Speeches 2000 - Tuesday, 7 November 2000



To His Beatitude Michel Sabbah

Patriarch of Jerusalem for Latins
President of the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land

The trials which the peoples of the Holy Land are enduring at this time are a cause of great suffering to me and I wish to express to everyone, without exception, my deepest solidarity.

Without doubt, the violent change from negotiation to confrontation represents a setback for peace, yet no one must be resigned to fatalism: the Israeli and Palestinian peoples are called by geography and history to live together.

They can achieve this in a peaceful and lasting way only if fundamental rights are guaranteed for everyone: both the Israeli and the Palestinian peoples have the right to live in their own homes in dignity and security.

Only a return to the negotiating table, on an equal footing and with respect for international law, can lead to a future of brotherhood and peace for those living in that blessed land.

Recalling my pilgrimage among you some months ago, I am deeply moved to think of all those places which speak of God's history with man and are a call to work together so that violence, hatred and suspicion may never again disfigure that part of the world.

I encourage you, the Catholic Bishops of the Holy Land, and all leaders of Christian communities to renew your efforts so that mutual respect, with humility and trust, may inspire your relations.

I also appeal to those who have the task of guiding the faithful of Judaism and Islam, that they may find in their faith all the necessary energy for the internal and external peace for which these peoples long to become a reality.

I invite the international community to continue its efforts to help both sides to find solutions that guarantee the desired security and tranquillity, which are the prerogatives of every nation and the preconditions for the life and progress of all society.

As I invoke upon all people of good will the blessing of almighty God, who proclaims peace to his people, to his faithful ones, to those who put their hope in him (cf. Ps Ps 85,9), I also impart an affectionate Apostolic Blessing to Your Beatitude, to your Brother Bishops and to all the faithful entrusted to their care.

From the Vatican, 6 November 2000.



Thursday, 9 November 2000

Rector Magnificent,
Distinguished Deans, Professors, Doctors and Assistants,
Dear Students!

1. It is a great joy for me to be able to meet you once again, as if to repay the visit that you made to me on 13 April last in St Peter's Basilica, when the Catholic University wished solemnly to celebrate its Jubilee.

On this solemn occasion I am meeting the entire community of the Catholic University. I therefore sincerely greet not only all of you here present, but also those from the other branches of the university - in Milan, Brescia and Piacenza - who are linked with us. I extend a special greeting to Cardinal Camillo Ruini, my Vicar General for the Diocese of Rome and President of the Italian Episcopal Conference, as well as to the other dignitaries and civil and religious authorities who have gifted us with their presence. I sincerely thank Mr Emilio Colombo, President of the Toniolo Institute, and Professor Sergio Zaninelli, Rector Magnificent of the University, for the noble words that they addressed to me.

2. I have come to celebrate with you two significant 80th anniversaries: that of the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart and that of the Giuseppe Toniolo Institute for Higher Studies, to which Fr Gemelli, the zealous Franciscan who is responsible for your origins, entrusted the foundation of the Catholic University itself and the task of becoming in time its support and guarantor. Judging from the vitality that the University has shown in these 80 years, that task has been carried out effectively. The very naming of the Institute after the Ven. Toniolo, who prepared the time and the groundwork of the University by a life that was entirely spent in the cause of "Christian culture", served as a programmatic direction put in the genetic code of this University.

Dedicated with holy courage to the Sacred Heart, it has existed since then to show the close harmony of faith and reason, and at the same time to train professionals and scientists who know how to achieve a synthesis between the Gospel and culture, while striving to make their cultural efforts a way of holiness.

3. Culture and holiness! We must not be afraid, when saying these two words, of pairing them unduly. On the contrary, these two dimensions, if well understood, meet at the roots, they unite with naturalness on their journey, they join together in the final goal.

They meet at the roots! Is God, the thrice Holy (cf. Is Is 6,3), not the source of all light for our intellect? Behind our every cultural achievement, if we go to the bottom of things, the mystery appears. Every created reality, in fact, points beyond itself to the One who is its ultimate source and foundation. Man, then, precisely when he is investigating and learning, recognizes his creaturely status, experiences an ever new wonder at the Creator's inexhaustible gifts and reaches out with his intellect and will to the infinite and the absolute. An authentic culture cannot fail to bear the mark of that healthy restlessness so wonderfully described by St Augustine in the beginning of his Confessions: "You have made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in you" (Conf., I, 1).

4. Therefore, cultural commitment and spiritual commitment, far from excluding one another or from being in tension with each other, mutually sustain one other. The intellect certainly has its laws and its method, but it has everything to gain from the holiness of the person who is searching. Holiness, in fact, puts the scholar in a condition of greater interior freedom, enriches his effort with meaning, supports his work with the contribution of those moral virtues that mould authentic and mature people. Man cannot be divided! If the ancient motto "mens sana in corpore sano" has value, then with all the more reason we can say: "mens sana in vita sancta". The love of God, with faithful obedience to his commandments, does not stifle but exalts the power of the intellect, fostering the journey towards truth. Culture and holiness are therefore the "winning" combination for creating that complete humanism of which Christ, revealer of God and revealer of man to himself (Gaudium et spes GS 22), is the supreme model. The halls of the Catholic University must serve as a skilled laboratory for this humanism.

5. In this regard, it is providential that my meeting with you coincides with the 10th anniversary of the Apostolic Constitution Ex corde Ecclesiae, signed by me on 15 August 1990. In it, as you well know, I outlined the essential characteristics of a Catholic university, calling it a "primary and privileged place for a fruitful dialogue between the Gospel and culture" (ibid, n. 43). Allow me to present this document to you again, entrusting it to you for careful and attentive reading, so that your University, by fully honouring the insight of its founder, may ever better embody this ideal. It does not separate you from the network of other universities, and even less from a constructive dialogue with civil society, but asks that you be present with a specific contribution, while staying anchored to the Christian and ecclesial requirements of your identity. Be disciples of truth to the core, even when this may cost misunderstanding and loneliness. The word of God is decisive: "The truth will make you free" (Jn 8,32).

6. It is precisely within this perspective that I find highly significant what you wished to undertake today with two initiatives that give me great pleasure. I am thinking first of all of the new Paul VI International Scientific Institute for Research on Human Fertility and Infertility, which your University has decided to establish precisely at this Polyclinic, as the Rector Magnificent just announced. The Institute intends to bring together skilled researchers working on these delicate problems so that more and more effective solutions can be found in conformity with the sexual and procreative ethics constantly affirmed by the Magisterium.

In this same spirit, I deeply appreciate the witness that the Catholic University wished to give today with the document signed by some of your distinguished teachers on the subject Scientific Development and Respect for Man, with specific reference to the problem of the use of human embryos in stem-cell research. In issues such as these, it is not just some peculiar aspect of culture that is at stake, but a complex set of values, research and behaviour on which the future of mankind and civilization greatly depend.

7. Continue, dear teachers and students, in this impassioned journey of research that is always rigorous from the scientific standpoint, but at the same time is attentive to the ethical dimension, the requirements of faith and human advancement.

I particularly hope that this commitment will also translate into a tenor of academic life that is always able to combine intellectual commitment with that of an authentic Christian experience. Universities are not meant only to increase knowledge, but to form the person. This educational task must never be undervalued. After all, even the transmission of the truth has everything to gain from a climate of human relations marked by values of sincerity, friendship, generosity and mutual respect. I am convinced that, if teachers aspire to being true "educators", they must be so not only as teachers of doctrine, but also as "teachers of life". For all this you have behind you a rich tradition of witnesses to imitate. In this regard, I was struck by a point which Toniolo entered in his spiritual diary: "To have the greatest care of my pupils, treating them as a sacred trust, as friends of my heart, to be guided in the ways of the Lord" (G. Toniolo, Voglio farmi santo, Rome, 1995, p. 60). It is from witnesses such as these that you must draw your inspiration. I am delighted then at the thought that in a few days in this Polyclinic, which is especially dear to me also because of what it has meant in difficult moments of my life, the new chapel will be dedicated to the holy physician Giuseppe Moscati. May his example be a constant guide for you, a concrete ideal of life: many physicians like him should emerge from the halls of the Catholic University!

8. I now turn to you, dear students, with special affection. The beginning of the academic year offers you an occasion to reflect on the meaning of your study in order to strengthen its Christian outlook to the advantage of your future service to society. You will be tomorrow's leaders, the cultural, social and health-care workers of the decades to come. Apply yourselves with love to the toil of your studies and research; do not limit yourselves to dreaming about professional success however legitimate, but look to the beauty of the service that you can render for the building of a more just and united society. You future physicians, in particular, prepare yourselves not only with the most rigorous scientific skill, but also with a human manner that can meet the deep expectations of the patient and his family, a manner that enables the suffering person to understand the mysterious and redeeming dimension of pain. Learn from now on to treat the sick as Jesus himself did!

I, too, experienced similar treatment here at the Gemelli Hospital. And I cannot fail to recall the late Prof. Crucitti and so many other professors, as well as the late Sr Ausilia. Requiescant in pace.

9. Dear family of the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart! Eighty years have passed since the dream of Fr Gemelli began to be realized. This reality was gradually consolidated, so that today it appears majestic not only in its dimensions, but also in the variety and quality of its services. Catholic Italy can be proud of you. But I know that the entire country looks at you with respect and appreciation. Great is your tradition, great also is the task that awaits you! Today you are facing the challenges in an historical period of change, in which adaptations and innovations even in university structures are necessary. May you achieve them with courage and intelligence, without ever betraying the spirit that has always inspired you.

Once again I entrust this journey to the Blessed Virgin Sedes Sapientiae, imploring her maternal protection over you, your loved ones and your work. With these sentiments I sincerely impart my Apostolic Blessing to all.




Thursday, 9 November 2000

Your Holiness,
Dear and Venerable Brother,

"He who loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling" (1Jn 2,10)

This fraternal meeting brings us together in the light which is Christ. May the love of God revealed in Jesus Christ shine upon us, and may the Lord save us from stumbling as we journey forward in friendship.

For me it is a great source of joy and consolation to welcome Your Holiness today, together with the distinguished company that has come with you. I greet the illustrious prelates, priests and lay people, representing the Apostolic Armenian Church as a whole. I welcome His Excellency the Minister for Religious Affairs of the Republic of Armenia. You are all welcome here, and I trust that you will feel at home.

With a sense of deep emotion, Your Holiness, I recall the stay here in the Vatican of your Predecessor, the much lamented Karekin I, who was a guest here from 23-26 March 1999. Although already gravely ill, he wished to attend the Opening of the Rome-Armenia Exhibition, and to make a personal visit to me. My ties with him were deep, and I very much wanted to visit him in Armenia, as a sign of our friendship. But circumstances made that impossible. I ask the Lord to fill his faithful servant with his light and joy in the communion of the saints in heaven.

The visit of Your Holiness to the Church of Rome and to its Bishop falls during the Jubilee of the Year 2000. On 18 January of this year, at the opening of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, I had the joy of crossing the threshold of the Holy Door in the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls, side by side with representatives of many other Churches and Ecclesial Communities. I thank Your Holiness for uniting yourself with this event by sending a representative of the Holy See of Etchmiadzin. On that solemn occasion, I expressed the hope, which I renew today, "that the year of grace 2000 will be for all the disciples of Christ a time to give new impulse to our ecumenical commitment, accepting it as an imperative for Christian consciences. Upon this depends in large part the future of evangelization, the proclamation of the Gospel to the men and women of our time" (Homily, 18 January 2000).

Soon there will be another Jubilee: the celebration of the seventeen hundredth anniversary of the Baptism of Armenia. Your presence here today, dear Brother, affords me the opportunity to wish the Armenian Church a Jubilee year rich in spiritual blessings and pastoral benefits. We will join with you as, throughout the time of the Jubilee, you raise your prayer of intercession and thanksgiving to the Lord. The anniversary of the Baptism of Armenia will surely inspire celebrations and manifestations evoking the history of the Armenian people and the Armenian Church. That is a history in which grandeur and persecution, joy and sorrow, are intermingled. How often have the sons and daughters of Armenia cried out to the Lord in the heart-rending words of Saint Gregory of Narek: "I implore you now, O Lord, you who care for souls laid low by affliction through grave and agonizing illness. Do not add pain to my groanings; I am wounded, pierce me not; I am punished, condemn me not; I am maltreated, torment me not! Send me not into exile, for already I suffer persecution" (The Book of Prayer, XVII). The Armenian Church has paid dearly for its fidelity to the Gospel of Jesus Christ! At the Ecumenical Commemoration of the Witnesses of Faith of the Twentieth Century, on 7 May this year, we recalled in a special way the immense sufferings of the Armenian people. Again, I thank Your Holiness for your willingness to be part of that Liturgy in the person of your representative. In effect, "perhaps the most convincing form of ecumenism is the ecumenism of the saints and of the martyrs. The communio sanctorum speaks louder than the things which divide us" (Apostolic Letter Tertio Millennio Adveniente, 37).

By God’s grace, Armenia has found new freedom and independence. Yet Armenia still faces enormous challenges. On the social and economic level, the areas severely hit by the earthquake in 1988 must be restored, and the country’s industry and commerce must be revitalized. On the cultural and religious level, there is still much to be done to fill the spiritual void left behind by a godless and collectivist ideology. Expectations are high, but so too are the difficulties. It is my hope that the Armenian people, with their rich diversity, will find ways of meeting these challenges with a sense of commitment shared by all. The hour of freedom has sounded, and now is the time for solidarity. The Catholic Church wants to stand with the Apostolic Armenian Church, to support its spiritual and pastoral ministry to the Armenian people, in complete respect for its way of life and characteristic identity. To this the Lord is calling us, and we cannot disregard the occasions which the Spirit offers us to work together and to bear common witness.

Dear and venerable Brother in Christ, let us pray to the Lord that this pilgrimage of yours to the Tombs of the Apostles Peter and Paul, and this first visit of yours to the See of the Successor of Peter, will strengthen the bonds between the Catholic Church and the Apostolic Armenian Church. Let our prayer together be that the communion which we are experiencing today will open new ways to peace and reconciliation between us.

May the all-holy Mother of God protect the Armenian Church wherever Armenian Christians bear witness to the truth that Jesus Christ is Lord, yesterday, today and for ever.




Rome 9 November 2000

His Holiness Pope John Paul II, Bishop of Rome, and His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, give thanks to the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, for enabling them to meet together on the occasion of the Jubilee of the Year 2000 and on the threshold of the 1700th anniversary of the proclamation of Christianity as the state religion of Armenia.

They also give thanks in the Holy Spirit that the fraternal relations between the See of Rome and the See of Etchmiadzin have further developed and deepened in recent years. This progress finds its expression in their present personal meeting and particularly in the gift of a relic of Saint Gregory the Illuminator, the holy missionary who converted the king of Armenia (301 A.D.) and established the line of Catholicoi of the Armenian Church. The present meeting builds upon the previous encounters between Pope Paul VI and Catholicos Vasken I (1970) and upon the two meetings between Pope John Paul II and Catholicos Karekin I (1996 and 1999). Pope John Paul II and Catholicos Karekin II now continue to look forward to a possible meeting in Armenia. On the present occasion, they wish to state together the following.

Together we confess our faith in the Triune God and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, who became man for our salvation. We also believe in One, Catholic, Apostolic and Holy Church. The Church, as the Body of Christ, indeed, is one and unique. This is our common faith, based on the teachings of the Apostles and the Fathers of the Church. We acknowledge furthermore that both the Catholic Church and the Armenian Church have true sacraments, above all – by apostolic succession of bishops – the priesthood and the Eucharist. We continue to pray for full and visible communion between us. The liturgical celebration we preside over together, the sign of peace we exchange and the blessing we give together in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, testify that we are brothers in the episcopacy. Together we are jointly responsible for what is our common mission: to teach the apostolic faith and to witness to the love of Christ for all human beings, especially those living in difficult circumstances.

The Catholic Church and the Armenian Church share a long history of mutual respect, considering their various theological, liturgical and canonical traditions as complementary, rather than conflicting. Today, too, we have much to receive from one another. For the Armenian Church, the vast resources of Catholic learning can become a treasure and source of inspiration, through the exchange of scholars and students, through common translations and academic initiatives, through different forms of theological dialogue. Likewise, for the Catholic Church, the steadfast, patient faith of a martyred nation like Armenia can become a source of spiritual strength, particularly through common prayer. It is our firm desire to see these many forms of mutual exchange and rapprochement between us improved and intensified.

As we embark upon the third millennium, we look back on the past and forward to the future. As to the past, we thank God for the many blessings we have received from his infinite bounty, for the holy witness given by so many saints and martyrs, for the spiritual and cultural heritage bequeathed by our ancestors. Many times, however, both the Catholic Church and the Armenian Church have lived through dark and difficult periods. Christian faith was contested by atheistic and materialistic ideologies; Christian witness was opposed by totalitarian and violent regimes; Christian love was suffocated by individualism and the pursuit of personal interest. Leaders of nations no longer feared God, nor did they feel ashamed before humankind. For both of us, the 20th century was marked by extreme violence. The Armenian genocide, which began the century, was a prologue to horrors that would follow. Two world wars, countless regional conflicts and deliberately organized campaigns of extermination took the lives of millions of faithful. Nevertheless, without diminishing the horror of these events and their consequences, there may be a kind of divine challenge in them, if in response Christians are persuaded to join together in deeper friendship in the cause of Christian truth and love.

We now look to the future with hope and confidence. At this juncture in history, we see new horizons for us Christians and for the world. Both in the East and in the West, after having experienced the deadly consequences of godless regimes and lifestyles, many people are yearning for the knowledge of truth and the way of salvation. Together, guided by charity and respect for freedom, we seek to answer their desire, so as to bring them to the sources of authentic life and true happiness. We seek the intercession of the Apostles Peter and Paul, Thaddeus and Bartholomew, of Saint Gregory the Illuminator and all Saintly Pastors of the Catholic Church and the Armenian Church, and pray the Lord to guide our communities so that, with one voice, we may give witness to the Lord and proclaim the truth of salvation. We also pray that around the world, wherever members of the Armenian and the Catholic Church live side by side, all ordained ministers, religious and faithful will "help to carry one another’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ" (Ga 6,2). May they mutually sustain and assist one another, in full respect of their particular identities and ecclesiastical traditions, avoiding to prevail one over another: "so then, as often as we have the chance, we should do good to everyone, and especially to those who belong to our family in the faith" (Ga 6,10).

Finally, we seek the intercession of the Holy Mother of God for the sake of peace. May the Lord grant wisdom to the leaders of nations, so that justice and peace may prevail throughout the world. In these days in particular, we pray for peace in the Middle East. May all the children of Abraham grow in mutual respect and find appropriate ways for living peacefully together in this sacred part of the world.




Saturday, 11 November 2000

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen!

1. I am pleased to extend a cordial greeting to you today as you come on pilgrimage to the tombs of the Apostles Peter and Paul to celebrate the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000. Welcome!
I thank Mr Cesare Geronzi, President of the Banca di Roma, for his kind words expressing, in everyone's name, the sentiments that brought you to this meeting. I am also pleased to take this occasion to express my sincere appreciation to the entire Board of Directors, the managers, the department heads and all who form your community of work and activity.

In addition to my appreciation, I also wish to express my sincere gratitude for the cooperation provided by your worthy business to the Central Committee of the Great Jubilee and especially for the active contribution offered during World Youth Day. Your interventions are proof of how a structure with specific aims such as yours can usefully participate in civil society with initiatives inspired by a broader vision, which is another way to promote the common good.

2. The aim of a credit institute such as yours is the shrewd management of the resources entrusted to it, in order to support the financial activities of the families, businesses, institutions and organizations that turn to it for assistance. Seen in this perspective, your work acquires an important social value in support of the nation's vital forces, which can thus pursue necessary goals in the area of economic security, business growth, honest management of the fruit of one's labour, the protection of savings and access to credit.

Here we see the importance of the banking system, but also the responsibility of those who manage it towards the individuals, families and social groups that turn to it. In fact, even while pursuing its institutional aims, a bank must respect the ethical values that preside over the various aspects of human conduct. If a bank aims only at pursuing maximum profit for itself, while not considering these higher principles, it no longer appears as a means of growth and development for the community, but rather as a burden and impediment.

3. The Church's teaching affirms the priority of the human factor over the financial and credit aims of any banking institution. In the rapid development of today's economic dynamics, there are many people who do not know how to use the various kinds of services offered by the banking system and sometimes find difficulty in making decisions to protect the honest savings they have acquired.

The professionalism of credit workers, together with a keen sense of fairness and justice, can increase the peace of mind of those who need advice and assistance.

Unfortunately we cannot ignore the fact that even today there are deviant forms of credit that can endanger not only business activities or family possessions, but the very lives of people who have fallen into this perverse spiral. On other occasions I have already emphasized the difficulties and hardships encountered by the victims of speculation linked to illicit forms of credit. A responsible bank, by virtue of its ability to listen to and dialogue with civil society, can certainly do a great deal in this area. I firmly hope that, by continuing on the path already undertaken, your institute will continue to offer solid support to all the serious initiatives that benefit people in difficulty, young adults and voluntary service. In this way, you will effectively meet the expectations of those individuals and social groups who regard your activity as a fundamental support for their legitimate need of financial and economic services.

4. Dear ladies and gentlemen, your visit offers you the opportunity to make a useful pause for reflection. For those of you who are believers, this is a providential occasion for examining your lives and activities in the light of Christ's word.

Passing through the Holy Door is one of the principal moments of your Jubilee pilgrimage. It is a profoundly spiritual act, by which you intend to renew your close adherence to Christ and to reaffirm your determination to bear witness to him in your families and in the society to which you belong. In a special way you can be his witnesses in your workplace, if you are always inspired by his teachings. May the Gospel of justice and charity be the constant standard of your decisions and actions. May love for others, especially the needy, inspire all your projects. You will thus be builders of a human community marked by greater freedom and solidarity.

May the intercession of Mary, Mother of God and our Mother, to whom I entrust you and your families, accompany you. With these sentiments, I sincerely bless you all.



Saturday, 11 November 2000

Dear Brothers and Sisters!

1. I extend a cordial welcome to each of you, who have come to Rome to renew your profession of faith at the tombs of the Apostles on the occasion of the Great Jubilee. You come from different Dioceses and have gathered all together round the Successor of Peter, expressing in this way your common love for Christ and his Church. This experience, with its various celebrations, will certainly help you to strengthen your personal fidelity to the Gospel and be a precious opportunity for conversion, so that you can live with renewed zeal the apostolic mission to which you are called through Baptism. I welcome you with affection and spiritually embrace each of you.

2. I first greet the many pilgrims from the Archdiocese of Messina-Lipari-Santa Lucia del Mela, accompanied by their Pastor, Archbishop Giovanni Marra. Thank you, venerable Brother, for the courteous words you addressed to me, expressing the sentiments of the faithful and, in particular, of Archbishop emeritus Ignazio Cannavň and Auxiliary Bishop Francesco Montenegro. Dear brothers and sisters, even in the diversity of its geographical, historical and cultural situations, your diocesan community has a solid spiritual patrimony, rooted in faith in Christ. Draw constantly from this wonderful source and find in it the necessary courage and strength to tackle confidently the challenges of today's society.

In this Holy Year you have felt the need to reach out to the distant and, in doing your utmost for a new "sowing of the Gospel", you have rediscovered the urgency of the missionary mandate. In this light the "diocesan mission", well-integrated into the Great Jubilee, becomes highly significant. It has attracted remarkable interest, thanks to the relentless dedication of the priests and many pastoral workers, emphasizing the urgent need for each person to let himself be evangelized first and then, in turn, to bring Christ's joyous message to others.

Continue without stopping on this path, which is that of the new evangelization, encouraged by the spiritual resources and vitality of your Christian communities. Look ahead to the third millennium and offer the liberating joy of the Gospel to all. Be attentive to the needs of families and young people, providing them with fruitful opportunities for religious formation. Seek out the poor and the suffering, and let them experience the tenderness of God, the heavenly Father of every human creature.

3. I now greet you, dear pilgrims from the Archdiocese of Turin, who, through the words of your Archbishop, Severino Poletto, to whom I am grateful, have expressed your sentiments of devout affection. For you too, the Jubilee Year highlights in a special way the need to bear witness to the Gospel of charity. This moreover is part of your city's tradition. How can we forget, in fact, Turin's many saints who distinguished themselves in the heroic exercise of this first and most important Christian virtue? Today, the lives of these fellow-citizens, who are well known to you, are still an excellent example to follow. From among the many, today I would like to recall St Callistus Caravario, a martyr in China and native of your land, whom I had the joy of canonizing last month.

He combined his missionary zeal with service to the poor, thus becoming an example to your diocesan community involved in a great missionary effort.

I also think back with deep emotion to my visit to Turin and my meditation before the Holy Shroud, which during the Holy Year has again been exposed for the devotion of the faithful. In this mysterious mirror of the Gospel, each individual can discover the meaning of his own suffering as a participation in the suffering of Christ, the source of salvation for all humanity. Furthermore, I must recall at this meeting the communities in your Archdiocese stricken by the recent floods. To the sorely tried people of your region and the neighbouring Valle d'Aosta, I express again my special closeness and my constant remembrance in prayer, as I hope that everyone will be able to resume a normal family and social life as soon as possible.

4. I now greet you, dear faithful from the Archdiocese of Trent, accompanied by your Pastor, Archbishop Luigi Bressan. I cordially thank him for his devoted words on your behalf. This year you are celebrating the 16th centenary of the death of your archdiocesan patron, St Vigilius, a great evangelizer of your region. Always jealously cherish the gift of faith which you received many centuries ago: it is a precious inheritance that you are called to transmit faithfully. Return to it constantly, since the Gospel sources are an unfailing well-spring of human and religious renewal.

Open your hearts to Christ, the Way, the Truth and the Life. Today, as in the past, he challenges consciences and asks each person to make room in his soul for his word. Welcome it as your parents welcomed it, and walk enthusiastically on the paths of solidarity and love. In fact, if faith is to be lived completely, it requires consistent Christian action in the various circumstances where human life unfolds. Aware of Trent's fruitful tradition of solidarity and voluntary service, rekindle your commitment to the various works and activities of human advancement. Your whole community will thus be a school of faith and active, concrete love.

5. I also extend a cordial greeting to the group of pilgrims connected with Blessed Trinity Shrine in Vallepietra. They come from various Dioceses and are accompanied by Bishop Francesco Lambiasi of Anagni-Alatri, whom I thank for his kind words. Dear friends, faithful to the Jubilee spirit, may you be attentive and willing listeners to God's word, growing in fidelity to Christ and to his message of salvation. Thus you will be equal to the mission that was entrusted to you with Baptism.

I greet the partipants at the international congress organized by the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, together with the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, on the theme of the timeliness of Mother Cabrini's message for emigration. Dear friends, today, too, large numbers of individuals and families leave their lands in search of safer and more dignified living conditions elsewhere. In these days you are giving your attention to these emigrants.

May the witness and message of Mother Frances Cabrini, the bold and generous apostle of migrants, always illumine all your activities and projects for migrants, guiding you to develop a sincere dialogue with them which respects the dignity of the person.

6. I affectionately greet the Spanish-speaking pilgrims, especially the group from the Omnilife Company, accompanied by Cardinal Juan Sandoval Íńiguez, Archbishop of Guadalajara. May your pilgrimage be a true interior journey, a fitting time for conversion, in order to welcome into your hearts in a new way Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God, who reveals to us the Father's merciful face. And may his Spirit dwell in you for ever. In this Holy Year, I invite you to pass on the joy of your Jubilee pilgrimage to your families and parish communities.

I offer a cordial welcome to the English-speaking visitors, and especially to the Jubilee pilgrimage group from the Diocese of Venice in Florida. As you pass through the Holy Door may you experience a profound spiritual renewal and enter more fully into the mystery of grace which the Lord has entrusted to his Church. Upon you and your families I invoke joy and peace in our Lord Jesus Christ.

I cordially greet the Yodel Club from Riederalp in Switzerland. May your music and song fill many people with joy. I also greet the Neo-Catechumenal groups from Berlin, Hamburg and Munich. They have come on pilgrimage with their pastors to the tomb of Peter in order to strengthen the apostolic roots of their faith.

May passing through the Holy Door give you the strength to bear witness to the faith in your homeland on the threshold of the third millennium. For this I give you all my Apostolic Blessing.

7. Lastly, an affectionate greeting to the parish communities, associations and other groups of pilgrims, especially the Confederation of Italians in the World and the Little Singers of Torrespaccata. I hope that everyone will return home encouraged by this Jubilee experience and reinvigorated by the desire to follow the Gospel and bear witness to it courageously.

Invoking the protection of Mary, Mother of Jesus and our Mother, I cordially impart a special Apostolic Blessing to everyone.

Speeches 2000 - Tuesday, 7 November 2000