Speeches 1988 - Convent of the Dominican Sisters, Harare




Apostolic Nunciature, Harare

Sunday, 11 September 1988

Dear brother Bishops,

1. It is my joy to address you, the pastors of the Church in Zimbabwe, at the beginning of my visit to your country and after our meeting last night with all the bishops of Southern Africa, gathered for the Second Plenary Assembly of the Inter-Regional Meeting of Bishops of Southern Africa.

This encounter constitutes as it were a continuation of the conversations we had several weeks ago on the occasion of your “ad limina” visit. Now I am enabled to experience firsthand the vitality and aspirations of your particular Churches. May this visit help to confirm and strengthen the communion of faith and love which unites us in the Body of Christ (Cfr. Lumen Gentium LG 7).

You tend the flock of God that is in your charge in the knowledge that Jesus Christ the Chief Shepherd is your strength (Cfr. 1Petr. 5, 2-4).

You “govern the house of the living God” (Lumen Gentium LG 18) after the example of the Good Shepherd who came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life for his sheep (Cfr. Matth Mt 20,28 Jn 10,11). In the footsteps of the intrepid heralds of the Gospel who established the Church in this land over a hundred years ago, you are the ones now sent to proclaim the Good News in obedience to Christ’s explicit command (Cfr. Matth Mt 28,19).

2. Your pastoral zeal was particularly evident when your people were caught up in the struggle for independence and suffered the terrible effects of armed conflict. Now, eight years after the end of hostilities and the subsequent proclamation of the Republic of Zimbabwe, we cannot but give thanks to God for what the Church, under your guidance, did to accompany and assist the population in those circumstances. Catholic missions and institutions became places of refuge for the persecuted, centres of care for the wounded, hungry and homeless. All of this was done with evangelical courage and love, without discrimination due to race, creed or political allegiance. On resuming your normal pastoral activities at the dawn of the new Republic, you immediately offered your support in the task of reconstruction and the building up of a new society. In this you were partners with a people proud of their new-found dignity and conscious of having acquired a national identity among the other nations of Africa and of the world.

In all such historical processes there are varying degrees of light and darkness. Undoubtedly, you have made and are continuing to make an indispensable contribution to the process of national reconciliation between the various parties to the conflict and among the racial and tribal groups making up the new nation.

3. As pastors of the Church you have taught that reconciliation, if it is to be true and lasting, must come through forgiveness and repentance, that is, from a conversion of the heart. The Church, which is “the sacrament... the sign and the means of reconciliation” (Ioannis Pauli PP. II Reconciliatio et Paenitentia RP 11), is bound not only to be reconciled within, namely in her members who belong to different ethnic and social groups, but also to be at the service of reconciliation in society. The return to God is the path of man’s return to man, since it restores brotherhood, solidarity and peace among individuals and groups.

4. In the years since independence you have made many efforts to improve and update the instruments and methods of evangelization. New structures have been created. But it is always important to ensure that the weight of such organizational structures does not diminish the evangelizing zeal and dynamism of former times.

Through your collaboration in the Zimbabwe Bishops’ Conference, you have experienced how important it is to have a concerted national programme of evangelization and ecclesial growth. The example of united action by the bishops is very important for the way the priests and religious work together in harmony and share the burdens of the various forms of apostolate in each diocese.

Your partnership with the other Bishops’ Conferences of Southern Africa through IMBISA leads you to overcome the tendency to limit yourselves to the concerns of the Church in your own country. It is a very real expression of what the Council requires of the members of the Episcopal College, that they be “solicitous for the whole Church” (Lumen Gentium LG 23).

5. And yet, a bishop’s most pressing task is the pastoral care and leadership of his own diocese. His first occupation is his ministry to his own priests and religious, to his own faithful. Your priests should feel themselves fully understood and supported by you in their life and apostolate. Men and women religious should find in you intelligent and spiritually sensitive guides who know how to encourage the charism of each Congregation while coordinating a united programme of diocesan pastoral activities.

As I already mentioned during your ad limina visit, it is truly heartening that the number of vocations to the priesthood and to the religious life is increasing. This very fact makes even greater the responsibility of all concerned to give these candidates the best and most complete formation possible. I likewise encourage and exhort you to continue your efforts to implement the guidelines which the recent Synod of Bishops offered in relation to the role and mission of the laity in the Church and in society.

More and more the Church in Zimbabwe will come to depend on her own resources. In a sense the ecclesial community is being challenged to reach its full maturity in a brief period of time. Furthermore, the Church here, as everywhere, is a missionary Church and should do whatever it can to offer trained personnel to meet the needs of other places, especially in Africa.

6. Education forms a pastoral priority in all of your dioceses. You are rightly convinced that the Church should continue her activities in this field as an important contribution to building up the national community, accompanying the Government’s efforts to provide quality education for all Zimbabwe’s youth.

If you have expressed some concern regarding aspects of recent legislation, you have done so in a spirit of dialogue and collaboration, desiring to guarantee the Catholic identity of your schools. Affirming that parents are the first and foremost educators of their children who should therefore enjoy true freedom in their choice of schools, the Second Vatican Council calls on public authorities to create conditions in which parents can provide for the education of their children according to their moral and religious principles (Cfr. Gravissimum Educationis GE 3 et 6). The Council reaffirms the Church’s right freely to establish and to run schools so that Catholic parents can fulfil their obligations regarding their children’s education (Cfr. ibid. 8). This implies that civil law should respect the right of the responsible Catholic authorities to select the heads and the teachers of these institutions, so that their Catholic character can be maintained. I encourage you to continue in your contacts with the public authorities concerning this matter which is of such importance in the life of the country.

7. Dear brother bishops, your work on behalf of greater justice and correctness in human affairs is well known. To this must be added your concern for the poor and most vulnerable members of society. In recent times you have been especially concerned with the question of the great numbers of refugees located near the border with Mozambique. The plight of millions of refugees in different continents is a festering wound which typifies and reveals the imbalances and conflicts of the modern world (Cfr. Ioannis Pauli PP. II Sollicitudo Rei Socialis SRS 24). I shall continue to appeal to the international community to come to the aid of these groups and to seek solutions to the underlying causes of so much suffering. In the meantime you are called to emulate the actions of the Good Samaritan, with evangelical compassion and love.

8. Brother bishops, to conclude these brief remarks, I turn to Mary Most Holy, Mother of God and our Mother. The whole Church has honoured her and earnestly prayed to her during the Marian Year which we recently brought to a close. May her maternal love accompany my pastoral visit in this land. And may she protect you and your priests, religious and laity as you respond to your ecclesial vocation in the new Zimbabwe as we approach the Third Millennium. May she, who is all powerful in her intercession, call down God’s abundant blessings on your country and on the other nations of Southern Africa.

God’s peace be upon the Church in Zimbabwe!

May his love shine on all the inhabitants of this promising land!




Cathedral of Harare

Sunday, 11 September 1988

“You are the salt of the earth... the light of the world” (Mt 5,13-14).

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

1. I am very happy to greet all of you present here, the representatives of the laity of Zimbabwe. “My love is with you all in Christ Jesus” (1Co 16,24).

Through you I greet your families, your parishes, your organizations and movements, and all in Zimbabwe who seek salvation in the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We are gathered in this Cathedral of the Sacred Heart entrusted to the Jesuit Fathers, whom I greet and congratulate for the notable contribution which the Society of Jesus has made to the life of the Church in Zimbabwe over the past century. This cathedral stands as a material sign of the collaboration between the early Jesuit missionaries and local craftsmen and labourers. To the eyes of faith, it is a reminder that in Christ Jesus, the eternal Word made flesh, the saving love of God has appeared in the world: “God in Christ was reconciling the world to himself” (2Co 5,19).

To be a Christian is to have been touched and transformed, in baptism, by that love; it is to have been spiritually reborn as God’s adopted children and to be thus incorporated into the community of faith, the Mystical Body of Christ, “of which we are its living parts” and “all parts of one another” (Ep 5,30 Ep 4,25).

We are gathered then by reason of our baptismal consecration and our membership of the Church. Our assembly is a living expression of the theme of my visit to Zimbabwe: “Coming together in Christ”.

What greater joy for me than to share this moment of communion with you, in the awareness of our sublime calling! Together we rejoice in the dignity that is ours as sons and daughters of God the Father, brothers and sisters in Christ, a people sealed with the Holy Spirit.

2. Our reflection today concerns your role – as lay men and women – in the Church and in society.What does it mean to be a lay Christian in contemporary society? Here, in Zimbabwe?

At a time of profound and worldwide changes the Second Vatican Council helped the whole ecclesial body to become more aware that the laity have a specific vocation and responsibility that is essential to the Church’s life and mission. As the Council teaches, that vocation is fulfilled trough “living in the ordinary circumstances of family and social life”, and “by engaging in temporal affairs and ordering them according to God’s plan”. In a word, by “working for the sanctification of the world from within” (Lumen Gentium LG 31).

The laity are sometimes referred to as “ordinary Christians” or as the faithful who “live in the world”. There is nothing demeaning in these terms. It is true that there are other members of the Church who are marked by a special sacramental character in Holy Orders, or who live a special consecration by giving public witness to the evangelical counsels of chastity, poverty and obedience. Priests and religious occupy a very special and important place in the Church’s life. They are committed to building up the community of faith by a service that is above all, though not exclusively, spiritual and sacramental. They deserve and need your respect, support and friendship.

But the laity should not consider themselves less a part of the Church. In the one community of faith all have an equal Christian “dignity”. All the People of God are called to holiness in faith, hope and charity. All have a share in building up the kingdom of Christ in the world. See how Saint Paul compares the Church to the human body: “together you are Christ’s body: but each of you is a different part of it” (1Co 12,27). There are many different ministries and services in the Church, and a multitude of special gifts for building up and enriching the entire community. Whatever your state in life, whatever your occupation or profession, you, the members of the laity in Zimbabwe, have your own real and vital Christian task to perform.

3. “You are the light of the world... the salt of the earth”.

Your families and your economic, social and cultural life are the natural horizon of your Christian endeavours. Family life and the world of work are the special areas of the laity’s commitment to Christian living and witness!

The Scriptures have many beautiful and profound things to say about family life, about the love of husband and wife, about harmony between parents and children, about the support that all members of the family owe to one another, about prayerful trust in God in the great and small affairs of family life. The Book of Genesis describes the effect of man’s first encounter with woman: “This at last is bone from my bones and flesh from my flesh!” (Gn 2,23). Adam’s exclamation discloses the underlying motive of the permanent and faithful marriage covenant between husband and wife: “they become one body” (Ibid. 2, 24). Children are the fruit of their love. “Truly”, say the Psalm, “children are a gift from the Lord, a blessing, the fruit of the womb” (Ps 127,3). And children and grandchildren in their turn – according to Saint Paul’s teaching – “are to learn first of all to do their duty to their own families and repay their debt to their parents because that is what pleases God” (1Tm 5,4).

4. Today, the moral bases of marriage and family life must be defended against the stress and confusion resulting from changing social circumstances and the spreading of ideologies that undermine Christian ethical values.

One of the Church’s main tasks is to speak the “truths” that inspire and foster the values on which a just and peaceful society can be built. It is important for the Church to teach – especially through her bishops, priests, religious and catechists – that the human person, in the full truth of his or her personal and social being – and not any institution, neither the State nor a party nor a business enterprise – is the measure of true progress. For this reason the Church insists on the inviolability and dignity of the human person from the moment of conception until natural death.

African traditional culture is centred on the family.Africa cannot flourish unless its families survive present social upheavals. The African family must find new strength, reaffirm the positive values contained in tradition and assimilate a more personal dimension of understanding, commitment and love.

5. The respect for life of which we are speaking includes offering refuge to people who are fleeing famine or civil war, oppression or terror. Those of you who remember the difficult years leading up to independence understand well the biblical command from the Book of Leviticus: “If a stranger lives with you in your land, do not molest him. You must count him as one of your own countrymen and love him as yourself – for you were once strangers yourselves” (Lv 19,34).

Unfortunately, in much of this Southern African region violence is an all too frequent occurrence. It is my ardent prayer for Zimbabwe that, through a successful process of national reconciliation, through her humanitarian approach to the problems of refugees in her territory, and through the legal and practical affirmation of human rights, she will be an example and a positive influence on others in the urgent task of establishing a civilization of peace and justice, a civilization of love.

6. You have been blessed with this beautiful country, fertile and full of resources which, in the mind of the Creator, are meant to be used for the common good. As Christians, you know that to work for your country’s development is to share in God’s creative work. Your Christian calling is to weave the truth revealed by God and inscribed in human nature – regarding life and love and human solidarity – into the very fabric of Zimbabwean society. I invite you to accept that calling and accept it generously.

Development is more than a technical, economic or financial problem. It is above all a human effort requiring enormous resources of intelligence, compassion, a sense of fairness and justice, selflessness and love. It “is not a straightforward process, as it were automatic and in itself limitless” (Ioannis Pauli PP. II Sollicitudo Rei Socialis SRS 27). Even when material resources and technical expertise are available, work for genuine progress demands the wisdom and the moral energy to mould God’s creation with respect for its internal laws, so that it provides abundantly for the common good, as God intended from the beginning (Cfr. Gen Gn 1,28). Development is only possible as a great moral effort of intelligent collaboration and solidarity on the part of all sectors of the community.

The integral development of a people must be inspired by a spirit similar to what the Gospel calls “conversion – metànoia”, that is, “the urgent need to change the spiritual attitudes which define each individual’s relationship with self, with neighbour... and with nature itself” (Ioannis Pauli PP. II Sollicitudo Rei Socialis SRS 38). What Africa needs is to be true to its own traditions of shared responsibility for common tasks in the community. Zimbabwe needs that social and moral attitude called solidarity, which must motivate your commitment as laity “to the good of one’s neighbour with the readiness, in the Gospel sense, to ‘lose oneself’ for the sake of the other instead of exploiting him, and to ‘serve him’ instead of oppressing him”(Ibid.). Solidarity is the “firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the common good; that is to say, to the good of all and of each individual, because we are all really responsible for all” (Ibid.).

7. This is where Christian lay men and women come into their own. This is where you prove yourselves “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world”. If you are filled with the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of love and compassion and justice, which enables you to act in solidarity with all – especially the poorest and most neglected – you can renew the face of the earth, you can work effectively for the new Zimbabwe that you hope for.

The Church in Zimbabwe is deeply involved in developing your newly independent country. Catholic educational institutions, hospitals and health-care centres, and programmes of social assistance – in which many of you are generously engaged – make a notable contribution to the well-being of the country. In rural areas the Catholic Development Commission in particular is hard at work to bring about change for the better.

Likewise, you Catholic lay men and women are called to work for development not only in institutions and organizations currently run by the Church but in every walk of life, wherever in your professional and social life you bear witness to Gospel values and apply the Church’s social teachings. As farmers, factory workers and miners, teachers, health-care workers, housewives and mothers as well as working women, social workers, trade unionists, business men, politicians and professionals of all kinds you must be fully convinced that your efforts and toil, your skill and concrete achievements, exercised with respect for the moral order and in a spirit of service, are the building-blocks of a better nation, a better homeland for yourselves, your families and your fellow citizens.

In a word, you seek to order all things according to God’s will: all things are yours, but you belong to Christ (Cfr. 1Cor 1Co 3,23). This is the transformation of the world from within, of which the Council speaks. Certainly, a fitting result of our meeting would be a resolve on your part to study carefully the social and moral doctrine of the Church and to promote its implementation. At every level in your schools and religious education programmes, the Church’s teaching on social and moral questions should have a prominent place.

8. Brothers and sisters, members of the laity of the Church in Zimbabwe: great tasks await you. An immense weight of moral responsibility rests on your shoulders. But the source of your strength is Christ himself, in whom is realized the description of the suffering servant of Isaiah: “he took our sicknesses away and carried our diseases for us” (Is 53,4). By overcoming sin and death, he opened to us the way of definitive freedom. In him our human activities and our efforts to solve society’s problems become the path of our personal and collective redemption (Cfr. Luc Lc 21,19).

Christ is reached through his Church, built on the foundations of the Apostles. Many of you experience the Church in small Christian communities, where you listen to the Gospel and learn to apply the Gospel message to the concrete circumstances of your lives. These communities, as living cells of the Church, in union and harmony with your priests and bishops, your parishes and dioceses should help you to serve the entire community through dedicated collaboration in building up your families, your institutions, your country, and the whole Church.

You are the “light of the world”, especially the light of Zimbabwe and of Southern Africa. Always have the courage to accept the demands of this vocation! “Your light must shine in the sight of men, so that, seeing your good works, they may give the praise to your Father in heaven” (Mt 5,16). May God strengthen you in this task!




Glamis Stadium, Harare

Sunday, 11 September 1988

Dear Young Friends,

1. Thank you for the warm welcome you have given me! I hold each one of you and all Zimbabwean young people in my heart. Bishop Reckter’s presentation and the sincere and thoughtful words of your representative show that you are conscious of the grace that is ours – here, today, in the Harare Showground: we are together in Christ!

Are the young people of Zimbabwe as happy to meet the Pope as the Pope is to meet you?

Yes, I am sure that you are happy, because Christ has brought us together in his name. We share the same Baptism into the Death and Resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. We are God’s adopted children, brothers and sisters in the one family, members of the Church, the body of Christ.

In the Church you are never alone. You have been present in the prayers of so many brothers and sisters all over the world – and you have been in my prayers – both during the difficult years before independence and now that you face the challenges of the future.

The symbolism of your traditional dance has vividly expressed the sentiments that fill our hearts at this moment. Thank you for the beautiful way in which you have expressed our friendship.

2. There are many things the Pope would like to say to you, the young people of Zimbabwe. First of all, I want to remind you that you are Christ’s friends. You are his brothers and sisters (Cfr. Matth Mt 12,50). Saint John tells us that our love for Christ originates in his love for us. He writes: “We are to love... because he loved us first” (1Io. 4, 19).

Christ loved us first. He loves us as a brother and as a friend. The Gospels describe Jesus as a friend of many people whose lives he touched. To the Apostles he said: “You are my friends... I call you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have learnt from my Father” (Jn 15,14-15). At the tomb of his friend Lazarus “Jesus wept; and the Jews said, ‘See how much he loved him!‘” (Ibid. 11, 36). The Gospels tell how the children flocked to him (Cfr. Marc. 10, 14); and even sinners and outcasts were considered his friends (Cfr. Luc Lc 15,3 Mt 9,10-11). Saint Mark says about a young man who asked about the way to eternal life, that is, to salvation, that “Jesus looked steadily at him and loved him” (Marc. 10, 21). Unfortunately, the young man did not accept Jesus’ invitation to follow him. He could not bring himself to accept the conditions of Jesus’ friendship.

For to be Jesus’ friend and brother is above all to know him and to do what he has commanded (Cfr. Io Jn 15,14).

3. Some of you may say that it would have been easy to know Jesus when he travelled around the towns and villages of Galilee and Judea, preaching and doing good. You may say that it is hard to think of yourself as a brother of someone who lived so long ago.

But no, Jesus Christ is alive today and always! This is our faith. This is the source of everything it means to be a Christian.

Jesus not only died for us – he rose from the dead, and there at God’s right hand he pleads for us (Cfr. Rom Rm 8,34). Ever since the day of Pentecost the Risen Jesus has been present in his Church, above all in the sacraments, and especially the Eucharist. He has become one with every human being, so that when we serve our brothers and sisters for love of him, we truly love and serve Jesus himself. That is what he means when he tells us that whatever we do for the least of our brothers and sisters, we do to him (Cfr. Matth Mt 25,40 Marc Mt 9,41).

This is how you young people of Zimbabwe can prove your love for Christ. You must help other people. You must serve them. And you can help and serve your brothers and sisters in Christ by building up a world in which the dignity of everybody will be acknowledged, defended and respected, where there will be no discrimination based on race or colour or national origin!

Remember, when God looks at you, he does not see a black face, or a white face, or a brown face; he sees the face of his Son, Christ. And when Christ looks at you, he looks “at your heart” (Cfr. Apoc Ap 2,23 Jn 2,25). And he teaches each one of you – and all of us – to do the same!

When the Lord asks you, in the depths of your consciences, “Where is your brother?”, you cannot, you must not answer like Cain who murdered his brother Abel. Cain asked the Lord in reply, “Am I my brother’s guardian?” (Gn 4,9). The answer is “yes”. Yes, you are always the guardians and defenders of your brothers and sisters! You are their servants and their friends.

4. But it is not enough to act individually and alone. Many of you already belong to Catholic Youth Associations, Catholic Guilds and other groups where you pray together and do charitable and social work. Through these shared activities you can experience the meaning of those words of Jesus: “where two or three meet in my name, I shall be there with them” (Mt 18,20). You can discover the joy of being partners whit each other and partners with Christ in the cause of his kingdom.

Are you, the young people of Zimbabwe, ready to build up a strong and lasting brotherhood with Jesus?

Are you ready to be his partners and disciples?

Are you ready to give up passing interests and attractions in order to join him in the cause of his kingdom – that kingdom of justice and mercy, of reconciliation and peace?

Are you ready to work with your bishops and priests and with the religious sisters and brothers to build up the Church in your parishes and in your country, for the sake of spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ?

Your willingness to do this is what gives the Church and the Pope confidence in the future. You are the future of Zimbabwe! You are the future of the Church! You are the future that the Pope prays for every day!

5. Some of you will hear Jesus calling you, softly but insistently, to follow him in the priesthood or in the religious life. Listen to his voice deep in your hearts! Look around you! See his need of you in the faces of the children, the elderly, the sick and suffering people of your land! “The harvest is rich `but the labourers are few” (Ibid. 9, 37). When you feel the call to “something more”, and when the Sermon on the Mount – the Beatitudes – fills your heart with a new sense of purpose, do not silence that call! Let it develop into the maturity of a vocation! Respond to it in prayer and greater fidelity to Christ’s commandments! (cf. “Epistula Apostolica ad iuvenes, internationali vertente anno iuventuti dicato”, 8, die 31 mar. 1985: Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, VIII, 1 [1985] 773 ss).

6. The second subject of my conversation with you and with the young people of Africa concerns your family life. Families are the basic units of society. If there is peace within families, there will be peace in society. Africa’s traditional cultural values are closely connected whit a tightly knit family life, whith special love for children and respect for the aged. You, as young Africans, must not let this human treasure disappear. Do not become enticed by a new way of life that does not bring with it genuine human progress, but only an appearance of progress, made up of a material development that benefits some but leaves many others abandoned along the way. Only through the values of love and life can families become strong and stable and so care for their members effectively. When a society does not protect these values, only unfavourable results can follow, not the true prosperity and peace that people long for.

7. At times young people do not appreciate the importance of family life. In fact you may take your family for granted. You do this if you refuse to help support your family, if you adopt attitudes and behaviour contrary to family life, or if you become involved in drugs, or follow the paths of violence or sexual irresponsibility.

As Christians, you are called to be builders of a healthy and moral family life. You must help to make your families truly “domestic churches”, where God is present in all the daily joys and concerns of the family members, where prayer and worship, mutual understanding and forgiveness, encouragement and love are the atmosphere you breathe. If you are builders of peace within your families now, your own future families will be communities of faith and holiness, of self-sacrifice and responsibility. The truth of Jesus Christ should be the standard of your lives, in theory and in practice. When other models and values are presented as “progress” or “liberation”, measure them against the “truth” of Christ, and his promise will become a reality in your lives. Jesus promises us: “If you make my word your home you will indeed be my disciples, you will learn the truth and the truth will make you free” (Jn 8,31-32).

8. Dear young friends, my third word of encouragement concerns your contribution as Catholics to the development of your country. I am speaking here about your responsibility to grow up into loyal and dedicated citizens of Zimbabwe. I am talking about your duty to make the best use of your education and training, so that you may lead useful and productive lives for the common good.

I should like you young people of Zimbabwe to be convinced followers of the “gospel of work”(Cfr. Ioannis Pauli PP. II “Laborem Exercens”, 6). The “gospel of work” means that our daily “toil”, whatever it may be, is good for us. It is also necessary for the society in which we live. It implies that our work is an important part of our lives, provided that it always expresses and increases our human dignity.

Work does this because it serves the community, permits a fuller sharing in the social and cultural life of one’s country and, above all, constitutes a magnificent way of collaborating with the Creator in “harvesting” the resources and values contained in creation itself (Cfr. ibid. 25).

And yet, I know that many young Africans are unemployed, and will find it very hard to obtain work in the future. This is the sad situation of so many young people all over the world! Without any fault of your own, many of you are deprived of the means to further your personal development and to fulfil your hopes, namely, a job, a profession. What is needed is the support of other people. I know that your bishops are setting up programmes to provide training and other assistance, especially in rural areas. And I will continue to appeal for a new international economic order that will enable developing countries to expand their economic bases without accepting undue burdens or dependence on the more developed nations. But solutions to unemployment are best found in initiatives and collaboration at a local level. I encourage you to have confidence in yourselves. And know that the Pope is at your side with his support and his prayers as you look for concrete and imaginative ways of dealing with the problem.

Remember, my friends, that work has everything to do with union with God. Prayer and religious duties do not begin only when work and other commitments end. Remember the example of Jesus of Nazareth, “the carpenter’s son”(Mt 13,55) and a “carpenter” himself (Cfr. Marc. 6, 2). His work was also his way of doing the will of his heavenly Father (Cfr. Io Jn 10,25). On this subject I am sure that your bishops and priests and teachers will have more to say to you in the light of the social doctrine of the Church.

9. Young people of Zimbabwe: the reading from Saint Paul’s Letter to the Romans which you have heard today is my parting word to you: “Bless your persecutors... Never repay injury with injury... See that your conduct is honourable in the eyes of all... Do not be conquered by evil but conquer evil with good” (Rm 12,14-21).

Our meeting is coming to an end. But be sure that I will carry you always in my heart. We are united in brotherhood with our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. We will be united in prayer: Prayer that is open to the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth and love; prayer that knows how to approach Mary, our Mother in the Church, asking her to intercede with God for the needs of your country and of the world.

God bless you!

God bless all the young people of Zimbabwe!

Television message to the participants in “The Race Against Time”:

My dear Children,
Dear young Friends throughout the world,

Today many of you are taking part in “The Race Against Time”, a global programme to overcome hunger and disease and to help all children who are poor. In presenting this torch to me, you have invited me to be part of you worthy effort, and I am happy to do so.

As I have said many times before, young people are the hope and promise of tomorrow. Your joy and your enthusiasm bring us all a newness of spirit. Your search for what is good and true reminds us of what is most important in life and gives us confidence in the struggle against evil. Above all, your spontaneous desire to express your love makes us recall that it is love which renews the world, love which gives life its meaning and purpose. As Saint John says, “as long as we love one another God will live in us and his love will be complete in us” (1Io.4, 12).

Dear young friends, continue always to live in the love of God and to love one another from the heart. Then, “The Race against Time” shall be for our world not only a race against hunger and disease but also a race for goodness and right, a race of love that gives us all new hope and joy.

May God bless you with every good gift.

Speeches 1988 - Convent of the Dominican Sisters, Harare