Speeches 2004 - Monday, 4 October 2004



Thursday, 7 October 2004

Your Eminence,
Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate,
Reverend and Distinguished Professors,

1. With the Plenary Meeting that is taking place in these days you are embarking on the work of a new "quinquennium", the seventh since the International Theological Commission was founded. I am pleased to receive you on this occasion, at a time when you are beginning a period of theological reflection that I hope will be fruitful for the good of the entire Church. I greet in particular Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, President of the Commission, whom I warmly thank for the sentiments he has expressed in his tribute.

2. The themes chosen for examination by the Commission during the coming years are of the greatest interest. First of all is the question of the fate of children who die without Baptism. This is not merely an isolated theological problem. A great many other fundamental topics are closely interwoven with it: the universal salvific will of God, the one universal mediation of Jesus Christ, the role of the Church, the universal sacrament of salvation, the theology of the sacraments, the meaning of the doctrine on original sin.... It will be up to you to explore the "nexus" between all these mysteries with a view to offering a theological synthesis that will help to encourage consistent and enlightened pastoral practice.

3. The second theme, natural moral law, is equally important. As you know, I have already treated this subject in my Encyclical Letters Veritatis Splendor and Fides et Ratio.

The Church has always been convinced that with the light of reason God has endowed man with the ability to attain knowledge of the fundamental truths about his life and destiny, and indeed about the norms of right conduct. For dialogue with all people of good will and for coexistence in the most varied forms founded on a common ethical basis, this possibility must be brought to the attention of our contemporaries. The Christian revelation does not make this research pointless; on the contrary, it spurs us to carry it out with the light of Christ, in whom all things hold together (cf. Col Col 1,17).

Your experience in the various countries of the earth and your knowledge of theological problems will help you make your reflection both practical and consistent.

4. I entrust your work to the intercession of Mary Most Holy, asking the Lord to enliven your Plenary Session with an intense spirit of prayer and fraternal communion and to shine upon it the light of the Wisdom that comes from on high.

As I express my confidence in your work, I urge you to persevere in your enquiry into the subjects chosen, and I accompany you with my Blessing.



Friday, 8 October 2004

Dear Brother Bishops,

1. It gives me great joy today to welcome you, the Pastors of the Church in New York, in the context of the continuing series of visits ad limina Apostolorum by the American Bishops. I greet you in the name of our Savior Jesus Christ, through whom we give thanks always to our heavenly Father "whose power now at work in us can do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine" (Ep 3,20).

In previous meetings with your fellow Bishops from the United States, attention has been focused on the sacred duty to sanctify and teach the People of God. With the group that preceded you I began to reflect on the great responsibility of governing the faithful. Let us continue today to examine this same munus regendi, which must always be carried out in the spirit of the exhortation found in the Rite of Ordination of a Bishop: "The title of Bishop is one of service, not of honor, and therefore a Bishop should strive to benefit others rather than to lord it over them. Such is the precept of the Master" (Roman Pontifical, Rite of Ordination of a Bishop: Homily; cf. Pastores Gregis ).

2. In your Particular Churches, you are called to act nomine Christi. Indeed, it is as vicars and ambassadors of Christ that you govern the portion of the flock entrusted to you (cf. Lumen Gentium LG 27). As shepherds, you "have the task of gathering together the family of the faithful and . . . fostering charity and brotherly communion" (Pastores Gregis ). Yet your immediate function as pastors cannot be isolated from your wider responsibility for the universal Church; as members of the College of Bishops, cum et sub Petro, you in fact share in solicitude for the entire people of God, received through episcopal ordination and hierarchical communion (cf. Lumen Gentium LG 23). Moreover, while guaranteeing the communion of your Dioceses with the Church throughout the world, you also enable the universal Church to draw upon the life and the charisms of the local Church in a spiritual "exchange of gifts". Authentic "catholic" unity presupposes this mutual enrichment in the one Spirit.

Considered within a properly theological context, "power of governance" emerges as something more than mere "administration" or the exercise of organizational skills: it is a means for building up the Kingdom of God. I would encourage you, therefore, to continue to lead by example, in order to evangelize your flock for their own sanctification, thereby preparing them to share the Good News with others. Foster communion among them so as to equip them for the Church’s mission. As you embrace lovingly the three-fold munera entrusted to you, remember that your sacred responsibility to teach, sanctify and govern cannot be surrendered to anyone else: it is your personal vocation.

3. I am grateful for the deep affection which American Catholics have traditionally felt for the Successor of Peter, as well as their sensitivity and generosity to the needs of the Holy See and the universal Church. The Bishops of the United States have always shown a great love for the one in whom the Lord established "the lasting and visible source and foundation of the unity both of faith and of communion" (Lumen Gentium LG 18). Your abiding loyalty to the Roman Pontiff has led you to seek ways to strengthen the bond linking the Church in America with the Apostolic See. These devoted sentiments are a fruit of the hierarchical communion linking all members of the episcopal College with the Pope. At the same time, they constitute a great spiritual resource for the renewal of the Church in the United States. In encouraging your people to deepen their fidelity to the Magisterium and their union of mind and heart with the Successor of Peter, you offer them the inspirational leadership that is needed to carry them forward into the Third Millennium.

4. One of the fruits of the Second Vatican Council was a fresh understanding of episcopal collegiality. Among the ways in which this ecclesial vision is realized at the level of the local Church is through the activity of Episcopal Conferences. Bishops today can only fulfill their office fruitfully when they work harmoniously and closely with their fellow Bishops (cf. Christus Dominus CD 37, Apostolos Suos, 15). For this reason, constant reflection is needed on the relationship between the Episcopal Conference and the individual Bishop.

My dear Brothers in the episcopate, I pray that you will work diligently with one another, in that spirit of cooperation and unanimity of heart that should always characterize the community of disciples (cf. Acts Ac 4,32 Jn 13,35 Ph 2,2). The Apostle’s words apply in a special way to those charged with the salvation of souls: "I beg you, Brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to agree in what you say. Let there be no factions; rather, be united in mind and judgment" (1Co 1,10).

As Church leaders, you will realize that there can be no unity of praxis without an underlying consensus, and this, of course, can only be attained through frank dialogue and informed discussions, based on sound theological and pastoral principles. Solutions to difficult questions emerge when they are thoroughly and honestly examined, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Spare no effort to ensure that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops serves as an ever more effective means of strengthening your ecclesial communion and assisting you in shepherding your brothers and sisters in Christ.

5. Without prejudice, therefore, to the God-given authority of a Diocesan Bishop over his Particular Church, the Episcopal Conference should assist him in carrying out his mission in harmony with his brother Bishops. The structures and procedures of a Conference should never become unduly rigid; instead, through constant reassessment and reappraisal, they should be adapted to suit the changing needs of the Bishops. In order for a Conference to fulfill its proper function, care should be taken to ensure that the offices or commissions within a Conference strive "to be of help to the Bishops and not to substitute for them, and even less to create an intermediate structure between the Apostolic See and individual Bishops" (Pastores Gregis ).

6. Brothers, I pray that at every opportunity you will be able to work together, so that the Gospel may be more effectively proclaimed throughout your country. I wish to express my appreciation for all that you have already accomplished together, particularly in your statements on life issues, education and peace. I invite you now to turn your attention to the many other pressing issues that directly affect the Church’s mission and her spiritual integrity, for example the decline in Mass attendance and in recourse to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, the threats to marriage and the religious needs of immigrants. Let your voice be clearly heard, announcing the message of salvation in season and out of season (cf. 2Tm 4,1). Confidently preach the Good News so that all may be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth (cf. 1Tm 2,4).

7. As I conclude my remarks today, I make my own the words of Saint Paul: "Encourage one another. Live in harmony and peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you" (2Co 13,11). Entrusting you and your priests, deacons, religious and lay faithful to the intercession of Mary, Mother of America (cf. Ecclesia in America ), I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of grace and strength in her Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.




Saturday, 9 October 2004

Dear Young People,

1. I am delighted to welcome you as the Mission to adolescents and youth with the particularly beautiful and demanding title: "Jesus at the Centre", comes to a close, together with the Meeting of representatives of European youth groups for Eucharistic Adoration.

I greet you all with affection! I thank especially Cardinal Camillo Ruini for the courteous words with which he has explained the value and objectives of these initiatives organized by the Diocesan Service for the Youth Apostolate of Rome. I extend my cordial greeting to the Bishops and priests present, as well as to all those who in various sectors have enlivened the celebrations, meetings and events of these days.

2. The Year of the Eucharist is now on our threshold and these pastoral initiatives that have involved the participation of a great many young people of Italy, Europe and the United States of America introduce us into this special season of grace for the whole Church.

Eucharist and mission are two inseparable realities, as the Apostle Paul stresses: "Every time, then, you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes" (1Co 11,26). The Eucharist, in fact, is the memorial of the redemptive offering of Jesus to the Father for the salvation of humankind. Through his sacrifice on the Cross, Jesus "makes" the Eucharist, that is, he gives thanks to the Father. This mystery asks each one of us to thank the Father with Christ, not so much with words as rather with our life itself, united to his.

3. Consequently, there is no authentic celebration and adoration of the Eucharist that does not lead to mission. At the same time, the mission presupposes another essential Eucharistic trait: union of hearts. The mission that you are celebrating in Rome in these days is an example of communion among a multitude of lay youth groups of the Diocese of Rome: parishes, priests, men and women religious and seminarians. Precisely because you have shared in the preparations for these initiatives and their realization, you have played the lead in experiences that will mark you deeply, and not only you but also many of your peers whom you met at schools, in squares, on streets, in hospitals and churches.

I hope that this beautiful pastoral experience, an authentic school of communion and of the new evangelization, will continue and expand. I encourage you to see that the creativity and generosity demonstrated in these days become an incentive for the entire Church of Rome to keep her missionary spirit alive.

4. On this special occasion I would like to give you some advice. First of all, love for the Eucharist. Never tire of celebrating and adoring the Eucharist together with the whole Christian community, especially on Sundays, making it the centre of your personal and community life so that communion with Christ will help you make courageous decisions.

Secondly, missionary enthusiasm. Do not be afraid to account for the hope that is in you (cf. 1P 3,15), a hope that has a very precise name: Jesus Christ! You will communicate this hope to your peers by seeking them out, offering them true friendship and acceptance, and leading them to discover the great gift of the Eucharist.

5. Lastly, to facilitate the encounter of the world of youth with a true Eucharistic spirituality, never tire of learning at the school of listening to the Word of God, prayer and the celebration of the sacraments. Always remember that the first place for evangelization is the human person, towards whom the Eucharist impels us, asking us to be able to listen and to love. Thus, your friends too, like Mary, "Woman of the Eucharist" (cf. Ecclesia de Eucharistia EE 53), will be able to welcome in their hearts the Word made flesh who came to dwell among us. To this end, I urge the Diocesan Service for the Youth Apostolate to examine new ideas in order to create true and proper schools of evangelization for young people.

As you continue on the journey of preparation for the 20th World Youth Day, whose theme will be "We have come to worship him" (Mt 2,2), I hope from this moment that this Meeting will be a new opportunity for you to make comparisons with one another, to offer one another support, to delve more deeply into the Mystery you celebrate and worship, and to seek together the ways and means to live it out in practice.

6. Dear young people! Thank you for all that you are and for all that you do for Christ and for the Church. I assure you of my remembrance to the Lord during the celebration of Holy Mass and during Eucharistic Adoration, which I have kept up without fail since I was young. Know that I have always found in it great fruits of good, not only for me personally, but also for all those whom Divine Mercy has entrusted to my care.

I bless you with affection, together with all the people you have met in these days and all your friends. May Jesus always be the centre of your life!



Saturday, 9 October 2004

I greet the "Work of the New Millennium" Foundation and all those who on the occasion of the anniversary of my Pontificate have planned various religious, cultural and social events. I am pleased that the memory of the day on which the Lord called me to the See of Peter has become an opportunity for prayer and reflection on matters of the faith and on the reality of the Church as well as for concrete acts of mercy, especially those for young people in need of assistance in acquiring an education suited to their respective competence. May this effort of the Church in Poland bear fruits of peace in their personal, family and social lives.

I wholeheartedly bless you all: in the name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.



Monday, 11 October 2004

Mrs Ambassador,

I welcome you with great pleasure today at the Vatican for the presentation of the Letters accrediting you as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Federal Republic of Brazil to the Holy See.

This happy occasion enables me to see once again the sentiments of spiritual closeness that the Brazilian People feel for the Successor of Peter. At the same time, it gives me another opportunity to tell you of my sincere affection and high esteem for your noble Nation.

I am deeply grateful for your kind words. I thank you in particular for the respectful thoughts and greetings that the President, H.E. Mr Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, has desired to convey to me. I ask you, Your Excellency, kindly to reciprocate on my behalf my greetings and best wishes for his happiness, and to convey to him the assurance of my prayers for his Country and People.

Of course, the goals of the Church, with her exclusively religious and spiritual mission, and the goals of the State, whose aim is the common good of each person, are distinct. But there is a point of convergence: the person and the good of the Homeland. Moreover, as I mentioned on one occasion, "understanding and respect, mutual concern for independence and the principle of serving the human person in a better way, within a Christian conception, are factors which will produce a harmony for the benefit of the People themselves" (Address to the President of Brazil, in Brasília; L'Osservatore Romano English Edition, 28 October 1991, p. 2). Brazil is a Country of which the vast majority has preserved the faith in Christ that arrived in the early days of its People, through their evangelization by those who discovered it more than five centuries ago.

Thus, I am pleased to consider the convergence of principles, of both the Holy See and your Government, concerning threats to world peace when it is affected by the absence of the Christian vision of respect for the human dignity of one's neighbour. I pray, therefore, that Brazilians will continue to promote and spread the values of faith, especially when it is a matter of explicitly recognizing the holiness of family life and safeguarding unborn infants from the moment of their conception.

Poverty is a problem that has serious effects on a vast number of Brazilian citizens. The commitment to meet the needs of the most underprivileged must be considered a fundamental priority. I see with satisfaction that your Government considers it a goal for which it seeks to combine the best of efforts and resources. In this regard, accepting the invitation of the President of the Federal Republic of Brazil, the Cardinal Secretary of State took part in the Conference on Action against Hunger and Poverty at the headquarters of the United Nations, giving the Holy See's unconditional support to this project, to be a sign of living hope for all the peoples affected by the scourge of hunger. On the other hand, for a Country that is going through a period of sustainable development, the recent news that the Brazilian Government has taken an initiative to cancel the foreign debt of some countries is a practical demonstration of solidarity and an incentive for peoples who are living on the fringes of the developed world. This initiative serves to show that all the nations involved in this undertaking must be aware that only courageous action prepared for sacrifices for the common good will enable the poorest countries to recover.

Sharing, therefore, in the hopes of all Brazilians, I would like to assure them of the Church's firm determination to collaborate, in her own capacity, with all projects that aim to serve the cause of "the whole person and every person". Likewise, the Church will persevere in her commitment to promote awareness that the values of peace, freedom, solidarity and the protection of the neediest must inspire both private and public life. Faith and the adherence to Jesus Christ require that the Catholic faithful in Brazil return to being instruments of reconciliation and brotherhood, in truth, justice and love.

Madam Ambassador,

Before concluding this meeting, I repeat my request to convey to the President of the Republic my very best wishes for prosperity and peace. And I would like to tell you, Your Excellency, that you may rely on the esteem, welcome and support of this Apostolic See in the fulfilment of your mission, which I hope will be successful and fully satisfying. My thoughts now go to all Brazilians and to their leaders. I wish all of them prosperity, together with increasing progress and harmony. I am sure that you will convey my sentiments and hopes to the most High Mandatory of the Nation. Through the intercession of Our Lady, Nossa Senhora Aparecida, I implore for you, for your mission and for your relatives, as well as for all the beloved Brazilians, an abundance of Blessings from Almighty God.



Monday, 11 October 2004

Dear Sisters,

I greet affectionately in the Lord all the participants in the Eleventh General Chapter of the Congregation of the Sisters of Notre Dame, and I pray that during these days of deliberation, the Holy Spirit will grant you the joy of working together in a true communion of heart and mind, and bless you with an abundance of grace and wisdom.

The Foundress of your Congregation, Sister Maria Aloysia, formed in the rich tradition of your spiritual Mother, Saint Julie Billiart, gave life to a new Religious Institute wholly inspired and sustained by God’s providential love. After some time of generous service to her neighbour, she came to understand that the compassionate love of God for his children could shine ever more brightly in a life totally consecrated to the Lord. She saw from the beginning that both personal holiness and mission are inseparable aspects of the radical commitment to follow Christ. The celebration of your Chapter and, especially, the task of reviewing your Constitutions, offer you an opportunity to examine and to renew your allegiance to that same vision and to the particular charism of your foundress expressed in your spirituality and living traditions. This examination, undertaken in prayerful openness to the Holy Spirit, will assist you in determining those aspects of your Institute which should be strengthened so as to give an even clearer witness to God’s unfailing love. I encourage you therefore to continue to embrace joyfully your call to holiness in the perfection of charity and to cherish, according to your own traditions, that asceticism proper to consecrated persons "which they need in order to open their hearts to the Lord and to their brothers and sisters" (Vita Consecrata VC 38). Preach the Good News effectively by being fully what you are, and by bringing that reality to all peoples.

My dear Sisters, the General Chapter is a summons to capture anew the initial dynamism of your foundress’s spirit and to set out again "into the deep" (Lc 5,4). May Mary, Our Mother, model of consecrated life, inspire and sustain you. Assuring you of a continued remembrance in my prayers, I cordially grant my Apostolic Blessing to all the members of the Congregation of the Sisters of Notre Dame.



Thursday, 14 October 2004

Dear Brothers,

1. I welcome you with great joy on the occasion of the General Chapter of the Society of the Catholic Apostolate, born from the great love of St Vincent Pallotti. I address a cordial greeting to each one. In particular, I greet the new Rector General, Fr Fritz Kretz, whom I thank for the courteous words with which he has described to me the future prospects of your Religious Family. I extend my thoughts to the new General Regime and all the Confreres who work generously in various parts of the world.

2. During the General Assembly, you have reflected on certain religious challenges that the Institute must face at this point in history. In particular, you have defined more clearly the service that your Society is called to carry out in the context of the Union of the Catholic Apostolate. You, Pallottine Religious Priests and Brothers, are like the trunk of the great tree that, through the participation of lay people in the original intuition of your charism, extends its branches to the various social milieus to invigorate them with an authentic Gospel spirit. To carry out this mission, you must remain firmly anchored to Christ, whom St Vincent Pallotti loved and served with heroic fidelity. Only on this condition will your Communities be "living cells of Pallottine inspiration and activity".

3. This faithfulness to the spirit of your origins demands of you constant formation and shared missionary concern. Only those who strive ceaselessly for a "high standard" of ordinary Christian living can make pastoral choices that are truly effective in their apostolate.

May all these things be founded on intense prayer and an assiduous sacramental life centred on the Eucharist. Spirituality and apostolate, formation and mission are the two sides of the one Gospel perfection that shines out in St Vincent Pallotti's exemplary life.

Dear friends, as I entrust you to the heavenly intercession of your Founder and to the motherly protection of Mary, Queen of the Apostles, I cordially impart to you and to the entire Pallottine Family a special Apostolic Blessing.




Friday, 15 October 2004

1. I cordially greet you, dear participants in the Colloquium that is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the European Conference of Christian Radio Stations. I thank your President for the courteous words that he has addressed to me on behalf of all.

I rejoice with you: in these years, joining forces with many European radio stations from the Atlantic to the Urals, you have laboured to build up in listeners an awareness of their common Christian roots and to encourage the commitment to peace. You have thus made a precious contribution to building Europe on ethical and spiritual foundations, fostering understanding among the peoples of our Continent and bringing them closer to each other.

2. I urge you to persevere generously in this important mission. May your voices in the variety of your respective programmes continue to witness to Christ, the salvation of the world, and to proclaim his Gospel of peace to all.

I invoke divine assistance upon your work, as a pledge of which I impart my Blessing to you and willingly extend it to all your families and to all the listeners of your Radio Stations.




Friday, 15 October 2004

Dear Friends,

1. I greet and thank the Choir and Orchestra of the Russian Army, starting with the Conductor. I extend my cordial thoughts to the Cardinals, the Bishops, the Authorities and to Ambassador Litvin, Representative to the Holy See of the Russian Federation, and to the whole audience. I greet everyone and I cordially thank you.

This evening, through music and traditional songs and dances, a folkloric repertoire has been presented to us that mirrors the true temperament of the noble Russian People.

2. I thank you for it all, dear friends of the Choir and Orchestra of the Russian Army.

I am especially grateful to Mr Andermann and all those who in various ways helped to organize this musical event. I also thank the Italian Radio and Television which have broadcast it across the world.

Upon each and every one and especially upon the members of the Academy of Song and Dance of the Russian Army, I invoke the protection of the "Mother of God" of Kazan, whose icon was recently returned to Russia, a Land particularly dear to me.




Altar of the Confessio of the Vatican Basilica

Sunday, 17 October 2004

1. "I am with you always, to the close of the age" (Mt 28,20).

In contemplation before the Eucharist, at this moment we experience with special vividness the truth of Christ's promise: He is with us!

I greet all of you who are gathered at Guadalajara to take part in the conclusion of the International Eucharistic Congress. I greet in particular Cardinal Jozef Tomko, my Legate, Cardinal Juan Sandoval Íñiguez, Archbishop of Guadalajara, and the Cardinals, Archbishops, Bishops and priests of Mexico and of very many other Countries who are present there.

I extend my greeting to all the faithful of Guadalajara, of Mexico and of the other parts of the world who have joined us in adoration of the Eucharistic Mystery.

2. The television link-up between St Peter's Basilica, the heart of Christianity, and Guadalajara, the venue of the Congress, is like a bridge that spans the continents and makes our prayer meeting an ideal "Statio Orbis", in which the believers of the whole world converge. The meeting point is Jesus himself, truly present in the Most Holy Eucharist with the mystery of his death and Resurrection in which heaven and earth are united and peoples and different cultures meet. Christ is "our peace, who has made us both one people" (Ep 2,14).

3. "The Eucharist, Light and Life of the New Millennium". The theme of the Congress invites us to consider the Eucharistic Mystery not only in itself, but also in relation to the problems of our time.
Mystery of light! The human heart, burdened with sin, often bewildered, weary and tried by suffering of all kinds, has need of light. The world needs light in the difficult quest for a peace that seems remote, at the beginning of a millennium overwhelmed and humiliated by violence, terrorism and war.

The Eucharist is light! In the Word of God constantly proclaimed, in the bread and wine that have become the Body and Blood of Christ, it is precisely he, the risen Lord, who opens minds and hearts and makes us recognize him, as he made the two disciples at Emmaus recognize him, in the "breaking of the bread" (cf. Lk Lc 24,35). In this convivial gesture we relive the sacrifice of the Cross, we experience God's infinite love, we feel called to spread Christ's light among the men and women of our time.

4. Mystery of life! What greater aspiration is there in life? Yet threatening shadows are hanging over this universal human hope: the shadow of a culture that denies respect for life in all its stages; the shadow of an indifference that relegates countless people to a destiny of hunger and underdevelopment; the shadow of scientific research that is sometimes used to serve the selfishness of the strongest.

Dear brothers and sisters, the needs of our many brothers and sisters call us into question. We cannot close our hearts to their pleas for help. Nor can we forget that "one does not live by bread alone" (cf. Mt Mt 4,4). We are in need of the "living bread which came down from heaven" (Jn 6,51). Jesus is this bread. Nourishing ourselves on him means welcoming God's life itself (cf. Jn 10,10) and opening ourselves to the logic of love and sharing.

5. I desired this Year to be dedicated especially to the Eucharist. In fact, every day, particularly Sunday, the day of Christ's Resurrection, the Church lives this mystery. But, in this Year of the Eucharist, the Christian community is invited to become more aware of it through a more deeply felt celebration, prolonged and fervent adoration and a greater commitment to brotherhood and the service of the least. The Eucharist is the source and manifestation of communion.It is the principle and plan of mission (cf. Mane Nobiscum Domine, chapters III and IV).

Therefore, in the footsteps of Mary, "woman of the Eucharist" (Ecclesia de Eucharistia, chapter VI), the Christian community lives this mystery! Strengthened by the "bread of eternal life", it becomes a presence of light and life, a leaven of evangelization and solidarity.

6. Mane nobiscum, Domine! Like the two disciples in the Gospel, we implore you, Lord Jesus, stay with us!

Divine Wayfarer, expert in our ways and reader of our hearts, do not leave us prisoners to the evening shadows.

Sustain us in our weariness, forgive our sins and direct our steps on the path of goodness.
Bless the children, the young people, the elderly, families and the sick in particular. Bless the priests and consecrated persons. Bless all humanity.

In the Eucharist, you made yourself the "medicine of immortality": give us the taste for a full life that will help us journey on as trusting and joyful pilgrims on this earth, our gaze fixed on the goal of life without end.

Stay with us, Lord! Stay with us! Amen.

At the end of his Address, the Holy Father said:

I am now delighted to announce that the next International Eucharistic Congress will be celebrated in Quebec City in 2008.

May this prospect inspire in the faithful an even more generous commitment to live with intensity the current Year of the Eucharist.

Speeches 2004 - Monday, 4 October 2004