Speeches 2005-13 51


TO THE VARIOUS COMMUNITIES OF CASTEL GANDOLFO Hall of the Swiss Saturday, 30 September 2006

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

My stay at the Summer Residence of Castel Gandolfo is coming to an end, and before I return to the Vatican I would like to thank everyone very warmly who contributed in various ways to making my stay fruitful and serene.

I am therefore happy to meet you all today and I offer my grateful greeting to each one of you.

I greet first of all the Bishop of Albano, Bishop Marcello Semeraro, and I am grateful to him for the consideration he always shows me. I greet the Parish Priest of Castel Gandolfo and the Parish Community.

I address an affectionate greeting to the Jesuits of the Vatican Observatory and to the Religious and lay Communities, male and female, who are present in Castel Gandolfo. In these months, I have felt their spiritual closeness and I thank them from my heart, trusting in the hope that they may all respond with renewed generosity to God's call, expending their energies at the service of the Gospel.

My deferential thoughts then go to Mr Mayor, the Administration and the Municipal Council. Through him, I would like to convey my greeting to all the citizens of Castel Gandolfo, who show their consideration to me in so many ways, and to all who are spending the summer months with me in Castel Gandolfo.

Moreover, the people of Castel Gandolfo are well known for their courtesy and for the hospitality they offer to the many pilgrims and visitors who come to pay a visit to the Pope, especially for the Sunday appointment of the Angelus.

I address my grateful appreciation and an affectionate greeting to the medical personnel and staff of the various Services of the Governorate, who certainly guaranteed their presence by making many sacrifices as well as with their competent service.

I greet with esteem the officials and agents of the Italian Police Forces, who cooperate efficiently with the Gendarmerie of the Vatican and the Pontifical Swiss Guard so as to assure my colleagues and myself a peaceful and safe stay, as well as the orderly access of visitors and pilgrims to the Apostolic Palace.

Furthermore, I cannot forget the officials and airmen of the 31st Squadron of the Italian Air Force who kindly take charge of my helicopter journeys.

My deepest gratitude goes to each and every one of you, which I confirm with the assurance of my constant remembrance in prayer for each one of you, dear friends, for your relatives and for your loved ones.

Today, Saturday, dedicated to Our Lady, I invoke her motherly protection upon each one of you as I thank you once again for your prayers and express to each one of you my warm good wishes for every desired good, for your work and for your projects.

With these wishes and as a pledge of abundant heavenly favours, I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing to you and to your loved ones.

                                                     October 2006


Dear Pilgrims from Romagna,

I am glad to offer you my most cordial welcome. I greet you all with affection, starting with Archbishop Giuseppe Verucchi of Ravenna-Cervia, whom I thank for his courteous words on your behalf.

With him, I greet the Bishops of Faenza-Modigliana, Forlì-Bertinoro, Imola, Cesena-Sarsina and Rimini, and Archbishop Luigi Amaducci, Archbishop emeritus of Ravenna-Cervia. I address a special respectful greeting to the dear Cardinals Ersilio Tonini and Pio Laghi who have desired to join us at our meeting, one of the "strong moments" of your pilgrimage to the tombs of the Apostles.

My affectionate thought then goes as well to those of you present here, to everyone in your respective Dioceses who has joined us in spirit, with a special remembrance for the children and young people, for families, lonely people and all who are going through a difficult time. To each one I assure my spiritual closeness in prayer.

Dear brothers and sisters, you have come in particularly large numbers today to commemorate with gratitude the Pastoral Visit that my Predecessor, the Servant of God John Paul II, made in May 20 years ago to your beloved Land.

You have prepared for this meeting with an important period of prayer, guided by the words of venerable Cardinal Tonini who will preside at the solemn Eucharistic Concelebration scheduled to take place in St Peter's Basilica this afternoon.

Your decision to take up for this providential occasion the Addresses delivered by beloved John Paul II during his unforgettable Apostolic Pilgrimage to Romagna gives me great pleasure.

His words have lived on, impressed in your hearts and minds. Thus, the revisitation of his precious teaching is a special opportunity for your fine, lively diocesan communities. It spurs you to reflect on and to deepen the affective and effective communion among all members of the respective particular Churches; it is an invitation to walk united with your Pastors and the Successor of Peter; it is an encouragement for the members of your Dioceses to continue their common evangelizing mission with renewed dynamism, witnessing to the Gospel of hope in our time.

It has only been possible to carry out this demanding missionary mandate thanks to God's support and to the convinced and courageous appreciation of the spiritual heritage which the population of Romagna has safeguarded and defended down the ages.

John Paul II wished to emphasize this. He recognized it as "a human and Christian community full of active fervour... a community conscious of its role in society at the present moment in history; a community of Christians which, according to the traditions of the Catholics of Romagna, wishes to keep united the solidity of the faith and the courage of bearing witness in society, the adherence to the Ecclesial Community and the loyalty to the civil society" (Youth Rally, Ravenna Racecourse, 11 May 1986, n. 2; L'Osservatore Romano English edition [ORE], 16 June, p. 14).

May my Venerable Predecessor's words be an incentive to you not to let yourselves be discouraged by the difficulties that your Region too is encountering in our time. Indeed, 20 years after that important event, in Romagna as elsewhere, challenges and problems abound for those who desire to live their own faith consistently, striving to combine it with life's daily demands.

I am thinking of the crises threatening so many families, of the growing need for priestly and religious vocations in the face of the disturbing decrease in the number of priests and their advancing age; I am thinking of the many snares of the consumerist and secularized society that endeavours to seduce an ever increasing number of people, inducing them gradually to detach themselves from the values of faith in family and in civil and political life.

These challenges should be faced without losing heart, looking confidently at the many causes of hope which thanks be to God are not absent. There are, for example, many people eager to give meaning and a solid value to their own existence, men and women involved in a strong and sincere search for religion.

In this regard, what John Paul II said to the young people on that occasion is still timely - and today, dear brothers and sisters, I repeat it to you: "This is the moment to live in fullness the joy of being Christians. Bear witness to this joy before the world. Christ is walking with you, the Risen One, over whom death has no more power, because he has defeated it once for all. May Christ, who is eternally young, be your support and guide today, tomorrow and always!" (ORE, ibid., n. 9, p. 15).

Witness to the joy of being Christians: may this be your unanimous commitment. To this end, pursue - indeed, intensify - ecclesial communion, and be generous protagonists of the evangelizing mission entrusted to you by the Lord, treasuring the guidance that originated in the memorable Visit 20 years ago and strengthened by the grace of today's pilgrimage.

May the Blessed Virgin Mary, whom we venerate today under the title of Our Lady of the Rosary, continue to go with you and guide you on your spiritual and pastoral journey. For my part, I assure you of my remembrance to the Lord and I bless you wholeheartedly, together with your families, your parish and religious communities and all your loved ones.

AT THE PREVIEW OF THE FILM "POPE LUCIANI, GOD'S SMILE" Palazzo San Carlo Sunday, 8 October 2006

Mr President of RAI,
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

Together, we have just seen this beautiful film that chronicles the most important milestones in the life of my venerable Predecessor, the Servant of God John Paul I.

I feel the need to express my deep gratitude first of all to you, Mr President, and then to the Board of Administration and the General Director of RAI, for giving this pleasant opportunity to me and my collaborators.

I greet those responsible for RAI Fiction and for the Società Leone Cinematografica who conceived and produced this interesting feature. I extend my special greetings and thanks to Georgio Capitani, the director, and to the various actors, with a special mention for Neri Marcoré who played the role of Albino Luciani.

I also cordially greet all of you who accepted the invitation to come to this meeting, where we have been able to relive evocative moments in the life of the Church in the past century.

In particular, we have been able to revisit the sweet and gentle figure of a Pontiff who was strong in faith, firm in principles but ever ready with a welcome and a smile.

Faithful to tradition and open to renewal, the Servant of God Albino Luciani, as Priest, Bishop and Pope, was unflagging in his pastoral activity, constantly encouraging clergy and lay people alike to pursue in the various fields of the apostolate the one common ideal of holiness.

A teacher of truth and a passionate catechist, he reminded all believers with his customary fascinating simplicity of the work and joy of evangelization, emphasizing the beauty of Christian love, the one force that can defeat violence and build a more fraternal humanity.

Lastly, I would like to recall his devotion to Our Lady. When he was Patriarch of Venice he wrote: "It is impossible to conceive of our life, the life of the Church, without the Rosary, the Marian feasts, Marian shrines and images of Our Lady".

It is beautiful to accept his invitation and, as he did, to find in humble entrustment to Mary the secret of daily serenity and effective work for peace in the world.

Once again, dear friends, thank you for your presence. I bless all of you and your loved ones with affection.


Dear Brother Bishops,

"We should celebrate and rejoice ... he has come to life; he was lost and is found" (Lc 15,32). With fraternal affection I warmly welcome you, the Bishops of the Western Catholic Conference of Canada, and I thank Bishop Wiesner for the good wishes offered on your behalf. I warmly reciprocate them and assure you, and those entrusted to your pastoral care, of my prayers and solicitude. Your meeting with the Successor of Peter concludes the visits ad limina Apostolorum of the Canadian Bishops’ Conference. Notwithstanding the increasingly secular climate within which you serve, your reports contain much from which you can draw encouragement. In particular, I have been heartened to note the zeal and generosity of your priests, the selfless dedication of the Religious present in your Dioceses and the increasing readiness among the laity to embolden their witness to Christ’s truth and love in their homes, schools, places of work and in the public sphere.

The Parable of the Prodigal Son is one of the best-loved passages of Sacred Scripture. Its profound description of God's mercy and the important human desire for conversion and reconciliation, as well as the mending of a broken relationship, speak to men and women of every epoch. Man is frequently tempted to exercise his freedom by distancing himself from God. The experience of the Prodigal Son enables us to note, both in history and in our own lives, that when freedom is sought outside God the result is negative: a loss of personal dignity, moral confusion and social disintegration. The Father's passionate love for humanity, however, triumphs over human pride. Freely given, it is a love that forgives and leads people to enter ever more deeply into the communion of the Church of Christ. He truly offers to all peoples unity in God, and, just as this is perfectly demonstrated by Christ on the Cross, reconciles justice and love (cf. Deus Caritas Est ).

And what of the elder brother? Is he not, in a certain sense, all men and women as well; perhaps particularly those who sadly distance themselves from the Church? His rationalization of his attitude and actions evokes a certain sympathy, yet in the final analysis illustrates his inability to understand unconditional love. Unable to think beyond the limits of natural justice, he remains trapped within envy and pride, detached from God, isolated from others and ill at ease with himself.

Dear Brothers, as you reflect upon the three characters in this parable - the Father in his abundant mercy, the younger son in his joy at being forgiven, and the elder brother in his tragic isolation - be confirmed in your desire to address the loss of a sense of sin, to which you have referred in your reports. This pastoral priority reflects an eager hope that the faithful will experience God’s boundless love as a call to deepen their ecclesial unity and overcome the division and fragmentation that so often wound today’s families and communities. From this perspective, the Bishop’s responsibility to indicate the destructive presence of sin is readily understood as a service of hope: it strengthens believers to avoid evil and to embrace the perfection of love and the plenitude of Christian life. I wish therefore to commend your promotion of the Sacrament of Penance. While this Sacrament is often considered with indifference, what it effects is precisely the fullness of healing for which we long. A new-found appreciation of this Sacrament will confirm that time spent in the confessional draws good from evil, restores life from death, and reveals anew the merciful face of the Father.

Understanding the gift of reconciliation calls for a careful reflection on the ways to evoke conversion and penance in man’s heart (cf. Reconciliatio et Paenitentia RP 23). While manifestations of sin abound – greed and corruption, betrayed relationships and exploitation of persons – the recognition of individual sinfulness has waned. Behind this weakening of the recognition of sin, with its commensurate attenuation of the need to seek forgiveness, is ultimately a weakening of our relationship with God (cf. Address at Ecumenical Vespers, Regensburg, 12 September 2006).

Not surprisingly this phenomenon is particularly pronounced in societies marked by secularist post-Enlightenment ideology. Where God is excluded from the public forum the sense of offence against God - the true sense of sin - dissipates, just as when the absolute value of moral norms is relativized the categories of good or evil vanish, along with individual responsibility. Yet, the human need to acknowledge and confront sin in fact never goes away, no matter how much an individual may, like the elder brother, rationalize to the contrary. As Saint John tells us: "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves" (1Jn 1,8). It is an integral part of the truth about the human person. When the need to seek forgiveness and the readiness to forgive are forgotten, in their place a disturbing culture of blame and litigiousness arises. This ugly phenomenon, however, can be dispelled. Following the light of Christ’s healing truth is to say with the father: "My son, you are with me always and all I have is yours" and we must be glad "because your brother ... who was lost ... is found" (Lc 15,31-32).

The lasting peace and harmony so longed for by individuals, families and society underpin your concerns to deepen reconciliation and understanding with the many First Nations communities found in your region. Much has been achieved. In this regard, I have been heartened to learn from you about the work of the Catholic Aboriginal Council for Reconciliation and the aims of the Amerindian Fund. Such initiatives bring hope and bear witness to the love of Christ which draws us forward (cf. 2Co 5,14). Yet there is still much to be accomplished. I therefore encourage you to address with compassion and determination the underlying causes of the difficulties surrounding the social and spiritual needs of the Aboriginal faithful. Commitment to truth opens the way to lasting reconciliation through the healing process of asking for forgiveness and granting forgiveness - two indispensable elements for peace. In this way our memory is purified, our hearts are made serene, and our future is filled with a well-founded hope in the peace which springs from truth.

With fraternal affection I share these reflections with you and assure you of my prayers as you seek to make the sanctifying and reconciling mission of the Church ever more appreciated and recognizable in your ecclesial and civic communities. With these sentiments I commend you to Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and to the intercession of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha. To you and to the priests, deacons, Religious, and lay faithful of your Dioceses I gladly impart my Apostolic Blessing.


Dear Friends,

I am pleased to welcome to the Vatican the delegation of the Anti-Defamation League. On many occasions you visited my predecessor Pope John Paul II, and I am happy to continue to meet representative groups of the Jewish people.

In our world today, religious, political, academic and economic leaders are being seriously challenged to improve the level of dialogue between peoples and between cultures. To do this effectively requires a deepening of our mutual understanding and a shared dedication to building a society of ever greater justice and peace. We need to know each other better and, on the strength of that mutual discovery, to build relationships not just of tolerance but of authentic respect. Indeed, Jews, Christians and Muslims share many common convictions, and there are numerous areas of humanitarian and social engagement in which we can and must cooperate.

The Second Vatican Council’s Declaration Nostra Aetate reminds us that the Jewish roots of Christianity oblige us to overcome the conflicts of the past and to create new bonds of friendship and collaboration. It affirms in particular that the Church deplores all forms of hatred or persecution directed against the Jews and all displays of anti-Semitism at any time and from any source (cf. No. 4). The four decades since the Declaration have brought many positive advances, and they have also witnessed some early steps, perhaps still too tentative, towards a more open conversation on religious themes. It is precisely at this level of frank exchange and dialogue that we will find the basis and the motivation for a solid and fruitful relationship.

May the Eternal One, our Father in heaven, bless every effort to eliminate from our world any misuse of religion as an excuse for hatred or violence. May He bless all of you, your families and your communities.



My dear Brothers in Christ,

I am pleased to welcome you, the Bishops of Zambia, to this fraternal encounter during your visit ad Limina Apostolorum. In a special way I thank the Most Reverend Telesphore George Mpundu, who has expressed your devotion to the Holy See and to me as Peter’s successor. I am grateful for your good wishes, which I gladly reciprocate. Our conversations have led me to deeper appreciation of the Catholic Church in your country: her joys, her difficulties and her hopes. Through you I greet and embrace the clergy, religious and lay faithful of Zambia. Recently in Germany I had occasion to say: “As people of prayer filled with his light, we reach out to others and bring them into our prayer and into the presence of God, who will not fail to do his part” (Cathedral of Saint Corbinian, Freising, 14 September 2006). I encourage you therefore to urge your people to dedicate themselves to prayer and holiness, discovering the treasure of a life built on faith in Christ. May they invite all those whom they encounter to share that treasure!

The light of holiness that shines forth in those who have discovered this treasure is enkindled at the moment of baptism. In baptism Christ liberates the believer from the dominion of sin, freeing him from an existence filled with fear and superstition and calling him to a new life. “Beloved, we are God’s children now ... and everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure” (
1Jn 3,2-3). Indeed, the Christian has placed his trust in Christ and can be ever confident that he hears his prayers and answers them. As you strive to prepare your people for lives of genuine holiness, be sure to instruct them in the value and the practice of prayer, especially liturgical prayer, where in a sublime way the Church is united with Christ the High Priest in his eternal intercession for the salvation of the world. Moreover, the Catholic Church encourages the faithful to practise popular forms of piety. Therefore, always teach your people the value of the intercession of the saints, who are the great friends of Jesus (cf. Jn 12,20-22), and particularly the special intercession of Mary, his Mother, who is always attentive to our needs (cf. Jn 2,1-11).

My dear Brother Bishops, I have no doubt that you will continue to devote your lives with generous love to God’s people in Zambia. The Lord has chosen you to keep them and guide them on the way that leads to sanctity. Do so with wise advice, unwavering resolve and paternal affection. Saint Jerome in his Commentary on Saint Paul’s Letter to Titus puts it this way: “Let the bishop practise abstinence with respect to all the troubles that can agitate the soul: let him not be inclined to anger or crushed by sadness and let him not be tortured by fear” (cf. vv. 8-9, PL 26, 603b-42). This is especially true in your dealings with your brother priests, who at times can be led astray by the many temptations of contemporary society. As pastors and fathers to your co-workers in the vineyard, you must always communicate to them the joy of serving the Lord with a proper detachment from the things of this world. Tell them that they are close to the Pope’s heart and in his daily prayers. With you I encourage them to stand steadfast in the true faith and to look forward with living hope to the joyful possession of that undefiled, imperishable treasure, won for us by Jesus Christ (cf. 1P 1,4).

We believe that the Church is holy. When you urge your priests to live holy lives in accordance with their calling, when you preach generous love and fidelity in marriage and when you exhort everybody to practise the works of mercy, remind them of the Lord’s own words: “You are the light of the world ... Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Mt 5,14-16). Holiness is a divine gift, which manifests itself in love of God and love of neighbour. Dear Brothers, show your people the beautiful face of Christ by living a life of genuine love. Show Christ’s compassion especially for the poor, for refugees, for the sick and for all who suffer. At the same time, in your teaching continue to proclaim the need for honesty, family affection, discipline and fidelity, all of which have a decisive impact on the health and stability of society.

Your visit to Rome is a visible sign of your personal search for holiness and your ardent desire to act as heralds of the Gospel, following the heroic example of the Apostles Peter and Paul. Saint Matthew expresses the Church’s missionary mandate as follows: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Mt 28,18-20). This passage is a source of great hope for all who devote their energies to the Apostolic Ministry. These words remind us of the constant and active presence of the living Christ in his holy Catholic Church. I invite you and those who cooperate with you in your ministry to meditate on them and to renew your trust in the Lord. As you return home, take with you my affectionate greetings to the people of your country. May your witness as men filled with the hope of the resurrection lead them to an ever greater appreciation of the joys that the Lord has promised us. To each of you and to all those in your pastoral care I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing.


Your Eminences,
Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate and in the Priesthood,
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

With great joy I meet you in this Square, which in 1999 and in 2002 saw the memorable celebrations for the Beatification and Canonization of Padre Pio of Pietrelcina.

Today, you have come in large numbers on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of what constitutes an important and integral part of your work: the House for the Relief of Suffering.

I welcome you with affection and extend to each one of you my cordial greeting: to Archbishop Umberto D'Ambrosio, who I thank for his kind words; to the Capuchin Friars of the Shrine and of the Province; to the managers, doctors, nursing staff and personnel of the Hospital; to members of the Prayer Groups, coming from every part of Italy and also from other countries; to the pilgrims from the Diocese of Manfredonia-Vieste-San Giovanni Rotondo.

All together you form a great spiritual family, because you recognize yourselves as sons and daughters of Padre Pio, a simple man, a "poor Friar", as he used to say, to whom God has entrusted the perennial message of his Crucified Love for the whole of humanity.

You are the first inheritors of his witness, dear Capuchin Friars, who are the custodians of the Shrine of Santa Maria delle Grazie and the large new church dedicated to St Pio of Pietrelcina. You are the principal animators of these places of grace, visited each year by millions of pilgrims.

Spurred on and sustained by the example of Padre Pio and by his intercession, do your best to emulate him in order to help all to live a profound spiritual experience, centred on contemplation of the Crucified Christ, revealer and mediator of the merciful love of the Heavenly Father.

Padre Pio's heart, on fire with charity, gave rise to the House for the Relief of Suffering, whose name already shows the inspiration that characterizes it and the programme it intends to accomplish.

Padre Pio wanted to call it a "house" because the sick, especially those who are poor, would feel at ease in it, welcomed in a family atmosphere, and in this house one could find "relief" from his suffering. Relief thanks to two converging factors: prayer and science. This was the idea of the Founder, which must always be kept in focus and personalized by all those who work in the hospital.

Faith in God and scientific research cooperate to the same goal, which can be expressed better with the words of Jesus himself: "that they may have life, and have it abundantly" (
Jn 10,10).

Yes, God is life, and wants man to be healed from every ailment of body and spirit. This is why Jesus takes untiring care of the sick, forecasting with their healing the Kingdom of God already near.

For the same reason the Church, thanks to the charisms of many saints, has extended and diffused throughout the centuries this prophetic ministry of Christ by means of the countless initiatives in the fields of health and service to the suffering.

If the scientific and technological dimension is proper to the hospital, prayer pervades the entire work of Padre Pio. It is, so to speak, the transversal element: it animates every initiative. It is the spiritual strength that moves all and orients all according to charity, which is ultimately God himself.

God is love. Therefore, the fundamental binomial that I want to repropose to your attention is what is at the centre of my Encyclical: love of God and love of neighbour, prayer and charity (cf. Deus Caritas Est ).

Padre Pio has been above all a "man of God". From childhood he felt called by him and responded "with all his heart, with all his soul and with all his strength" (cf. Dt Dt 6,5). Thus, divine love was able to take possession of his humble person and make of him an elect instrument of his salvific design.

Praise be to God, who in every age chooses simple and generous souls to accomplish great things (cf. Lc 1,48-49)!

In the Church all comes from God, and without him nothing can stand. The works of Padre Pio offer an extraordinary example of this truth: the House for the Relief of Suffering can be well defined as a "miracle". Who could have humanly thought that next to that little convent of San Giovanni Rotondo there would arise one of the largest and most modern hospitals of Southern Italy?

Who, if not the man of God, who looked at reality with the eyes of faith and with great hope, because he knew that nothing is impossible to God?

This is why the celebration of the House for the Relief of Suffering is at the same time the celebration of the Padre Pio Prayer Groups, that organization whose work it is to "knock" continually at the Heart of God, like an army of intercessors, in order to make amends, to obtain the graces necessary for the Church and the world.

Dear friends of the Prayer Groups, your origin goes back to the winter of 1942, while the Second World War shook Italy, Europe and the world.

On 17 February of that year, my venerable Predecessor, Pope Pius XII, launched an appeal to the Christian people so that many would gather to pray together for peace.

Padre Pio urged his spiritual sons to readily respond to the call of the Vicar of Christ. Thus, the Prayer Groups were born, and they had the very same House for the Relief of Suffering as their organizing centre, then still under construction.

This is an image that remains an eloquent symbol: the work of Padre Pio as a large "construction site" animated by prayer and destined to charitable works.

The Prayer Groups have spread to parishes, convents and hospitals, and today the more than 3,000 groups are present on every continent. You, here today, are a representative crowd!

That original response given to the appeal of the Pope has marked for ever the character of your "spiritual" network: your prayer, as the Statutes state, is "with the Church, through the Church and in the Church" (Preface), to live always in full adhesion to the Magisterium, in ready obedience to the Pope and to the Bishops, under the guidance of the presbyter appointed by the Bishop.

The Statutes also prescribe an essential commitment of the Prayer Groups: "undertaking works of charity, especially to bring relief to the suffering and the needy, as a practical demonstration of the love of God" (ibid.).

Here again is the binomial: prayer and charity, God and neighbour. The Gospel does not allow short cuts. Whoever addresses the God of Jesus Christ is spurred to serve the brethren; and vice versa, whoever dedicates himself or herself to the poor, discovers there the mysterious Face of God.

Dear friends, the time has passed, and it is already the moment to conclude. I want to leave you my sincere "thank you" for the support that you give me with your prayer. May the Lord reward you!

At the same time, for the community working in the House for the Relief of Suffering, I ask the special grace to be ever faithful to the spirit and the works of Padre Pio.

I entrust this prayer to the heavenly intercession of Padre Pio and the Virgin Mary. With these sentiments I warmly impart to you and those dear to you the Apostolic Blessing.

Speeches 2005-13 51