Speeches 2001 - Monday 3 September 2001



Thursday, 6 September 2001

Dear Brothers in the Episcopate,

1. I welcome you with great affection on the occasion of your visit ad limina Apostolorum. With this visit, as Pastors of the pilgrim Church in Uruguay you would like to renew communion with the Successor of Peter and as apostles to share the causes of joy and hope, of grief and anguish lived by the beloved part of the People of God entrusted to your pastoral care.

2. I would like first of all to express my deep gratitude to Bishop Carlos Maria Collazzi Irazábal of Mercedes, President of your Bishops' Conference, for his affectionate words on behalf of you all. He also spoke of your country's situation and the action of the Church which encourages the life of the faithful and their progress in faith at the beginning of the third millennium.

I treasure grateful memories of the national pilgrimage which you and a large number of Uruguayan Catholics made to Rome last year as "a privileged moment of the Great Jubilee". That Jubilee meeting also coincided with the anniversary of the death of "Bishop Jacinto Vera, the first Bishop of Uruguay, who was able, not without difficulties, to make the Church present in every corner of the country" (Address, 12 June 2000).

You developed the great heritage of this Jubilee in your collective document Orientaciones Pastorales 2001-2006 (Pastoral Guidelines 2001-2006) basing it on "the contemplation of the face of Christ: Christ considered in his historical features and in his mystery, Christ known through his manifold presence in the Church and in the world, and confessed as the meaning of history and the light of life's journey" (Novo Millennio ineunte, NM 15). With this document, you wish to point out a goal towards which everyone should move: holiness.

3. In exercising your episcopal ministry, as Teachers of the faith, you face different pastoral priorities, faithfully following the teachings of the Second Vatican Council in which "we find a sure compass by which to take our bearings in the century now beginning" (ibid., n. 57). Mindful of the current requirements of the new evangelization, Christ himself and his mission must be presented above all in a soteriological perspective.

In the metropolitan cathedral of Montevideo, during my first visit to Uruguay, I said "Lord ... we must proclaim without any fear the complete and authentic truth about you, about the Church you founded, about man and about the world which you redeemed with your blood, without reductionism or ambiguities" (Address, 31 March 1987, n. 3). In fact, it is not enough to promote ""values of the Kingdom', such as peace, justice, freedom, brotherhood" (Redemptoris missio, RMi 17), but it is necessary to proclaim that "Christ is the one mediator between God and Mankind.... Christ's one, universal mediation,... is the way established by God himself" (ibid., n. 5).

The mystery of Christ, as well as being the central element of our proclamation, helps to make the mystery of man truly become clear (cf. Gaudium et spes, GS 22). Witness and proclamation are therefore complementary realities which are deeply linked together and, as a programme for evangelization, must point to "Christ himself, 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 until its fulfilment in the heavenly Jerusalem" (Novo Millennio ineunte NM 29). Evangelization "is the primary service which the Church can render to every individual and to all humanity in the modern world, a world which has experienced marvellous achievements but which seems to have lost its sense of ultimate realities" (Redemptoris missio, RMi 2).

4. Another important event in your ecclesial life was the celebration, in Colonia del Sacramento of the Fourth National Eucharistic Congress on the theme "Jesus Christ, fullness of life for Uruguay". It was a special moment of grace which must continue to encourage the Catholic faithful to live the mystery of the Eucharist more intensely, taking an active part in Sunday Mass and receiving Holy Communion with the proper conditions. This will help them to be more generously committed to the service of their brothers and sisters, especially the neediest.

This sacrament must be given its "full magnitude and its essential meaning. It is at one and the same time Sacrifice-Sacrament, Communion-Sacrament, Presence-Sacrament. And, although it is true that the Eucharist was always and must continue to be the most profound revelation of the human brotherhood of Christ's disciples and confessors, it cannot be treated merely as an "occasion' for manifesting this brotherhood. When celebrating the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of the Lord, the full magnitude of the divine mystery must be respected, as must the full meaning of this sacramental sign" (Redemptoris missio, RMi 20).

5. I want to praise the foundation of the "Bishop Mariano Soler" Faculty of Theology of Uruguay in the Archdiocese of Montevideo, along with the work of the Centre for Pastoral Theology and the Three-Year Theology Programme for Lay People which will expand theological studies and Catholic culture. These centres are dedicated not only to forming future priests, but also offer philosophical and theological training to men and women religious and to the laity.

In this way Uruguayan culture can be enriched with the methodology of the first evangelization, which did not change the Christian message in the face of difficulties and the hostility of the world to which it was addressed, but with words and witness managed to direct and facilitate even a change of the culture. The evangelization of culture also demands that "whatever good is found sown in the minds and hearts of men or in the rites and customs of peoples, these not only are preserved from destruction, but are purified, raised up, and perfected for the glory of God ... and the happiness of man" (Lumen gentium, LG 17).

In fulfilling this mission, the Church in Uruguay, through her presence for almost five centuries, has made a great contribution to building the country. Indeed, Christians have collaborated in many sectors of national life. Those who built the new nation and those who put the country's culture on a firm footing, were formed in the Catholic cultural milieu. This shows us how Catholic institutions, from schools to universities, are vital for the evangelization of culture.

In her evangelizing action, the Church cannot neglect the means of social communication, if she is to reach out to people today, especially all the children and young people, in satisfactory language that faithfully transmits the Gospel message. "Then it is the daring, both humble and serene, which inspires the Christian presence in the public dialogue of the media" (Message for the 23rd World Day of Social Communications, 7 May 1989, n. 5).

6. Through you I would also like to greet with great affection and in a spirit of communion all the priests of your particular Churches. In an immediate way, through preaching and sacramental life, they direct the ecclesial communities that are part of diocesan reality. To each one you must dedicate the same attention and care that Jesus gave his apostles.

At the same time, bearing in mind that their intellectual preparation does not end with the seminary, you must guide them and offer them every kind of help, including continuing formation, as "a process of continual conversion" (Pastores dabo vobis, PDV 70) which embraces the priest's human, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral dimensions. In this way they will be able to give the People of God satisfactory guidance, especially when examples of life and conduct which lead to confusion and the relativism of the doctrinal and moral principles are being slyly introduced, as you highlighted in your Orientaciones Pastorales.

All priests who are members of institutes of consecrated life and societies of apostolic life and work in the dioceses belong to the diocesan presbyterate. They must live out their own charisms in unity, in communion and in the mission of the particular Church. This spirit of communion between the bishop and all his priests must be fostered, so that they may be for the faithful examples of the unity desired by Christ (cf. Jn Jn 17,21). At the same time, pastoral activity will be enriched by fraternal sharing of the different charisms.

7. Concerned by the small number of persons who devote themselves to the mission, you are doing what you can to promote and attentively supervise vocations promotion, which must be accompanied primarily by prayer (cf. Mt Mt 9,38). Candidates must be directed wisely and competently, so that they can go through all the necessary stages for following the Lord in the priestly or religious life.

Therefore in this regard "the Church of the Third Millennium will need to encourage all the baptized and confirmed to be aware of their active responsibility in the Church's life. Together with the ordained ministry, other ministries, whether formally instituted or simply recognized, can flourish for the good of the whole community, sustaining it in all its many needs, from catechesis to liturgy, from the education of the young to the widest array of charitable works" (Novo Millennio ineunte NM 46).

Everyone must feel called to collaborate in the effort to promote vocations to the priesthood and to the life of special consecration, even in sectors that are not favourable, or rife with religious indifference. "There is a pressing need to implement an extensive plan of vocational promotion, based on personal contact and involving parishes, schools and families in the effort to foster a more attentive reflection on life's essential values. These reach their fulfilment in the response which each person is invited to give to God's call, particularly when the call implies a total giving of self and of one's energies to the cause of the Kingdom" (ibid.).

8. Among your pastoral priorities you also feel a pressing need to help parents to be good pastors of the "domestic church". Indeed, when a family takes part in the Church's life and mission, not only does it become a sacrament of salvation for its members, but it also totally fulfils "its mission to guard, reveal and communicate love and life" (Familiaris consortio, FC 17).

In the Orientaciones Pastorales you also stressed that there is in the contemporary world a widespread deterioration of the natural and religious sense of marriage, with disturbing consequences in both the private and public domains. For this reason special attention should be paid to all families: not only to those that fulfil their mission at the service of life from conception to its natural end, founded on conjugal and family love. Pastoral discernment must also be exercised about the alternative types of union affecting the institution of the family in Uruguay today, especially those that regard mere de facto unions making them equivalent to real families, ignoring the authentic concept of conjugal love.

On this aspect you said that "all laws which would do harm to the family, striking at its unity and its indissolubility, or which would give legal validity to a union between persons, including those of the same sex, who demand the same rights as the family founded upon marriage between a man and a woman,... are not laws in harmony with the divine plan" (Address to government leaders, members of parliament and politicians, 4 November, 2000, n. 4).

9. Confronted by serious and widespread social problems, the Church tries to respond and to find practical solutions in line with her social teaching. Through her social ministry she endeavours to spread the culture of solidarity, safeguarding her preferential option for the poor by showing active, practical love for each human being, who is faced with the temptation of indifference or surrender to circumstance. This is a context which "without ever yielding to the temptation to turn Christian communities into mere social agencies" (Novo Millennio ineunte NM 52), is a crucial feature of Christian life, the ecclesial approach and pastoral planning.

I know that the Church in Uruguay, despite limited material resources, is in the front line in attending to people and families who live in conditions far below the minimum standard required by human dignity and in the fight against "the new forms of poverty". The Church, through priests, men and women religious, consecrated people and committed laity, makes herself present in the marginalized neighbourhoods of cities and rural areas, through schools and many forms of assistance to the poorest and neediest.

10. At the end of this fraternal meeting, I ask you to invite the priests and deacons, men and women religious, seminarians and committed lay people to "put out into the deep" in their service to the Church and to the Uruguayan people, steadfast and faithful to Christ and to their brethren.

I entrust all that we have discussed during these days to the motherly protection of Our Lady of the Thirty Three, Mother of the Oriental People. Let yourselves be guided by Mary, Star of Evangelization, who always points out the safe path. At the same time and as an expression of my deep affection in the Lord, I impart my Apostolic Blessing to you, extending it to each and every one of your beloved diocesan faithful.


Thursday, 6 September 2001

Dear Abbot Primate,
Dear Canons Regular of St Augustine,

1. I am glad to receive you on the occasion of the International Congress of your Confederation and extend a warm welcome to each one of you. I greet the Abbot Primate and thank him for expressing your common sentiments. I greet all the participants in this meeting, which has just ended, on the theme: The participation of lay people in our charism.

This gives you an important opportunity to reflect on the ancient form of religious life that is rooted in the traditional formula: "Contemplare, et contemplata aliis tradere" ("Contemplate, and hand on to others the fruit of contemplation"). The venerable Augustinian tradition combines a contemplative spirit with apostolic activity and this approach to life still marks your communities, present on every continent. Thus you continue to pass on a spirituality that speaks to the minds and hearts of our contemporaries who are searching for effective spiritual models for inspiration. As I joyfully congratulate you on your vitality, I urge you to persevere in the commitment to offer everyone you meet in your apostolate the ongoing proclamation of the Gospel, expressed in the daily witness of fidelity to your charism.

You offer to the clergy in a concrete way, the practice of community life for the Kingdom
2. In the history of the Church, your Order, which takes its inspiration from St Augustine, the great Pastor and Doctor of the Church, has played an important role. To the extent that the celibacy of the clergy was being affirmed more firmly, the community life of the Canons Regular around the Bishops enabled them to create the best possible conditions for total dedication to the cause of the Kingdom of God. The rapid spread of community life among the clergy, from North West Africa to Spain, from Italy to France and to the whole of Northern Europe, based on your model, testifies to the validity of this practice.

The community life of the Canons Regular is distinguished by fraternal communion, the apostolate and an intense liturgical life. These three elements have retained their validity today even if they need to be wisely adapted to the demands of rapidly changing times. In this regard, the Rule itself is of great help to you; though it is linked to the spirituality of the early communities of Canons, it is always valid because it presents the charism of community life which flow from the undying Gospel principles such as charity, unity and freedom.

3. In your Rule which captures the heart, mind, spirit, personality and human and religious maturity of St Augustine, everything focuses on Christ, everything is articulated around Christ, the sublime interior Master. Everything is an invitation to rediscover an ascesis marked by obedience and fidelity to the Spirit.

From this stems the special emphasis that St Augustine placed on the value of contemplation and its close bond with community life. Contemplation, which flows from a radical orientation to Christ, consists in keeping one's gaze fixed on him, in order to be permeated and transformed by his Spirit.

That calls for a constant effort to acquire a deeper understanding of the Gospel and to put it into practice, living genuine, sincere and generous fraternal charity in the community, that results from, and leads to, progress in the interior contemplative journey. Fraternal charity that develops from intimate contact with the Lord thus becomes a gift and grace, to be shared with the brethren.

This is the contribution that the Church expects of you. I am sure that in living your charism to the full, you can help her to achieve the missionary goals toward which she is projected, impressing on your life the drive for the new evangelization.

4. The very theme of your congress on lay participation in the Order's charism, highlights an important aspect of your contribution to the evangelizing activity of the ecclesial community. To the extent that it seeks to put into practice the common priesthood of all the baptized and invites the lay faithful to be missionaries in the complex modern world, your way of life offers them a model they can follow. Indeed, you present a community experience in which lay people take up their specific role in the Church with responsible participation, strengthened by the grace that comes from a deep liturgical spirituality. All this creates the conditions for an effective service to evangelization and revives the atmosphere of the first Christian community, whose members "devoted themselves to the Apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and prayer" (Ac 2,42).

Dear Brothers! As we take our first steps in the new millennium with the awareness of all the social and religious challenges that lie ahead, you witness courageously to your fidelity to the mission that the Lord entrusts to you, following the example of St Augustine, a brave and zealous Pastor. Like him, entrust yourselves to the action of the Spirit and do not fear to open yourselves with the optimism of the Gospel to human needs, "always ... prepared to make a defence to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you" (1P 3,15).

May the Blessed Virgin Mary, whom you venerate with special filial enthusiasm, accompany you and make your daily ministry fruitful. May the Blessing that I cordially impart to you, to your confreres and to all who have recourse to your Augustinian spirituality, be of great help to you!




Friday, 7 September 2001

Mr Ambassador,

It is with great pleasure that I welcome you to Castelgandolfo this morning and accept the Letters of Credence by which you are appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ireland to the Holy See. I thank you for the greetings which you have conveyed on behalf of President Mary McAleese, and I gladly reciprocate with good wishes and the assurance of my goodwill and prayers for her and the people of Ireland.

You have mentioned the Great Jubilee celebrations which took place last year to mark the Two Thousandth Anniversary of the Birth of Christ. The Jubilee was an occasion for the Church throughout the world to be renewed in her commitment to the Gospel and in her service to humanity. Many Irish people came on pilgrimage to Rome in the course of the Jubilee year, giving expression to the bonds of union with the Successor of Peter which have characterized the Church in Ireland since the time of Saint Patrick and even before him. It is not possible to think of Ireland without recalling its monastic tradition, its love of learning and the missionary zeal which led many Irish men and women down the centuries to become peregrini pro Christo throughout the world.

The Christian foundations of Europe owe much to the vision and labours of great Irish saints such as Columba, Columbanus, Gall and Killian. In later more troubled times Irish men and women suffered discrimination, persecution and even martyrdom for their tenacious fidelity to the faith of their ancestors. This heritage has deeply marked the character and culture of the Irish people, who have a special sensitivity to the sufferings of other peoples, and have been outstanding in generosity and solidarity towards them. Even now Irish men and women are in the forefront of the Church’s work of evangelization and service in all parts of the world, and not infrequently they bear the supreme witness to their faith and commitment, as very recently in the case of Father Rufus Halley, an Irish Columban, in the Philippines.

Recent years have brought rapid social and economic change, leading to many positive developments, but also to new and sometimes destabilizing demands on individuals and society. In particular, as you have observed, there is a need to discern those trends and changes which encourage genuine progress while safeguarding the values on which your nation is built. A country is more than the sum of its possessions and powers; it is the cradle and home of a people’s soul and spirit.

Genuine development is possible only on the basis of a correct concept of the human person and of what constitutes the true good and well-being of a people. The choices made in the economic and social domain reveal a given culture’s overall understanding of life. A complete picture of the human person respects all the dimensions of his being and subordinates the material and instinctive dimensions to the interior, rational and spiritual ones.

There is need for considerable educational and cultural effort to ensure that people, apart from developing new and advanced technological skills and expertise, are also trained to make responsible use of their new-found power of choice in order to distinguish between the valuable and the ephemeral. For this reason the primacy of being over having, which involves the quest for the true, the good and the beautiful, must always be considered central to a culture if people are to live genuinely happy and fulfilled lives. The inherited wisdom and resources of Ireland’s heritage and tradition, as well as the gifts and talents of its citizens, should continue to provide a sure guide and inspiration for social progress.

The family plays an essential role in helping its members to grow to full human maturity, and therefore to play a responsible role in society. It is in the family that people receive the first formative ideas about truth, goodness, love, commitment, and service of others. Today, however, the family is increasingly under severe pressure from a complicated interplay of forces which tend to subordinate the transcendent value of life to other immediate interests or even to personal convenience. When the Church defends the right to life of every innocent person—from conception to natural death—as one of the pillars on which every civil society stands, she is simply promoting a human State, a community in fundamental agreement with human nature. A society lacks solid foundations when, on the one hand, it asserts values such as the dignity of the person, justice and peace, but then, on the other, acts to the contrary by allowing or employing practices which devalue and violate human life, especially where it is most vulnerable (cf. Evangelium Vitae EV 101). Only where there is unconditional respect for the right to life can other inalienable rights be safeguarded. And only on such an objective basis can true democracy and the common good be built.

Mr Ambassador, you have mentioned Ireland’s awareness of its responsibilities and its increased role within the international community. The Holy See, as you know, is deeply concerned at the emergence and growth of old and new tensions in many parts of the world. One of the difficulties which has grown more acute in recent times as a result also of the increasing mobility of peoples is that of racial discrimination, the theme of the United Nations Conference which concludes today in Durban, South Africa. The worrying resurgence of aggressive forms of nationalism and racism are serious threats to human dignity and undermine social coexistence, peace and harmony. The Church reproves as contrary to God’s will all discrimination or harassment of people due to race, colour, condition of life or religion (cf. Nostra Aetate NAE 5). A culture of mutual openness and acceptance needs to be fostered; this calls for suitable educational initiatives and the legal protection of the fundamental rights of all. Ireland’s tradition of warm hospitality cannot fail precisely when the world stands in need of attitudes of fairness, justice and solidarity with those in need.

I often recall my visit to Ireland in 1979 where I experienced at first hand the kindness, hospitality and deep religious faith of your people. While there, I asked that those involved in violence in Northern Ireland would renounce the use of arms and embrace the path of dialogue and peace. Much progress has been made in recent times in this regard and we must hope that a new spirit of enlightened commitment to the common good will indeed take hold at every level. Present difficulties are a reminder that peace is a fragile reality calling for continued goodwill and the implementation of the practical measures required for a just and harmonious society.

Mr Ambassador, as you begin your duties as your country’s Representative to the Holy See I assure you of my prayers for the success of your mission. You may be certain that the various departments of the Roman Curia will be only too willing to assist you in this task. I ask Almighty God's abundant blessings upon you and upon the beloved people of Ireland.



Friday 7 September 2001

Reverend Prior General, Fathers of the Augustinian Order!

1. I welcome you with joy, on the occasion of your General Chapter. I especially greet the Prior General and thank him for having expressed the kind sentiments of all present. I greet each of you, Chapter Fathers, and extend my warm thoughts to the entire Order of St Augustine, who are spiritually gathered around your Assembly in these days. This meeting is of singular importance for you, because it occurs at the beginning of a new century and a new millennium, while the memory of the Great Jubilee is still fresh. This event has left an indelible mark on the life and history of the Church and of the world.

All through the Holy Year we were given to experience Christ, "the same yesterday, today and forever" (He 13,8), more intimately, or in the words of St Augustine, to us "more interior than our own interiority" (Confes. 3,11). It has been a year of intense contemplation of the mystery of the Incarnation, in which there is an extraordinary "dialogue of love" between God and humanity. St Augustine commenting on it writes: "He who was God became man, taking on what he was not, without losing what he was; and in this way God became man. In this mystery you find help for your weakness and in Him you find all that you need to reach your perfection. Christ lifts you up in virtue of his humanity; he guides you in virtue of his human divinity and he leads you to his divinity" (Comment on the Gospel of Jn 23,6).

2. God came to the aid of the radical weakness of man, who is aware of his interior restlessness. This restlessness stems from his reaching towards, at times unconsciously, something that transcends him. St Augustine met God through these paths of existential restlessness; the study of the Word of God and prayer were his travelling companions.

Augustine's experience is similar to that of many people today. For this reason, Augustinian Fathers, with modern forms of pastoral service, you can help them to discover the transcendent meaning of life. You should be wise companions for them to guide them towards a faith both more personal and also more communitarian for it is the Church who keeps alive the memory of Christ. St Augustine wrote: "The Church speaks in Christ and Christ speaks in the Church; the body speaks in the Head and the Head speaks in the body" (Comment on Ps 30,2 Ps 4).

Dear spiritual sons of St Augustine! Fulfil this important missionary service in the Church, drawing from the inexhaustible treasures of your Great Teacher suggestions and proposals for a renewed apostolic action. Continue your reflections on these subjects, which you began to consider at the Intermediate General Chapter of 1998, celebrated at Villanova University in the United States. Wisely, you are looking at revising your Constitutions and at the juridical and organizational reforms of the Order which should bring about a sharper communication of the Augustinian charism. However, your most important task is to preserve, unaltered and living, the heritage and the message of the life and doctrine of St Augustine, in which humanity in its quest for truth, happiness and love in every age can recognize itself.

3. St Augustine, so deeply familiar with the human heart, knows that in the depths of a person's restlessness there is God himself, the "beauty so ancient and so new" (Confes. 10,27,38). The Lord makes himself present through various signs and in many ways, coming to meet his creature who is thirsting for transcendence and interiority. You, dear Augustinian fathers, are the "teachers of interiority" at the service of people of the third millennium who are searching for Christ. He cannot be reached by a superficial path, but by the path of interiority. It is always Augustine who reminds us that only drawing close to one's own interior centre of gravity makes possible contact with the Truth that reigns in the spirit (cf. De Magistro [The Teacher] 11,38).

To succeed in reaching this haven, starting point and goal, as St Augustine noted in the Confessions (cf. 1,1,1), a work of immersion in ourselves is necessary, of freedom from being conditioned by the exterior world, of attentive and humble listening to the voice of conscience. Here there is a vast pastoral field which is very well adapted to your charism.

I would like to repeat the words of my venerable predecessor, Pope Paul VI, addressed to you at a meeting similar to today's: "We like to remember still - he writes - an element in which we can recognize a singular trait, or almost, the genius of the Augustinian Order. It is the capacity to carry out the intellectual apostolate.... You have available the priceless doctrinal patrimony of the Saint, you have before you an uninterrupted tradition of study, you have an agile and modern instrument, the Patristic Institute "Augustinianum', and so you cannot renounce being actively present in the religious-cultural field" (Letter to the Prior General O.S.A., on the occasion of the General Chapter, 14 September 1977).

4. What an abundant harvest the Lord entrusts to you! Although fulfilling this task requires an adequate intellectual and pastoral formation, it is essential to tend to holiness, to be in love with God and his eternal plan of salvation.

Your Order has known a long list of saints, down the ages. In recent years I have had the joy of adding others. Is this not a sign of spiritual vitality and an encouragement to continue in their footsteps. May the witness of faith and charity of your brother, Mons. Anselmo Polanco, Bishop of Teruel, assassinated in the turbulent days of the Spanish War, in the heart of the 20th century, be an example for you. Faithful to his episcopal programme, he handed himself over with joy for the souls of his faithful (cf. II Cor 12,15).

I also think of the Mexican Father Elias del Socorro Nieves, killed out of hatred for the faith in 1927 and elevated to the glories of the altar on 12 October 1997, and of the Augustinian nun, Mother Maria Teresa Fasce, from Cascia, one of the places that is most evocative of your spirituality, linked to the memory of St Rita, a witness of unlimited forgiveness and heroic acceptance of suffering.

Looking at such shining models, upheld by their intercession, go towards the future with confidence! Put out into the deep! (cf. Lk Lc 5,4).

I repeat to you what some years ago I wrote to all consecrated persons: "You have not only a glorious history to remember and to recount, but also a great history still to be accomplished!

Look to the future, where the Spirit is sending you in order to do even greater things" (Vita consecrata VC 110). In these days of work may the Lord inspire you, with the strength of his Spirit, and may Mary, Mother of Good Counsel, illumine and sustain you in every important choice and decision. With these wishes, I gladly impart to you, Reverend Father General, to the Chapter members and to all the members of the Augustinian Order a special Apostolic Blessing.

Speeches 2001 - Monday 3 September 2001