S. John Paul II Homil. 1316

1316 6. "If you had faith like a mustard seed", Jesus exclaimed speaking with his disciples (Lc 17,6). It was a genuine and tenacious faith that guided the work and life of Bl. Alfonso Maria Fusco, founder of the Sisters of St John the Baptist. From when he was a young man, the Lord put into his heart the passionate desire to dedicate his life to the service of the neediest, especially of children and young people, who were plentiful in his native city of Angri in Campania. For this he undertook the path of the priesthood and, in a certain way, become the "Don Bosco of Southern Italy". From the beginning he wanted to involve in his work some young women who shared his ideal and he offered them the words of St John the Baptist, "Prepare the way of the Lord" (Lc 3,4). Trusting in divine Providence, Bl. Alfonso and the Sisters of John the Baptist set up a work that was superior to their own expectations. From a simple house for the welcome of the young, there arose a whole Congregation which today is present in 16 countries and on 4 continents working alongside those who are "little" ones and "last".

7. The outstanding vitality of faith, extolled in the Gospel for today, emerges in the life and activity of Tommaso Maria Fusco, founder of the Institute of the Daughters of Charity of the Precious Blood. By virtue of the faith he knew how to live in the world the reality of the Kingdom of God in a very special way. Among his aspirations, there was one which was his favourite: "I believe in you, my God, increase my faith". It is this prayer that the Apostles direct to the Lord in the Gospel reading today (cf. Lk Lc 17,6). Bl. Tommaso understood that faith is first of all a gift and a grace. No one can conquer it or obtain it by himself. One can only ask for it, implore it from on high. For that reason, enlightened by the teaching of the new Blessed, we never tire of asking the gift of faith, because "the just man will live by faith" (Ha 1,4).

8. The vital synthesis between contemplation and action, assimilated in the daily participation in the Eucharist, was the foundation of the spiritual experience and the burning charity of Bl. Eugenia Picco. In her life she made every effort to listen to the word of the Lord following the invitation of the Liturgy today (refrain for the responsorial psalm), never drawing back from the service which love of neighbour required. At Parma she took upon herself the poverty of the people responding to the needs of the young and of needy families and assisting the victims of the war that in this period made Europe suffer. Even in the face of suffering, with the inevitable moments of difficulty and bewilderment that it entails, Bl. Eugenia Picco knew how to transform the experience of suffering into an occasion of purification and inner growth. From Bl. Eugenia we can learn the art of listening to the voice of the Lord in order to be credible witnesses of the Gospel of charity in the opening years of the millennium.

9. "God is wonderful in his saints!". With the communities in which the Blessed lived and for which they spent their best human and spiritual energies, we want to thank God, who is "wonderful in his saints". At the same time, we ask Him through their intercession, to help us respond with renewed eagerness to the universal call to holiness. Amen.


Friday 19 October 2001

1. "Abraham believed God and it was reckoned to him as righteousness" (Rm 4,3). The words St Paul addressed to the Christian community at Rome, repeated in this evening's liturgy, help us to live more intensely today's annual gathering, that sees the communities of the ecclesiastical universities of the city, gathered for the Eucharistic banquet at the beginning of a new academic year.

In his Letter to the Romans, after having painted a dark and desolate picture of humanity under the power of sin and unable to save itself by its own power, the apostle Paul proclaims the Gospel of justification, offered by God to all men and women in Christ. In order to expound the basic core of this teaching better, he introduces the example of the faith of Abraham, father of all believers. We are thus led to the heart of the Christian message, that proclaims the fulfilment of salvation in the union of the free initiative of God with the necessary response of man, who acccepts the gift of God by faith.

The in-depth and articulated Pauline reflection on the Christian mystery is an invitation for all the disciples of the Lord to an ever more satisfactory perception of the teaching of the faith. This invitation is particularly valid for theologians, whose mission in the Church, carried out in communion with the legitimate Pastors of the People of God, is exactly that of contributing with their work to the deeper comprehension of the content of Revelation and expressing it in a language readily understandable to the men of their time. It is also addressed to the professors of the various ecclesiastical disciplines, called to further the communication of the faith and promote the search for truth.

2. With the words of the Apostle, that invite us to imitate the example of Abraham's faith, I am happy to greet cordially all who participate in this solemn Celebration. First of all, I greet Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, who presides over the Eucharistic Liturgy. I express my gratitude to the Rectors of the ecclesiastical universities, to the Members of the academic faculty, to the Rectors of the seminaries and colleges, and to all who in various forms offer their active collaboration in the spiritual, cultural and human formation of the students and who are present this evening. Finally, I embrace all of you, dear young people, who have the privilege of furthering your cultural and spiritual formation close to the See of Peter. I wish to extend a special word of affection and encouragement to all who are beginning their studies this year in the Roman university community. Be conscious that the commitment and effort of this time dedicated to study, with the light and strength of the grace of God generously accepted and sustained, will bear a good, plentiful harvest, not only for you but also for those whom you will meet in the tasks and responsibilities to which you will be called.

To all of you students, professors, those in charge of spiritual, personal and academic formation I want to express my profound esteem and my appreciation for your generous dedication in the academic and educational fields. I sincerely wish that the year, solemnly inaugurated today, will contribute to producing in all the abundant fruit of wisdom and grace.

3. The Second Vatican Council strongly asserted that the Church is a "mystery of communion", deriving from the unity of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (cf. Lumen gentium LG 4 Unitatis redintegratio UR 2). This communion should be understood as the harmonious cooperation of diverse ministries, charisms and gifts, animated by the same Spirit, at the service of the same mission and oriented to the same end. In this organic vision of the unity of the Church, theological knowledge, consistent with its own premises, should be inserted into the vital context of ecclesial communion. Theological reflection responds essentially to the dynamic of faith and, as a consequence, is an integral part of evangelization. The theologian is called to make his own contribution of research and in-depth study of revealed truth, so that the Gospel of salvation may be understood better and more easily communicated to all men.

1317 Therefore, the theologian, whether doing research or teaching, must always be aware of the intrinsic ecclesial vocation of his activity. Analogously, the professors of other ecclesiastical disciplines will be sustained by a strong passion for the truth and by a clear will to serve the evangelizing mission of the Church.

4. So I invite you, dear professors and students of the ecclesiastical universities of Rome, to have an increasing conviction of the importance and sensitivity of your task. Above all be conscious that you are doing your work with the Church, in the Church and for the Church. This requires that you be continuously in touch with the sensus fidei of the People of God and be attuned to the Magisterium of the Church, that has the precise task of guaranteeing the authenticity and consistency of the teachings imparted with the deposit of faith entrusted by Christ to the Apostles and to their successors.

I especially exhort you students to make the most of the opportunities that are offered to you by the City and the Diocese of Rome. Here, in fact, in addition to the wide choice of university courses open to you, one comes into contact with the living witness of an extraordinary variety of cultures and traditions. All this should put everything into a clear and constructive perspective, that encourages each one to devote his energies to seeking the truth to which all must tend.

5. I cordially hope that your period of study in Rome will help all of you to deepen your feeling of belonging to the Church and help you experience her "catholicity". Through the mystery of the passion, death and resurrection of Christ, God gathers a new People from all the nations of the earth, so that they may announce his wonders in the world and proclaim the joy of salvation to every man and woman. The beatitude proposed to us afresh in the responsorial psalm "Blessed is the man to whom you give salvation" is destined for the whole world.

It is a joyful announcement that waits to be proclaimed "in the light" and to resound "on the housetops" (cf. Lk
Lc 12,3), as Jesus reminds us in the Gospel, so that every man and woman can know and welcome it in his life.

The study of theology and of ecclesiastical disciplines is directed to evangelization. May you know how to learn a rigorous method, accepting the demands of research with courage and generosity, to experience in first person the fruitful meeting between faith and reason. By these "two wings" you can draw ever nearer to the contemplation of the truth (cf. Fides et ratio, Introduction) and make yourselves joyful travelling companions for the men of our time, often perturbed and lost on the roads of the world.

6. "Fear not, you are of more value than many sparrows" (Lc 12,7). The words of Jesus, that conclude today's Gospel reading, contain a comforting message of encouragement for the disciples, who listen to them directly from the mouth of the Teacher as they are being prepared to face the difficult and risky mission of witnessing to the Gospel. May they also sustain you, young men, as you begin a new phase of preparation for the mission that the Lord will entrust to you.

May the maternal protection of the Virgin Mary, Seat of Wisdom, accompany all of you, teachers and disciples, in this academic year and teach each of you to keep and meditate, in a pure and ready heart, the proclamation of the Gospel (cf. Lk Lc 2,19 Lk Lc 2,51).

May Mary Our Lady, welcoming and receptive mother of the Word made flesh, always guide and protect you on your quest for full and perfect understanding of the truth, Amen!

The Holy Father concluded with the auspicious words:

Allow me to recall the time when I was Bishop of Kraków. Today and tomorrow we celebrate St John Cantius, who in the Medieval period was a professor at the University of Kraków. This day, 20 October, is the day the academic year begins in the schools of that city, especially in the famous Jagiellonian University. Remembering this day of inauguration in Kraków and the inauguration we are celebrating today in Rome, I want to wish all the academic centres of the Church in every part of the world the blessing of the Lord for a new academic year.

1318 Praised be Jesus Christ!



Sunday 21 October 2001

World Mission Sunday

1. "And when the Son of man comes, will he find faith on earth?" (Lc 18,8).

The question with which Jesus ends the parabable on the need "always to pray and not lose heart" frightens our soul. It is a question that is not immediately followed by an answer: indeed, it is intended as a challenge to each person, each ecclesial community, each human generation. Each one of us must give an answer. Christ wants to remind us that human life is directed to the final meeting with God; but in this perspective he asks himself whether, on his return, he will find souls ready, waiting for him, to enter the Father's house with him. This is why he says to everyone "Watch, therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour" (Mt 25,13).

Dear brothers and sisters! Dear famlies! Today we have gathered for the beatification of a married couple: Luigi and Maria Beltrame Quattrocchi. With this solemn ecclesial act, we intend to highlight an example of a positive reply to Christ's question. The husband and wife lived in Rome in the first half of the 20th century, a century in which faith in Christ was harshly tried, and gave a positive reply. Even in those difficult years, the husband and wife, Luigi and Maria, kept the lamp of the faith burning - lumen Christi - and passed it on to their four children, three of whom are here today in this basilica. Dear friends, this is what your mother wrote about you: "We brought them up in the faith, so that they might know and love God" (L'Ordito e la trama, p. 9).

But your parents also handed on the burning lamp to their friends, acquaintances, colleagues.... And now, from heaven, they are giving it to the whole Church.

Together with the relatives and friends of the new Blesseds, I greet the religious authorities participating in this celebration, starting with Cardinal Camillo Ruini and the other Cardinals, Archbishops and Bishops present. I also greet the civil authorities, and, in a special way, the President of Italy and the Queen of Belgium.

2. There could be no happier nor more momentous an occasion than today to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Apostolic Exhortation "Familiaris consortio". This document, which even today remains a guiding light in the field, while highlighting the centrality of marriage and the mission of the family, particularly asks spouses to follow the path of holiness by virtue of the sacramental grace, which "is not exhausted in the actual celebration of the sacrament of marriage, but rather accompanies the married couple throughout their lives" (Familiaris consortio, FC 56). The beauty of this path shines out in the witness of the Blessed couple Luigi and Maria, an exemplary expression of the Italian people, who demonstrated the great importance of marriage and the family that it brings forth.

This couple lived married love and service to life in the light of the Gospel and with great human intensity. With full responsibility they assumed the task of collaborating with God in procreation, dedicating themselves generously to their children, to teach them, guide them and direct them to discovering his plan of love. From this fertile spiritual terrain sprang vocations to the priesthood and the consecrated life, which shows how, with their common roots in the spousal love of the Lord, marriage and virginity may be closely connected and reciprocally enlightening.

Drawing on the word of God and the witness of the saints, the blessed couple lived an ordinary life in an extraordinary way. Among the joys and anxieties of a normal family, they knew how to live an extraordinarily rich spiritual life. At the centre of their life was the daily Eucharist as well as devotion to the Virgin Mary, to whom they prayed every evening with the Rosary, and consultation with wise spiritual directors. In this way they could accompany their children in vocational discernment, training them to appreciate everything "from the roof up", as they often, charmingly, liked to say.

1319 3. The riches of faith and love of the husband and wife Luigi and Maria Beltrame Quattrocchi, are a living proof of what the Second Vatican Council said about the call of all the faithful to holiness, indicating that spouses should pursue this goal, "propriam viam sequentes", "following their own way" (Lumen gentium, LG 41). Today the aspiration of the Council is fulfilled with the first beatification of a married couple: their fidelity to the Gospel and their heroic virtues were verified in their life as spouses and parents.

In their life, as in the lives of many other married couples who day after day earnestly fulfil their mission as parents, one can contemplate the sacramental revelation of Christ's love for the Church. Indeed, "fulfilling their conjugal and family role by virtue of this sacrament, spouses are penetrated with the spirit of Christ and their whole life is permeated by faith, hope, and charity; thus they increasingly further their own perfection and their mutual sanctification, and together they render glory to God" (Gaudium et spes, GS 48).

Dear families, today we have distinctive confirmation that the path of holiness lived together as a couple is possible, beautiful, extraordinarily fruitful, and fundamental for the good of the family, the Church and society.

This prompts us to pray the Lord that there be many more married couples who can reveal in the holiness of their lives, the "great mystery" of spousal love, which originates in creation and is fulfilled in the union of Christ with his Church (cf. Eph Ep 5,22-33).

4. Like every path of holiness, yours too, dear married couples, is not easy. Every day you face difficulties and trials, in order to be faithful to your vocation, to foster harmony between yourselves and between your children, to carry out your mission as parents and participate in social life.

May you be able to find in God's word the answer to the questions which arise in everyday life. St Paul, in the Second Reading, reminded us that "all Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness" (II Tm 3,16). Sustained by the force of these words and acting together, you will be able to insist with your children "in season and out of season", convincing, rebuking, and exhorting them, "unfailing in patience and in teaching" (II Tm 4,2).

Married and family life can also experience moments of bewilderment. We know how many families in these cases are tempted to discouragement. I am particularly referring to those who are going through the sad event of separation; I am thinking of those who must face illness and those who are suffering the premature death of their spouse or of a child. In these situations, one can bear a great witness to fidelity in love, which is purified by having to pass through the crucible of suffering.

5. I entrust struggling families to the providence of God and to the loving care of Mary, the outstanding model of wife and mother who knew the suffering and the exhaustion of following Christ to the foot of the Cross. Dear married couples, do not be overcome by hardship: the grace of the Sacrament supports you and helps you constantly to raise your arms to heaven, like Moses, mentioned in the First Reading (cf. Ex Ex 17,11-12). The Church is close to you and helps you with her prayer, above all, in hard times.

At the same time, I ask all families to hold up the arms of the Church, so that she may never fail in her mission of interceding, consoling, guiding and encouraging. I thank you, dear families, for the support that you give to me in my service to the Church and to humanity. Every day I beg the Lord to help all the families suffering from poverty and injustice, and to advance the civilization of love.

6. Dear friends, the Church has confidence in you to confront the challenges that await her in the new millennium. Among the paths of her mission, "the family is the first and the most important" (Letter to Families, LF 2); the Church is counting on it and calling it to be "a true subject of evangelization and the apostolate" (ibid., n. 16).

I am certain that you will be equal to the task that awaits you in every place and on every occasion. Dear husbands and wives, I encourage you to embrace your role and your responsibilities.

1320 Renew your missionary zeal, making your homes privileged places for announcing and accepting the Gospel in an atmosphere of prayer and in the concrete exercise of Christian solidarity.

May the Holy Spirit, who filled Mary's heart so that, in the fullness of time, she might conceive the Word of life and welcome him, together with her husband Joseph, support you and confirm you. May he fill your hearts with joy and peace so that every day you may know how to praise the heavenly Father, from whom come every grace and blessing.




Saturday 27 October 2001

1. "Proclaim His salvation to every people " (Resp. Psalm).

The words of the responsorial Psalm express our inner attitude at the end of the Synod of the Bishops. The prolonged, detailed examination of the theme of the Episcopate renewed in each of us the passionate awareness of the mission entrusted to us by the Lord Jesus Christ. With apostolic fervour, in the name of the entire College of Bishops which we represent, gathered together at the tomb of the Apostle Peter, we wish to repeat our common acceptance of the mandate of the Risen Lord: "We shall proclaim the salvation of the Lord to all peoples".

It is a new beginning, as a follow up to the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000 and at the beginning of the third Christian millennium. The first reading took us back to the atmosphere of the Jubilee, the Messianic oracle of Isaiah repeated many times during the Holy Year. It is a proclamation full of hope for the poor and the afflicted. It is the beginning of the "year of the mercy of the Lord" (Is 61,2), which found in the Jubilee a wonderful reality. However, it transcends the limits of the calendar to go out to every place touched by the saving presence of Christ and of his Spirit.

Listening to this proclamation once more, we are confirmed in the conviction expressed at the end of the great Jubilee: "to leave more open than before the living door which is Christ" for the new generations of the new millennium (cf. Novo Millennio ineunte, NM 59). In fact, Christ is the hope of the world. The mission of the Church, and particularly, of the Apostles and of their successors is to preach the Gospel to the ends of the earth.

2. The exhortation of the Apostle Peter to the "elders", heard during the second reading, as well as the Gospel passage, just proclaimed, make use of the symbolism of the shepherd and his flock, presenting the ministry of Christ and of his Apostles in a "pastoral" key. "Feed the flock of God which has been entrusted to you", wrote St Peter, mindful of the mandate he himself received from Christ: "Feed my lambs ... feed my sheep" (Jn 21,15 Jn 21,16 Jn 21,17). It is even more striking to realize that it is the way the Son of God reveals himself: "I am the Good Shepherd" (Jn 10,11), with the sacrificial designation: "I lay down my life for my sheep" (cf. Jn Jn 10,15).

For this reason, Peter is defined "witness of the sufferings of Christ and partaker of the glory to be revealed" (1P 5,1). In the Church, the Pastor is above all the bearer of the Easter and eschatological witness, that finds its culmination in the celebration of the Eucharist, memorial of the death of the Lord and pledge of his glorious return. The celebration of the Eucharist is the pastoral action par excellence: "Do this in memory of me" includes not just the ritual representation of the Supper, but also, as a consequence, the availability to offer himself for his flock, following the example of what he did during the time of his life and above all at the hour of his death.

3. In these weeks the image of the Good Shepherd was recalled many times in the Synod. In fact, it is the "icon" that inspired many holy bishops down through the centuries, and which better than any other, defines the ministry and life style of the successors of the Apostles. From this point of view, one cannot fail to realize that the Synod was spiritually connected with the Magisterium that the church left us in the course of her history. It should be enough to think, for example, of the Council of Trent, which took place about four and a half centuries ago. Among the reasons for the enormous impact of the Council on the revival of the life of the People of God, there was certainly the representation of the care of souls as the first and primary duty of the bishops, who were called to stable residence with their flock, and to form valid collaborators in the pastoral ministry by the creation of seminaries.

1321 Four hundred years later, the Second Vatican Council took up and developed the lesson of Trent, opening it toward the global vistas of the new evangelization. At the dawn of the third millennium the Church continues to rely on the ideal figure of the bishop, that of the Pastor who, configured to Christ in holiness of life, expends himself generously for the Church entrusted to him, at the same time carrying in his heart the solicitude for the churches spread over the face of the earth (cf. II Cor 11,28).

4. The bishop, the good shepherd, finds light and force for his ministry in the Word of God, interpreted in the communion of the church, and announced with courageous fidelity in season and out of season (II Tm 4,2). Master of the faith, the bishop promotes whatever is good and positive in the flock entrusted to him, sustains and guides those weak in faith (
Rm 14,1), intervenes to unmask falsehoods and combat abuses.

It is important that the bishop be aware of the challenges that faith in Christ has to face today on account of the mentality based on human criteria, that at times relativises the Law and the Plan of God. Above all, he must have the courage to announce and defend sound doctrine, even when it entails suffering. In fact, the bishop, in communion with the apostolic college and with the Successor of Peter, has the duty of protecting the faithful from any kind of temptation, showing in a wholehearted return to the Gospel of Christ the true solution for the complicated problems that burden humanity. The service the bishops are called to render to the flock will be the source of hope to the extent to which they live an ecclesiology of communion and mission. In the Synodal meetings these days, the request for a spirituality of communion was often stated. In line with the Working Document (n. 63) many members repeated the phrase: "the strength of the church is her communion, her weakness is division and internal opposition".

Only if a deep and convinced unity of the pastors with the Successor of Peter is clearly discernible, and also the unity of the bishops with their priests, can we give a credible reply to the challenges that come from the present social and cultural world. In this regard, dear Brothers, Members of the Synod, I wish to express my grateful appreciation for the witness of joyful communion in your solicitude for the humanity of our time that you gave these days.

5. I would like to ask you to bring my greetings to your faithful and, in a special way, to your priests, to whom you will devote special attention, establishing with each of them a direct, confident and cordial relationship. I also know that you make every effort to do it, since you are convinced that a diocese works well only if the clergy are joyfully united around the bishop in fraternal charity.

I ask you to greet the Bishops emeriti, bringing them the expression of my appreciation for the work done for the good of the faithful. I wanted them to be represented in the Synod to reflect on the theme which is new in the Church, since it is the result of the resolution of Vatican II for the good of the particular churches. I trust that each Bishops' Conference will study how to utilise the bishops emeriti who are still in good health and full of energy, entrusting to them an ecclesial service and the study of problems for which they have experience and competence, calling upon those who are available to join one or other committee alongside younger colleagues so that they will always feel they are living members of the college of bishops.

I want to send a special greeting to the Bishops of mainland China, whose absence from the Synod has not prevented us from feeling their spiritual closeness in memory and prayer.

6. "When the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of unfading glory" (1P 5,4). At the end of the first Synod of the third millennium, I fondly recall the 22 bishops canonized in the course of the 20th century: Alessandro Maria Sauli, Bishop of Pavia, Robert Bellarmine, Cardinal, Bishop of Capua, Doctor of the Church; Albert the Great, Bishop of Regensburg, Doctor of the Church; John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, Martyr; Antonio Maria Claret, Archbishop of Santiago of Cuba; Vincenzo Maria Strambi, Bishop of Macerata and Tolentino; Antonio Maria Gianelli, Bishop of Bobbio; Gregory Barbarigo, Bishop of Padua; Juan de Ribera, Archbishop of Valencia; Oliver Plunkett, Archbishop of Armagh, Martyr; Justin de Jacobis, Bishop of Nilopolis and Apostolic Vicar of Abyssinia; John Nepomucene Neumann, Bishop of Philadelphia; Jeronimo Hermosilla, Valentino Berrio-Ochoa with six other bishops, Martyrs in Viet Nâm; Ezekiel Moreno y Diaz, Bishop of Pasto, Colombia; Charles Joseph Eugčne de Mazenod, Bishop of Marseille. Furthermore, in less than a month, I will have the joy of proclaiming saint, Giuseppe Marello, Bishop of Acqui.

From this chosen circle of holy Pastors, which could be extended to include the numerous fellowship of the Blessed Servants of God there emerges, as in a mosaic, the face of Christ the Good Shepherd and Missionary of the Father. We fix our eyes on this living icon, at the beginning of the new epoch that Providence has opened up before us, so that with ever greater dedication we may be servants of the Gospel, hope of the world.

May the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Queen of Apostles, assist us in our ministry. At every moment on the horizon of the Church and of the world, she shines as sign of consolation and of sure hope.


Sunday 4 November 2001

1322 1. "All things...are yours, Lord, who love the living" (Sg 11,26). The words of the Book of Wisdom invite us to reflect on the great message of holiness that the solemn Celebration of the Eucharist relays to us with the proclamation of eight new Blesseds: Pavel Peter Gojdic, Methodius Dominic Trcka, Giovanni Antonio Farina, Bartholomew of the Martyrs, Luigi Tezza, Paolo Manna, Gaetana Sterni, María Pilar Izquierdo Albero.

With lives that were lived totally for the glory of God and the good of their neighbours, they continue in the Church and for the world to be an outstanding sign of the love of God, who is the beginning and end of human beings.

2. "Indeed, the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost" (Lc 19,10): Bishop Pavel Peter Gojdic and Redemptorist Father Methodius Dominic Trcka, today proclaimed Blessed, profoundly shared the saving mission proclaimed by Christ in the passage of the Gospel of Luke. Joined together in the generous and courageous service of the Greek Catholic Church in Slovakia, they passed through the same sufferings on account of their fidelity to the Gospel and to the Successor of Peter and now they share the same crown of glory.

Strengthened by the spiritual experience of the Order of St Basil the Great, Pavel Peter Gojdic, first as Bishop in the Eparchy of Presov and then as Apostolic Administrator of Mukacev, constantly sought to realize the pastoral programme he set for himself: "With the help of God I want to be the father of orphans, the help of the poor, and the consoler of the afflicted". Known to the people as "the man with a heart of gold", he became known to the representatives of the government of the time as a real "thorn in the side". After the Communist regime made the Greek Catholic Church illegal, he was arrested and imprisoned. Thus for him began a long calvary of suffering, mistreatment and humiliation which brought about his death on account of his fidelity to Christ and his love for the Church and the Pope.

Methodius Dominic Trcka also passed his life in the service of the Gospel and of the salvation of his brothers and sisters, even to the supreme sacrifice of his life. As superior of the Redemptorist community in Stropkov, in Eastern Slovakia, he carried out a fervent missionary activity in the three Eparchies of Presov, Uzhorod and Krizevci. With the arrival of the Communist regime, he was deported to a concentration camp with his Redemptorist colleagues. With the support of prayer he faced with courage and determination the suffering and humiliation he had to bear on account of the Gospel. His calvary ended in the prison of Leopoldov where he died worn out by suffering and sickness, forgiving his persecutors.

3. Bishop Giovanni Antonio Farina presents the glorious image of the Pastor of the People of God after the model of Christ. His long pastoral ministry, first in the Diocese of Treviso and then in the Diocese of Vicenza, can be summed up as a vast apostolic activity totally dedicated to the doctrinal and spiritual formation of the clergy and the faithful. Looking back at his work performed for the glory of God, for the formation of young people, as a witness of charity for the poorest and most abandoned, we are reminded of the words of the Apostle Paul in the second reading: everything must be done so that in everything "the name of the Lord Jesus might be glorified" (2Th 1,12). The witness of the new Blessed continues to bear great fruit today, above all, in the religious family he founded, the Sisters Teachers of St Dorothy, Daughters of the Sacred Hearts, who have their own saint in the person of Maria Bertilla Boscardin, canonized by Pope John XXIII my venerable Predecessor.

In Father Paolo Manna we perceive a special reflection of the glory of God. He spent his entire life promoting the missions. In every page of his writings there stands out the person of Jesus, centre of his life and reason for the missions. In one of his letters to the missionaries, he stated: "In fact the missionary is nothing if he does not put on the person of Jesus Christ.... Only the missionary who copies Jesus Christ faithfully in himself can reproduce his image in the souls of others" (Letter 6). Indeed, there are no missions without holiness, as the Encyclical Redemptoris Missio pointed out: "The missionary spirituality of the Church consists in the movement towards holiness. One must stir up a new zeal for holiness among missionaries and in the whole Christian community" (n. 90).

4. "May our God make you worthy of his call and fulfill by his power every honest intention and work of faith" (2Th 1,11).

The reflection of the Apostle Paul on the faith which needs to be translated into resolutions and works of good, helps us to understand better the spiritual portrait of the Blessed Luigi Tezza, glorious example of a life totally dedicated to the exercise of charity and mercy towards those who suffer in body and spirit. For them he founded the Institute of the Daughters of St Camillus, whom he taught to practice an absolute confidence in the Lord. "The will of God! Behold my only guide", he exclaimed, "the only goal of my desires, for which I wish to sacrifice everything". In his confident abandonment to the will of God, he took as his model the Blessed Virgin Mary, tenderly loved and contemplated particularly in the moment of the "fiat" and in her silent presence at the foot of the Cross.

Blessed Gaetana Sterni, who learned that the will of God is always love, dedicated herself with untiring charity to the excluded and the suffering. She always treated her brothers and sisters with the kindness and love of the one who serves Christ in the poor. She urged her spiritual daughters, the Sisters of the Divine Will, "to be disposed and content to put up with privations, fatigue, and any sacrifice to help your neighbour in need in all that the Lord might want of them". The witness of evangelical charity that Blessed Sterni left us reminds each believer of the need to seek the will of God in confident abandonment to Him and in generous service to one's brothers and sisters.

5. Blessed Bartholomew of the Martyrs, Archbishop of Braga, with great vigilance and apostolic zeal, gave himself to safeguarding and renewing the Church in her living stones, without looking down upon the provisional structures that are the inert stones. He paid special attention to the living stones who had little or nothing to live on. He took from his own pocket to give to them. To those who criticized him for cutting such a poor figure with the little that remained, he replied: "You will not see me ever so foolish as to spend with the leisure class what I can use to keep many poor alive". Since religious ignorance was the greatest form of poverty, the Archbishop did everything possible to remedy it, beginning with the moral reform and cultural formation of the clergy "because it is evident that if your zeal corresponded to your office...the flock of Christ would not stray so far away from the road to heaven". By his wisdom, his example and his apostolic zeal, he moved and made burn with zeal the souls of the Fathers of the Council of Trent so that they would proceed to the necessary reform of the Church, which he was inspired to bring about with persevering and undaunted courage.

1323 6."I will extol you, O my God and King" (Ps 144[145],1). The exclamation of the responsorial psalm reflects the life of Mother María Pilar Izquierdo, foundress of the Missionary Work of Jesus and Mary: praise God and in everything accomplish His will. One can sum up her short life: she died when she was 39 years old, noting that she wanted to praise God by offering him her love and her sacrifice. Her life bore the mark of constant, and not just physical, suffering while she was busy doing all for the love of Him who first loved us and suffered for our salvation. The love for God, for the Cross of Jesus, for her neighbour in need were the great concerns of the life of the new Blessed. She was aware of the need to catechize with the Gospel the outlying districts [of Madrid] and to give to eat to the hungry, in order to become more conformed to Christ through the works of mercy. Her fundamental inspiration is today wherever the Missionary Work of Jesus is present, performing the works of mercy in accord with her spirit. May the example of her life of self-denial and generosity renew in us a deep commitment to the service of the needy so that the present world may become the witness of the renewing force of the Gospel of Christ.

7. At the beginning of this Eucharist, we heard again from the Book of Wisdom the great message of the eternal and unconditional love of God for every human being: "You love everything you created and you despise nothing of what you have made" (
Sg 11,24). The new Blesseds are the sign of the primary love of God. By their example and their powerful intercession they announce the salvation that God offers to humanity in Christ. Let us learn from their witness so that we may serve God in a "praiseworthy way", walking without obstacles toward the promised goods (cf. collect, 31st Sunday). Amen!

S. John Paul II Homil. 1316