Speeches 2000 - Saturday, 8 April 2000



Monday, 10 April 2000

Dear Brothers and Sisters!

1. I am pleased once again to meet you who have come from various parts of the world for the beatification of Mariano de Jesús Euse Hoyos, Francis Xavier Seelos, Anna Rosa Gattorno, Mary Elisabeth Hesselblad and Mariam Thresia Chiramel Mankidiyan. I greet you all with affection: Bishops, priests, sisters, religious and numerous lay faithful.

As we continue the joy of yesterday's celebration, we have the opportunity to turn our gaze to the new blesseds with greater veneration, in order to reflect on certain aspects of their witness.

2. I wish to extend a very cordial greeting to all the pilgrims who have come to take part in the beatification of the Colombian priest, Mariano de Jesús Euse Hoyos. I greet the Colombian Cardinals, Bishops, priests and faithful, who give thanks to God for the marvels he has wrought through Fr Marianito.

A priest deeply dedicated to his mission, he was always guided by a solid faith rooted in life and committed to his neighbour. He was merciful and attentive to everyone, especially the poor and needy. His fame endures among you and is an example to imitate, especially at this crucial moment in the history of your beloved homeland.

I would like the radiant figure of Bl. Mariano Euse to be seen by all Colombian society as "a gift of peace" within the context of this Jubilee Year. Colombia will achieve peace if it always and everywhere respects the sacred and inviolable right to life. Peace, a gift of God, is also a task for man. For this reason all Colombians, without exception, must join forces in building it by rejecting all forms of violence and combatting poverty, hunger, unemployment, armed conflict, kidnapping, drug trafficking and harm to nature. May Fr Marianito's example help you to be ever more conscious that peace and integral, harmonious development must always go hand in hand.

3. I gladly welcome the Bishops from the United States and Germany, as well as the members of the Redemptorist Congregation and all the pilgrims present for the beatification of Fr Francis Xavier Seelos. In his priestly ministry and missionary apostolate, Fr Francis Xavier was careful to discern the spiritual needs of the communities he served, and his dedication to preaching and the celebration of the sacraments brought many back to Christ.

In this Great Jubilee Year, may Bl. Francis Xavier's example inspire more young people to respond with generosity to Christ's call to take on the task of evangelization in the priesthood and religious life.

4. In a society like today's, often anxious for material goods and tempted to forget God, the Supreme Good, Bl. Anna Rosa Gattorno offers the challenge of a life totally spent for him and for her youngest and poorest brethren. The sorrows and sacrifices that marked her marriage and motherhood soon called her to embrace the crucified Jesus with a remarkably intense faith and love in order to follow him with her whole being. The Institute of the "Daughters of St Anne, mother of Mary Immaculate", which she founded, is the fruit of her exemplary synthesis of abandonment to Providence and tireless commitment to neighbour. At the time of her death in 1900, Mother Rosa left 3,500 sisters in various countries around the world.

She always drew her strength from daily Eucharistic communion and impassioned union with the crucified and glorious Christ. The new blessed makes a strong appeal to us all to love, defend and promote life, showing us the depth and tenderness of God's love for every creature.

5. It gives me great pleasure to welcome the Sisters of the Order of the Most Holy Saviour, and the pilgrims from Sweden and from other countries present for the beatification of Sr Mary Elisabeth Hesselblad. In particular I extend a warm welcome to the Lutheran faithful who have come for this event. Bl. Elisabeth teaches us to turn to the saving Cross of Christ, the source of strength in times of trial. Her ecumenical commitment, practical charity and deep spirituality are a model for all Christ's followers, especially for those living the consecrated life. Through Bl. Elisabeth's intercession, may the cause of Christian unity continue to make progress, and may her work and charism remind the Christians of Europe of the unique evangelical roots of their culture and civilization.

6. I extend warm greetings to the Bishops from India, to the members of the Congregation of the Holy Family, as well as to the priests, religious and faithful who rejoice in the beatification of Sr Mariam Thresia Mankidiyan. Bl. Mariam Thresia dedicated herself generously to the practice of the evangelical counsels and an intense life of prayer, which did not spare her suffering, sustained her in her many charitable works and willingness to seek out those who were lost. Through her intercession, may the Church in India be blessed with an increase of vocations to the religious life, imbued with her spirit of prayer and charity.

7. Dear brothers and sisters, divine charity has added another five names to the long list of saints and blesseds which extends through two millennia from generation to generation. As we admire and venerate them, let us imitate their faith, so that the grace of Christ the Redeemer can achieve his sanctifying work in each of us. When you return to your countries and communities, be witnesses of the great things you have seen and heard.

I affectionately impart my Blessing to you and willingly extend it to all your relatives and loved ones.


Thursday 13 April 2000

Brothers and Sisters of the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart!

1. I extend a most cordial welcome to all of you. I first greet the Rector Magnificent, Prof. Sergio Zaninelli, whose noble address I listened to attentively, appreciating his clear description of the fundamental values that 80 years ago inspired the foundation of the Catholic University and which must continue to guide the life of all who are part of it today.

I greet Cardinal Angelo Sodano, who celebrated Holy Mass for you; I greet the President, and the other members of the Toniolo Institute, the pro-rectors, deans and teachers. I also greet you, dear students, and the administrative, auxiliary and support staff, both those in service and those retired, the friends of the university and everyone who, in various ways, makes up your large family.

2. Together you have come from the branches in Milan, Rome, Brescia and Piacenza to make your Jubilee pilgrimage. It is occurring at the end of the 40th anniversary of the death of Fr Agostino Gemelli and on the eve of the celebrations for the 80th anniversary of your athenaeum, which opened in December 1920. Others had desired it and prepared it in advance. I am thinking in particular of Prof. Giuseppe Toniolo, whose name is significantly linked to your founding body. But it was Fr Gemelli who achieved this work, of which Italian Catholics are so proud.

Its coincidence with the imminent anniversary gives your pilgrimage a particular feature: it spurs you to rediscover your roots. And how can we forget, in the context of the Holy Year, that a grace of "conversion" was at the origin of your institution? It was by discovering Christ in the intensity of the Franciscan tradition that Agostino Gemelli drew the far-sighted wisdom and indomitable courage to create this splendid combination of persons and activities, of study and action, which is your university.

In coming to celebrate the Jubilee, you are following in the footsteps of your founder and of the many spiritual teachers who have honoured your institution over the years. I remember in particular Prof. Giuseppe Lazzati, Rector of the university in years past, who during the Council made an enlightening contribution to the discussion of several topics. I hope that you will be able to emulate their wisdom and integrity of life.

3. As you well know, a few years ago I addressed the Apostolic Constitution Ex corde Ecclesiae to Catholic universities; today, in the light of the Jubilee, it is more timely than ever. I would especially like to remind you of a passage in that Constitution which precisely concerns the deep unity that must exist in a Catholic university between academic activities and pastoral initiatives.

With regard to the latter I wrote: "Pastoral ministry is that activity of the university which offers the members of the university community an opportunity to integrate religious and moral principles with their academic study and non-academic activities, thus integrating faith with life. It is part of the mission of the Church within the university, and is also a constitutive element of a Catholic university itself, both in its structure and in its life. A university community concerned with promoting the institution's Catholic character will be conscious of this pastoral dimension and sensitive to the ways in which it can have an influence on all university activities" (n. 38).

Dear students and teachers, I urge you to pursue with all your energy the ideal that pastoral work is not something to be done along with other things, but a dimension that permeates everything one does, integrating it into the educational programme proper to a Catholic university. In this way the university becomes a great educational community in which students, teachers and technical-administrative personnel work together to achieve the same goal, that of providing the young students with an integral formation worthy of the name.

4. When I speak of "formation", my thoughts naturally turn to the example left us by Jesus the Teacher and recorded for us in the Gospels. Jesus is the "Good Teacher" (cf. Mk Mc 10,17), the teacher gentle and lowly in heart (cf. Mt Mt 11,29), the teacher par excellence. We must all be inspired by his teaching if we want to be equal to the task entrusted to us. Jesus' teaching is imbued with wisdom, prudence and patience; it is a teaching attentive to others, capable of interpreting their needs and expectations, ever ready to be challenged by various human situations.

In especially addressing you dear teachers of the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, I am concerned to give you a task: be true and authentic teachers; see that you express clearly the educational programme that inspires you, giving an account for the hope that is in you (cf. 1P 3,15) as true disciples of Christ. Make it your commitment and honour to offer to the Church and the country professionally well-trained young people, politically sensitive citizens and, in particular, enlightened and courageous Christians.

5. During your pilgrimage you have passed through the Holy Door, a symbol of Christ who opens the way for man to enter into a life of communion with God. To enter through this door means to be deeply converted to Christ in one's thoughts and in one's life. One's cultural commitment itself is inwardly affected by this decision.

Christian scholars, both teachers and students, are distinguished by their ability to combine the rigour of scientific research with the certainty of believing that Jesus Christ, as the eternal Word of God, is Truth in its fullest sense. From this stems their vocation to explore, to analyze and to explain individual truths in the light of Christ, the absolute Truth, and to accompany their studies with prayer and integrity of life. Know that this is your vocation. Never tire of turning your hearts to the only Saviour, to whose Heart your institution is consecrated.

I know that at the moment you are carefully reflecting on what must be done in connection with the imminent reform of the university system; it is a demanding and complex reform, which includes radical innovations. Precisely for this reason the fundamental values of your life and work are challenged. On this occasion too, I am sure that you will not fail to interpret the demands of change wisely, in conformity with the Christian inspiration that characterized your athenaeum and in harmony with the directives of the Magisterium. The tradition of autonomy, which you have always enjoyed, will enable you to carry out the upcoming changes in a way that guarantees that freedom which has always been an essential condition for the growth of knowledge.

Your university is still vitally concerned to foster a close relationship - one that already exists on a broad scale - between your structures and the Church in Italy, starting with fruitful relations with the Italian Episcopal Conference and with the cultural programme it is promoting for an effective presence in the country, in various cultural spheres and especially in the revision of the educational system.

6. Obviously, this specific attention to your identity and to the Church's pastoral care should not be interpreted as cultural isolation, intolerance or a rejection of dialogue. Moreover, within the life of the Christian community of your Catholic university, one must practise the spirit of mutual listening, remembering that the riches of the Christian community lie in the diversity of gifts that the Spirit himself distributes as he wills (cf. 1Co 12,11). As for civil society, the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart faces a tremendous challenge today, since it must serve as an areopagus of the different cultures that are becoming interwoven in Italy, as in many other countries of the world. Being "Catholic" commits your university to combining the indispensable demands of ecclesial membership with sincere openness to any serious cultural expression, with critical reflection on the present and future of a society that is becoming multiethnic and multireligious.

7. As each of you lays before the Lord the intentions of your own heart, I repeat to you what I have said on other occasions: be conscious of what is required of you by being called Catholic, the name that characterizes your university. It does not stifle but exalts your commitment to authentic human values.

Be proud to belong to the "Catholic" university and try to be equal to the responsibilities that this entails. The memory of your tradition requires it; the very nature of your institution calls for it, and the marvellous educational mission entrusted to you demands it.

"Now is the time for great tasks", wrote Fr Gemelli long ago in 1940. "Wherever you are, show that you are aware of your mission. Be flames that burn, that enlighten, that guide, that comfort" (Foglio agli studenti, October 1940).

I make this advice my own and offer it to you again, invoking the motherly assistance of Our Lady, Sedes sapientiae, on your intentions and initiatives. With these sentiments, I cordially impart a special Apostolic Blessing to everyone here and to all who work in your university.


Friday, 14 April 2000

Dear Brother in the Episcopate,
Dear Young People from the Archdiocese of Rouen,

I welcome you with joy on your Jubilee pilgrimage to Rome, which is at once a time of spiritual retreat, reflection and prayer. I cordially greet everyone who is guiding you on your way, who supports you in your human and spiritual growth and helps you to answer the questions you ask yourselves.

Your stay in the city of Peter and Paul enables you to discover that the Church has a history and a tradition, and is a living people animated by the Holy Spirit. In receiving the witness of faith of the first Christian communities, you are invited in turn to be witnesses and to take your proper place among the People of God. The Church is counting on you; she needs your youth, generosity and dynamism, so that you will become more and more the people God loves, and a new hope will dawn for the world.

Through personal and community prayer, through the sacraments, through the conversations you may have and through visiting significant places of the Church's history and Rome's artistic treasures, you will know Christ and his Church better and will find the way to bear witness to the Good News among your friends. May you be the witnesses that the new century so needs! Of course, you will sometimes need courage and daring to swim against the tide of the tempting offerings of today's world and to act in conformity with the Gospel demands of true love. But you will discover that life with Christ, the search for Truth, the practice of fundamental human and moral values, respect for yourselves and for others lead to genuine freedom and true happiness. To achieve your ideals, ask adults to show you the way and to help you make progress!

The Jubilee is a particularly important occasion for experiencing the merciful love of God who, in forgiving us, opens a new future and communicates to us the fullness of divine life by becoming our food in the Eucharist. Do not be afraid to return ceaselessly to Christ, the source of Life! He wants to support you in your process of conversion, to fill you with grace and to give you his joy! At this time in your lives you rightly ask yourselves about your future. Showing you his confidence, Jesus turns his gaze to you and calls you to make your life something beautiful by letting the talents entrusted to you bear fruit for the service of the Church and of your brethren, as well as for building a society of greater solidarity, justice and peace.

Christ is calling you to put your hope in him and to follow him on the paths of marriage, priesthood or consecrated life. Do not be afraid to listen to the Lord as he speaks to you in the silence of your heart! The Church is at your side through her priests, religious and lay people, to help you to discern your true vocation. Jesus will give you the necessary grace to answer his call. He will give you the deep joy of true disciples.

I wish you all a good journey to Easter. May your Jubilee pilgrimage revive in you the desire to live intensely the great mystery of Christ who died and rose! I gladly impart my Apostolic Blessing to you and to all your loved ones.


Friday 14 April 2000

Mr Ambassador,

1. I am pleased to receive the Letters of Credence appointing you Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Argentine Republic to the Holy See. I am deeply grateful for your words to me, which are a sign of the good relations between this Apostolic See and that noble nation of the "Cono Sur", whose inhabitants, as you have mentioned, preserve profound human values in their traditions and feel deeply rooted in the Catholic faith, which offers them meaning for life and moral guidance, with beneficial effects for Argentine social life.

I am also grateful for the kind greeting from President Fernando de la Rúa, expressing his personal sentiments and desire to increase the traditional cooperation between the Church and the State for the common good. Mr Ambassador, please convey my gratitude for this to the country's Chief Executive, to whom I extend my best wishes for his important and sensitive responsibility.

2. In recent years you have represented your nation in Israel, which I recently had the opportunity to visit on my great pilgrimage to the places linked to the history of salvation. Now, after completing your diplomatic mission in the land of the Son of God made man, you have come to continue your work in this Apostolic See, at the same diplomatic legation where you served for several years.

In these circumstances you will be familiar with the nature of this new and important responsibility which your Government has entrusted to you. In a certain way it is a unique mission, considering the role which the Holy See plays in the concert of nations to improve relations between peoples and to achieve a more peaceful coexistence and closer collaboration among all. Its eminently spiritual activity is inspired by the conviction that "faith throws a new light on all things and makes known the full ideal which God has set for man, thus guiding the mind towards solutions that are fully human" (Gaudium et spes GS 11). For this reason, besides showing concern for the particular Churches of each nation, the Holy See is also interested in the good of all the citizens and endeavours to promote in the international forums those rights of individuals and peoples which honour their dignity and the sublime vocation that God has given every human being.

3. I would like to assure you, Mr Ambassador, that in my concern for all the Churches I feel very close to Argentina; its achievements give me joy and I share in its anxieties.

In this regard, I am pleased that the nation has enjoyed a tranquil political climate in recent years without any great shocks, even when it had to face a legacy of serious problems in society and a critical economic situation. In this way the country has shown that it can pursue its destiny with normal democratic activity, which guarantees its citizens' participation in political decisions and the orderly succession of leaders, while recognizing the contribution made to the nation's life by each individual. I ardently hope that this civic maturity will be accompanied by a correct idea of the human person. A profound knowledge of these values will encourage the different political forces, despite their legitimate differences, to work together on resolving the most pressing issues that affect the nation's general interests and, above all, the demands of justice and peace.

In this task, your Government is aware of the importance that should be given not only to administrative or financial measures but also to increasing the citizens' awareness so that they can participate in the common good with hope and a spirit of collaboration, without their legitimate differences becoming irreconcilable antagonisms. This calls for truly profound and lasting ideals that are based on the objective truth about the human being, to which society's highest authorities must bear witness by their zeal for service, openness and integrity, influencing the whole people in a way by their own commitment to building a better future.

4. It is also important that government programmes for giving a decisive impetus to the nation's growth take into account the integral progress of the human person, who is both an individual and a social being for whom spiritual and religious values are just as essential as material ones.

In fact, a country's development cannot be measured merely by the wealth it produces, even when this is an indispensable condition and, therefore, an objective to pursue. Thus, when one of the essential dimensions of integral development is ignored, there is a risk of creating new imbalances and, eventually, of jeopardizing the achievements and successes. Your Government is aware that an increase in production is not enough if it does not bring true prosperity to everyone, and that there is no true prosperity without adequate and universally accessible education at the various levels, or without a just social order and the prompt administration of justice.

Nor can a solid and hopeful future be built by abandoning the values and institutions that are the basis of every society, such as the family, the protection of minors and the most neglected, much less by destroying the very foundations of law, freedom and personal dignity, or by attacking life from the moment of its conception. As you have mentioned, these values are the common heritage which must also be defended in international forums in order to offer the entire human race a more hopeful future.

5. Mr Ambassador, as you take up the important office to which you have been appointed, I hope that your work will be fruitful and will contribute to further strengthening the good relations between this Apostolic See and the Argentine Republic. You can always rely on the welcome and support of my collaborators. As I ask you to convey my sentiments and good wishes to your country's President and to the beloved Argentine people, I assure you of my prayer to the Almighty, through the intercession of Our Lady of Luján, that with his gifts he will always assist you and your distinguished family, the staff of the diplomatic mission and your country's authorities and citizens, whom I remember affectionately and on whom I invoke the Lord's abundant blessings.


Saturday, 15 April 2000

Dear Brothers and Sisters!

1. I extend a cordial welcome to all of you who have come on pilgrimage to Rome to pass through the Holy Door of the Great Jubilee. Thank you for your visit, by which you also intend to express the sentiments of communion that join you to the Successor of Peter.

I first greet you, dear faithful from the Diocese of Fabriano-Matelica, with your dear Bishop Luigi Scuppa, who has led you to this meeting. I thank him cordially for his kind expressions on your behalf. I would also like to extend my affectionate greeting to the priests, consecrated men and women and lay faithful of your diocesan community, with special attention to the sick, children, young people, families in difficulty and all who would have liked to come but are unable to be with us here today.

I know how deeply the Christian faith is rooted in the people of your region and how, since the fifth century, your Pastors have always remained in close union with the Apostolic See. Today's pilgrimage also reaffirms this vibrant communion which I was able to experience nine years ago during my visit to your Diocese. Strengthened by the ancient traditions that sustained your ancestors' journey of faith, move confidently towards the future and pass on to the younger generation your love for Jesus, man's only Redeemer. Persevere firmly in your fidelity to him and his Church.

2. You have come to Rome to celebrate your Jubilee and then to bear witness at home to the unfathomable riches of God's love. The providential time of this Holy Year is a pressing invitation to deepen your faith in Christ, who came into the world to reveal the heavenly Father's infinite love. Today it is urgently necessary for those who want to be his disciples to drink constantly at the fountains of his Gospel in order to proclaim him without compromise. This is the way to become apostles of the new evangelization.

Believers, especially in our time, must never limit their horizons to intra-ecclesial activities. The great challenges of the current era call for courage and missionary daring. Do not tire, dear brothers and sisters of working for the renewal of society through effective witness, explicit proclamation and enlightened attention to the signs of the times. Put into practice every appropriate initiative in the apostolate. Thus you will offer guidance to all whom God will put on your daily path. I know of your efforts in this regard. May the desire for the new evangelization always be accompanied by deep prayer and continual listening to the Word of God. Strive, then, to be docile instruments of divine love, taking special care of those who are tried by problems or who are far from the faith. In seeing how you act, even those who say they do not believe will be prompted by grace to ask themselves about their eternal destiny. This could be the providential introduction to their encounter with Christ.

3. I now cordially greet the faithful from the parishes of the Most Holy Trinity in Nichelino, in the province of Turin, and of St Zeno in Cambiago, in the Archdiocese of Milan. Dear friends, thank you for your visit, which has given me great pleasure. By your Jubilee pilgrimage to Rome you experience how every baptized person is called to be an active part of Christ's Mystical Body, present in every corner of the world. May you nourish and strengthen yourselves with his sacramental gifts, so that you may be instruments of God's tenderness in your respective communities and open to the needs of all humanity. May Mary, Mother of the Church, always accompany your steps.

4. My affectionate thoughts now turn to the members of the San Marino Retirement Federation and to the members of the Lyons Club of Rome Pantheon. Dear brothers and sisters, thank you for your presence. The Jubilee pilgrimage which you are making will certainly encourage you to continue on your journey of faith. Go back to your daily activities with renewed energy. Like the Good Samaritan, become a "neighbour" to every brother and sister whom Providence lets you meet, proclaiming the hope that never disappoints because it flows from the Gospel.

5. I cordially greet the group of young people from Marseilles. On the eve of Palm Sunday, which brings us into the central mystery of our faith, I invite you to follow Christ. Good Friday and the feast of Easter remind us that beyond all suffering there is the divine light. By contemplating the Saviour's Cross, you will discover the infinite love of God who gave himself for our salvation and who calls you to make something beautiful of your life. In this Jubilee year, may your pilgrimage to Assisi and Rome revive your faith in Christ who died and rose, and help you to build your future! After the example of Peter and Paul, and that of the Poverello, may you be generous witnesses to the Lord in the Church and in the world!

6. Dear brothers and sisters, on returning home, assure your families, your loved ones and your communities that the Pope is close to them with his affection. Entrust your every desire to Our Lady, to whom I know you are very devoted. She will be the one to encourage you in your commitment to walk with greater promptness on the path of holiness, which is every Christian's vocation. I accompany you with my prayer and I bless you all.



Monday, 17 April 2000

1. Dear young participants in the UNIV 2000 International University Congress, I greet you all with affection.

Welcome to this meeting, which this year is again taking place shortly before the Easter celebrations. My greeting in this Holy Week of the Jubilee Year has a particular significance: it is a heartfelt invitation to be ever more fully won over by Christ, the Redeemer of man. This is an invitation which, through you, I wish to extend to young people throughout the world. Be deeply convinced that society needs to find in your faithful witness as young Christians an important stimulus for a sound social and spiritual renewal.

2. The theme of the congress invites you to become more clearly aware of your mission as believers at the dawn of the third millennium. It is strikingly put: The image of man 2,000 years later. You are invited, as it were, to weigh up 2,000 years of history. In fact, the central event of human history, the coming of Christ on earth, divides the course of history in two: before and after Christ. For the Christian, however, the centrality of Jesus is not just a question of measuring the passage of time. The Word made flesh is the true protagonist of history, and the redemption, always at work in the often intricate flux of human events, is history's ultimate hermeneutical key.

We could say that the 2,000 years just ended are not just two millennia after Christ, but in a more real sense two millennia of Christ. This is the truth expressed in the theme of the Great Jubilee: "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and for ever!" (He 13,8). Despite human experience, often made up of failure, war, violence and injustice, Christ has conquered evil once and for all, nailing to the Cross the sentence of our condemnation (cf. Col Col 2,14). As the Apostle Peter writes: "By his wounds you have been healed" (1P 2,24). This is why every moment of time belongs completely to him.

The Holy Year which we are celebrating underlines in a special way the fact that Christ is the centre and the meaning of all that happens, even when, humanly speaking, events seem to elude the rule of his providence. He himself has promised: "I am with you always, to the close of the age" (Mt 28,20). Knowing this, we are encouraged to act always with great confidence, because it is Christ who is at work in us, and because we recognize that in him God is bringing to completion his eternal plan of salvation (cf. Eph Ep 3,11).

3. The "fact" of the redemption, dear young people, opens before us in our daily tasks a horizon full of prospects; even in the contradictions that we often experience at the present time, we know we are constantly advancing towards a sure goal. True progress strives for Christ, for that full union with him, holiness, which is also human perfection. St Paul makes this clear in his Letter to the Ephesians, in which he writes that the Lord has established everything "for building up the Body of Christ, until we all attain ... to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ" (Ep 4,12-13). This is the way believers read and interpret history: it is the history of Christ and we live with him and, immersed in him, advance towards him. Bl. Josemaría Escrivá writes: "In the religious order, man continues to be man and God continues to be God. In this field the high point of progress has already been reached: it is Christ, the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end" (Christ Is Passing By, 104).

Dear young people of UNIV, be confident in this knowledge: the Christian's effort is never in vain. The Christian never works alone. Do not forget it! Every believer is an instrument of God and with him Christ acts through the power of the Holy Spirit. Let God act in you and through you. And for this to happen, you are well aware of the means you should use: the sacraments, prayer, the practice of the virtues and the sanctification of work, as well as spiritual direction.

You need Christ, but Christ also needs you to make him known to your peers, with whom you share experiences and hopes. The Church entrusts you with the mission of bringing them the light of Christ's truth and his universal message of salvation. Always be ready to think of others, forgetting yourselves in order to bring your brothers and sisters closer to God. In this way you will help build a better and more united world, because the conversion and commitment of one are a seed of salvation for all.

4. I entrust you, dear young people, and your daily efforts to Mary, Queen of Apostles. Pray to her often and imitate her virtues. She will help you to know Jesus more intimately and to follow him with increasing fidelity and joy.

From my heart I warmly wish you and your loved ones a Holy Easter and, as I assure each of you of a remembrance in prayer, I cordially bless you.

Speeches 2000 - Saturday, 8 April 2000