Speeches 2002 - Thursday, 7 February 2002

3. Above all, may you know how to keep intact your lifestyle, as it was regularly set forth by your Foundress. She wrote to a group of novices about the spirit that should motive a Capuchin sister: "Serve the Lord joyfully, lovingly fulfil the duties entrusted to you, work tirelessly because you know how precious your work is in the sight of the Lord. And having worked hard for the glory of God whom you love so deeply, call yourself a useless servant of the Lord and be convinced of being one, because you know that you are not capable of anything without his divine help" (To the Novices of Montevideo and Rosario: Letters, Genoa 1995, p. 550).

Serve the brethren without conditions or limits: this is what impelled Bl. Francesca Rubatto to open her heart and the life of the institute to the missionary dimension, that she recognized "as a special grace granted to our community" (To Sr Felicita: op. cit., p. 129). This same spirit inspired the missionary sisters, who on 13 March 1901, gave witness, even to the supreme sacrifice of their lives, to their fidelity to Christ and to their generous love for their neighbour on the mission of Alto Alegre in Brazil.

May their example move you to intensify your effort to live your charism ever more in new choices of life and apostolic activity. For my part, I gladly assure you of my spiritual closeness, as well as wholehearted support and prayer.

May the intercession of Francis and Clare of Assisi assist you. May the host of Capuchin saints, among whom Bl. Francesca Rubatto shines with a special light, protect you. May my Blessing, which I cordially impart to you and to all your religious communities in Italy and throughout the world go with you.



Thursday, 7 February 2002

Your Eminences,
Dear Brothers in the Episcopate and in the Priesthood,
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

1. I am happy to welcome you cordially on the occasion of the 24th Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum". I greet the President, Archbishop Paul Cordes, and thank him for his kind greeting on behalf of those present, beginning with the Secretary of the Council and including the other officials. I greet the Cardinals, Bishops, priests, religious and lay people from many nations who take part in the plenary meeting; some of them are newly appointed. I wish to thank each and every one of you for your availability and spirit of cooperation in such an important sector of ecclesial outreach.

Through the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum", the love of the Church reaches out to a great number of poor and needy throughout the world, making use of the various contributions and initiatives of local communities and international charities.

2. For your Plenary Assembly this year you have chosen to reflect on the theme of volunteer work, an important phenomenon that calls forth so much energy for good in the Church and in the world. It is a theme that has also been the centre of attention of the United Nations. Last year the UN reflected on volunteers and volunteer work.

In fact, volunteer work, the fruit of wise and deeply felt choices, offers to society, beyond the concrete act of service, the witness to the value of unselfish giving. This impelling value counters the trend of individualism unfortunately widespread in our societies, especially the prosperous ones.

The action of volunteers aims at empasizing the centrality of the human person, in contrast with the economic interests that often are the category that dominates social relationships. It is the person, who is always entitled to be served and loved, especially when he/she is ruined by evil and suffering, or when he/she is outcast and despised.

In this regard, volunteer work is a significant humanizing and civilizing factor. On the occasion of the International Day of Volunteers, last 5 December, to stress the concern of the Church for this vast phenomenon, I addressed a message to all who are involved in the field of service to human beings and to the common good. In my Message, I reaffirmed the validity of this experience that gives a great many people the possibility of living concretely the vocation to love innate in every human heart.

3. For Christians, the root cause of this involvement is to be found in Christ. It is through love that Jesus handed over his life to the brethren, and he did so without asking anything in return.

Believers follow his example. Thus engaged in various fields of humanitarian action, they can become for non-believers a true incentive to experience the depth of the Gospel message. They show in a concrete way that the Redeemer of man is present in the poor and suffering and wants to be recognized and loved in every human creature.

For this witness to be attractive, I hope that all who work in Catholic volunteer associations and institutions will take as their models so many saints of charity who with their lives left in the Church a wake of outstanding evangelical heroism. May each one be concerned personally to meet Christ who fills with love the hearts of those who want to serve their neighbour.

4. Your Plenary Assembly takes place a few months after the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum", created on 15 July 1971, by the Servant of God Paul VI.

Three decades have already gone by, in which the Church's charitable activity has grown and spread through the service of ecclesial organisms and the contribution of countless faithful. The results obtained confirm the validity of the intuition of my venerable Predecessor who, in accepting the guidelines issued by the Second Vatican Council, desired to establish within the Apostolic See an organism for coordinating and guiding the many institutions set up in the Church for the purpose of human promotion and Christian solidarity.

Today may the dioceses and Catholic organizations designated as charities find a place in your Pontifical Council for meetings, dialogue and orientation, so that they may intervene more effectively in the area and different faces of poverty.

5. In giving thanks to God for the 30 years of the activity of "Cor Unum", I feel the need to renew my gratitude for the promptness with which on many occasions, at times in sad and tragic events, it has been the intermediary of the Pope's charity. I especially wish to recall the recent activity dedicated to assisting the refugees from Afghanistan, as well as in other parts of the world, who have been devastated by war or natural disasters.

Dear brothers and sisters, I encourage you to continue in this work already successfully begun, with which you contribute a great deal to the promotion of human dignity and to the cause of peace.

Likewise, I hope that your daily work to inspire the charitable work of diocesan communities and to support Catholic volunteer workers may become an ever more attractive proclamation of the Gospel of hope and love.

With these wishes, as I entrust you all to the motherly protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary, as a pledge of spiritual fevour and of every longed for good, I impart to each one a special Apostolic Blessing.



Friday, 8 February 2002

Mr. Ambassador,

I am happy to welcome you today to the Vatican and to accept the Letters of Credence by which you are appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of the Philippines to the Holy See. Your country and the Holy See have enjoyed diplomatic relations for fifty years now, and I am confident that you will work to extend and strengthen the close ties of friendship and cooperation existing between us. I am most grateful for the greetings which you bring from Her Excellency President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and from the Filipino Government and people. Please convey to them the assurance of my esteem and good will, as well as of my prayers for the harmony and continuing development of the nation.

In Your Excellency’s words about the Filipino people’s hopes and efforts in the cause of peace at home and in the world, there is an echo of that universal longing for goodness, justice and solidarity in human relations which has been cruelly shaken by the events of recent months. As believers we know that peace is not the result of merely human plans and endeavors, but is a gift from God to the world which he created. It is the fullness of his blessings to man, the only creature that God willed for its own sake (cf. Gaudium et Spes GS 24). The recent gathering for peace at Assisi, which brought together representatives of the Christian Churches and Ecclesial Communities, as well as followers of many of the world’s major religions, showed how people of very different religious and cultural backgrounds are firmly convinced that violence in all its forms is totally incompatible with true religious sentiment, and indeed with human dignity. It is the task of the leaders of nations to find the practical and technical ways to translate into laws, institutions and actions the yearning of the human heart for the tranquillity of order which is true peace.

Your own country is not unaffected by what is happening. A negotiated solution to longstanding difficulties has not been forthcoming and the level of conflict has risen. Let me repeat here what I proposed in this year’s Message for the World Day of Peace. The pillars of peace in your land, as everywhere else, are justice and forgiveness: the justice which ensures full respect for rights and responsibilities, and equitable distribution of benefits and burdens; and the forgiveness which heals and rebuilds troubled human relations from their foundations (cf. No. 3). Certainly, we cannot think that justice and forgiveness will come as the result of violence and conflict; they are moral virtues which entail our personal and collective responsibility to choose what leads to the common good and avoid all that denies or distorts the truth of our being.

All reasonable men and women recognize the common good as the purpose of good governance. But this good is a human good, looking to the integral well-being of people in all the complexity of their personal and interpersonal lives. It would be a grave mistake to limit public policies to the search for economic progress, which is all too often measured in terms of increased consumerism, as if that alone could satisfy people’s aspirations. As I wrote in the Encyclical Letter Centesimus Annus: "It is not wrong to want to live better; what is wrong is a style of life which is presumed to be better when it is directed towards ‘having’ rather than ‘being’, and which wants to have more, not in order to be more but in order to spend life in enjoyment as an end in itself" (No. 36). True progress cannot but take proper account of a people’s cultural and spiritual needs and traditions. In this sense policies and programs stand or fall depending on whether or not they favor integral human development. Thus the increasing globalization of the economy, with its leveling of cultural differences, is not necessarily and in every case a solution to real needs. In fact, it can aggravate the imbalances already evident in the relations between those who benefit from the world’s growing capacity to produce wealth and those who are left at the margin of progress. The great moral challenge facing nations and the international community is to combine development with solidarity — a genuine sharing of benefits — in order to overcome both dehumanizing underdevelopment and the "overdevelopment" which considers people as mere economic units in a consumer system (cf. Ecclesia in Asia ). Development therefore is never a merely technical or economic question; it is fundamentally a human and moral question.It requires an enhanced sense of moral commitment on the part of those who serve the common good.

The question today is often whether the dominant culture can set economic and political life within a genuinely moral framework, in order to ensure that the common good is served. It is precisely here that there is a need for fruitful cooperation between public authorities and the Church. Each in their own sphere serves the integral development of society’s members. In your country, Mr. Ambassador, there is a long tradition of mutual support and cooperation between the Church and civil society. Moments of difficulty have not been lacking, but in general they have been quickly and correctly overcome. On many occasions I have encouraged the Filipino Bishops in their efforts to educate and train the laity in the religious and social teaching that will enable them to transform and build up in justice and solidarity the society in which they live. The challenges before your nation are great, and they call for the best commitment of all its citizens, including the special contribution of its young people. Building on the best Filipino traditions of family life and mutual concern and service, and curtailing the excesses of privilege and partisan interests, the nation can look to a very bright future.

Mr. Ambassador, as you enter the community of diplomats accredited to the Holy See you will be aware of entering a context which is different from that in which diplomatic representatives usually find themselves. Here you will have a chance to reflect personally on the deeper questions concerning the progress of humanity. Here you will be able to contribute to a continuing debate on the truths which underlie the events and currents of our human history. With every good wish for the success of your mission, I invoke the blessings of Almighty God upon you, your family and the beloved Filipino people.



Friday, 8 February 2002

Beloved Brothers in the Episcopate and in the Priesthood,
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

1. I am particularly happy to greet you while you take part in the Fourth International Meeting of Bishops and Priests, friends of the Community of Sant'Egidio. You have come to Rome from various parts of the world to spend a few days reflecting together on the primacy of holiness and prayer in the Church's mission. I know that persons belonging to other Churches and Ecclesial Communities have also joined your meeting. I welcome them with joy and greet them as brothers. The beginning of this millennium asks great fidelity in obeying the Gospel, and in the quest for unity of all Christ's followers.

In the Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio ineunte, in which I point out certain priorities for the Church after the Jubilee, I urged her to "put out into the deep" courageously, into the sea of the new millennium. We do not set out trusting in our own poor strength, but in the certainty of the Lord's help, as he assured us when he ascended to Heaven: "Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the world" (Mt 28,20). Holiness and prayer are among the crucial requisites of the Church's journey: "This training in holiness calls for a Christian life distinguished above all in the art of prayer" (Novo Millennio ineunte NM 32). "Yes, dear brothers and sisters, our Christian communities", I concluded, "must become genuine "schools' of prayer" (ibid, n. 33). The Sant'Egidio Community has drawn the strength of its love precisely from its dedication to being "a school of prayer". Every evening in Rome your members gather to pray in the Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere. And the members of the community do the same, in churches scattered in many parts of the world.

2. Your reflections during these days and the resolutions you will make are bound to equip you spiritually and pastorally for the times ahead. The century that has just begun is waiting for the Gospel to be communicated "sine glossa" (literally, without comment), as St Francis loved to say; it is waiting for disciples who are in every way coherent witnesses. Before us stands the array of countless Bishops, priests and faithful who in the 20th century gave their lives for the Gospel. May the strong witness of these "new martyrs", whom I especially wanted to commemorate during the Jubilee, be a precious heritage for us all.

I am certain that friendship with the Sant'Egidio Community has helped you personally and ecclesially. I met the community at the very beginning of my Pontificate, and have been able to ascertain its spiritual vitality and missionary passion. I have seen it working in the Church of Rome and moving out on the highways of the world. I would like to recall a lovely hymn that the community takes with it everywhere: "We do not have any wealth, but only the Word of the Lord".

This hymn, in which Peter's words to the lame man at the Beautiful Gate of the Temple (cf. Acts Ac 3,6) resound, reminds us that the Gospel is the true force of the Church and her riches. This was so in early times and is still the same today, when she moves into the new century.

3. I know that yesterday you celebrated the anniversary of the Sant'Egidio Community, in the Basilica of St John Lateran, the Cathedral of Rome. While I thank Bishop Vincenzo Paglia for his words, I warmly greet Prof. Andrea Riccardi, who began the Community's journey that 7 February 1968. Thirty-four years have now passed. They have been years of listening to the Gospel and of friendship with everyone. One could say that friendship stamps every dimension of the life of the Sant'Egidio Community. Friendship lived with sensitivity of the Gospel is an effective way of being Christian in the world: it makes it possible to cross frontiers and to shorten distances, even when they seem insurmountable. It is a question of a real art, the art of encounter, of careful attention to dialogue, of loving passion for communicating the Gospel. This friendship becomes a reconciling force; it is really needed in our time, so tragically famous for wars and violent clashes.

4. We have just celebrated the Meeting for the Day of Prayer for Peace in the city of St Francis. Since the first meeting in 1986, every year, your community has organized meetings that have brought the "spirit of Assisi" to life under the heavens of many European cities. It has given birth to an exceptional movement of men and women of different religions who, without any confusion, do not cease begging from God for peace for all the peoples.

May the beginning of this millennium, venerable Brothers in the Episcopate and in the Priesthood, friends of the Community of Sant'Egidio, find you all attentive to the Lord's call so that you may "put out into the deep" to communicate to all peoples the Gospel of love. With this wish, as I assure you of my prayer, I warmly bless you.




Saturday, 9 February 2002

Your Eminence,
Brothers in the Episcopate,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

1. I am happy to welcome you to this meeting, with which you wish to renew the sentiments of affection that bind you to the Successor of Peter, while you also show your effective solidarity with the needs of the Church. Thank you for your visit!

I cordially greet Cardinal Agostino Cacciavillan, President of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Holy See, and I thank him for his kind words on your behalf. I also greet Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, Secretary, and Dr Lorenzo Rossi di Montelera, President of the "Centesimus annus - Pro Pontifice" Foundation.

I also warmly welcome the members of your association and express my deep pleasure for the work they have accomplished in the course of the past year. This work is highly commendable for the contribution you gave to the charitable activities of the Holy See. How can I not perceive in your dedication the constant desire to participate directly in the mission of the entire People of God, according to the specific vocation of each believer? For this reason, I desire to show my gratitude, and I am well aware of the spiritual motivations that guide your beneficial action.

Special greetings to those who have come from the United States of America. In the last several months your beloved country has been very much in my thoughts and in my prayers. I also welcome those who have come from Canada. I thank all of you for your efforts in joining the foundation in the pursuit of its noble purposes.

I likewise extend my gratitude to the archbishops and bishops in their dioceses and in their Bishops' Conferences in Italy, Poland and other countries, who have offered the foundation their support, together with the national and local chaplains.

2. With its interventions in the financial and social sectors, your foundation is a valid form of lay apostolate. As I had an opportunity to say at our first meeting of 5 June 1993, the Foundation "Centesimus annus - Pro Pontifice" is "a significant expression of your involvement as lay faithful". In fact, to them is entrusted the ministry "to seek the kingdom of God by engaging in temporal affairs and directing them according to God's will" (Lumen gentium LG 31).

Your activity is even more timely, since you intend to pay special attention to the family and to ensuring its indispensable role in society. A serene and active family becomes a wonderful place for building peace. On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Exhortation Familiaris consortio, observed nearly two months ago, I recalled: "the family that lives the requirements of love and forgiveness to the full becomes the main bulwark of the civilization of love and the hope for the future of humanity" (Address to participants in the congress organized by the Pontifical Council for the Family, 23 November 2001; L'Osservatore Romano English edition, 9 January 2002, n. 5, p. 6). It is in healthy and harmonious families that the paths of the civilization of love begin, thanks to the mutual acceptance and support that they live. It is important to pray and work, so that the family may be an active agent in a constructive peace process, from within and outside.

3. In the world there is a great desire for truth, justice and harmony. I experienced it two weeks ago in Assisi, when in a climate of attentive listening and dialogue with the representatives of the religions, I spent the whole day dedicated to reflection and prayer for peace.

We felt that we were children of God the Almighty Creator, and in need of his provident help. We noted with alarm how seeds of hatred and violence can corrode harmony and understanding. There is need to foster love in society, and to do this it is necessary to start from the primordial cell of humanity, the family. If no one helps the family nucleus to live and prosper in safety and peace, it is weakened and breaks up, with serious harm for individuals and society. As a result, it is vital to guarantee to every family nucleus, among other things, adequate financial, social, educational and cultural security, so that it may carry out the tasks that are its first duty. The State must positively favour and positively solicit responsible initiatives by families (cf. Familiaris consortio FC 45).

4. Dear brothers and sisters, during the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, you studied in some depth the theme of ethics and finance, with a focus on the financial globalization in constant expansion in the world. In continuity with this subject, this year you have decided to study the principle of subsidiarity, a key element of the Church's social teaching. By applying this principle to the relations of the family with the State, there is an urgent need to use every possible instrument to safeguard the promotion of those values that enrich the family, the sanctuary of life and the setting in which the citizens of the future are formed. Then the State has to realize that "a community of a higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of a lower order, depriving the latter of its functions, but rather should support it in case of need and help to coordinate its activity with the activities of the rest of society, always with a view to the common good" (Centesimus annus CA 48).

Your foundation will continue to be involved in this direction, so that authentic solidarity may develop that will translate the principle of subsidarity into action. I am grateful to you for your common endeavour, and I hope you will find a response in the various forces that make up the fabric of civil society. Considering present-day needs, you have the task to redouble in a special way every effort for a genuine social renewal, taking the perennial teaching of the Gospel as your reference and the Church's social doctrine as your guide. May God grant that your generous dedication may be crowned with abundant fruit.

As once more I express my esteem and spiritual closeness, I entrust you to the heavenly protection of the Mother of God, so that she may safeguard all of you under her motherly mantle of grace. I cordially impart my blessing to you, to your families and to all your loved ones; may it go with you.





To Rev. Fr Gino Moro, F.D.P., General Director of the
"Service of Community Animation of the Movement for a Better World"

1. I am pleased to send my greetings and good wishes to you and to all the members of this "Service of Community Animation of the Movement for a Better World" on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the foundation of the promoting group that began with the radio message of Pope Pius XII to the Diocese of Rome that has the name "Proclamation for a Better World" (Proclama per un Mondo Migliore). "It is a whole world that needs to be rebuilt from its foundations", the Pope said with his unforgettable words, a world "that must be transformed from savage to human, from human to divine, according to the heart of God" (Discorsi e Radiomessaggi di S.S. Pio XII, XIII, p. 471).

The "Proclamation for a Better World" was addressed to the Diocese of Rome. Pope Pius XII wanted Rome to be the first to be renewed, so he mustered the whole diocesan community with prophetic and timely words: "We desire to pass on to you the banner of a better world, beloved children of Rome.... Accept the sacred mandate that your Pastor and Father consigns to you today: to give rise to a powerful reawakening of thought and deeds. A reawakening that involves everyone without exception: clergy and people, authorities, families, groups and every single soul on the front of the total renewal of Christian life along the lines of the defence of moral values, the practice of social justice and the rebuilding of the Christian order" (Discorsi e Radiomessaggi, cit., p. 471).

2. The 1952 initiative that is commemorated this year, can only call to mind further developments, from the Second Vatican Council to the vast post-conciliar movement, from the Diocesan Synod of Rome to the most recent City Mission, undertaken in the years from 1996 to 1999 in preparation for the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000. The same inspiration has guided the mission of the Church through these years: the breath of the Holy Spirit is filling the sails of the Church whose route now takes her into the deep waters of the third millennium.

With all my heart I hope that the blessed jubilee observance may help you all, dear brothers and sisters, to rediscover the spiritual heritage of Fr Lombardi as a source of enthusiasm with an apostolic effectiveness. In recent decades, the movement has spread to about 40 nations, and it strives to incarnate in concrete projects the broad vision of the Second Vatican Council and of the magisterium that followed, for a more intense ecclesial "communion". Continue in this work, in docile and constant cooperation with the pastors, and be ready to grasp the "signs" of the times.

3. Promote specifically the common priesthood of the faithful and the prophetic vocation of the laity in every field of human endeavour, so that they may discover "a keener awareness of their own destiny, to make the world conform better to the surpassing dignity of man, to strive for a more deeply rooted sense of universal brotherhood, and to meet the pressing appeals of our times with a generous and common effort of love" (Gaudium et spes GS 91). Indeed, the lay faithful are the first to be challenged to act in building a society that is guided by the values of the civilization of love.

Aware of the needs of the culture today and with the ecclesiological vision that reached maturity in fidelity to the Council, the Church brings her influence to bear on the transformation of society through a laity who are mature in faith and ready to express it in history through their irreproachable witness and serious competence (cf. Apostolic Exhortation Christifideles laici CL 36-44).

May Mary, Mother of the Church to whom Fr Lombardi attributed the inspiration for his work, assist your endeavour with her constant goodness and make it fruitful. May she comfort you in the difficulties you meet on your way.

May my Blessing, which I cordially impart to each of you, to your local groups and to all who in various ways uphold your service in the different parts of the world, also go with you and encourage you.

From the Vatican, 10 February 2002.



Saturday, 9 February 2002

1. I thank the Lord who, this year, has again given me the joy of passing the feast of Our Lady of Confidence with you. This has become a family appointment, looked forward to and appreciated, that allows us to thank the heavenly Mother of God for her constant assistance to the Roman Seminary, the heart of our Diocese.

I would like to make my own the words of the great writer, Alessandro Manzoni, that you have chosen as the theme of today's solemn meeting: "O Virgin, All Holy Lady, what beautiful names every language has for you! More than one proud people boasts of being under your gentle protection" (Inni Sacri, Il nome di Maria).

I greet you all in the name of the Blessed Virgin. I first greet the Cardinal Vicar and the Bishops present; I greet your rector and the priests who work with him. I greet the alumni, the friends of the Seminary, the young people and all who are taking part in this festive occasion. I greet you especially, dear students, who are invited today to reflect under the gaze of Our Lady of Confidence on the importance of your journey of formation with a view to your future mission in the Church.

2. The oratorio composed by Mons. Marco Frisina, inspired by the noble and beloved figure of Bl. John XXIII, the good Pope, who was also a student of your seminary, fits very well into the joyful atmosphere of this Saturday. His heart filled with confidence, Angelo Roncalli, like you, prepared with zeal for the various tasks that God was later to entrust to him. Today I would like to stress his yearning for holiness, that in his life became a daily programme. His optimism was tenacious, especially in the face of real problems and difficulties. Strong in his faith, he invited everyone to realize that what unites the disciples of the Lord, and in general, all men, is far greater than what effectively divides them.

In this spirit he favoured the ecumenical approach, that has obtained great results even if much still remains to be done. At his school, every Christian is invited to become a docile instrument, learning from him, so that Christ's burning prayer in the Upper Room may be fulfilled: "that they all may be one so that the world may believe" (Jn 17,21).

3. On this special occasion it is also given to us to recall, together with Bl. John XXIII, his immediate Successor, the Servant of God Paul VI. In fact, on the occasion of the renewal of the main chapel of your seminary, in his memory an artistic crucifix was set up that is the work of the sculptor Enrico Manfrini and a gift of the beloved Bishop Pasquale Macchi. May this outstanding symbol of our faith help you in every situation to keep your gaze fixed, as Pope Paul VI did, on the mystery of Christ, who died and rose for us.

4. Then how can I overlook another cause of joy and encouragement for you, dear seminarians? Last 20 December, I published the decree of heroic virtues of an alumnus of this institution, the seminarian Bruno Marchesini. Please God, seminarians too will soon have their own special patron and model to inspire them during their journey of priestly formation. It is wonderful that it should be the seminary of the Church of Rome itself, whose Bishop is the Successor of the Apostle Peter, that is offering as a gift to seminarians across the world a flawless model of faith and virtue, an exemplary friend to imitate, to feel beside them in every circumstance. I am sure that looking to him will be an incentive for each one of you to follow Jesus faithfully. May the Spirit who inspired young Marchesini also guide you, dear friends, on the path of heroic faith, so that you may prepare yourselves for taking the Gospel wherever Providence leads you, if necessary even to the ends of the earth (cf. Acts Ac 1,8).

Speeches 2002 - Thursday, 7 February 2002