worked closely with New Zealand in developing the Convention on the Prohibition of Cluster Munitions; an achievement which illustrates well the need for ethics, which stem from the truth of the human person, to stand at the heart of all international relationships including those of defence.

Mr Ambassador, the Catholic Church in New Zealand continues to do all she can to uphold the Christian foundations of civic life. She is much involved in the spiritual and intellectual formation of the young, especially through her schools. Additionally her charitable work extends to those living on the margins of society and I am confident that, through her mission of service, she will respond generously to new social challenges as they arise. In this regard, I wish to take this opportunity to express my spiritual closeness to those families in New Zealand who, like many across the globe, are suffering from the effects of the current economic uncertainty. I think especially of those who have lost their jobs and those young people finding it difficult to obtain employment.

Your Excellency, I trust that your appointment will serve to strengthen further the bonds of friendship which already exist between New Zealand and the Holy See. As you take up your new responsibilities you will find that the broad range of offices of the Roman Curia are ready to assist you in the fulfilment of your duties. Upon you and your fellow citizens, I cordially invoke the abundant blessings of Almighty God.


Your Excellency,

It is my pleasure to welcome you to the Vatican and to receive the Letters of Credence that accredit you as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of South Africa to the Holy See. I thank you for the courteous greetings and sentiments of good will which you have expressed on behalf of President Jacob Zuma. I gladly reciprocate, and I ask you kindly to convey my congratulations and good wishes to His Excellency, as he assumes the office of President, and to the civil authorities and people of your country.

South Africa’s rapid and peaceful transition to democratic rule has been widely acclaimed and the Holy See has followed with interest and encouragement this historic period of change. None can doubt that much credit for the progress achieved is due to the outstanding political maturity and human qualities of former President Nelson Mandela. He has been a promoter of forgiveness and reconciliation, and enjoys great respect in your country and in the international community. I would ask you kindly to convey to him my personal good wishes for his health and well-being. I also wish to recognize the contribution of all those many ordinary men and women whose integrity, reflected in their honest approach to work, has also helped to lay the foundations for a future of peace and prosperity for all.

The size of your country, its population and economic resources and the generosity of your people make South Africa one of the most influential nations on the continent. This gives her a unique opportunity to support other African countries in their efforts to achieve stability and economic progress. Having overcome the isolation associated with the Apartheid era, yet drawing on its own painful experience, your country has made commendable efforts to bring about reconciliation in other lands through its peacekeeping forces and diplomatic initiatives. Countries such as Rwanda, Angola, Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe have benefited from this assistance. I encourage South Africa to strengthen her commitment to the noble task of assisting other nations along the road of peace and reconciliation and, especially in these difficult economic times, to continue to use her considerable human and material resources in ways conducive to the good governance and prosperity of neighbouring countries. Undoubtedly there are many challenges encountered along this path, not least of which is the large number of refugees in the region. I am confident, however, that these difficulties can continue to be addressed in the same spirit of solidarity and generosity already demonstrated by South Africans.

Mr Ambassador, you have spoken of some of the social challenges facing your country and of the development plans drawn up to meet them. Continuing poverty, and lack of basic services and employment opportunities, are present in some areas and have given rise to many other problems including violence and insecurity, substance abuse, ethnic tensions, and corruption. The distress and aggressiveness caused by poverty, unemployment and family breakdown make the efforts of the Government to address these difficulties all the more urgent. In this regard, I am encouraged to note the efforts being made to ensure the conditions necessary to attract international investment and to create greater opportunities for education and employment especially of your young people.

Your Excellency, in your address you speak of the great achievement of universal democratic rule as the basis for a better life for all. The people of South Africa have shown great moral courage and wisdom in facing past injustices. I am confident that in the current struggle against poverty and corruption, such courage and wisdom will again prevail. Your Government is rightly promoting the development of health and education services together with sustainable economic development, seeking to eradicate poverty and consolidate a climate of security. Families should be assisted in their needs and recognized as the indispensable agents in the building of a healthy society, while children and young people have the right to be granted their desire for quality schooling, extracurricular activities, and the chance to take their place in the workforce. Corruption has the effect of discouraging business initiative and investment, as well as leaving individuals disillusioned. The dynamism South Africa has introduced into the struggle against it, is therefore extremely important and must be recognized and embraced by every citizen. It falls to civic leaders in particular to ensure that the fight to eradicate corruption is sustained with impartiality, and accompanied by the respect for an independent judiciary and the ongoing development of a highly professional police force. I offer my encouragement for these challenging tasks, and trust that obstacles will continue to be overcome.

The Catholic Church is confident that the services she provides in the sectors of education, social programmes and health care have a positive impact on the life of the country. She contributes to the moral fibre of society by advocating integrity, justice and peace, and by teaching respect for life from conception until natural death. In particular, the Church takes seriously her part in the campaign against the spread of HIV/Aids by emphasizing fidelity within marriage and abstinence outside of it. At the same time she already offers much assistance on a practical level to people suffering from this affliction on your continent and throughout the world. I encourage individuals and institutions of your country to continue to give support both at home and in the region to all who seek to alleviate human suffering through research, practical assistance and spiritual support.

Mr Ambassador, I wish you every success in your mission and assure you of the willing cooperation of the Departments of the Roman Curia. May Almighty God bestow upon Your Excellency, your family and the nation you represent, abundant blessings of well-being and peace!


Mr Ambassador,

I welcome you with pleasure at the presentation of the Letters accrediting you as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Burkina Faso to the Holy See. I thank you for the courteous words you have addressed to me, as well as for the respectful good wishes you have conveyed to me from H.E. Mr Blaise Compaoré, President of the Republic. In return kindly express to him my high esteem for him and for the people of Burkina Faso, whom I hope will live in peace and brotherhood.

Mr Ambassador, the financial crisis the world is currently experiencing is making the African economies more and more fragile and families see their difficulties increasing, mainly because of the spread of poverty, unemployment and disease. In this context young people too are prompted to travel far from their country to seek a better future and to help their families. I warmly hope that authentic solidarity will be shown between the developed and the poorer countries. It is indispensable, particularly in moments of crisis, not to reduce aid for development, and also to honour the promises made on many occasions. Nonetheless, as I had the opportunity to say during my recent Apostolic Visit to Africa, "African men and women themselves, working together for the good of their communities, should be the primary agents of their own development" (Address at Meeting with Political and Civil Authorities and with the Diplomatic Corps, Presidential Palace, Luanda, 20 March 2009). Thus, the authentic values of the African peoples could be taken into consideration and it would be possible to prevent them from being mere recipients of programmes worked out for them by others. In this perspective, I rejoice in the important service carried out by the John Paul II Foundation for the Sahel, which has just celebrated its 25th anniversary in Ouagadougou. It is an eloquent sign of the solidarity of the Catholic Church with the countries of the Sahel that are particularly affected by drought, hunger and desertification, and of its effective participation in the fight against these evils which undermine the dignity of the populations' lives.

For the real development of society, the re-establishment of harmony and security in the region, on which your country is particularly keen, is of essential importance. The results already achieved show that it is only through patient dialogue that differences may be resolved and peace and justice established. I would like to encourage peace- lovers, both men and women, and particularly those with responsibilities in society, to persevere courageously with their efforts to ensure that the rediscovered stability and tranquillity will be able to affirm relations of brotherhood and solidarity among the peoples of the region in deep mutual trust.

Mr Ambassador, as you emphasized, through her work in the fields of health care, education and social action, the Catholic Church is profoundly committed to Burkinabè society. Through her service to the population, the Church hopes to contribute, keeping within her own province, to responding to the numerous and difficult challenges that families are facing. Indeed, the safeguard of family values must be an important concern for everyone because the family is the main pillar of the social structure. Thus, signs of the break-down of family cohesion cannot but lead to situations of which children and young people will often be victims. The education and formation of the young generations are also of primordial importance for the nation's future. In the face of life's difficulties, society must give its youngest members reasons to live and to hope.

To contribute to building the nation, the consolidation of bonds of friendship between all believers is a task that must be pursued without respite. I am particularly glad about the good relations and collaboration between Christians and Muslims in your country which have developed for some years. In seeking ever better understanding, in mutual respect and rejecting all forms of violence and intolerance, believers bear an eloquent witness to God and further the common good.

At the end of this meeting, Mr Ambassador, I would also like to greet through you the Bishops of Burkina Faso as well as all the members of the Catholic community, with whose dynamism I am familiar. While we are preparing to celebrate the Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops, I invite them in particular to include in their prayers the preparation of this great ecclesial event and the event itself and, in collaboration with all their compatriots, to be artisans of reconciliation, justice and peace.

Mr Ambassador, at the time when you are inaugurating your mission to the Holy See, my cordial good wishes for its successful accomplishment accompany you. While I hope that the harmonious relations that exist between Burkina Faso and the Holy See may continue and develop positively expressed in the recent opening of an Apostolic Nunciature in Ouagadougou I assure you of the availability of my collaborators, among whom you will always find an attentive welcome and cordial understanding.

I ask the Almighty to pour out an abundance of his gifts upon you, Your Excellency, upon your family, and upon your co-workers at the Embassy, as well as upon the leaders and all the inhabitants of Burkina Faso.


Your Excellency,

It is my pleasure to welcome you to the Vatican and to receive the Letters of Credence by which you are accredited as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Namibia to the Holy See. I thank you for the courteous greetings which you have expressed on behalf of the President of the Republic, Mr Hifikepunye Pohamba. Please convey to him my gratitude and my good wishes. I would also ask you kindly to transmit my greetings to the members of the Government, to the civil authorities and to all your fellow citizens.

Diplomatic relations between the Holy See and individual countries serve to create a framework in which mutual interests are provided for and safeguarded, while at the same time giving opportunities to both parties to promote common values at the national and international levels. I am satisfied with the cooperation that in such a short time has produced many positive results for the Holy See and Namibia.

Mr Ambassador, as you are well aware, Africa presents a varied panorama of political, social and economic realities. Some of these are success stories, other have not met the expectations of the peoples that such initiatives were meant to serve. Namibia has a relatively short history as a member of the family of independent nations. Your citizens and their elected officials have benefited from observing examples of other countries. This in time has led to recognize the need to protect the nation’s resources, mineral and agricultural, and to oversee their rational exploitation and use for the common good. Efforts to bring the uranium extraction and diamond industry processes under responsible vigilance are positive initiatives. Indeed transparency, honest business practices and good governance are essential to sustainable economic development. I am pleased to see that the Constitution of your country incorporates a clear awareness of the State’s ecological responsibilities. As you continue to strive towards a balanced distribution of wealth that will offer greater possibilities of improvement for those who are less fortunate, I encourage the nation to continue along the path of strengthening the common good by consolidating democratic institutions and practices and seeking justice for all.

The Holy See is confident, Mr Ambassador, that your country can contribute to positive developments in Africa and in the international community. Because of its history of peaceful independence and integration, its unity in diversity, and its responsible management of natural resources, Namibia can offer an example for the development of other countries. It is important furthermore that the voice of Namibia be expressed in international meetings since the present needs and aspirations of the people of your continent must be presented objectively and from an African perspective, and not solely in accordance with the interests of others.

The Catholic Church is pleased to exercise her mission in a climate of religious freedom. The Church’s contribution to civic life can be seen not only in the achievements of individual Christians or institutions but also in the impact of its message. By preaching the Gospel and encouraging attitudes of faith, hope and love, the Church invites people to a life of virtue supported by that spiritual and moral strength which comes with faith and is expressed in integrity and the responsible use of freedom, respect and tolerance of others. People, especially political, economic and cultural leaders, who are inspired in one way or another by these or similar moral and spiritual perspectives, contribute positively to the good of society in its social, economic and political dimensions.

The Church’s mission of evangelization includes a strong witness to generous initiatives in favour of those in need. As you mentioned in your address Mr Ambassador, the Church in your homeland has developed over the years an extensive presence of communities and institutions of good will, dedicated to pastoral attention, education, professional instruction and concern for those in difficult situations. Through schools and centres of specialized formation, through hospitals and charitable institutions, the Church exercises that love of neighbour expressed clearly in the supreme commandment. I pray that the Catholic institutions of the country will continue to offer their expertise for the promotion and development of the people of Namibia in accordance with present and future needs.

I am aware that one of the priorities on the Government’s agenda is to provide for greater attention to the health of the population and especially the need to care for the number of people afflicted with HIV/Aids. In this area the Church will continue to offer its assistance willingly. She is convinced that only a strategy based on education to individual responsibility in the framework of a moral view of human sexuality, especially through conjugal fidelity, can have a real impact on the prevention of this disease. The Church is pleased to cooperate in this task especially in the field of education where new generations of young people are formed as active and responsible members of society.

Mr Ambassador, I have expressed freely some thoughts inspired by the present situation of your nation, seen with love of your people and confidence in the future of Namibia. I wish you every success in your mission and I invite you to avail yourself of the willing cooperation of the Departments of the Roman Curia. May Almighty God bestow upon Your Excellency, your family and the nation you represent, abundant and lasting blessings of well-being and peace!


Your Excellency,

I am pleased to welcome you to the Vatican and to accept the Letters accrediting you as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Kingdom of Norway to the Holy See. I would like to express my gratitude for the good wishes that you bring from King Harald V. Please convey to His Majesty my cordial greetings and assure him of my continued prayers for all the people of your nation. It seems particularly fitting that today’s ceremony, an important landmark in our diplomatic relations, should occur at a time when the twentieth anniversary of the historic visit of Pope John Paul II to the Scandinavian countries is almost upon us.

Not only is your country blessed with a notable degree of prosperity, but it has a most distinguished record in coming to the aid of others less fortunate than itself. In the wake of the financial turmoil of recent months, Norway was swift in offering expert assistance to other countries to help them weather the storm, despite suffering its own share of economic difficulties in consequence of the crisis. In opening its doors to significant numbers of refugees and immigrants, Norway has for many years shown itself to be a generous and welcoming nation. As Your Excellency has observed, the effect of this influx on Norwegian society, and especially on the small Catholic community, has been to introduce far greater cultural and ethnic variety. This in turn has stimulated deeper reflection on the presuppositions and values that govern life in Norway today and its place in the modern world.

“Blessed are the peacemakers.” These words of Jesus (Mt 5,9) have been taken very much to heart by Norwegians, whose culture has been strongly shaped by its thousand-year Christian history. Norway’s commitment to peace-keeping is clearly illustrated by its high-level involvement in the United Nations Organization, whose first Secretary-General, Trygve Lie, came from Norway, as do a number of current senior office-holders. The Holy See very much appreciates your country’s contribution to conflict resolution in some of the world’s most troubled areas. From Sri Lanka to Afghanistan, from Sudan to Somalia, from Chad to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Norway has played its part, whether it be in peace negotiations, in calling upon the parties to observe international law, in humanitarian assistance, in helping with reconstruction and peace-keeping, or in promoting democracy and providing expert advice on building up the social infrastructure. Having just returned from my Apostolic Visit to the Holy Land, I am particularly conscious of the crucial work that your country has done in brokering peace agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. I hope and pray that the spirit of reconciliation and the search for justice which gave rise to the Oslo Accords will eventually prevail and bring lasting peace to the peoples of that tormented region.

In addition to such humanitarian concerns, Norwegians have taken very much to heart the needs of the natural environment, placing particular emphasis on developing renewable sources of energy and attending to the causes and the consequences of climate change. Characteristic of your country’s long-term vision for the good of the planet and the welfare of its inhabitants is the initiative of the Global Seed Vault, designed to guarantee the survival of countless varieties of plant life, so that vital food sources in particular can be insured against the possibility of extinction.

In all these activities, your country is motivated by the fundamental ethical values of which Your Excellency has spoken, values that are rooted in Norway’s Christian culture, and which, therefore, are central to the perspectives and the goals which it shares with the Holy See. In less than thirty years of diplomatic relations between us, much has been achieved. The close cooperation between the Holy See and the Kingdom of Norway – alongside other nations – in drawing up and ratifying the recent convention banning cluster munitions is a good example. I too look forward to further developing and strengthening our excellent relations in many different fields, with a view to promoting the ethical vision that we share for the sake of building a more humane and just world.

On a domestic level, the Catholic community in Norway, small though it is, is eager to play its part in national life and to make its voice heard in public debate. I mentioned earlier the deeper reflection that is currently taking place on the presuppositions and values governing Norwegian society, and here the Catholic community, with its substantial patrimony of social teaching, has a valuable contribution to offer. Like many European countries today, Norway is increasingly called upon to examine the implications of the right to religious freedom in the context of a liberal and pluralist society. I am confident that the high ethical principles and the generosity so characteristic of Norway’s activity on the international scene will also prevail at home, so that all the citizens of your country will be free to practise their religion, and all the different religious communities will be free to order their affairs in accordance with their beliefs and juridical systems, in this way making their particular contribution to the common good.

Your Excellency, in offering my best wishes for the success of your mission, I would like to assure you that the various departments of the Roman Curia are ready to provide help and support in the fulfilment of your duties. Upon Your Excellency, your family and all the people of the Kingdom of Norway, I cordially invoke God’s abundant blessings.


Your Excellencies,

I receive you with joy this morning for the presentation of the Letters accrediting you as Ambassadors Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of your countries to the Holy See: Mongolia, India, the Republic of Benin, New Zealand, the Republic of South Africa, Burkina Faso, Namibia and Norway. I thank you for conveying to me the courteous words of your respective Heads of State. I ask you kindly to reciprocate with my cordial greetings and respectful good wishes for them and for their lofty mission at the service of their countries, as well as for their peoples. May I also greet through you all the civil and religious authorities of your nations, as well as your compatriots. My prayers and thoughts go in particular to the Catholic communities present in your countries. You may rest assured that they wish to collaborate in a brotherly manner in building the nation and in doing the best they can to make their own contribution, founded on the Gospel.

Your Excellencies, commitment to the service of peace and to the strengthening of brotherly relations between nations is at the heart of your mission as diplomats. In the social and economic crisis that the world is experiencing today, it is urgently necessary to acquire a renewed awareness that a battle must be effectively fought to establish authentic peace, with a view to building a more just and prosperous world for all. Indeed, the frequently glaring forms of injustice between nations or within them as well as all the processes that contribute to causing divisions between peoples or marginalizing them, are a threat to peace and create serious risks of war. We are all called from this moment to make our own contribution to the common good and to peace, each in accordance with his own responsibilities. As I wrote in my Message for the World Day of Peace, celebrated on 1 January last, "One of the most important ways of building peace is through a form of globalization directed towards the interests of the whole human family. In order to govern globalization, however, there needs to be a strong sense of global solidarity between rich and poor countries, as well as within individual countries, including affluent ones" (n. 8). Peace can only be built by seeking courageously to eliminate the disparities spawned by unjust systems in order to assure to all a standard of living that makes possible a worthy and prosperous existence.

These disparities have become even more blatant because of the current economic and financial crisis that is spreading through different channels in the countries with a small income. It suffices for me to mention just a few: the dwindling of foreign investments, the fall in the demand for raw materials and the tendency to reduce international aid. In addition, migrant workers, victims of the recession that is also afflicting their host countries, are sending smaller amounts to their families at home. This crisis may turn into a human catastrophe for the inhabitants of some of the numerous destabilized countries. Those who already live in extreme poverty are the first to be affected because they are the most vulnerable. This crisis has also engulfed in poverty people who until now had led a dignified life even though they could not be called wealthy. Poverty is increasing and it has serious and sometimes irreversible consequences. Indeed, the recession engendered by the economic crisis could become a threat to the very existence of innumerable individuals. Children are its first innocent victims who must be given priority protection. The financial crisis likewise has another effect. The despair it causes leads some people to an anguished search for a solution that will enable them to survive from day to day. Alas, this search is sometimes accompanied by individual or collective acts of violence that can lead to internal conflicts which risk further destabilizing the weaker societies. To deal with the current situation of crisis and find a solution to it some countries have decided not to reduce their aid to the most threatened countries, proposing on the contrary to increase it. It would be good if their example were followed by other developed countries, in order to permit countries in need to sustain their economy and to consolidate social measures designed to protect the neediest populations. I appeal for a supplement of brotherhood and solidarity and for a global generosity that is really lived. This sharing requires that developed countries rediscover a sense of proportion and moderation in their economies and lifestyles.

Your Excellencies, you are not unaware that new forms of violence have been manifested in recent years and that unfortunately they rely on the Name of God to justify dangerous behaviour. Knowing man's weakness, did not God reveal to him on Sinai these words: "You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain" (Ex 20,7)? Such excesses have sometimes led to seeing religions as a threat to societies. People then attack them and discredit them, maintaining that they are not factors of peace. Religious leaders are duty bound to guide believers and to enlighten them so that they may advance in holiness and interpret the divine words in truth. It is therefore appropriate to encourage the emergence of a world in which religions and societies can be open to one another through the openness that exists in them and with one another. This would be bearing an authentic witness of life. It would be to create a space that would render dialogue positive and necessary. In making her own contribution to the world, the Catholic Church seeks to witness to a positive vision of humanity's future. I am convinced "of the irreplaceable role of religion for the formation of consciences and the contribution which it can bring to among other things the creation of a basic ethical consensus in society" (Welcome Ceremony, Elysée Palace, 12 September 2008).

Your mission to the Holy See, Your Excellencies, has just begun. You will find with my collaborators the necessary support to carry it out successfully. I once again express my most cordial good wishes for the success of your sensitive mission. May the Almighty support and accompany you yourselves, your loved ones, your collaborators and all your compatriots! May God fill you with an abundance of his Blessings.


First Question:

My name is Anna Filippone, I am 12 years old, I am an altar girl and come from Calabria, Diocese of Oppido Mamertina-Palmi. Pope Benedict, my friend Giovanni has an Italian father and an Ecuadorian mother and is very happy. Do you think that one day the different cultures will be able to live together without quarrelling in Jesus' name?

I have gathered that you all would like to know how we, from the time we were children, have managed to help one another. I must say that I spent my elementary school years in a small town of 400 inhabitants, very far from the big city centres. Therefore we were a bit ingenuous, and in this small town there were, on the one hand, very rich farmers and also others who were less rich but still well-off, and on the other, poor workers, artisans. Our family had moved from another town to this one just a little before I began going to elementary school, thus we were in a way foreigners to them, as even our dialect was different. So, there was a wide range of social situations present in this school, but a beautiful communion prevailed among us. They taught me their dialect, which was new to me. We worked well together. Although, naturally enough, we would argue sometimes but afterwards we would make up and forget what had happened.

I think this is significant. Sometimes in life it seems inevitable to argue; but the art of reconciling with each other remains important forgiving, beginning anew and not letting bitterness linger in the soul. With gratitude I remember how everyone co-operated: each one helped the other and we moved ahead together on our path. We were all Catholic, and this was naturally a great help. In this way we learned together to understand the Bible, beginning with the Creation and continuing to the sacrifice of Jesus upon the Cross, and then also of the beginnings of the Church. We learned the Catechism together, we learned how to pray together, we prepared together for our First Reconciliation, for First Communion: that was a splendid day. We understood that Jesus himself came among us and that he is not a distant God: he enters into my own life, my own soul. And if the same Jesus enters into each one of us, then we are brothers, sisters and friends and therefore we must behave as such.

For us, both this preparation for First Reconciliation as the purification of our consciences, of our lives, as well as that for First Communion as a real meeting with Jesus who comes to me, who comes to each one of us, were factors that contributed to the formation of our community. They helped us to move ahead together, to learn together to forgive each other when necessary. We also put on little plays: it is important to collaborate, to pay attention to each other. Then when I was about eight or nine years old I became an altar boy. At that time there were not yet altar girls, but the girls read much better than we did. Therefore they read the readings during the liturgy while we filled the role of altar servers. During that period there were still many Latin texts to learn, and so each one had to make a special effort. As I said, we were not saints. We had our arguments, but there was still a beautiful communion, in which the distinctions between rich and poor, between the more and the less intelligent did not matter. It was communion with Jesus in the journey of common faith and common responsibility, in our games, in our shared work. We found the way to live together, to be friends, although I have not been in that town since 1937 that is, more than 70 years ago we have remained friends. Thus we have learned to accept one another, to carry one another's burdens.

I find this significant: despite our weaknesses we accept each other and with Jesus Christ, with the Church, we find a path of peace together and learn to live in the best way.

Second Question:

My name is Letizia and I wanted to ask you a question. Dear Pope Benedict xvi, what did the motto: "Children help children" mean for you when you were a boy? Did you ever imagine you would become Pope?

To tell the truth, I would never have thought of becoming Pope, because, as I have already said, I was a fairly ingenuous boy in a small town far from the city centres, in a forgotten province. We were glad to be in this area and we did not think of other things. Naturally we came to know, venerate and love the Pope Pius xi at the time but for us he was a very august figure, almost in another world: our spiritual Father, but nevertheless a reality much superior to all of us. And I must say that still today I have difficulty understanding how the Lord could have thought of me, destined me for this ministry. But I accept it from his hands, even if it is something surprising and that seems to me to be far beyond my strength. But the Lord helps me.

Third Question:

Dear Pope Benedict, my name is Alessandro. I wanted to ask you: you are the principal missionary; how can we children help you to proclaim the Gospel?

I would say that the first way is this: to collaborate with the Pontifical Society of the Holy Childhood. That way you are part of a large family, which takes the Gospel to the world. That way you belong to a large network. In it we see how the family of diverse peoples is represented. You are all in this big family: each one has his part and together you are missionaries, bearers of the missionary work of the Church. You have a beautiful plan, laid out by your spokesperson: to listen, pray, understand, share, sympathize. These are the essential elements that combined are truly a way to be missionaries, to encourage the growth of the Church into the future and the presence of the Gospel in the world. I would like to emphasize some of these points.

First of all, pray. Prayer is a reality: God listens to us and, when we pray, God enters into our lives, he becomes present among us, works among us. Praying is a very important thing that can change the world, because it makes the power of God present. And it is important to help each other by praying: to pray together in the liturgy, to pray together in the family. And here I would say that it is important to begin the day with a small prayer and also to end the day with a small prayer: to remember our parents in prayer. Pray before lunch, before dinner and during Sunday's shared Celebration. A Sunday without Mass, the great communal prayer of the Church, is not truly a Sunday: it lacks the very heart of Sunday and so also the light for the week. And you can also help others especially those who do not pray at home or do not know about prayer by teaching others to pray: praying with them and in this way introducing others to communion with God.
Next, listen that is, learn what Jesus really says. In addition, get to know the Sacred Scriptures, the Bible. In the story of Jesus we learn as the Cardinal said the Face of God, we learn what God is like. It is important to know Jesus deeply, personally. That way he enters into our life and, through our life, enters into the world.

Also, share, do not want things only for yourselves, but rather for everyone; divide things with others. And if we see that another is perhaps in need, that he or she is less gifted, we must help that person and so make God's love present without too many words, in our own personal world, which is part of the bigger world. And in this way we become a family together, in which each one has respect for the other: tolerating the other's differences, accepting also those who are disagreeable, not allowing anyone to be marginalized, but instead helping others to integrate into the community. All of this simply means living in this big family of the Church, in this big missionary family. To live out essential points such as sharing, knowledge of Jesus, prayer, reciprocal listening and solidarity is missionary work, because it helps to make the Gospel a reality in our world.
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