Speeches 2001 - Friday, 8 June 2001



Saturday 9 June 2001

Dear Brothers in the Episcopate,

1. I welcome you with joy during your ad limina visit. Your meetings with the Successor of Peter and those who work with him are an important opportunity to show the communion with the universal Church of yourselves and of your Congolese Dioceses. I hope that you will find here the encouragement and comfort you need to carry out your episcopal ministry in your country.

I thank the President of your Bishops' Conference, Archbishop Anatole Milandou of Brazzaville for presenting to me on your behalf the great problems facing the Congolese Church and people today.
When you return to your Dioceses, take back to your priests, religious, catechists and all the faithful the affectionate greeting of the Pope who is close to each one in spirit and in prayer. Convey to all your compatriots my cordial wishes for a future of peace and reconciliation, so that they may all live in rediscovered security and brotherhood.

2. After having lived through a tragic period which claimed many victims, forcing a large number of your compatriots into exile and causing widespread material destruction, your country has made great efforts to enable all the Congolese to live in safety and achieve national harmony once and for all. During this period of troubles you made your voice heard, appealing for peace and reconciliation. Very recently too, you addressed a stirring message to your faithful and to all people of goodwill on dialogue, truth and justice as ways to peace. I thank you and your communities for your dedication to your people in their distress and disarray. Throughout these tragic events, the Church and her apostolic workers had a wonderful approach to helping the peoples in their common trial. However, we cannot but regret the excessive number of priests and men and women religious who left the country during this turbulent period. I warmly hope that they may soon be able to resume their places in your Dioceses and courageously accept a pastoral mission among their fellow citizens.

Today, at a stage in your country's life that is crucial to its future, I encourage you to be more and more daring in opening up ways of reconciliation to all the nation's children and in encouraging Catholics and all people of goodwill to be tireless peacemakers.

Continue to proclaim the Gospel the Lord left us with enthusiasm. Be insistent in inviting the faithful of your Dioceses to return to Christ, teach them to fix their eyes on his face which reveals the Father's love for all men and women! The tragic experience of the Congolese must incite Catholics to look ahead with determination and embark on courageous apostolic initiatives, firmly rooted in contemplation and prayer.

3. To express the deep communion that unites you in this apostolic task, it is indispensable to continue developing true loyalty among Pastors, especially by giving due importance to the Bishops' Conference, a place for the brotherly comparison of ideas and for collaboration with a view to the common good of your particular Churches. By being ever closer to your priests and faithful and present and active in your Dioceses, you will be able to rebuild communities torn apart by war, to care for wounded hearts and to help all those entrusted to your care to progress on the paths of the Gospel.

As the Second Vatican Council forcefully emphasized, "As spiritual guides of their flocks, Bishops should be zealous in promoting the sanctity of their clergy, their religious and their laity according to the vocation of the individual, remembering that they are under an obligation to give an example of holiness in charity, humility and simplicity of life" (Decree Christus Dominus, CD 15). Indeed, the responsibility for sanctification that is entrusted to Bishops is of primary importance for the existence of the Church and all her members. In this context, I invite you to pay special attention to your priests who cooperate with you in the mission to help the People of God progress in holiness.

Be attentive to the human and spiritual difficulties they encounter in their daily lives! Their example of spiritual and moral life must be a clear sign to everyone of the Gospel and its requirements. Bring them the comfort and support of your friendship, especially in the most trying periods for their ministry. May whoever sins find in you a father who faces problems charitably but who can also be firm at the right moment!

4. In the Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio ineunte which I addressed to the entire Church at the end of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, I expressed the hope that Catholic communities might rediscover the same enthusiasm as the earliest Christians in announcing Christ's Gospel and in witnessing to it with the whole of their lives. In fact, it is urgently necessary to give evangelization a breath of fresh air. In the particular period your country is living through, it needs a vigorous pastoral ministry: "Christian families show convincingly that it is possible to live marriage fully in keeping with God's plan and with the true good of the human person - of the spouses, and of the children who are more fragile. Families themselves must become increasingly conscious of the care due to children, and play an active role in the Church and in society in safeguarding their rights" (n. 47). Violence and the dispersion of families in recent years have had serious effects on the unity of the nuclear family and on respect for human dignity. Thus Christians need to be more and more aware of their responsibility to safeguard and develop the essential values of the family and of Christian marriage. Special attention must be paid to the formation of consciences so that the whole of society respects, defends and promotes the dignity of every human person, at every moment and at every stage of his life (cf. Encyclical Evangelium vitae, EV 81). Indeed, Catholics must witness more powerfully than ever that all human life has a sacred and inviolable character from its very beginning. To encourage this awareness, it is essential to develop broad educational action and to take practical steps, especially with the young generations. This will enable everyone to understand and accept the Gospel requirements of respect for human life and its dignity, which will guide each person and be the precious means for him to make his life a complete success.

5. The problems experienced by young people which, due are above all to conditions of great poverty or to the consequences of violence which often scar them even more deeply, must spur Pastors to develop a youth ministry adapted to their situations and the problems that beset them. I hope that the Church will help them overcome every temptation of violence, so that their inner desire to change their lives may become a genuine commitment to building a new society without division, opposition, or discrimination, a commitment that is based on brotherhood and solidarity.

May they boldly demonstrate that all people are brothers and sisters, because they have the same Father who passionately loves them! Tell the young people of the Congo that, in his heart and in his prayers, the Pope is close to them and their daily anxieties and asks them never to despair of life!

Through her involvement in schools and in education in general, the Church makes an important contribution to the human, moral and spiritual formation of young people. To cooperate more and more effectively in the entire society's search for the common good and for the reduction of the differences that all too often still divide it, young people must be taught mutual respect between individuals, between human groups and between religious communities, and to foster the spirit of acceptance and dialogue. I hope that through a fervent witness to Christian life teachers may pass on really strong convictions to the young, to help them put up a brave front in difficulties and to play their proper part in national and ecclesial life.

6. Through you, dear Brothers in the Episcopate, I would like to tell your priests of my esteem for them and of my most cordial encouragement in their priestly commitment in conditions that are often very trying. I invite them to develop an apostolic spirit that will prompt them to respond generously to the demands of the mission, particularly in the most humble places that require self-detachment and daily fidelity to the Lord who has called them to follow him. I keenly hope that they may all, without forgetting those who live outside their own country, be constantly and deeply aware of the great pastoral needs of their brothers and sisters who are waiting in their Dioceses to hear the Gospel proclamation and receive the sacraments of the Church.

Celibacy, which priests have freely chosen, is a remarkable expression of their generous and unconditional attachment to Christ. In respecting this canonical obligation, may they live it in a joyful and transparent way, making it a prophetic witness of the boundless love that unites them to Christ!

An intense spiritual life accompanied by a continuously rigorous formation will enable them to respond serenely and without reticence to this evangelical requirement which the Church asks of them.

Dear Brothers in the Episcopate, you know how important the formation of future priests is for the future of the Church. I encourage you to give your seminaries a preferential place in your pastoral priorities, so that young people may serenely discern their vocation and receive a solid human, spiritual, moral, intellectual and pastoral formation. A substantial part of the effectiveness of formation depends on the quality of the formation teams, appreciated for their competence and their example of priestly life. This is why I invite you to make the necessary sacrifices to choose with care the priests most suited to this office.

7. I am grateful to the congregations and institutes of consecrated life for their constant and courageous commitment to the service of the Church in Congo, especially through the generous work of their members to further education, formation, health care or other forms of social assistance. I urge religious leaders to give a new impetus to the diocesan and national structures for dialogue. In fact, it is important that in close relation with the Bishops and with respect for their own charisms, that all may work fraternally for the Church's one mission and thus make their own contribution to ecclesial communion.

In a society which has known so many ruptures and misunderstandings, consecrated people have a special vocation to proclaiming "by the witness of their lives, the value of Christian fraternity and the transforming power of the Good News, which makes it possible to see all people as sons and daughters of God, and inspires a self-giving love towards everyone, especially the least of our brothers and sisters" (Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Vita consecrata, VC 51). May all the communities of consecrated people, motivated by a fervent spirit of prayer and openness to all, truly be places of acceptance, communion and hope!

8. I know the Church is present and active, especially through her national and international charitable agencies, among people afflicted with serious diseases such as AIDS, refugees from neighbouring countries and, in general, all who are suffering the consequences of poverty. I thank and warmly encourage all those who, so generously and selflessly, put themselves at the service of their brethren. In this way they are witnesses, on the Church's behalf, of Christ's charity to society's weakest and neediest members.

I want to address a special message of peace and hope to all the faithful of your Dioceses and to all the Congolese. To overcome the consequences of war, violence and hatred and achieve true reconciliation, the only path to take together is that of brotherhood and solidarity. May all men or women be able to live, in unity, the rich diversity of their origins, cultures, languages, traditions and mentalities. May brothers never again rise up against one another! Trusting to the full, go ahead with hope! God is faithful, he never deserts his children.




Saturday, 9 June 2001

I wish to greet each one of you, who participate in the plenary meeting of the Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archaeology. Today you visit me at the end of two intense days dedicated to an in-depth study of your activity during the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000.

I affectionately greet Bishop Francesco Marchisano, your President, and thank him for his kind words on your behalf. I also thank him for having shown me the theme of your meeting: The Christian catacombs of Italy and the Holy Year: the balance of a pilgrimage.

You made a big contribution to the success of the Jubilee Year that has drawn so much attention in the world. Thank you for your service; thank you for the love and expertise with which you continue to work to make the Christian catacombs of Rome and Italy places of new evangelization, of prayer and cultural promotion for pilgrims of the whole world.

2. Faithful to the institutional goals of your Commission, on the occasion of the Holy Year you decided to facilitate the pilgrimage of the devoted and make the catacombs that are open to the public more welcoming.

These two objectives were kept present in the creation of various itineraries inside the Roman catacombs of St Callistus, St Sebastian, Domitilla, Priscilla and St Agnes, in the works of lighting and restoration done at Rome and in other catacombs of Italian territories. Almost at the end of the holy year there was the very important restoration of the exterior of the splendid Basilica of Sts Nero and Achilles in the catacombs of Domitilla. Here it is possible to relive the spiritual atmosphere that was breathed in the first centuries of the Christian era.

This event also enriches that monumental patrimony which represents the most concrete and tangible testimony of the world of the catacombs, where the first Christians set up a new funeral system, burying the faithful in tombs which were alike, humble and sober, to indicate equality and a sense of community.

3. Visiting the catacombs, the pilgrim can return in his mind to the acts of the first Christians, who organized a kind of "common fund" to assure a worthy burial to all the brethren, including widows, orphans and the poor. They based this choice on the value of solidarity and even more on charity.

The structure of the catacombs highlights the profound rootedness of those first brothers in the faith in these values: as the word coemeteria indicates, they are presented as great common dormitories, where all, independently of their status or profession, rest in a spiritual embrace, were awaiting the final Resurrection.

In the shadows of the catacombs, the visitors' attention is drawn to those simple tombs, all the same, closed with marble or stone pieces, which are only marked by the names of the deceased. In many cases, even this simple identification is absent, as if to underline, through anonymity, the equality of the hospites. This may also by shown with symbols: the anchor, which expresses the security of faith; the fish, that alludes to Christ the Saviour and the dove that recalls the simplicity and candour of the soul, expressions of the common faith.

4. Next to the simple faithful, in the catacombs there were many tombs of martyrs from the persecution of Decius, Valerian and Diocletian. These martyrs were immediately venerated by the first Christians. On their tombs, as on those of the Popes and saints of the first centuries, pilgrims coming from distant regions of the Mediterranean and Northern Europe left their names. These grafitti, extremely precious for the study of ecclesial prayer, certify the uninterrupted veneration to the present day.

Dear brothers and sisters! The rich patrimony of faith, art and culture, represented by the catacombs, finds in your Pontifical Commission of Sacred Archaeology an expert custodian, respectful of the goals of piety and zealous in facilitating knowledge and easy access. I am delighted by your efforts to open other catacombs, like those of St Lorenzo al Verano, and despite difficulties and a complex situation, of St Pancratius and Sts Marcellinus and Peter. In encouraging your valuable and generous work, I hope that these efforts will soon be crowned with success.

Besides giving the historian or student of ancient monuments a significant trace of the first Christian centuries, you offer a useful service to the new evangelization. The modern pilgrim, often bewildered and doubtful, in retracing the paths of the early Christians and experiencing their acts of devotion, can easily be led to rediscover his own religious identity and decide with renewed enthusiasm to follow Christ, as did many martyrs of the first Christian centuries.

Thank you for your collaboration in proclaming Christ to the people of our time. May the Lord fill your hearts with the ardour of the saints and Martyrs, whom you contribute to making known and honoured.

As I entrust each of you and your dear ones to the heavenly protection of the Mother of God, I impart to you a special Apostolic Blessing.



Monday, 11 June 2001

Eminent Cardinals,
Brothers in the Episcopate and in the Priesthood,
Brothers and Sisters in Christ.

1. Yesterday we celebrated the first ceremony of canonization after the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000. To all of you, gathered for this happy occasion, I am happy to greet you again in the more familiar climate of today's visit, which gives us a chance to dwell upon the personalities of the new saints.

2. Thinking of St Luigi Scrosoppi, I greet with affection the priests and faithful of the Diocese of Udine present with Bishop Pietro Brollo. I want to express a particular greeting to the "Sisters of Providence of St Cajetan of Thiene" founded by him in 1837. Beloved sisters, you are born of a group of women full of faith and apostolic generosity, who collaborated with Fr Luigi in the loving care of the girls abandoned and without family of Udine and the surrounding area. The canonization of your Founder shows that the design of Providence, to which he entrusted himself entirely, continues in the Church and in the world. Even today there is a need for hearts and hands who are available to serve persons in difficulty, to reveal to them the breadth of divine mercy.

The legacy of St Luigi Scrosoppi, carefully maintained by his spiritual daughters, is rich and precious for the entire People of God, above all, for priests. In fact, he was a model of priestly life lived in the constant search for God. St Francis of Assisi and St Philip Neri were the guides whom he followed with enthusiasm in order to be conformed in everything to Christ our Savior. Humility, poverty, simplicity; prayer, contemplation, intimate union with Christ: these were the inexhaustible sources of his charity. May his luminous example attract not just his spiritual daughters and the devout, but all those who come into contact with the work he began.

3. With affection I turn now to you, pilgims from various regions to participate in the canonization of St Agostino Roscelli, founder of the "Sisters of the Immaculate". I greet the Archbishop of Genova, Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi, Cardinal Giovanni Canestri, the Bishop of Chiavari, the clergy, men and women religious, and the faithful. The new saint exercised his priesthood with great dedication, carrying out an apostolate that was productive of good. He followed the model of an austere evangelical life, in which he was outstanding in the love of God and neighbour. The indivisible love of God and neighbour constitutes the fundamental and distinguishing characteristic of his spirituality, in which action and contemplation feed each other. He loved to repeat: "Prayer helps to act well, and action, done as it should be done, helps to pray well".

I am happy to remember the words of my venerated Predecessor John Paul I, when he was Bishop of Vittorio Veneto, caught the ascetical features of St Agostino Roscelli: "He knew how to join together in the best way the business of modern life with a deep interior life" (cf. Litt. Post., p. 16, n. 14). The spiritual stature of the "poor priest", as he liked to call himself, released a prophetic force capable of arousing and charming even today. In a simple way, he re-presented the Gospel values that one must recover and live with conviction at the start of the third millennium: the value of humility and sobriety, of silence and the sense of the presence of God which directs history, of prayer and of a charity which never says, that's enough, because it is as immense as is the God from whom it comes.

St Agostino Roscelli reminds his spiritual daughters and all believers that the results of pastoral action do not depend mostly on our own strength, but on the help of God, to whom we must always turn in prayer.

4. I greet those who have come to Rome for the canonization of Bernard of Corleone, humble Capuchin brother in whom we find shining forth the power of the Franciscan charism: austerity, focus on what is necessary, and charitable journeying for the Gospel. I want to greet above all Cardinal Salvatore De Giorgi, Archbishop of Palermo, the bishops and faithful of Sicily, the native land of the new saint. He, though he was illiterate, knew how to write bright pages of history with his life, soaked with the love of the Crucified One, of humble and silent service, of solidariety towards the people.

Even though he belonged to the 17th century, Brother Bernard, configured as an authentic disciple of the divine Master, participated in the perennial newness of the Gospel. The model of holiness that he proposed is always up to date. Moveover, with his personal history marked by great civil and religious passions, with a refined sense of justice and truth amidst so many situations of suffering and of misery, in a certain way, he incarnated the image of a contemporary saint: someone who is open to the fire of supernatural love and who lets him be put on fire with it, reflecting its fire upon the souls of his brothers and sisters. As he showed to his contemporaries, he indicates to us today that holiness, the gift of God produces such a deep transformation of the person as to make them the living witness of God's comforting presence in the world.

5. Another significant example of holiness for our time is Teresa Eustochio Verzeri. She was a woman of great personality, born in Bergamo at the beginning of the 19th century. I greet the clery, men and women religious, and the faithful with Bishop Roberto Amadei. St Teresa Verzeri , formed to a burning and solid piety, after a long and painful quest, began, with Canon Giuseppe Benaglio her spiritual director and imporant member of the clergy of Bergamo, the congregation of the "Daughters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus" for the education and assistance of poor girls. After her work was transferred to Brescia, she was worn out in an unending activity which led to her ending her life at only 51 years of age.

In her spiritual path she was particularly attracted by the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which she offered to the devotion of her sisters exhorting them to an obedient, generous and gentle religious life. The soul who wants to follow Jesus, she loved to repeat, should imitate him in everything, especially participating in his redemptive passion, after the example of Mary. To a spiritual daughter, she wrote: "You would also like to be with Christ on Tabor, but look at the Virgin Mary, she is not on Tabor, she is only at the foot of the cross: believe, my dear, that the greatest grace that God can give you is that of suffering with him and for his love" (Lettere, part IV, vol. VII, n. 49).

To learn from the Heart of Jesus, to let oneself be directed by the feelings of that heart and to pour them out in the service of our brothers and sisters: that is the message Teresa transmits to us, at the dawn of the third millennium, inviting each of us to cooperate actively in the evangelizing action of the Church.

6. I greet His Beatitude, Cardinal Sfeir, the bishops, priests, men and women religious, particularly, the members of the Maronite religious order, the representatives of the authorities as well as the faithful from Lebanon, who have come to participate in the canonization of Sister Rafqa, who is a reason for deep joy for the Church, and for Lebanese Christians. In the Middle East, ravaged by so many murderous conflicts and unjust sufferings, the witness of this Lebanese sister remains a source of confidence for those who are being tried. Because she lived in close union with Jesus, she was capable like him of never giving up on a human being. She became the discreet and effective sign that the Easter Mystery of Christ continues to transform the world to make grow the hope of a new life offered to all men and women of good will.

By accepting suffering as a means for loving Christ and neighbour better, she lived to an eminent degree the missionary dimension of her consecrated life, drawing from the Trinity the force to offer her life for the world and completing in her own flesh whatever "was lacking to the sufferings of Christ" (Col 1,24). May sick people, the afflicted, refugees of war and all the victims of hatred yesterday and today, find in St Rafqa a life companion, so that by her intercession, they can continue to search for the reasons to hope still and to build peace.

7. Brothers and sisters in Christ. Spurred on by these shining witnesses of the Gospel, and sustained by their heavenly intercession, let us continue with perseverance on the way of holiness holding our gaze fixed on Christ (cf. Heb He 12,1-2).

Each of the new saints confirms, in a different way, what I reminded you of in the Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio ineunte, that the concrete occupation of the believer draws its inspiration and effectiveness from the contemplation of the face of Christ.

So even in our distinctive states of life and in the different situations in which Providence has placed us are called to be contemplatives in action. May the saints Luigi Scrosoppi, Agostino Roscelli, Bernardo da Corleone, Teresa Eustochio Verzeri, Rafqa Pietro Choboq Ar-Rayčs help us in this demanding way of life. May the Virgin Mary, perfect disciple of her Son, help us in a special way. On my part, with great affection, I impart a special blessing to all here present and to all your loved ones.



Friday, 15 June 2001

Dear Brothers of the Order of the Holy Trinity,

1. I am delighted to meet with you, on the occasion of your Institute's General Chapter. It is an event of grace that strongly calls you to return to your roots, to deepen your specific charism, seeking to discern the best ways to live it in today's socio-cultural context.

I greet the Superior General, Fr José Hernández Sánchez, who has been reconfirmed in his office, and his Council, with the delegates to the chapter assembly. I extend my cordial thoughts to all the Trinitarians, who carry out their generous apostolate in various nations. In these days of intense assembly work, you are reflecting on the theme "To live what we are". Faithful to the Trinitarian-Redeemer charism, you want to keep the teaching of your Rule living and fruitful. About three years ago you celebrated the eighth centenary of its approval. At that time too I wanted to rejoice with you, sending you a message, in which I remembered, among other things, that your charism is "extraordinarily contemporary in the modern multicultural social context, marked by tensions and challenges that are even critical at times. This charism obliges Trinitarians to identify with courage and missionary boldness ever new forms of evangelization and human advancement" (Letter of 17 June 1998).

2. Your spirituality, that draws vigour from the mystery of the Trinity and of the Redemption, has not stopped spurring you on to serve prisoners and the poor, in your long history marked by many examples of holiness. Among the members of your Order there are courageous witnesses of Christ. Some of them have confirmed their fidelity to the Gospel with martyrdom. Yours is a spirituality that puts you in the heart of the Christian message: the love of God the Father that embraces every person through Christ's Redemption, in the permanent gift of the Holy Spirit.

Treasure your priceless spiritual heritage. May the words of Christ echo in your spirit: "Duc in altum" (Lc 5,4). I wanted to recall them in my recent Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio ineunte, so that they may be an exhortation and invitation for all the baptized, at the dawn of the third millennium. Yes! Put out into the deep; cast the nets in the name of Christ. "Live" with passion what you "are", opening yourselves with trust to the future. In a time marked by a worrying "culture of emptiness" and of life "without meaning", you are called to announce without compromise the Trinitarian God, the God who hears the cry of the oppressed and afflicted. May the Most Holy Trinity always be at the centre and root of your apostolic commitment. May the Trinitarian communion be your source, model and the end of every pastoral action.

3. The Church is counting on you! Work in union with Christ, "Revealer of the name of the true God, Glorifier of the Father and Redeemer of man" (Constitutions of the Trinitarian Order, 2).

He is the Redeemer; in Him you can be "Trinitarian" and "redeemers", participating in the redeeming charity that flows from his merciful Heart. Living what you are will lead you to reaffirm your fidelity to the spiritual patrimony of your founder, St John of Matha. Return often to his example and teaching. You are called to carry on his mission, as valid now as it was then, because it is directed to announcing and witnessing Christ, who died and is risen for the salvation of all mankind.

An important missionary field is unfolding before you. Do not be afraid to direct all your energies to Christ, who is to be "known, loved, and imitated, so that in Him we may live the life of the Trinity and with Him transform history" (Novo Millennio ineunte NM 29). Holiness is an essential commitment for your religious family and for each of its members. Only if you are holy, will you render the service that the Church and the Pope expect from you. In a special way, be models of intense Trinitarian life, as your vocational identity requires of you. You are particularly consecrated to the Most Holy Trinity for the redemption of men and your identity is expressed with this motto: Gloria tibi Trinitas et captivis libertas (Glory to you, Trinity, and freedom for captives). Behold your mission; the best contribution you can give to the new evangelization, an apostolic service in favour of the neediest.

4. New horizons open before you, though not without difficulties and obstacles. Have confidence in the Lord and do not hesitate to accept the challenges of the historic moment we are living. I remind you that the priority of each of your communities is to be an Upper Room of praise to the Triune God and a source of generous self-giving to your brothers and sisters (cf. Letter to Trinitarians, n. 3). In repeating to you this exhortation of three years ago, I encourage you to embrace in charity every person without distinction. Go ahead courageously, with prophetic freedom and wise discernment, to seek new ways to be a living presence in the Church, in communion with the Pope and in collaboration with the Bishops.

Looking at the vast horizons of the new evangelization, an urgent and acute need to proclaim and witness the evangelical message to all can be discerned. How many people are still waiting to know Jesus and his Gospel! How many situations of injustice, of moral and material difficulty exist in so many parts of the earth! The mission is urgent and the commitment of each one is indispensable. It must be sustained by incessant and fervent prayer. Only in this way are we able to indicate to others the path to meet Christ and follow him faithfully. This was done by your founder, St John of Matha, and your reformer, St John Baptist of the Conception, in whose footsteps you wish to walk faithfully. This is the witness offered by many of your brothers who have served the Church in the most diverse fields, often in difficult situations. Like them, become faithful disciples of Christ and generous workers of the Gospel with constant trust and renewed apostolic zeal.

May the Blessed Virgin Mary, venerated by your Order under the lovely title of Our Lady of Good Remedy, protect and guide you in your journey towards holiness, bringing ever good work to completion.

With these wishes, I bless you with affection, as I assure you of my remembrance in prayer for each of you and for all those you meet in your daily apostolic ministry.

Speeches 2001 - Friday, 8 June 2001