Speeches 2002



Thursday, 14 February 2002

Your Eminence,
Brothers in the Priesthood,
Dear Roman Priests,

1. For me, this meeting with the Roman clergy that is held every year at the beginning of Lent is a heartfelt joy. I greet each one of you with affection and thank you for being here and for your service to the Church of Rome. I greet and thank the Cardinal Vicar, the Vicegerent, the Auxiliary Bishops and those who have addressed me.

"And he went up on the mountain and called to him those whom he desired; and they came to him. And he appointed twelve, to be with him, and to be sent out to preach" (Mc 3,3-15). At the beginning of the Lenten journey, these words of the Evangelist Mark, on which you have based your diocesan pastoral programme, remind us priests of that search for intimate closeness with the Lord, which for every Christian, but particularly for us, is the secret of our life and the source of the fruitfulness of our ministry.

These same Gospel words shed a very clear light on the deep bond that exists between the divine vocation, received in the obedience of faith, and the Christian mission of witnessing to and announcing Christ, humble but courageous collaborators in his work of salvation. So you do well to pay special attention to vocations and particularly to those to the priesthood and to the consecrated life, within the great missionary orientation that characterizes the life and pastoral work of our diocese.

2. We all know how necessary vocations are for the life, witness and pastoral action of our ecclesial communities. And we also know that the decrease in the number of vocations in a diocese or in a nation is often the result of the weakening of faith and of spiritual fervour. Therefore, we must not be easily satisfied with the explanation that the scarcity of vocations is compensated for by growth in the apostolic commitment of lay people, nor even less that it is desired by Providence to foster this growth. On the contrary, the more numerous are the lay people who intend to live their own baptismal vocation generously, the more necessary are the presence and pastoral work of the ordained ministers.

This does not make us want to deny the well known difficulties that today, in Rome, as in a large part of the Western world, stand in the way of a positive response to the Lord's call. Indeed, for many reasons it has become difficult to conceive of and embark on great and demanding lifelong vocations that require full and definitive commitment and not partial or temporary involvement. And it is even more difficult, for many, to see plans of this kind as born in the first place from God's call, from the plan of mercy that he has conceived for each person from eternity, and not as something for which they alone are responsible, the result of their own decisions and ingenuity.

At the base of the Church's promotion of vocations, there must therefore be a great common commitment, which challenges the lay faithful as well as priests and religious and consists in rediscovering that basic dimension of our faith through which life itself, every human life, is the fruit of God's call and can only be positively fulfilled as a response to this call.

3. It is within this great reality of life as a vocation and, in concrete, of our common baptismal vocation, that the vocation to the ordained ministry, the priestly vocation, manifests its full, extraordinary importance. It is in fact a gift and mystery, the mystery of God's free choice: "You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide" (Jn 15,16).

Yes, dear Brothers in the priesthood, our vocation is a mystery. As I wrote on the occasion of my priestly Jubilee, it is "the mystery of a "wondrous exchange' admirabile commercium between God and man. A man offers his humanity to Christ, so that Christ may use him as an instrument of salvation, making him as it were into another Christ. Unless we grasp the mystery of this "exchange', we will not understand how it can be that a young man, hearing the words "Follow me!', can give up everything for Christ, in the certainty that if he follows this path he will find complete personal fulfilment" (Gift and Mystery [English edition], Pauline Publications, Africa 1996, p. 88).

Therefore, when we speak of our priesthood and give witness to it, we must do so with great joy and gratitude, and also with equally great humility, conscious that "God ... called us with a holy calling, not in virtue of our works but in virtue of his own purpose and the grace which he gave us" (2Tm 1,9).

4. It thus becomes rather clear why the first and principal activity in favour of vocations can only be prayer: "The harvest is plentiful but the labourers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest" (Mt 9,37-38 cf. Lk Lc 10,2). Prayer for vocations is not and cannot be the result of resignation, as though we were to think that we have already done all we can for vocations, with very meagre results, and therefore, there is nothing else to do but pray. In fact prayer is not a kind of delegating to the Lord so that he can act in our place. Instead it is confiding in him, putting ourselves in his hands, which makes us in turn confident and ready to do God's work.

Consequently, prayer for vocations is certainly the mission of the whole Christian community, but it should be practised intensely, primarily by those who are of the age and condition to choose their own state of life, as are the young.

For the same reason, prayer must be guided by pastoral care that has a clear and explicit vocational stamp. From the moment when they begin to know God and to develop a moral conscience, our children and young people must be helped to discover that life is a vocation and that God calls some to follow him more closely, in communion with him and with the gift of themselves. With regard to vocations Christian families thus have an important and irreplaceable mission and responsibility and should be helped to respond to it with awareness and generosity. Likewise catechesis and the whole pastoral approach to Christian initiation must include a first presentation of vocation.

Of course, this suggestion should become more insistent and penetrating, but always with full respect for the conscience and freedom of the person, as adolescence gradually replaces childhood and then youth. Care and concern for vocations is one of the fundamental criteria of pastoral care for youth, schools and university. Nevertheless, in the end, all the members and groups of every parish and Christian community must feel co-responsible for the presentation and the necessary direction of the special vocations.

5. However, it is clear, dear Priests, that pastoral care vocations primarily challenge us and are entrusted in the first place to our prayer, to our ministry, to our personal witness. Indeed, it is difficult for a vocation to the priesthood to be born without a relationship with a priest figure, without personal contact with him, without his friendship, his patient and caring attention, and his spiritual guidance.

If children and young people see priests overwhelmed with too many things to do, quickly irritated and complaining, neglectful of prayer and the tasks proper to their ministry, how can they be fascinated by the way of the priesthood? If, on the other hand, they experience in us the joy of being ministers of Christ, generosity in the service to the Church, promptness in taking charge of the human and spiritual growth of the persons entrusted to us, they will be impelled to wonder whether this might not be, for them too, the "good portion" (Lc 10,42), the most beautiful choice for their young lives.

Dear Brother Priests, let us entrust this special concern for vocations to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Christ, Mother of the Church and, in particular, Mother of priests. Let us also entrust to her our Lenten journey and especially our personal sanctification: indeed the Church needs holy priests, to open to Christ even doors that seem the most closed.

The Holy Father then spoke extemporaneously:

I saw that most of the speakers had prepared a written text, so I followed them. But then I also saw that some were improvising. Perhaps I too can improvise a little.

The words stay with me: "the apple of his eye" (pupilla oculi). The "apple" of the bishop's eye is the seminary, because through the seminary, he sees the Church's future. I am prompted to say this by the experience I have had of being bishop for so many years, first in Krakow and then in Rome: in Krakow for 20 years, in Rome already for 24. This is very true, this is the "apple of his eye".

And I hope that all the bishops of Rome, those who will come after me, and all the bishops of the world, will maintain this principle and will look with hope at our seminaries. May vocations not be lacking! Thanks be to God there is no lack of vocations in Rome. Thanks be to God! I also remember that in my past, certain historical moments in the life of the Church in Poland gave rise to more vocations. For example, the millennium, but not only that: also the peregrinatio of Our Lady of Czestochowa, and other events.

So I have tried to imitate not only those who read, but also those who improvised!



Friday, 15 February 2002

Dear Religious,

1. I greet with great joy, you who make up the General Council of the Order of Preachers. I greet cordially each one and through you greet your entire religious family. In particular I thank the Master General, Fr Carlos Azpiroz Costa, for expressing your common sentiments of loyalty and fidelity to the Apostolic See.

Meeting you today reminds me of the contacts I have had with your Order. I still have pleasant memories of my student years at the Pontifical University of St Thomas Aquinas in Rome. It was a very fruitful period for my theological formation due to the expert contribution of my superlative and unforgettable Dominican teachers. Here I would like to mention Fr Garrigou-Lagrange and Frs Paul Philippe and Mario Luigi Ciappi, who later became Cardinals, and other distinguished Dominican professors. What I had the chance to assimilate in the classrooms of the Angelicum, has always been helpful in my pastoral ministry.

2. The Dominican Order of which you are the ranking representatives, has a specific task in the immense undertaking of the new evangelization that the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000 vigorously launched. This is a common ecclesial enterprise to which all the members of the People of God, and particularly religious families, are called to contribute.

As I wrote in the Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio ineunte, "The men and women of our own day often perhaps unconsciously ask believers not only to "speak' of Christ, but in a certain sense to "show' him to them" (n. 16). Doesn't this request coincide with the project of life that St Dominic expressed so effectively: "contemplata aliis tradere" (to hand on to others what contemplation has taught)? Only those who have had an experience of God can speak of him convincingly to others. At the school of St Dominic and of all the Dominican saints you are called to be teachers of truth and holiness.
3. Dear friends, may this be the basic thrust of your General Council in providing courageous instructions for the life and apostolate of the Dominican Friars throughout the world. I follow you whole-heartedly, wishing every good thing for ADDRESS OF JOHN PAUL II


Saturday 16 February 2002

To the Most Reverend Father Giacomo Bini
Minister General of the Order of Friars Minor

1. First of all, I am pleased to greet you, Father Giacomo Bini, the members of the Scotus Commission and all who are involved in the General Secretariate for Formation and Studies. I affectionately greet the entire Order of the Friars Minor.

I am very grateful for the gift of volume VIII of the Opera Omnia of Bl. John Duns Scotus that contains the last part of Book II of the Ordinatio, the last and most important work of the Doctor subtilis.

Bl. John Duns Scotus is a well-known person in Catholic philosophy and theology, whom my Predecessor Pope Paul VI described in his Apostolic Letter Alma Parens, of 14 July 1966, as "the perfector" of St Bonaventure, "the most distinguished representative" of the Franciscan School.

On that occasion, Paul VI asserted that in Duns Scotus' writings "latent certe ferventque Sancti Francisci Asisinatis perfectionis pulcherrima forma et seraphici spiritus ardores" (the beautiful form of the perfection of St Francis of Assisi and the fervour of his seraphic spirit are certainly hidden and yet present); he added that from the theological treasures of his works can be taken precious ideas for "peaceful conversations" between the Catholic Church and the other Christian confessions (cf. AAS 58 [1966] 609-614).

2. The works of Duns Scotus, reprinted several times in previous centuries, needed a thorough revision to clear them of the many errors of the copyists and of the annotations added by his disciples. It was no longer possible to study Scotus using those editions. A serious critical edition, based on the manuscripts was needed. This was also necessary for the works of St Bonaventure and St Thomas.

The Minister General of the Order of Friars Minor and his Definitorium entrusted the work to a special team of scholars, who were named the Scotus Commission and were established at the Pontifical Athenaeum Antonianum of Rome. To date they have published twelve volumes. With great dedication they have identified and indicated the direct and indirect sources that Scotus used in his writing. The footnotes contain all the useful and necessary information for a better understanding of the thought of this great Teacher of the Franciscan School.

Duns Scotus, with his splendid doctrine on the primacy of Christ, on the Immaculate Conception, on the primary value of the Revelation and of the Magisterium of the Church, on the authority of the Pope, on the capability of human reason to make the great truths of faith accessible, at least in part, and to show their non-contradictory nature, is even today a pillar of Catholic theology, an original Teacher, full of ideas and incentives for an ever more complete knowledge of the truth of the faith.

3. Dear members of the Scotus Commission, I am delighted to encourage your work since, as the Ratio Studiorum Ordinis Fratrum Minorum says: "the research centres of the Order, such as the Scotus Commission, through their scientific and editorial activity, carry out a service of primary importance regarding the conservation and transmission of the Order's historical, philosophical, theological and spiritual patrimony" (124). I am happy to take this opportunity to encourage the young friars to undertake studies so as to continue teaching and research at the Order's research centres.

I express the wish that in 2004, the year of the 150th anniversary of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Scotus Commission may publish the 20th volume which will contain Book III of the Lectura, still unpublished, in which for the first time Duns Scotus defended the Marian privilege and earned himself the title of "Doctor of Mary Immaculate".

I entrust to the Queen of the Franciscan Order the work of the Commission, while to you, Father Minister General, to all who are present with you and to all those who make your activity possible, I impart my heartfelt Blessing.

our communities spread on every continent. I call down upon you the motherly help of Our Lady of the Rosary and the protection of the saints and blesseds of your Order.

As I assure you of my remembrance in prayer, I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing to you, to your confreres and to all who belong to the Dominican spiritual family.


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

1. I am pleased to have this meeting, that you desired in order to highlight the celebration of the first International Forum of the Pontifical Academy of Theology. I cordially greet you all, with special gratitude to Cardinal Paul Poupard who has expressed your sentiments and illustrated the Forum's approach to the significant theme: "Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth and the Life. For a re-reading of Dominus Iesus".

The subject clearly falls within the purview of your Academy. The new Statutes, which I approved with the Motu Proprio of 28 January 1999, point out the Academy's goal: "that of providing and fostering theological studies and dialogue among the theological and philosophical disciplines" (art. II). In short, every effort the human person makes to grow in the knowledge of the truth is oriented to the discovery of a new aspect of God's mystery, the "sovereign and primary truth" (St Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, 1, q. 16, a. 5) and the source of truth: In fact, "every truth", the Angelic Doctor says, "is from God" (Quaestiones disputatae, De Veritate, q. 1, a. 8).

If the human being can be defined "as the one who seeks the truth" (Fides et ratio FR 28), he knows that in his encounter with Christ and with his divine Revelation he has found the truth about life: "In Jesus Christ, who is the truth, faith recognizes the ultimate appeal to humanity, an appeal made in order that what we experience as desire and nostalgia may come to its fulfilment" (ibid., n. FR 33).

2. The priority task of the Pontifical Academy of Theology is meditation on the mystery of Jesus Christ, our Master and Lord, fullness of grace and truth (cf. Jn 1,16). From this source of light originates the mandate of preaching, of witness and of involvement in dialogue, both ecumenical and interreligious.

In the Encylcical Fides et ratio I said: "There are many paths which lead to the truth, but since Christian truth has a salvific value, any one of these paths may be taken, as long as it leads to the final goal, that is to the Revelation of Jesus Christ" (n. FR 38). Academics, those who foster Christ's truth by witnessing to it in the Church and in the world, in their work of study and research, are guided by Revelation, the "true lodestar" (ibid., n. FR 15) towards the truth to know, the good to do and the charity to live.

3. Today, two features characterize the apostolate and service of the truth: its dynamism and ecclesial sense (ecclesialità). The truth of Christian Revelation opens up new horizons in history for understanding the mystery of God and man. The inner attraction of the new does not lie in a relativism or historicism, but means a supreme concentration on the truth, an understanding that is a journey with and, above all, a following of Christ, the Way, the Truth and the Life. Theology thus becomes a journey in communion with the Person-Truth who is Jesus Christ, in a relationship of fidelity, love and self-giving, under the guidance of the Spirit of truth (cf. Jn 16,13), who has the mission of recalling Jesus' words and of helping Christians understand and live them in an interior lucidity throughout the changing history of humanity.

Secondly, the description of your "Theological Academy" as "Pontifical" means that its service to Christ the Truth is characterized by its ecclesial sense (ecclesialità). In fact, the theologian takes up his free research within the faith and communion of the Church. In the Church, salt of the earth and light of the world (cf. Mt 5,13-14), theological reflection carries out its task to respond to the universal saving will of God, who desires "all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth" (1Tm 2,4). In fact, far from being a limiting factor, ecclesial communion is a source that breathes life into theological reflection; it supports its creativity and appreciates its prophecy. In this way, theological knowledge, with its deeper understanding of revealed truth, becomes a service to the entire People of God, supports their hope and reinforces their communion.

4. Loyalty to Christ the Truth, manifested by theologians in obedience to the magisterium of the Church, is a powerful unifying and edifying force. Catholic theologians are aware that the magisterium is not a reality extrinsic to the truth and to the faith, but, on the contrary, as a basic element of the Church, it is at the service of the Word of truth and safeguards it from distortion. It also guarantees that the People of God throughout time will always live guided and sustained by Christ the Truth. The relationship between the magisterium and theological work is regulated by the principle of harmony. Since they are both at the service of divine Revelation, both rediscover new aspects and depths of revealed truth.

Where there is a matter of communion in the faith, the principle of unity in the truth prevails. On the other hand, where there is a difference of opinion, the principle of unity in charity applies.
These guidelines are present in the direction you have set for this Forum, and in the editorial policy of the new journal of the Academy, that you have called PATH, an acronym of your Latin name "Pontificia Academia Theologica". But "path" is also a word that in today's globalized language means "way", "track", "route" or "road". Theological research is a demanding and gratifying journey with Christ the Way, the Truth and the Life.

5. After more than three centuries of life, may the Pontifical Theological Academy continue to receive from your reflection and witness fresh zeal to announce the light of Christ in the millennium that has just begun.

With this wish, as I invoke God's help in your work I cordially impart my Blessing.


Dear Canossian Daughters of Charity,

1. I am pleased to meet you on the occasion of your 14th General Chapter, an event of grace that is a strong call to return ever more to your Congregation's roots, to grow in your understanding of your charism and to find the best ways to incarnate it in the social and cultural context of today.

I greet the Superior General and the Chapter Delegates, and I cordially greet all the Canossian Sisters who carry out their generous apostolate in Italy, in Europe and on other continents. During these busy days, you have chosen to reflect on the theme "Telling the men and women of our time of the love of God, who has loved them so". Following your charism, you intend to proclaim and witness to the Gospel of charity, aspiring to be visible signs of God's love and instruments of peace everywhere. May God bless your resolutions! For your part, try to preserve faithfully the spiritual heritage bequeathed to you by your Foundress, St Maddalena of Canossa, who loved the crucified Christ intensely, and was always inspired by him in carrying out her courageous apostolate for the good of her neighbour in need. With all possible zeal, the Foundress confronted the forms of poverty typical of her time: from financial and moral poverty to the poverty of culture and the lack of means to treat sickness. Follow her example and continue her mission that is still valid today, even in the changed social conditions in which we live.

2. To you, her spiritual daughters, St Maddalena of Canossa held up an ideal of consecrated life based on humility. "May your missionary style", she liked to repeat, be "humble and removed from powerful means and human wisdom" and may your apostolic action have one goal: "for God alone and his glory". Then all this should take place in a condition of "perfectly common" fellowship, fostered by that "perfect charity" that translates into "universal and common spiritual love".

On the basis of these sound spiritual teachings, the missionary style that is the hallmark of your religious family developed over the course of the centuries. These essential lines of your founding charism have become concrete witness through the example of so many Canossian Daughters of Charity, totally consecrated to God and his Kingdom alone. Among them I recall your sisters in East Timor, who at the price of their blood recently paid for their fidelity to Christ the Lord. May their heroic sacrifice be an incentive to you and encourage you to go ahead with confidence and apostolic zeal, aware that this is the only way to express effectively what St Maddalena recommended: "Above all, make Jesus known!". Let yourselves be pervaded by the intimate desire to serve every human person with charity, without distinction of race or religion. With prophetic freedom and wise discernment every day be a witness to the Gospel. Be an important presence everywhere you work, distinguishing yourselves through an intense communion and active cooperation with the pastors of the Church.

3. Today the great challenge of inculturation obliges you to proclaim the Good News in languages and ways understandable to the people of our time, who are swept up in rapidly changing social and cultural processes. Thus a vast field for your apostolate is opening before you! Like your Foundress, give your lives to the poor, cultivate real zeal for teaching, especially the young, and spare no efforts in generous pastoral activity among the people, especially the sick and the suffering.

So many in the world are still waiting to know Jesus and his Gospel. Varying situations of injustice and of moral and material hardship affect peoples in vast regions of the earth. An urgent mission faces believers in every part of the planet. However, dear Sisters, each one of you knows that to respond to these expectations it is necessary first and foremost to strive with all one's might for holiness, for the highest degree of holiness, to be in uninterrupted contact with Christ through continuous and fervent prayer. Only in this way can one point out to others the path to the encounter with the Lord, the Way, the Truth and the Life (cf. Jn Jn 14,6). Only in this way can one collaborate with Christ in saving souls, meeting the needs of the brothers and sisters in the spirit so dear to your Foundress: the spirit of "Servants of the poor".

May Mary walk with you and protect you on this hard but rewarding missionary journey, bringing to fulfilment all your plans for good. The Pope blesses you and warm-heartedly follows you, assuring you of his remembrance in prayer, for each one of you and for all those you meet in your daily apostolate.


"Always disciples of Christ".

These days have given us the chance to meditate on what is the fundamental element of our life, being disciples of Christ. We interiorly and constantly experienced and savoured it in the recollection of our "spiritual retreat". It was a great gift of the Lord, for which we give thanks to him, at the end of this week of intense reflection and prayer.

We address our gratitude for his expert meditations to Cardinal Cláudio Hummes; I say "our" because I am sure of interpreting correctly your feelings, dear brothers who have been with me during the retreat. For a certain number of days, dear Brother, you have had to leave your great flock of São Paulo of Brazil where you are Archbishop, to be concerned with this "little flock" of the Vatican. Heartfelt thanks for having guided us through the rich pastures of revelation and of Catholic tradition with the care, the wisdom and sureness of the Good Shepherd.

These days of recollection and contemplation helped us to rediscover with joy the inexhaustible grace of our Christian and apostolic vocation. The Spirit has once again made us understand that our whole life is centred on Christ, the Revealer of the Father. In his Passover of death and resurrection, He established us as his people, gathered around the Eucharistic table, the Sacrament of his saving sacrifice and real presence among us until the end of time.

The deep consciousness of our being disciples, that thanks to you, Cardinal Hummes, we have revived, impels us to courageous dedication in our ministry to the People of God. Each one now returns to his work. Even you, dear Brother, will return to your diocese. When you are once more with your people, take to the faithful, and especially to the babies and those who suffer, my warm greetings and the assurance of my prayer.

Let us continue our penitential journey towards Easter, the path of spiritual renewal for the whole Church. May Mary, who has been present continuously in these days of listening and of prayer, go with us. To you, Cardinal Cláudio Hummes, and to all of you, dear Brothers, my Blessing.



Monday, 25 February 2002

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

1. I am pleased to receive you on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of your beneficent association. I cordially greet your national President, Prof. Francesco Schittulli, whom I thank for his courteous words on your behalf. I also greet the members of the administrative board and to the representatives of the provincial branches of the Lega Italiana per la Lotta contro i Tumori.

In the course of these decades of fruitful and intense activity, your association has been distinguished by its special achievements in the areas of information, health education, prevention, nursing and research. Thanks to your generous contribution, many people suffering from a tumour can look with hope to their future. The spirit that motivates you belongs to that great process of humanization which we can aptly describe as the path of the "civilization of love" (cf. Salvifici doloris, n. 30).

2. As we face the tumours that threaten human health, we are tempted to assume a despairing or fatalistic attitude that depresses the sick person and makes treatment more difficult. Therefore your association appropriately tries to prepare the patient to receive the initial prognosis calmly and to face it with realism, relying confidently on the resources of the human organism and of medical research.

Let us thank the Lord because science is making great progress in the prevention and the fight against cancer. In this area, however, and in all experimentation that involves the person, everyone must work to ensure that experiments are carried out with full respect for human dignity. Scientific research will then be a wonderful benefit for many families and for all humanity.

Together with research into the origins of tumours, you also apply yourselves to the treatment of pain. This is a most opportune field of research because, by improving the quality of life of those who are afflicted by the disease, it offers them the possibility of effective alleviation and human support.

3. The world of suffering and pain is vast and complex. Yet it can be for the human being an opportunity for spiritual growth, opening up horizons beyond the confines of a precarious physical condition. When he is properly supported, the sick person, although aware of his own physical frailty, is often led to discover a dimension that goes beyond his own corporeity.

This is why, in the medical and nursing care of patients, as well as on the boundaries of research, it is important always to keep in mind the centrality of the person, regardless of race or religion. We must bend over every sick person with loving care, following the example of the Good Samaritan.

We must never lose sight of the finality of the true good of the person; we must never yield to the temptation of a medicine and scientific progress that are without norms and values, that could be transformed into a dangerous form of "technological control" over life.

4. Dear brothers and sisters, in such an important field, it would be unacceptable for believers and people of goodwill not to make their voice heard. In fact, it is only right that society and all those who in a variety of ways are responsible for it understand the urgent need to allocate funds for research for such beneficial causes as the fight against cancer and support concretely initiatives that serve to improve people's health.

Dear members of the Lega Italiana per la Lotta contro i Tumori, pursue your activity with steady dedication. It can help inspire in public opinion a greater sense of solidarity with those who are suffering, and encourage the quest for a proper balance between health, economics and society.

I gladly entrust you, together with your projects, to the Immaculate Mother of God, Seat of Wisdom.As I assure you of my prayer for the sick and for their families, I wholeheartedly impart a special Apostolic Blessing to you, to your dear ones, to the many volunteers and to all those you help in your daily commitment.

Speeches 2002