Speeches 1992 - Thursday, 6 February 1992

Dear Military Chaplains,

1. I am pleased to welcome the participants in the Third International and Interdenominational Conference of Chief Military Chaplains of Europe and North America. You represent many religious denominations and I greet you in the words of the Apostle Paul: "Grace to you and peace from God our Father" (Col 1,2).

I thank Archbishop Marra, Military Ordinary for Italy, for his kind words of presentation on your behalf. I greet the Military Personnel who are present with you, including General Domenico Corcione, Chief of Staff for Defence, and the other Chiefs of Staff of the Italian Armed Forces.

Our meeting gives me consolation and hope because I have always considered pastoral work among the military as a very important field. Your Conference, meeting for the third time, after a promising beginning at Stuttgart and a second meeting at Lübbecke, gives me the opportunity to express once more my lively appreciation of the valuable pastoral work in which you are engaged among military personnel and their families. Glancing at the list of twenty-three nations represented at this Conference, I note with pleasure how the presence of military chaplains is spreading to the countries of Central and Eastern Europe.

2. In the Christian world there has always been a notable tradition of pastoral care to military personnel. The Catholic Church's respect and concern for those involved in military service is clearly expressed in the Second Vatican Council's Pastoral Constitution "Gaudium et Spes". There we read: "Those... who are dedicated to the service of their country and are members of armed forces should regard themselves as ministering to the security and freedom of their peoples, and while they are performing this duty in the right manner they are genuinely contributing to the establishment of peace" (Gaudium et Spes GS 79).

The Apostolic Constitution "Spirituali Militum Curae" of 21 April 1986, which governs the Church's activities in this field, likens Military Ordinariates to particular Churches or Dioceses, and compares the spiritual assistance which chaplains provide in barracks, camps, military schools and academies to that given in parishes.

To your pastoral care are entrusted large numbers of young people and also regular servicemen and women called to serve their countries as guardians of their sovereignty and, where necessary, of the international order and of peace itself. As chaplains, you are aware of the role of the word of God in forming people's consciences and hearts, and in leading them to thoughts of peace and the correct use of freedom. In the fertile soil of freedom of conscience you must sow abundantly, so that also in the military sphere individuals will act in a way which reflects deep reverence for God and, consequently, unfailing respect for the dignity and rights of other persons.

The present moment of history presents a special challenge to military chaplains. Before you lies the task of educating others in human and spiritual values, and of helping them to place ethics above technology, moderation above passion, a sense of justice and brotherhood above hatred and oppression. A highly-qualified group like yours, by bringing together different cultures and experiences, will not fail to provide an indication of the best methods for building a true civilization of peace.

3. There is another point I wish to make. Peace is a precious and fragile gift which God entrusts to man, to his conscience and to his reason. For you, two equally necessary duties derive from this. The first is the duty to work through the formation of consciences in order to foster an authentic desire for peace. The second duty is to pray constantly for peace, that God will grant this gift to the people of our times. On innumerable occasions I have prayed publicly for peace and appealed for prayers for peace, most recently during the Gulf War and the conflict in Yugoslavia. "With God nothing will be impossible" (Lc 1,37). When human efforts seem doomed to failure, the power of God's Spirit can work deep within people's hearts, to quench hatred and kindle love.

Peace can at times appear unattainable, but we are called to aspire to it at all times, trusting in God's promises. Pray, therefore, because by doing so you will render the greatest service to the people entrusted to your pastoral care, the people who are in the front line when peaceful coexistence collapses and war breaks out.

4. Dear Chaplains, both in war and in peace may you be always and only pastors of souls. Be close to those entrusted to you. Help them with your prayer and exhort them to carry out with generosity the task assigned to them, which is to ensure, if necessary by the sacrifice of their lives, that others will enjoy security and peace.

With these sentiments I invoke upon all of you the blessings of Almighty God. I would invite you to stand and join me in the prayer that Jesus himself taught us: "Pater Noster".




Consistory Hall

Thursday, 13 February 1992

Dear Friends from the Ecumenical Institute of Bossey,

"The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you" (Rm 16,20).

It is a pleasure to receive you here today during your pilgrimage to Rome, for which I have been happy to offer you hospitality through the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

During the last four months you have lived in an ecumenical community with people from different nationalities and cultures. In the course of the fortieth session of the Graduate School, your professors have guided you to reflect on the theme "Towards New Models of Communities".

For Christians the supreme model of community is the Holy Trinity, the mystery of Three Divine Persons in a perfect communion of love. Every word and deed of Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Son of God, was a revelation of the inner life which he shares with the Father and the Holy Spirit. In the Gospel of Saint John, for example, we hear him speak of his deep communion of life with the Father in these words: "The Father is in me and I am in the Father" (Jn 10,38 and 14:10,12). The same Evangelist has preserved for us these words of Christ about the unity of the Son and the Father with the Holy Spirit: "whatever (the Spirit) hears he will speak.... He will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore, I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you" (Ibid. 16:13-15).

In the plan of salvation God willed to reconcile mankind to himself by making it possible for us to participate in this mystery of divine communion through his Son. Our incorporation into the life of the Trinity was the prayer of his heart as he faced the hour of his death: "That they may all be one", he prayed, "even as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us..." (Ibid. 17:21). Saint Cyprian summarized this relationship between the community of Christ’s disciples and the communion of the Three Divine Persons in his description of the Church as "a people made one with the unity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit" (St. Cyprian, De Orat. Dom., 23 in Lumen Gentium LG 4).

The People of God, made one by sharing in the divine unity, is, as the Second Vatican Council says, "a sacrament or sign and an instrument of intimate union with God and of the unity of all humanity" (Lumen Gentium LG 1). The world today, torn as it is by strife and mistrust, has a particular need for all believers to bear clear witness to this unity and to be God’s instruments of reconciliation. By living in harmony with one another (Cf. Col. Col 3,13), in mutual love and respect, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, they, in the words of the Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, serve "as a leaven and a sort of soul of human society, which is to be renewed in Christ and transformed into God’s family" (Gaudium et Spes GS 40).

Dear friends in Christ, as you return to your respective countries at the end of your course at Bossey, I pray that you will have renewed strength to help the communities to which you belong to accomplish the deeds of love which reveal to the world the mystery of the Triune God. May the Lord Almighty bless you!




Monday, 17 February 1992

Mr Ambassador,

It is my pleasure to welcome you to the Vatican and to accept the Letters accrediting you as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Greece to the Holy See. I am very appreciative of your thoughtful and generous words. I ask you kindly to convey my greetings to His Excellency President Karamanlis, who has entrusted you with the lofty responsibilities which you assume today. I offer you also my cordial good wishes for the success of your mission. You will certainly be at home in the Eternal City, where history and archaeology offer a constant reminder of the extent to which the Latin world is indebted to Greek culture, which remains a treasured inheritance not only of your own people but of all mankind.

I am particularly pleased to receive you at a time when your country has joined the other members of the European Economic Community in signing the Treaty of Maastricht. This agreement represents a notable advance in the setting up of the new European community. It offers the peoples of this Continent a chance to share in creating and developing initiatives and structures of collaboration which, far from eliminating each nation’s distinctive characteristics, will allow it instead to put its unique gifts, experiences and traditions at the service of others.

The new European community faces the enormous challenge of assisting those States in which economic or political instability hinders the spread of the inestimable benefits of peace. Beyond the question of immediate economic assistance, a fundamental part of that challenge consists in giving moral support to those nations which, now freed from the yoke of totalitarianism, desire to enjoy their legitimate freedom but whose peoples have not yet acquired the experience of working together to serve the common good.

Your country is blessed with an ancient philosophical and cultural understanding of the principles of democracy. The ideal of free government which inspired the City–States of classical Greece can be an inspiration to those nations which desire to live together in harmony and to build a society marked by brotherhood and cooperation. The conception of social life within the polis was rooted in a deep appreciation of the dignity of individuals as free persons. The thinkers who contributed to the development of ancient Hellenic culture pointed to the inalienable dignity of the human person as the very basis of community life; it is this dignity which gives rise to each individual’s right to be respected in his personal life, in his convictions, in his beliefs and in his choice of religion. The spread of these ideas was ensured both by the dominance of Greek culture in many areas bordering on the Mediterranean and by the fact that the great Macedonian leaders had extended Hellenistic culture to the East, as far away as the banks of the Indus. Your country’s motto, "My power is the love of my people. Freedom or death", bears perennial witness to the commitment of the Hellenic Republic to the defence of the universal principles on which genuine freedom is based.

Mr Ambassador, the diplomatic relations existing between Greece and the Holy See give expression to profound bonds of a cultural and historical nature, as well as to many shared views regarding the life of the international community. But they acquire a uniqueness all their own when we consider the origins of the Christian faith and the path which early Christianity followed in its expansion. You have mentioned Saint Paul’s preaching in Greece, which in fact forms a constitutive part of the Church’s doctrine. You have also referred to the saintly Brothers Cyril and Methodius, heirs of the faith but also of the culture of Ancient Greece, continued by Byzantium. Commemorating the eleventh centenary of their achievements, I wrote: "Their work is an outstanding contribution to the formation of the common Christian roots of Europe, roots which by their strength and vitality are one of the most solid points of reference, which no serious attempt to reconstruct in a new and relevant way the unity of the Continent can ignore" (John Paul II, Slavorum Apostoli, 25). The strength of European unity today is not unrelated to the role which the Christian faith played in the development of a European identity and continues to play in forming the ethos capable of inspiring the movement towards greater integration.

The emergence of a Europe more deeply rooted in justice and solidarity depends greatly on the united witness of all Christians. It is essential in these last years of the Second Millennium that Catholic and Orthodox Christians be committed to building that communion and understanding which are so ardently desired after the painful separation which occurred nearly a thousand years ago. The Brothers from Salonika are as it were the champions and patrons of the ecumenical endeavours of the sister Churches of East and West (Cf. ibid. 27). As I have said on many occasions, the ecumenical commitment must be one of our priorities. Misunderstandings and difficulties at any given moment should not bring our journey to a halt. The peoples of the world, and especially those of Europe, expect that all Christ’s followers be united in professing and living his Gospel. May the awareness of the fundamental reasons for mutual understanding and cooperation constantly increase, and create favourable conditions for further progress in the field of ecclesial relations.

For their part, the Catholics of Greece, as patriotic citizens, remain firmly attached to the fundamental values which govern civic life. They desire to be at the service of their country and to proclaim the Gospel together with their Orthodox Brothers and Sisters, bearers of the traditions and insights of the Christian East.

Mr Ambassador, assuring you of the cooperation of all the Departments of the Holy See in the fulfilment of your mission, I invoke God’s blessings upon you and your fellow–citizens.




Yundum International Airport of Banjul, The Gambia

Sunday, 23 February 1992

Your Excellency President Jawara,

Bishop Cleary,
Distinguished Friends,

1. It is with a heart filled with joyful gratitude to God that I come to The Gambia. I have kissed the ground of your country as a sign of esteem, an expression of heartfelt friendship towards you all.

Mister President, I deeply appreciate your kind words of welcome, in which I hear the echo of the warm hospitality and noble sentiments of all Gambians. I greet you, the members of the Government and the civil authorities, and I thank you for all that you have done to make this visit possible. My cordial good wishes go to all who are present here, and to all who are listening to my voice on the Radio.

2. I know that I have come to a country which has a proud tradition of peaceful co–existence among its people, a country in which the ideals of tolerance, justice and freedom are held in the highest regard. You have embarked on the difficult but vitally necessary task of social and economic development for the benefit of all your people. I pray for the success of these efforts, confident that Gambians will know how to meet the challenges of the present with the wisdom and determination which mark their cultural and spiritual heritage. I can only encourage those responsible for the well–being of Gambian society to continue to be guided by a coherent vision of the common good, which ultimately implies a vivid consciousness of the dignity and the rights of the person – of all individuals without discrimination, with particular sensitivity to the needs of the weaker members of society (Cf. John Paul II, Centesimus Annus CA 47).

Respect for the human person, for the individual’s rights and freedoms, is at the very heart of the democratic multi–party system of government to which you are deeply committed. As a result, all citizens can feel that they are fully at home in their own land, and that they can contribute effectively to the wellbeing of their country and work for its good name in the international community. They can support the nation’s efforts to build ever better relations with other countries both near and far. In this respect, Mister President, I wish to acknowledge with appreciation your resolute efforts to bring about a solution to the sad conflict in Liberia. May God grant peace and justice to that sorely tried land!

3. Naturally, my visit has special significance for the Catholic community of The Gambia. As Pope, the Successor of Saint Peter, I must be for the whole Church a "visible source and foundation of unity of faith and fellowship" (Lumen Gentium LG 18). I look forward to praying with Bishop Cleary and all my brothers and sisters in the Faith. I wish to strengthen them in their fidelity to the Gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and in their strong traditions of service to Gambian society.

Catholics in The Gambia see themselves as true sons and daughters of this land, an integral part of the family that is the Gambian nation. They proudly join their brothers and sisters in singing your National Anthem:

"Na njubai sama sunyu jef
jublu chi sunyu njeka u bah
te bole sunyu nit nyi nyep
di wone askan u nit".

("Let justice guide our actions towards the common good, and join our diverse people to prove man’s brotherhood").

Brotherhood among all the citizens of a country is indeed an essential condition for that country’s welfare and development. Policies of justice, solidarity and service of the common good are the path along which Gambian society can move with confidence towards an ever more widespread prosperity and stable peace. The Catholic community will continue to do all it can to support a development which benefits everyone and leads to a society truly worthy of man. Our faith in Christ obliges us to bear witness to "the gospel of peace" (Ep 6,15), in obedience to him who said: "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God" (Mt 5,9).

4. At this moment of happy encounter with The Gambia, I wish to extend a special word of esteem and friendship to all the members of the Muslim community. I am grateful for the presence of so many at this meeting today, and I know that it reflects the good relations existing here between the two traditions.

The Catholic Church everywhere, as also here in The Gambia, welcomes opportunities for Christians and Muslims to know each other better, to share with each other their reverence for God, and to cooperate in serving the human family. Catholics rejoice in the religious freedom which marks your society, and which makes it possible for the majority Muslim community and the Christian community to live together in respect and accord. Like the Patriarch Abraham, we are all pilgrims on the path of seeking to do God’s will in everything. Although we differ in many ways, there are important elements of our respective faiths which can serve as a basis for fruitful dialogue and a strengthening of the spirit of tolerance and mutual help.

For this year’s World Day of Peace I published a Message in which I wrote: "In the sacred books of the different religions, references to peace occupy a prominent place in the context of man’s life and his relationship with God.... It can be said that a religious life, if it is lived authentically, cannot fail to bring forth fruits of peace and brotherhood, for it is in the nature of religion to foster an ever closer bond with the Godhead and to promote an increasingly fraternal relationship among people" (John Paul II, Message for the World Day of Peace 1992, 2,). Confident in this conviction, I renew an appeal I have made many times: Let goodwill and peace govern our relations! Let us always be willing to speak to each other and listen to each other! Let the conscience of every individual be fully respected, so that the image of God in each one will shine forth and bear abundant fruits of justice, peace and love! There is so much that we can and must do together!

5. The world is living through a time of changing economic and political relationships, a time not without grave problems and even fears for the future. As a result, and in spite of its own immense human and natural resources, Africa is finding it difficult to meet the old challenges of poverty, hunger and ethnic rivalries, and the new challenges of materialism, the tragic spread of AIDS and the deadly onslaught of the drug culture.

The Holy See avails itself of every occasion to remind the international community that it must not let itself be distracted to the point of neglecting its duties to this Continent. For this reason, during my visit to Senegal, I drew attention once again to the urgent needs of the Sahel Region. I ask the developed nations to give assistance wherever it is needed, but also to share their know–how, technology and skill, so that Africans themselves can be the principal artisans of their own advancement. I beg the leaders of Africa to encourage education at every level, so that their peoples may gain the knowledge and technical competence needed to ensure genuine progress.

6. Mister President, dear Friends: my prayer for you and for all Gambians is that you will go forward and build a national community that will be a haven of brotherhood and peace. God grant that The Gambia will ever be a safe and happy homeland for its people, a hospitable land where respect for the dignity of the human person will come before all other interests and concerns.

Na yalla wasal barken ju bare chi Gambia.

(May God bestow upon The Gambia his abundant blessings!)





Banjul, The Gambia

Sunday, 23 February 1992

Yen ndow u Gambia–munu ma nyaka dage ak yen.

(Young people of The Gambia, I could not miss having this meeting with you).

1. I am delighted that this gathering could take place here at Saint Augustine’s High School, as a token of appreciation and gratitude for the Church’s long involvement in education in The Gambia.

Mangi len di nuyu ku neka chi yen. Te mangay neyu ndaw yi ma deglu chi radio bi.

(I greet each one of you. And I greet all the young people who are listening to me over the Radio).

I come to you as the messenger of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Successor of the Apostle Peter, charged with confirming the Church in faith, unity and love. In the Lord’s name I wish to encourage you, the Christian youth of The Gambia, in your fidelity to the Gospel and in your love of the Church. And I wish to encourage all of you, Christians and Muslims, to pursue the great ideals which will enable you to work together to build a better world.

I am grateful to your representatives for their kind words of welcome, and for the bouquet and the gift which they have presented to me on your behalf.

2. Before coming here I tried to learn as much as I could about you. I wanted to understand your hopes, your fears, your aspirations, and the difficulties you face as you grow up and take your place in society. I was especially interested to know how you live your Christian faith, how closely you follow the teachings of Jesus, how the Christian and Muslim young people of The Gambia share the same concerns and are open to each other in the search for the good of your country and its people.

Legi mange gis sen ni muun te di daaga sen bat u neh. Yen na di dega yakar gu mag cha kanan (uelaak).

(Now I see your smiling faces and hear your joyful voices. You really are a great hope for the future!).

You have prepared for this meeting by reflecting on the theme of the Papal Visit: "Be the salt of the earth; be the light of the world!" Let us think together about some of the implications of this Gospel invitation. Salt is useful if it gives taste to food; light is useful if it banishes darkness. Jesus was very forceful when he said: "if the salt has lost its taste... it is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out" (Mt 5,13). Then he said that people do not light a lamp and hide it under a tub. That would defeat its purpose. Rather, they put it on a stand, "and it gives light to all in the house" (Ibid. 5:15). Both the salt and the light must contribute to improving things. That is what is expected of the young people of The Gambia.

Am na lu bare lo len mona defal sen bopa jangu bi ak rew mi mep.

(There is much that you must do for yourselves, for the Church, for your country).

3. But where will you find the strength and the incentive to work for the well–being and the true happiness of others, without ever giving in to difficulties and discouragement? The Gospel of Saint John tells us the wonderful story of what Jesus did for a person he met in the streets of Jerusalem: a man "blind from his birth" (Cf. Jn. Jn 9,1-41). Jesus anointed the man’s eyes and sent him to wash in the nearby pool of Siloam. The whole story of the miracle is meant to teach us about Jesus himself. He says: "As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world" (Ibid. 9:5). Jesus gives the man his sight so that we might understand that he alone can give us the light we need to see things as they really are, to understand the full truth about ourselves and others, about our life and its destiny. Jesus is indeed our light. In Saint John’s Gospel he says: "I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life" (Ibid.8:12).

The name of the pool, "Siloam", means "sent": and Jesus himself is the one sent by the Father for the life of the world (Cf. ibid. 6:51). The pool where the man has to wash his eyes is a symbol of Jesus’ own role as the Messiah, the One sent to wash away the sins of the world, to redeem us through his Death and Resurrection, to purify us through the waters of Baptism.

4. Let us think about the experience of the blind man. He has not yet seen Jesus, he can only hear his voice and feel the Lord’s fingers anointing his eyes. But he "went and washed and came back seeing" (Ibid. 9:7). Imagine his joy and his surprise as he looks at the world for the first time! The people standing round want to know how he has been cured. He tells them that it was done by "the man called Jesus" (Ibid. 9:11). But when they ask where Jesus is, the man has no answer. He has to admit: "I do not know" (Ibid 9:12). The man born blind has already received a great gift from the Lord, but a lot must happen before he will actually see Jesus and fully believe in him.

First, he must resist the opposition of the Pharisees. Then, even his parents were afraid, and defended him only halfheartedly.

The cured man does not yet have a full answer to the accusations made against Christ. He has only one argument, the fact that Jesus has cured him. "One thing I know, that though I was blind, now I see" (Jn 9,25). He has one certainty, that Jesus is a good man, a prophet: "If this man were not from God, he could do nothing" (Ibid. 9:33).

Seeing that he publicly defended Jesus, the Pharisees "cast him out" (Ibid. 9:34). The blind man was now free to follow Christ, but he was also beginning to pay the price of discipleship.

Then the Gospel tells us something very beautiful: "Jesus heard that they had cast him out" (Ibid. 9:35). The Lord never loses contact with his followers.He never abandons them. When they are alone and lost, he searches for them. That is the work of the Good Shepherd and of all those who take the place of the Chief Shepherd in the life of the Church.

Jesus looked for the man whom he had cured, "and having found him he said: ‘Do you believe in the Son of man?’ " (Ibid.). Here we come to the heart of the Gospel message.

Nda ngom ngen: li di largte gi Yesu di wah chi ndaw u katolic yi neka chi rew mi tei (chi Gambia tei)

(Do you believe? This is the same question that Jesus addresses to the Catholic young people of The Gambia today).

Is your faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God and the Son of Mary, strong enough to give meaning and direction to your lives? To lead you out of fear and loneliness: To fill you with an ardent desire to serve his Kingdom and make it present in your own lives, in your families, in society?

Remember, the man has not yet seen Jesus with open eyes. But his heart is full of the desire to know the one who has done this great thing for him. He asks: "Who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?" (Ibid. 9:36). And then comes the great moment when Jesus reveals himself: "It is he who speaks to you" (Ibid. 9:37). When we are open, the light of Christ penetrates our hearts. When we discover him as the Way and the Truth and the Life, we are transformed (Cf. Jn. Jn 14,6). God’s truth teaches us wisdom; his love fills us with certainty, and with a great desire to do what he wants of us, and to share our discovery with others so that they too may have the marvellous experience of meeting the Lord.

The cured man professes his faith: "Lord, I believe" (Ibid 9:38). At this moment he worships Jesus and a whole new world opens up before him. He enters into a new relationship with God. He will never again doubt God’s unique love for him. He will adapt his life in every way to the will of God, to the following of Christ, to working for the coming of God’s Kingdom in the heart of everyone he meets.

Yesu angi len di o’ tei chi sen ngom.

(Jesus is calling you to just such an encounter of faith).

5. Like young people everywhere, the youth of The Gambia have many problems. You are anxious about your future. You are sometimes tempted by the false promise of happiness in drug or alcohol abuse, or in the misuse of the wonderful divine gift of human sexuality. These deceitful sirens of a would–be liberation and progress have already betrayed millions of young people like you in other parts of the world. By robbing them of their youthful ideals and the sense of responsibility and challenge, these harmful models of happiness have led many young men and women into a terrible state of frustration and alienation. Above all, a false "gospel" of materialism is being loudly "preached" to young people. It says that happiness depends on having more and more material things, and that material wealth, however obtained, is the measure of a person’s worth. Nothing could be farther from the truth! True happiness has to do with "being", not with "having".

6. What then is the Pope’s message to you? To be what you are!

Yen nyep dom u yalla nden, te ku neka chi yen am na legaye gu mu wara mutali chi jangom ak chi kurail gi mu boka.

(You are all God’s children, and each one of you has a task to fulfil for the Church and society).

God has endowed you with many gifts and talents which you must develop for his glory and for the good of The Gambia. Here I must remind you to use every opportunity to study well and educate yourselves for the tasks that life will set before you. I know that some of you may have to leave your own country in search of employment and opportunities elsewhere, but it is also true that as far as possible your vitality and skills are needed here in your homeland, in the service of your own communities.

To some of you the Lord may give the very special gift of a vocation to the priesthood or to the religious life. Listen to his voice! Such a calling requires great sacrifice and absolute generosity. But remember the promise Jesus made to Peter and the rest of the disciples: "Every one who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life" (Mt 19,29). May the Lord grant many of you the light to discover this unique grace in your lives!

No one must think that he or she has nothing to offer. All of you, Christians and Muslims, are called to make your families and society itself places where God is truly present, where justice and peace really exist, and where people are motivated by a spirit of love and mutual respect. My message to the young people of The Gambia is this: Neka len horom u aduna si neka len ler u aduna si!

(Be the salt of the earth! Be the light of the world!). Be for The Gambia a sign that respect for God’s law is the only true path of peace and prosperity for her people. This is what the Pope and the Church expect of you. This is what your country needs from you.

Na yalla barkel kena ku neka chi yen.

Na yalla barkel sen wajour, sen njabot sen jangalekat yi ak nyepa nyi len di sama chi sen hol.

Na yalla barkel Gambia bi.

(God bless each one of you.

God bless your parents, your families, your teachers, and all those who have your well–being at heart.

God bless The Gambia).

Speeches 1992 - Thursday, 6 February 1992