S. John Paul II Homil. 226


Cardiff, Wednesday, 2 June 1982


Dear friends in Christ,

1. Today we Bishop of Rome greets the people of Wales for the first time in their own beautiful land. It is a great joy for me to be with you here in Cardiff. I thank God for the privilege of celebrating the Eucharist with you, uniting with you in giving glory and praise to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.

Gathered at this Mass are representatives from every Catholic parish in Wales and members of the Church who have come from England. I also greet those representing the other Christian communities of Wales. In the love of Christ I greet you all.

The people of Wales have an ancient tradition of allegiance to Christ. From the earliest Christian times, you have proclaimed your love of Christ and you have sought to express this love through service to others and fidelity to the word of God. The seed of God’s word first came to you from Rome; once planted, it took root, flowered and bore fruit. It found expression in your literature and left its imprint on your history. And it has remained alive in the hearts of every generation from Roman times down to the present age. It is this same Gospel which I proclaim to you today - the Gospel of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who is the Lord of history and the Bread of Life for a world in need of salvation.

2. The readings of the Mass today invite us to reflect on the mystery of the Eucharist. This great mystery was foreshadowed in Old Testament times when God provided the Israelites with manna in the wilderness. In the first reading, we hear the words Moses spoke to the people: “Remember how the Lord your God led you for forty years in the wilderness . . . he fed you with manna which neither you nor your fathers had known, to make you understand that man does not live on bread alone but that man lives on everything that comes from the mouth of the Lord” (
Dt 8,2-3). God taught the people that he alone was their Lord. He alone was the one who would lead them out of slavery. He alone was the one who would care for them amid the hardships and sorrows they would encounter on the way to the promised land. When they were hungry and thirsty, he gave them manna from heaven and water from the rock.

What was foreshadowed in Old Testament times has been fulfilled in Jesus Christ. He gave his followers food for the journey of faith when he entrusted to the Church the gift of the Eucharist. Jesus himself is the new spiritual food, for the Eucharist is his body and blood made present under the appearances of bread and wine. He himself says in the Gospel: “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never be hungry; he who believes in me will never thirst” (Jn 6,35).

Here in Wales, the Eucharist has held a place of prominence in the Church from the earliest times.

This is shown by the Christian symbols of the Eucharist which have been discovered in the archaeological excavations at the Roman fort of Caerleon. Happily this great heritage has continued from the early beginnings down to the present time. This fact should not surprise us, since the Eucharist holds such a central place in Christian life and since the mystery of the Eucharist is so closely linked to the mystery of the Church. For every generation in the Church, the food which nourishes the people of God is the Eucharist, the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.

228 3. What a beautiful prayer is recorded in today’s Gospel. After Jesus speaks to the people about the true bread which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world, they cry out: “Give us that bread always” (Jn 6,34). This prayer expresses a deep hunger on the part of the people, one which goes beyond the hunger for food. It is a hunger which arises from the depths of the soul and from the desire for love and fulfilment. It is a longing for wholeness and salvation and a yearning for fullness of life - it is a hunger for union with God. Christ is God’s answer to this prayer. God’s response to the deepest hunger of the human heart. All the anguished cries of mankind to God since the fall of Adam and Eve find fulfilment in the Son of God become man.Jesus still says: “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never be hungry; he who believes in me will never thirst” (Ibid. 6, 35). May this same prayer - “Give us that bread always” - often be our prayer too. From our First Communion until the day we die, may we have a deep yearning for Christ, the true bread which gives life to the world.

4. And now I would like to speak to these little ones who are about to receive Holy Communion for the first time.

Dear children: Jesus is coming to you in a new way today, in a special way. He wants to live in you.

He wants to speak to you in your heart. He wants to be with you all through your day.

Jesus comes to you in the Eucharist so that you will live for ever. Holy Communion is not ordinary food. It is the bread of eternal life. It is something more precious that gold or silver. It is worth more than anything you can imagine. For this sacred bread is the body and blood of Jesus. And Jesus promises that if you eat his flesh and drink his blood, you will have life in you and you will live for ever.

You come to the altar today with faith and prayer. Promise me that you will try to stay close to Jesus always, and never turn your back on him. As you grow older, go on learning about Jesus by listening to his word and by talking to him in prayer. If you stay close to him, you will always be happy.

5. Dear parents of these children: your love for Christ has made this day possible. For you are your children’s first teachers in the ways of faith. By what you say and do, you show them the truths of our faith and the values of the Gospel. This is indeed not only a sacred duty, but a grace, a great privilege. Many other members of the Church share in this task, but the main responsibility for your children’s religious formation rests upon your shoulders. So try to make your homes genuinely Christian. Help your children to grow and mature as Jesus did at Nazareth, “in wisdom, in stature and in favour with God and men” (Lc 2,52). Allow no one to take advantage of their lack of experience and knowledge. As you share with them in their personal pilgrimage to God, may you always be united in prayer and worship and in humble love of God and his people.

6. Dear teachers in our Catholic school: you too deserve an honoured place in our celebration today. Together with the parents, you help to prepare the children for the worthy reception of the sacraments and for a more active role in the Christian community. You bring them to a reverence and knowledge of God’s word and you explain to them the doctrine of the Church. And thus you introduce them gradually into the riches of the mystery of salvation.

You are heirs of a great tradition, and the People of God is in your debt. As you carry out your important mission in that special community of faith which is the Catholic school, may you have a deep love for the Church. May your love for the Church radiate through all your various activities and be reflected in the way you faithfully hand on the sacred deposit of the faith.

7. Beloved brother priests: this is a day of joy for you also, for these little ones are members of the parishes in which you have the privilege to serve. Together with their families and teachers, you introduce the children to the wider Christian community and help them to grow to the fullness of maturity in Christ.To them and to the whole parish, you seek to give a shepherd’s care. May you be the best of shepherds and model your lives on our Lord and Redeemer.

I known that your Bishops are anxious to develop throughout England and Wales practical programmes of adult education in the faith. I urge you be in the vanguard of those efforts, which are so important for the vitality of the Church.

I also encourage you to make the worthy celebration of the Eucharist the first priority of your pastoral ministry. Recall the words of the Second Vatican Council: “The other sacraments, as well as every ministry of the Church and every work of the apostolate, are linked with the Holy Eucharist and are directed towards it. For the most blessed Eucharist contains the Church’s entire spiritual wealth, that is, Christ himself, our Passover and living bread” (Presbyterorum Ordinis PO 5). No other work you do is of greater importance for the Church or of greater service to your people. For the celebration of the Eucharistic Sacrifice is the source and summit of all Christian life. Ensure that the Mass is celebrated with deep reverence and prayerfulness, and make every effort to foster the active participation of the laity. Bear witness to the Church’s faith in the Real Presence of Christ by your own daily visit of Eucharistic adoration (Cfr. ibid. 18). And through the liturgical renewal that was willed by the Council, may all your parishes become communities alive with faith and charity.

8. My brothers and sisters, in Christ, every time we gather for the Eucharist, we take part in the great mystery of faith. We receive the bread of life and the cup of eternal salvation. This is the cause of our joy and the source of our hope. As we speak of life and the Bread of Life, let us also remember those who have died in conflicts through the world: in the conflict in the South Atlantic, in the conflict between Iran and Iraq, in every place where human blood is shed. And in the power of the Blood of Christ may we all find peace, reconciliation and Eternal Life. Amen.





Belize Wednesday, 9 March 1983


Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

1. It is a great joy for me to be able to spend some time together with you, in Belize, at the end of my apostolic journey to Central America, before I go on to Haiti. I am pleased that my visit takes place on a day that is particularly significant for you.

It is my privilege, but also my duty, as Successor of the Apostle Peter and Pastor of the universal Church, to “impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you . . . that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith” (
Rm 1,11-12). This is indeed an hour of faith for all of us. As I greet the authorities of this land, I wish to express my closeness to all of you. I embrace, in the charity of Christ, the young and the old, the Christian families, and all those who work and suffer and pray for the coming of God’s Kingdom on earth. To my brother Bishops and priests and to all the Religious I offer the expression of my special gratitude for your partnership in the Gospel.

My dearly beloved faithful of Belize, it is truly a great joy for me not only to be with you today but to be able to offer in this noble house the eternal sacrifice of Christ on the cross to his heavenly Father. Calling upon each one of you the divine grace and blessing of the Lord, I therefore invite you to enter into the great mystery we are about to celebrate and to learn from today’s celebration that Jesus Christ calls each of you into intimate union with him so that not one of those whom he has called may be lost. The call to the Christian is a call to an eternal commitment to Christ and we renew this commitment each time we share in his Body and Blood. This then is the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. Let us join, then, in praying to the Lord Jesus so that the mystical bride of Christ, the Church in this land of Belize, may always witness to its calling to intimate and vital union with him, and that it may contribute effectively to the building up of your young nation so that in the words of your national anthem it may be truly a land of the free with the freedom of the children of God.

2. You have perhaps heard that, in different places in Central America, during my mission, I have insisted on the theme of unity, the unity of the local Church, united with its Bishop, and with the other local Churches, in the unity of the universal Church. Today, I would like to consider with you and for you another aspect of the same major theme of unity, namely the unity to which the various Churches and ecclesial communities are called, in the supreme, organic unity of the one Church of Christ.

This, as you know, is what we call ecumenism, and you also know well that the Second Vatican Council made ecumenism and the ecumenical task one of its major concerns. Indeed, it has published a whole document on the subject of the restoration of unity. And I myself have repeated, since the time I was elected Pope, that one of the first. and major tasks of my pontificate is this restoration of unity among all Christians, For this reason, it has been, since the beginning, an important part of the programme of my journey as a pilgrim, to take up the subject of Christian unity and to meet with representatives of other Churches and ecclesial communities. So it was in Germany, the United States of America, Great Britain, and elsewhere. So it is now here in Belize.

I wish, therefore, to greet with brotherly affection in Christ Jesus all the leaders and members of the Christian Churches and ecclesial communities present in Belize, in particular the Anglican and Methodist communities here. All of you, dear brothers and sisters, together with the members of the Catholic Church must work and pray so that the unity which Christ desires for his followers will be fully realised in truth and charity. Meanwhile, fraternal and sincere collaboration in Christian service will be a sure sign of true discipleship.

230 3. We have all heard, in the reading of the Gospel just proclaimed, the repeated references to unity among his disciples, which our Lord wished to express in this solemn prayer to his Father, just before he faced condemnation and death on the Cross. Unity is not a passing reference: it is a central concern of Christ’s prayer. It comes back again and again in the section we have read. This insistence is very revealing. It manifests to us how deeply and intensely the Lord felt about his disciples being one. The unity of all Christians is therefore not something marginal or indifferent which can be dispensed with. On the contrary, it is the will of Christ.

Secondly, the very fact that the Lord prays to his Father for the gift of unity in this decisive moment of his life should impress on us the dangers to such unity, on the part of short-sighted, self-seeking and impassioned men and women, tempted moreover by the Devil, the father of division. It should also impress on us the great responsibility of us all to work for the restoration of unity when unity has been broken, as has sadly happened many times during the past two millennia.

The Lord then, as he approached his own sacrificial death, which he suffered “to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad” (Gv 11, 52), foresaw the tragedy and scandal of division among Christians, and by the same token he taught us that unity is not to be dismissed as impossible or unnecessary, and that division is not to be accepted as a necessary evil. No, it is his will and the content of his prayer that we “be one”, as he and the Father “are one” (Gv 17, 22; cf. 10, 30).

4. Thus, we have learned that, when we engage in work for Christian unity, we are accomplishing the will of our Lord. Moreover, we have learned that prayer through, with and in Christ is the main source of this unity. Since prayer for Christian unity, and, if possible, common prayer for Christian unity, is an essential element of our ecumenical work, let us then be faithful to this prayer.

Prayer cannot be what it should be without what the Second Vatican Council calls a change of heart (Unitatis Redintegratio
UR 7). Another name for this is “conversion”, which as we know was the substance of our Lord’s first preaching. All of us need conversion, or a change of heart, precisely in order to enter fully into Christ’s thoughts and intentions when he prays for unity We need to be convinced of the importance of the cause of Christian unity, with all that this implies in the fields of fraternal relations, mutual esteem, collaboration, dialogue, and common witness, study and prayer.

5. This however is not all. The Decree on Ecumenism speaks also about holiness of life (Ivi, UR 8). And, indeed, if we pay careful attention to what our Lord, in his priestly prayer, presents as the ultimate model of Christian unity, we cannot but be convinced that unity depends on holiness. Because he prays “that they may all be one, even as thou, Father, art in me and I in thee, that they also may be one in us” (Gv 17, 21). And again “That they may be one even as we are one” (Gv 17, 22). The reading from the Letter to the Ephesians also puts Christian unity at the same lofty level when it says “I . . . a prisoner for the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called.. eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ef 4, 1-3).

Yes, dear brethren, nothing short of the unity of the Holy Trinity in itself and our unity with the Holy Trinity can bring about full unity among Christians. When we strive for this perfect communion among all Churches and ecclesial communities, this is what we mean: unity shaped, modelled on, and given to us by the Holy Trinity. Let us remember that unity and holiness in the Church go together. When we strive, then, to be good Christians, and true Christians, unity among us should be one of our main goals.

6. It is in such a context of Christian life and Christian commitment that the whole ecumenical task should be placed. By this I understand what is called “growing together”, that is the set of relations which should exist and grow between Christians living together in the same neighbourhood, and facing together the same world, in which they are called to serve their fellowman and the good of society. By this I understand also the dialogue between our Church and other Churches and ecclesial communities, now being held at different levels.

But, again, all these means and instruments of the ecumenical task should flow from the deep source of our Christian vocation, which is founded on the word of God and the Sacrament of Baptism, and finds expression in the common profession of the ancient Creeds of the Church and in the Lord’s prayer to his Father for unity among his disciples. And this unity is indeed modelled on the unity of the Most Holy Trinity.

This is true ecumenism and these are the true marks of the ecumenical movement. Ecumenism is not meant to serve any merely human goals, including political aims of any kind. Ecumenism is not compatible with the blurring of confessional boundaries by the watering down of the content of the faith we have received from the Apostles, or by the indiscriminate admission of the faithful of another ecclesial community to the Eucharist of our own. It is certainly not compatible with an aggressive proselytism that disturbs and hurts - sometimes even with unworthy procedures - the degree of unity which an ecclesial community already possesses. Ecumenism is an evangelical task and it has to be understood and put into practice only with an evangelical inspiration and with means true to the Gospel that we have all received from Christ.

7. My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this is the message I am happy to leave to you in Belize. I know that you receive it with an open heart. I pray that you may be given from on high the gift of a still deeper commitment to the cause of holy unity. And I ask you to pray together with me that we may be finally blessed with the gift of perfect unity “so that the world may believe” (cf. Gv 17, 21). Let us ask this for the glory of the Most Holy Trinity - Father, Son and Holy Spirit - through Jesus Christ our one Mediator, our one Saviour, our one Lord. Amen.

Antes de concluir, quiero saludar con afecto y alentar en su fe cristiana a todos los hermanos de lengua española que han querido venir aquí para ver al Papa, procedentes de los Países cercanos.

Me es particularmente grata la presencia de los Obispos de la Región pastoral del Sudeste de México, acompañados de numerosos fieles. En vosotros, queridos hermanos, saludo también a todos los habitantes de vuestro País, cuya imborrable visita recuerdo siempre con tanto agrado.




(MAY 2-11, 1984)

Fairbanks Airport (Alaska), Wednesday, 2 May 1984


Dear Brothers and Sister in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Peace be with you!

1. I greet you with the very words that we have just heard the Risen Christ address to his disciples in the Gospel of Saint John. I use this expression not only to emphasize the wonderful joy that is ours in this Easter season, but also in remembrance of Christ’s promise: "Where two or three are gathered in my name there am I in the midst of them" (
Mt 18,2). Since we have come together in the name of Christ, Christ is here in our midst.

My dear brothers and sisters, do we not have a feeling of overwhelming happiness, a deep calm, in knowing that Jesus - our Risen Saviour, our Paschal Sacrifice, the Light of the world, - this Jesus is dwelling in our hearts and offering us his peace? I must tell you how good it is for me to be united with you today in the peace of the Risen Christ.

2. Observing the joy of the disciples when they see the Lord, we notice from the Gospel passage that there is something different about him. The doors are closed and yet he enters. He bears the marks of death and yet he lives. The Gospel narratives of both Saint John and Saint Luke are at pains to tell us that after the Resurrection the body of Jesus is different. He has entered into the stage of his risen and glorious life.

In Saint John’s Gospel this is the second appearance of Jesus to the disciples assembled as a group. After the first appearance, their exhilaration at seeing Jesus was so great that, when they met Thomas afterwards, they could not resist exclaiming: "We have seen the Lord!". But Thomas would not accept their witness: "I will never believe it without probing the nail-prints in his hands, without putting my finger in the nail marks and my hand into his side". Perhaps it is easy for us to judge Thomas too harshly for his disbelief. After all, do we not often use the expression, "seeing is believing"? Does not our age tend to believe only what can be proved by the senses? Does not modern man remain incredulous of what he cannot see or touch or hear?

Jesus understands Thomas and the reasons for his doubts. When he meets Thomas, Jesus immediately says to him: "Take your fingers and examine my hands. Put your hand into my side. Do not persist in your unbelief, but believe". So overwhelmed is Thomas by the Lord’s gentleness, compassion and patience that he can barely utter in humble recognition: "My Lord and my God!". Yes, this truly was the Lord, transformed by the Resurrection, and fully alive.

232 3. The side of Christ into which Thomas placed his hand is the very same that had been pierced by the soldier’s spear and from which "came out blood and water". And with the flowing of that "blood and water" the Church is born from the side of Christ. Thus, through his suffering and death, Christ fashions the Church from his own side in order that his risen presence may be manifested to the world. By God’s will, the Church becomes the sacrament or sign of Christ on earth. As the Body of Christ, she becomes the point of encounter between God and humanity: between the Creator and creatures, between the Redeemer and the redeemed. And as Thomas was invited to "see and believe" by experiencing the risen presence of Christ in his glorified body, so too are all people invited to "see and believe" by experiencing the same risen presence of Christ in his Mystical Body, the Church.

4. In our first reading today from the Acts of the Apostles, which tells us what happened in the house of the Roman centurion Cornelius, we see that the message of faith is communicated through the Church: Peter was not preaching on his own initiative alone. The Scripture tells us that Cornelius had been directed by an angel to send for Peter, and Peter had gone there on instructions from the Holy Spirit. In addition, while Peter was preaching on the meaning of the events of Jesus’ life, death and Resurrection, "the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word" (
Ac 9,44). By this preaching, Peter was involved in a profoundly ecclesial activity. And so is everyone who evangelizes, for one can authentically proclaim the Gospel of Christ only in the name of the Church and in union with the Church.

My predecessor Paul VI made reference to this truth in his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi "When the most obscure preacher, catechist or pastor in the most distant land preaches the Gospel, gathers his little community together or administers a Sacrament, even alone, he is carrying out an ecclesial act, and his action is certainly attached to the evangelizing activity of the whole Church by institutional relationships, but also by profound invisible links in the order of grace. This presupposes that he acts not in virtue of a mission which he attributes to himself or by a personal inspiration, but in union with the mission of the Church and in her name" (Pauli VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi EN 60).

How aptly this description applies to the Church in Alaska and particularly in the Diocese of Fairbanks, where the population is scattered over 409,000 square miles. In reading the history of the missionary activity in this vast area, might we not ask whether the first missionaries would have dared to penetrate the interior of Alaska unless they had been fired by a profound love for Christ’s Church and utterly convinced of the Church’s duty to proclaim the Gospel to all people? The early missionary efforts of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate and the continuing labors of the Society of Jesus are well known. The missionaries stand out in this history as the true heroes of the faith, whose courage and zeal made possible the building up of the Church in this land.

Today the work of preaching and teaching the Gospel in the name of the Church is zealously continued by religious and diocesan priests, by deacons, by women religious, religious brothers and catechists. Many of them undertake great personal sacrifices, often traveling long distances to bring the word of God with its message of hope and love to their brothers and sisters.

These missionary efforts still today come under the pastoral care of the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith and are assisted by the Pontifical Missionary Societies. Specifically this means that evangelization in this Diocese, and in so many others like it throughout the world, is supported by the interest and solidarity of others. In this regard the Catholics of North America have exercised a special role in sustaining and promoting the missionary efforts of the Holy See. They are owed an immense debt of gratitude. And today, standing on this missionary soil of America, I wish to express my heartfelt thanks to the Church throughout the United States for everything it has done for the cause of spreading the light of Christ’s Gospel.

5. Dear brothers and sisters: let us beseech the Lord who calls laborers into his harvest, to grant that many young people will dedicate their lives to the missionary work of the Church. May these young people respond generously to the Lord’s call to the priesthood and religious life. And thus may the presence of the Risen Christ continue to be revealed in his Church, and "the good news of peace proclaimed through Jesus Christ who is the Lord of all".

Dear brothers and sisters in Alaska: may the peace of the Risen Jesus be with you always!

We are journeying from Alaska to Korea. And as we recall the sad event in which - along this same route - all the passengers of the aircraft lost their lives, we commend their souls to the merciful God, as we recite the "Regina Coeli".


Seoul Thursday, 3 May 1984


Praised be Jesus Christ!

1. In his first Letter to the Corinthians, Saint Paul bears witness to the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. He says: "Christ died for our sins . . . he was buried . . . he was raised on the third day". The basis of his testimony is the fact that the Risen Lord appeared to the Apostles and disciples and finally to Paul himself (
1Co 15,3-4). It is this central mystery of the faith, the Paschal Mystery, the mystery of the death and Resurrection of Christ, which that great Apostle and missionary proclaimed to the Christians in Corinth and to everyone he met.

Like Saint Paul, I have come to Korea today to bear witness to the Resurrection of Christ. I have come to speak to all who have received the Gospel and who hold fast to it, to all who firmly believe that the Gospel is the way to salvation. I have also come to proclaim the crucified and risen Jesus to all who freely choose to listen to my voice. But you, dear seminarians, you, together with your Bishops and superiors, are the very first ones in Korea with whom I share the Church’s Alleluia of Easter joy, proclaiming the Lord’s victory over sin and death. You are the first ones with whom I share the joy of the Paschal Mystery by celebrating the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. And so it should be, for you are in a very real sense the future and hope of the Church in this beloved land.

2. Already in the 1820s, efforts were begun by lay people to foster vocations to the priesthood. Despite a raging persecution, your holy ancestors spontaneously formed the Angels’ Sodality, to foster, pray for, and support vocations. And it was from such fervent communities of Christian life that the first Korean priests came: Father Andrew Kim Taegon, who is venerated in this chapel, and Father Thomas Choe Yang’up.

Even as seminarians, younger than most of you here present, those first priests of Korea showed a zeal for study and a hunger for wisdom, together with strong faith, willing obedience and persevering hope. In these ways, but above all by their readiness to die for Christ and the Gospel, they shine forth as great and lasting examples for all of you.

Ten years after Father Kim’s martyrdom, the first seminary in Korea was founded in Paeron in 1855. Then, after untold efforts and sacrifices at Puhunggol, Yongsan, Taegu, and Togwon in the North, the regional major seminaries of Seoul and Kwangju were eventually established. I am pleased that last year a seminary was begun at Taegu, and at Suwon another has been opened this year to commemorate my coming to Korea.

Nine hundred strong, dear brothers in Christ, you are a consolation and great promise for the Church. The Church looks to you with much expectation and hope, and she asks you to grow ever stronger in your faith in Christ by imitating the example of Father Kim and Father Choe and the many others who have given their lives in the service of the Gospel.

3. This time of preparation for the priesthood should help each of you to strengthen the conviction that Jesus Christ is "the way and the truth and the life" (Jn 14,16). He is the way to the Father. Jesus himself lives for the Father in his total dedication to the Father’s will, by accomplishing the work of the Redemption of the world. And he leads us to the Father as well.

In the seminary, while preparing for the priesthood, you must strive to penetrate the mystery of Christ. You must seek an ever deeper understanding of the union that Christ has with the Father precisely because he is the Son. In today’s Gospel he tells us: "I am in the Father and the Father is in me" (Ibid.14, 10. 11). It is because of this union with the Father that he can say to Philip: "He who has seen me has seen the Father" (Ibid. 14, 9). Each of you, dear seminarians, must understand this mystery of Jesus Christ. You must grasp this mystery in such a way that it becomes for you interior truth, truth in your very heart. You must grasp the mystery in such a way that the mystery can take possession of your whole being.

By pondering the mystery of Christ, you come to understand the priesthood and develop a priestly attitude. Seek to put on the mind and heart of Jesus Christ. Remember that the crucified and risen Savior wishes you one day to celebrate the Eucharist: the sacrament of his own Sacrifice for the salvation of the world. This Sacrifice has its eternal and unending beginning in the union of the Son with the Father, of which today’s Gospel speaks. The Sacrifice of the Mass, which is the center of your priesthood, remains forever the Sacrifice of the Son of God, who became man in order to lead us to the Father.

4. I wish to draw the attention of the Church in Korea to the importance of making intense efforts to foster vocations and to provide the best possible priestly formation in the seminaries. An abundance of vocations and an effective seminary training: these are proofs of the vitality of the Church. They are signs that the Cross and Resurrection of Christ, through the action of the Holy Spirit, are bringing forth precious fruits in the Church in Korea.

In your efforts to foster vocations, which God in his merciful providence is furnishing in abundance, let your first practice be frequent prayer for this intention. Pray with confidence to the Lord of the harvest, remembering the promise of Jesus which we have heard again today: "Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it" (Jn 14,13).

Let me add a special word to those responsible for the formation of these young men. Dear brothers in Christ, never doubt how highly the Church esteems you and the work you do, so vitally important for the future. As I assure you of the support of my prayers, I also exhort you to convey not only knowledge of Christ and his Church but Christ himself. Christ must be communicated through the purity and power of the word of God. Inspire a deep love for the person of Jesus. May the example of your personal lives render him present. May your words and deeds be a sign of how deeply you believe that Jesus Christ is "the way and the truth and the life" (Ibid. 14, 6).

Dear brothers in Christ: the priesthood is born of God’s love. It means everything for the Church in Korea. Let us praise God for this great gift and for the young men who will transmit it to the future generations in this land through Christ our Lord. Amen.

S. John Paul II Homil. 226