Speeches 2002 - Saturday, 1 June 2002




To Archbishop Alberto Giraldo Jaramillo of Medellín
President of the Bishops' Conference of Colombia

1. A century has now passed since 22 June 1902, when the bishops, the civil authorities and the people of Colombia, stirred by deep sentiments of love and devotion, consecrated the Republic to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, promising to build a votive shrine to beg for peace for the nation. Since then, with constant enthusiasm and hope, this consecration has been renewed every year in parishes, religious houses and in many families, who have confidence in the love and mercy of the Saviour who loves and continues to love all men and women, and welcomes them with the gentle words: "Come to me, all who labour and are heavy burdened, and I will give you rest" (Mt 11,28).

2. The Gospel reveals to us the unfathomable riches of the Heart of Christ in his attitude of pardon and mercy for all, in his burning love for the Father and for all humanity. At the same time, Jesus shows us the path to new life: "Learn from me for I am meek and humble of heart" (Mt 11,29). From this heart, a particularly expressive symbol of divine love, pierced by the soldier's spear (cf. Jn Jn 19,33-34), flow abundant gifts for the life of the world: "I have come that they may have life, and have it abundantly" (Jn 10,10). These are the gifts that Pope Pius XII mentioned in his Encyclical Haurietis acquas: his own life, the Holy Spirit, the Eucharist, the priesthood, the Church, his Mother, and his unceasing prayer for us (cf. nn. 36-44).

3. Now that the Catholic faithful of Colombia, presided over by their pastors and the authorities, prepare to renew this centenary consecration of their Nation to the Heart of Jesus, I want to repeat to them the appeal I made at the beginning of my mission as Successor of Peter: "Open wide the doors for Christ!" (Homily, 22 October 1978, n. 5; ORE, 2 November 1978, p. 12). Listen, dear Brothers, to the voice of Christ who continues to speak to the people of today. As I already wrote on another occasion: "In the Heart of Christ, man's heart learns to know the genuine and unique meaning of his life and his destiny, to understand the value of an authentically Christian life, to keep himself from certain perversions of the human heart and to unite the filial love for God with the love of neighbour. The true reparation asked by the Heart of the Saviour will come when the civilization of love, the Kingdom of the Heart of Christ, can be built upon the ruins heaped up by hatred and violence" (Letter to the Superior General of the Society of Jesus, 5 October 1986; ORE, 27 October 1986, p. 7).

4. The consecration of the men and women of Colombia to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which you prepare to renew in the admirable tradition established now for 100 years, must be a special moment of grace and great dedication. Indeed, it must be a fervent prayer to the Lord to renew the whole of Colombian society, so that it can act with a new heart and a new spirit (cf. Ez Ez 11,19).

Thus it will be possible to accept the call for prayer which I made in my Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio ineunte (cf. nn. 32-33), when I asked that each Christian distinguish himself precisely in the art of prayer and contemplation of the face of the Lord (cf. ibid., nn. 16-28), the One whom they pierced (cf. Jn Jn 19,37); at the same time, it will foster an ongoing conversion which is the indispensable foundation for life as the new creation (cf. Col Col 3,10).

However, this personal conversion must also be accompanied by a profound social change which starts by strengthening the family, the richest school of humanism. Indeed, solid families are the core communities who foster and hand on human and Christian virtues, who nourish hope and real dedication among their members, who welcome and respect human life in all its stages, from conception to natural death.

A society that listens to and obeys Christ's message, moves on the way to true peace, rejects every kind of violence and conceives of new ways of harmonious living, takes the reliable and sound path of justice, reconciliation and forgiveness, and fosters bonds of unity, fraternity and respect for each person.

5. I strongly urge that this centenary, that is observed at a time when unfortunately your beloved nation does not yet enjoy stable peace and when violence continues to reap victims at every level of society, including even the pastors of the Church, this event will be an occasion for everyone - priests, religious and lay faithful - united with their bishops and coming from everywhere in this beloved land, to launch a great national movement of reconciliation and forgiveness. May it also be a moment to implore God for the gift of peace, and for each one in his own walk of life to commit himself to laying the foundations of the moral and material reconstruction of your national community. You know that in this work Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, will give you the necessary strength to re-establish a society based on justice, solidarity, responsibility and peace.

As I join you in spirit in the Consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, I beg him to pour out his abundant gifts upon the citizens, families, ecclesial communities, the public institutions and their leaders, and, at the same time, entrusting these hopes to the motherly intercession of Our Lady of Chiquinquirá, Queen of Colombia, with great love I impart to you my Apostolic Blessing.

From the Vatican, 9 May 2002, the Solemnity of the Ascension.





Mr President of the Italian Republic
and Distinguished Heads of State and Government,
Mr Secretary-General of the United Nations
and Mr Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization,
Ladies and Gentlemen!

I am pleased to extend respectful and cordial greetings to each one of you, Representatives of almost every county in the world, gathered in Rome, a little more than five years after the 1996 World Food Summit.

Since I am unable to be among you personally on this solemn occasion, I have asked Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Secretary of State, to convey all my esteem and regard for the arduous work that you have to undertake in order to ensure that everyone has their daily bread.

I offer a special greeting to the President of the Italian Republic, and to all the Heads of State and Government who have come to Rome for this Summit. During my Pastoral Visits to various parts of the world, as well as at the Vatican, I have already had an opportunity to meet many of them personally: to all go my deferential best wishes for themselves and the Nations they represent.

I extend this greeting to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, as well as to the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization and to the Heads of other International Organizations present at this meeting. The Holy See expects much from their efforts on behalf of humanity’s material and spiritual progress.

I express the hope that the present World Food Summit will be crowned with success: this is what millions of men and women throughout the world expect.

The last Summit in 1996 had already established that hunger and malnutrition are not phenomena of a merely natural or structural nature, affecting only certain geographic areas, but are to be seen as the consequence of a more complex situation of underdevelopment resulting from human inertia and self-centeredness.

If the goals of the 1996 Summit have not been met, that can be attributed also to the absence of a culture of solidarity, and to international relations often shaped by a pragmatism devoid of ethical and moral foundations. Moreover, a cause for concern is to be found in the statistics according to which assistance given to poor countries in recent years appears to have decreased rather than increased.

Today more than ever there is an urgent need in international relationships for solidarity to become the criterion underlying all forms of cooperation, with the acknowledgment that the resources which God the Creator has entrusted to us are destined for all.

Of course, much is expected from the experts, whose task it is to point out when and how to increase agricultural resources, how to achieve better distribution of products, how to set up food security programmes, how to devise new techniques to boost harvests and increase herds.

The Preamble to the FAO Constitution itself proclaimed the commitment of each country to raise its level of nutrition and improve the conditions of its agriculture and of its rural population, in such a way as to increase production and secure an effective distribution of food supplies in all parts of the world.

These goals, however, involve a constant reconsideration of the relationship between the right to be freed from poverty and the duty of the whole human family to provide practical help to the needy.

For my part, I am pleased that the present World Food Summit is once more urging the various sectors of the international community, Governments and Intergovernmental Institutions, to make a commitment to somehow guaranteeing the right to nutrition in cases where an individual State is unable to do so because of its own underdevelopment and poverty. Such a commitment can be seen as entirely necessary and legitimate, given the fact that poverty and hunger risk compromising even the ordered coexistence of peoples and nations, and constitute a real threat to peace and international security.

Hence the importance of the present World Food Summit, with its reaffirmation of the concept of food security and its call for a mobilization of solidarity aimed at reducing by half, by the year 2015, the number of people in the world who are undernourished and deprived of the bare necessities of life. This is an enormous challenge, and one to which the Church too is fully committed.

The Catholic Church is ever concerned for the promotion of human rights and the integral development of peoples, and will therefore continue to support all who work to ensure that every member of the human family receives adequate daily food. Her intimate vocation is to be close to the world’s poor, and she hopes that everyone will become practically involved in speedily resolving this problem, one of the gravest facing the human family.

May the Almighty who is rich in mercy send his blessing upon each one of you, upon the work you do under the aegis of FAO, and upon all those who strive for the authentic progress of the human family.

From the Vatican, 10 June 2002




Monday, 10 June 2002

Your Holiness,

I am pleased to send you cordial greetings which I extend to the religious and civil authorities, to those participating in the congress, and to those gathered in the Hall of Scrutinies of the Palace of the Doges of Venice for the conclusion of the IV Symposium on Ecology promoted by the Ecumenical Patriarchate and dedicated to the theme: The Adriatic Sea: a Sea at Risk - Unity of Purpose.

Our video link, that allows us to sign together the final "Declaration" of the Symposium, expresses the unity of purpose that the theme itself called for.

Our meeting, even at a distance, allows us to express together the common will to safeguard creation, to support and sustain every initiative that is useful for beautifying, healing and preserving this earth that God has given us to be kept with wisdom and love.

Our meeting today takes place not long after the meeting of Assisi, where in January I promoted a Day of Prayer for Peace in the World. Your Holiness then responded to the appeal and was gracious enough to participate in it. Today I am the one who has the pleasure of joining you in this significant act. I hold that these exchanges are real and true gifts of the Lord, who shows us that the spirit of collaboration is able to find new expressions that give solidity and concreteness to that witness of communion that the world awaits from us.





Monday, 10 June 2002

We are gathered here today in the spirit of peace for the good of all human beings and for the care of creation. At this moment in history, at the beginning of the third millennium, we are saddened to see the daily suffering of a great number of people from violence, starvation, poverty and disease. We are also concerned about the negative consequences for humanity and for all creation resulting from the degradation of some basic natural resources such as water, air and land, brought about by an economic and technological progress which does not recognize and take into account its limits.

Almighty God envisioned a world of beauty and harmony, and He created it, making every part an expression of His freedom, wisdom and love (cf. Gen Gn 1,1-25).

At the centre of the whole of creation, He placed us, human beings, with our inalienable human dignity. Although we share many features with the rest of the living beings, Almighty God went further with us and gave us an immortal soul, the source of self-awareness and freedom, endowments that make us in His image and likeness (cf. Gen Gn 1,26-312,7). Marked with that resemblance, we have been placed by God in the world in order to cooperate with Him in realizing more and more fully the divine purpose for creation.

At the beginning of history, man and woman sinned by disobeying God and rejecting His design for creation. Among the results of this first sin was the destruction of the original harmony of creation. If we examine carefully the social and environmental crisis which the world community is facing, we must conclude that we are still betraying the mandate God has given us: to be stewards called to collaborate with God in watching over creation in holiness and wisdom.

God has not abandoned the world. It is His will that His design and our hope for it will be realized through our co-operation in restoring its original harmony. In our own time we are witnessing a growth of an ecological awareness which needs to be encouraged, so that it will lead to practical programmes and initiatives. An awareness of the relationship between God and humankind brings a fuller sense of the importance of the relationship between human beings and the natural environment, which is God’s creation and which God entrusted to us to guard with wisdom and love (cf. Gen Gn 1,28).

Respect for creation stems from respect for human life and dignity. It is on the basis of our recognition that the world is created by God that we can discern an objective moral order within which to articulate a code of environmental ethics. In this perspective, Christians and all other believers have a specific role to play in proclaiming moral values and in educating people in ecological awareness, which is none other than responsibility towards self, towards others, towards creation.

What is required is an act of repentance on our part and a renewed attempt to view ourselves, one another, and the world around us within the perspective of the divine design for creation. The problem is not simply economic and technological; it is moral and spiritual. A solution at the economic and technological level can be found only if we undergo, in the most radical way, an inner change of heart, which can lead to a change in lifestyle and of unsustainable patterns of consumption and production. A genuine conversion in Christ will enable us to change the way we think and act.

First, we must regain humility and recognize the limits of our powers, and most importantly, the limits of our knowledge and judgement. We have been making decisions, taking actions and assigning values that are leading us away from the world as it should be, away from the design of God for creation, away from all that is essential for a healthy planet and a healthy commonwealth of people. A new approach and a new culture are needed, based on the centrality of the human person within creation and inspired by environmentally ethical behavior stemming from our triple relationship to God, to self and to creation. Such an ethics fosters interdependence and stresses the principles of universal solidarity, social justice and responsibility, in order to promote a true culture of life.

Secondly, we must frankly admit that humankind is entitled to something better than what we see around us. We and, much more, our children and future generations are entitled to a better world, a world free from degradation, violence and bloodshed, a world of generosity and love.

Thirdly, aware of the value of prayer, we must implore God the Creator to enlighten people everywhere regarding the duty to respect and carefully guard creation.

We therefore invite all men and women of good will to ponder the importance of the following ethical goals:

1. To think of the world's children when we reflect on and evaluate our options for action.

2. To be open to study the true values based on the natural law that sustain every human culture.

3. To use science and technology in a full and constructive way, while recognizing that the findings of science have always to be evaluated in the light of the centrality of the human person, of the common good and of the inner purpose of creation. Science may help us to correct the mistakes of the past, in order to enhance the spiritual and material well-being of the present and future generations. It is love for our children that will show us the path that we must follow into the future.

4. To be humble regarding the idea of ownership and to be open to the demands of solidarity. Our mortality and our weakness of judgement together warn us not to take irreversible actions with what we choose to regard as our property during our brief stay on this earth. We have not been entrusted with unlimited power over creation, we are only stewards of the common heritage.

5. To acknowledge the diversity of situations and responsibilities in the work for a better world environment. We do not expect every person and every institution to assume the same burden. Everyone has a part to play, but for the demands of justice and charity to be respected the most affluent societies must carry the greater burden, and from them is demanded a sacrifice greater than can be offered by the poor. Religions, governments and institutions are faced by many different situations; but on the basis of the principle of subsidiarity all of them can take on some tasks, some part of the shared effort.

6. To promote a peaceful approach to disagreement about how to live on this earth, about how to share it and use it, about what to change and what to leave unchanged. It is not our desire to evade controversy about the environment, for we trust in the capacity of human reason and the path of dialogue to reach agreement. We commit ourselves to respect the views of all who disagree with us, seeking solutions through open exchange, without resorting to oppression and domination.

It is not too late. God's world has incredible healing powers. Within a single generation, we could steer the earth toward our children's future. Let that generation start now, with God's help and blessing.

Rome - Venice, 10 June 2002



Tuesday, 11 June 2002

Dear Brothers in the Episcopate,

1. At the end of my first visit to your country, I took my leave in the firm hope that "the Church in Venezuela would bear a true witness to the presence of Jesus Christ and confront the challenges of the forthcoming millennium with courage" (Farewell address, 29 January 1985). Now, that the new millennium has begun bringing its difficult and unexpected challenges, with brotherly affection I welcome you on your ad limina visit, and encourage you in your ministry as pastors, guides and teachers of the pilgrim People of God in this beloved nation.

I cordially thank Archbishop Baltazar Porras of Mérida, President of the Bishops' Conference, for his kind words, that express your strong desire for full communion with the Successor of Peter, who has received the mission to strengthen his brethren in the faith (cf. Lk Lc 22,32) and is the "perpetual and visible source and foundation of the unity of faith and of communion" (Lumen gentium LG 18). I am aware of your aspirations and anxieties as Bishops, which you wrote about in your quinquennial reports and have discussed at various meetings with the heads of the congregations and councils of the Roman Curia. You know that in the mystery of the Church, "if one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honoured, all rejoice together" (1Co 12,26); so in your generous endeavours you can experience the power that comes from communion with the whole Church, and the support and concern of those who tend the People of God as their amoris officium (cf. St Augustine, In Io. Ev., 123, 5).

2. I am happy to know that you have begun the First Plenary Council of Venezuela, convoked to unify "resources and aspirations in order to promote both the common good and the good of individual Churches" (Christus Dominus CD 36), boosting a long term evangelizing action that at the same time expresses the unanimous effort "to spread the faith and make the light of full truth dawn on all men" (Lumen gentium LG 23).

In this regard, in the wake of the splendid experience of the Great Jubilee, I pointed out that one of the great challenges of the new millennium is to make the Church "the home and the school of communion", by following a deeply spiritual path, without which "external structures of communion [would] serve very little purpose. They would become mechanisms without a soul" (Novo Millennio ineunte NM 43). For this reason, a particular Council, which is a deeply-rooted ecclesial event, must be lived and accepted as an authentic experience of the Spirit who guides his Church and keeps her in the unity of faith and charity. Its first fruit is communion among the Bishops who in turn are a principle of unity in the particular Churches they preside over.

I therefore ask you to foster the spirit of dialogue, fraternal accord and sincere collaboration at all the stages of this Council. Avoid any type of dissension that could cause disorientation among the faithful or be a pretext to create snares by those who seek interests that are contrary to the good of the Church.

3. Through closeness to your people and your daily pastoral work, be keenly aware of the deep and rapid social changes that condition the great work of evangelization. Today they oblige us "courageously [to] face a situation which is becoming increasingly diversified and demanding", (ibid., n. 40). In this connection what is important is the renewal of catechesis, in which the Church carries out her mission "to strive calmly to show the strength and beauty of the doctrine of the faith" (Fidei depositum, n. 1). In fact, the secular culture, the atmosphere of religious indifference or the fragility of some once traditionally sound institutions as the family, schools and some ecclesial institutions, can impair the channels that transmit the faith and foster the Christian education of the new generations.

In this situation, remember that "in the cause of the Kingdom there is no time for looking back, even less for settling into laziness" (Novo Millennio ineunte NM 15). On the contrary, you must imbue pastors and catechists with new zeal, so that with their own witness and the creativity that they often use, they may find the most appropriate ways to bring the light of Christ to every Venezuelan, awakening the joyful wonder at his message and his presence. In this regard, the Catechism of the Catholic Church will serve as a guide and inspiration for a renewed catechesis, that will be adapted to the educational levels of your faithful.

4. In the spirit of the Good Shepherd you often feel that "the harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few" (Mt 9,37), and it is comforting that the Lord has blessed your country with a certain increase in new vocations, as well as the generous presence of people from other countries who so often are an example of the spirit of self-sacrificing service to the Gospel and of closeness to the sensitivity and needs of the people. You know the importance for them of the encouragement and esteem of their Pastors who should spare no effort to foster an atmosphere of brotherhood among their main collaborators, their priests, and of genuineness among the various charisms that enrich each one of the particular Churches.

In addition to the timely directives which it is up to you, as guides, to provide, do not stop nourishing the spiritual life and the genuine desire for holiness of all who work with you in your apostolic mission, which is the deepest source of the great variety of pastoral activities. For this reason, because they are so often obliged to perform their mission in difficult conditions, they must base the joy of their service not on the desire of passing joys but on the aspiration to have "their names written in heaven" (Lc 10,20) proclaiming to others what they have seen and heard of the Lord (cf. Acts Ac 4,20 Ac 22,15).

5. In recent years, your country that can count on abundant natural and human resources has experienced a heartrending increase of poverty, even extreme poverty for many persons and families. The face of the suffering Christ becomes concrete in so many farm workers, indigenous persons, the urban marginalized, abandoned children, neglected elderly persons, abused women or unemployed youth. I know that all this is a pressing challenge to your pastoral concern, for it is impossible to pass by an injured neighbour on the other side of the road (cf. Lk Lc 10,33-35); he so often needs immediate attention before we examine the reasons for his misfortune.

Through the self-denial of many individuals and the constant activity of numerous institutions, the Church has always given and continues to give the witness of divine mercy, showing generous and unconditional devotion to the neediest; this must become more and more a widespread general attitude of the whole Christian community, with the active collaboration of its members and the tireless promotion of a spirit of solidarity among all the people of Venezuela.

Together with these urgent needs that demand immediate attention, you are also aware of the need to help build a social order that is more just, peaceful, and profitable for all. In fact, without competing with what belongs to the public authorities, at times the Church will be called to give a voice to those whom no one seems to listen to, and "to discern in the events, the needs, and the longings which she shares with other people of our time, what may be genuine signs of the presence or of the purpose of God" (Gaudium et spes GS 11). Lastly, she feels called to seek loyal collaboration in the initiatives that aim at the integral good of the person and, for that reason, belong both to the specific mission of the Church and to the objectives of social organizations. Indeed, these cannot overlook or even less ignore the considerable contribution of the Church to many sectors belonging to the common good.

I know very well that this feature of your ministry is not always easy and that there are many distortions, intentional misinterpretations, and efforts to see the Church as favouring one party or another. However, party politics is not the area in which the Church operates. She wants to promote an atmosphere of open, constructive, patient and even-handed dialogue among all who have public responsibilities, in order to make prevail in society the dignity and inalienable rights of the person, "to make our earth more fraternal and friendly, to make it a good place to live and to ensure that indifference, injustice and hatred will never have the last word" (Address to the Diplomatic Corps, 10 January 2002, n. 2; ORE, 16 January 2002, p. 2).

6. I entrust your pastoral ministry to the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is so beloved by your country under the title of Our Lady of Coromoto. I knelt in prayer before her during my last visit to Venezuela to implore her protection for the Venezuelan people and today I continue asking her that the Catholics of this beloved country may be "salt and light for others, true witnesses of Christ" (Homily at the Shrine of Our Lady of Coromoto, 10 February 1996, n. 6; ORE, 21 February 1996, p. 5).

While I ask you to transmit the greetings of the Pope to your faithful who does not forget them, and his special gratitude to the priests, the religious communities and all who are more directly involved in the passionate task of evangelization, I exhort you to work in reciprocal communion and in communion with the See of Peter for the cause of the Gospel and to you I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing.



Saturday, 15 June 2002

Dear Sisters,

1. I am pleased to welcome each of you, religious of the Institute of the Daughters of St Camillus, gathered in Rome for your General Chapter. Thank you for this meeting with which you wanted to show your devotion and affection for the Vicar of Christ and confirm your fidelity to the Magisterium of the Universal Pastor of the Church. I greet your new Superior General, Sr Laura Biondo, and thank her for her courteous words on behalf of those who are present and your Congregation. I ask the Lord for abundant gifts of light and grace for her and for the General Council, so that they may perform their new task in accord with God's will.

2. I recall very distinctly the beatifications of your founders, Josephine Vannini and Luigi Tezza, whom I had the joy of raising to the honours of the altar; the first in 1994 and the second in 2001.

They were special moments of grace that are a constant invitation to grow in spiritual fervour and apostolic zeal.

Enriched by these gifts, you have decided to dedicate the General Chapter to becoming more familiar with the spiritual legacy of the new Blesseds, in order to continue on the path of holiness consciously and enthusiastically. This choice will allow you to confirm the path you have taken and to adapt your charism to the changed conditions of the times, to become more credible witnesses to the merciful love of the Good Samaritan.

I am aware of your generous devotion to the service of the poor and the sick, as well as of the vital impetus with which your religious family, present on four continents, has recently given to your missionary activity in South America, in the Orient and in Eastern Europe. I encourage you to continue in this direction, motivated and sustained by the example of Bl. Luigi Tezza, an authentic pilgrim of the mission.

3. Your chief concern is to make the merciful Christ present in your contacts with your neighbour, starting with those in the congregation. Let the spirit of fraternal love reign among you, so that each religious may feel she is understood and appreciated in her abilities and no one may complain of injustice or abuse of power.

You are called to be tangible signs of Christ's tenderness, especially where suffering oppresses human beings in body and spirit. You are helped in this task by your state as consecrated women who, looking to the Immaculate Virgin Mary, guarantee special sensitivity to what is essentially human even in contexts of suffering and marginalization (cf. Mulieris dignitatem MD 30). This is a valid contribution which you can make to the far-reaching action of the new evangelization that involves the whole People of God.

After the example of St Camillus and your Blessed Founders, proclaim in word and, above all, in deed, the joy of sacrificing your lives for your needy brothers and sisters. And in this unique mission, do not be afraid ardently to tend toward the heights of heroic charity.

"As true daughters of St Camillus, you must be in the front line of charity and you must always be prepared to make any sacrifice for love". Bl. Luigi Tezza wrote these words to his first disciples, offering to all the sisters a valuable criterion by which to know if they live their vocation faithfully.

4. Besides, along with a deeply human approach to nursing the sick person, a living image of Christ, you are asked in your daily work to take to everyone the saving message of the Gospel.

Through the institutions for social assistance and health care and the schools you run, make yourselves promoters of what fosters humanity and charity that can inspire in those who serve the sick the desire to transform treating into caring and profession into vocation. To achieve this goal you will need a harmonious blend of intelligence and feeling, of technique and the capacity to welcome the sick. At the same time you should support the "culture of life" basing your teaching on the conviction that the human person has a unique value and that human life is sacred. For this reason it should always be defended and protected, from birth to its natural end.

5. Dear sisters, remain faithful to your marvellous vocation and do your best to live it with joyful dedication. As the witness of your founders reminds you, this is the way to reach perfect charity and full conformity with Christ, whom you have chosen to serve in the sick and suffering.

With these sentiments, as I entrust you to the heavenly intercession of the Mother of the Lord, comforter of the afflicted, of St Camillus de Lellis, of Bl. Luigi Tezza and Bl. Josephine Vannini, I warmly impart my Apostolic Blessing to each of you and gladly extend it to all your sisters, working all over the world.

Speeches 2002 - Saturday, 1 June 2002