Speeches 1979 - 22 May 1979



25 May 1979

Gentlemen and beloved Sons!

I am sincerely grateful to you for this courteous visit, which permits me to meet and greet the prestigious champions of two countries united by deep ties of faith, culture, and blood, their managers and technicians with their respective families, and these two teams of youths who, if they do not yet enjoy the fame of their now famous colleagues, certainly vie with them in passion for sport and generous enthusiasm. I address a hearty welcome to everyone.

I listened with attention and interest to the introductory address of the President of the Italian Football Federation, who succeeded in interpreting the common sentiments with kind and appropriate words, and also opportunely recalled the solicitude with which the Church has always followed the exercise of the various athletic disciplines, stressing at the same time, with exquisite delicacy, the appreciation that I, too, have already had the opportunity to show for values connected with the practice of sport.

l am happy to note the clarity and precision with which you, Mr President, have assimilated the teaching of the ecclesiastical Magisterium on this subject. It is an important teaching, because it reflects one of the firm points of the Christian concept of man. It is worth recalling, in this connection, that already in the first centuries Christian thinkers resolutely opposed certain ideologies, then in fashion, which were characterized by a clear devaluation of the physical, carried out in the name of a mistaken exaltation of the spirit. On the basis of biblical data, they forcefully affirmed, on the contrary, a unified view of the human being. "What is man"—asks a Christian author of the end of the second century or beginning of the third—"what is man but a rational animal composed of a soul and a body? So the soul, taken by itself, is not man? No, but it is man's soul. So the body is man? No, but it must be said that it is man's body. Therefore neither the soul nor the body, taken separately, is man: what is called with this name is what is born from their union" ("De resurrectione VIII" in Rouet de Journal, Enchiridion Patristicum, n. 147, p. 59).

When, therefore, Emanuele Mounier, a Christian thinker of this century, says that man is "a body in the same way as he is spirit: entirely body and entirely spirit" (cf. Il personalismo, Rome 1971, p. 29), he is not saying anything new, but merely reproposing the traditional thought of the Church.

I have dwelt on these points of doctrine, because the evaluation that the Magisterium proposes of the disciplines of sports is based on these principles. It is a question of a highly positive evaluation, because of the contribution which these disciplines make to an integral human formation. Athletic activity, in fact, if carried out according to correct criteria, aims at developing strength, skill, resistance and balance in the organism, and at the same time encourages the growth of interior energies themselves, becoming a school of loyalty, courage, endurance, resoluteness, and brotherhood.

Addressing, therefore, a word of applause and encouragement to you, young athletes present here, and to your colleagues all over the world, to the managers, technicians and all those who dedicate themselves to the noble cause of spreading wholesome sporting activity, I express the hope that there will be an ever-increasing number of people who, strengthening their body and their spirit in the severe standards of the various sports, commit themselves to acquiring the human maturity necessary to cope with the ordeals of life, learning to face everyday difficulties courageously and to overcome them victoriously.

Allow me now to say a word also in the language spoken in Argentina.

Beloved Argentine Sons.

I feel happy to be able to receive you today, the day, moreover, of the Argentine National holiday, to congratulate you warmly on your recent sports successes and to express to you my sincere esteem for your persons.

You are young, however, and therefore full of hope and eager to improve both on the personal and professional plane. For this reason my words, when I speak to sportsmen like you, will always wish to be a kind of affectionate shaking up of spirits, encouraging them to develop boldly towards the aims that ennoble life most.

Keep in mind the fact that while you play you are the centre of attention on the part of the masses. Skilful play, an excellent style, favourable results, will win you their applause and admiration. But God grant that they may be able to appreciate clearly in you a model of respect and loyalty, an example of comradeship and friendship, a testimony of real brotherhood. All this refines spirits and gives them a close perception of the sublime in the human being and of his true dignity. In this way you will also cooperate in the construction of a more peaceful world and, if you have faith, to the consolidation of the community of the sons of God: the Church.

With these wishes I willingly impart to you the Apostolic Blessing, which I extend to the members of your families and to all beloved Argentine sons.



25 May 1979

Your Excellency,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I thank you for this visit to the Vatican. Thank you in particular for the greetings and good wishes you transmitted to me from the President of the Council of State of the Bulgarian People's Republic; I sincerely offer him my own.

I greet all those who make up the delegations present here: the personalities who represent Bulgarian cultural traditions; Metropolitan Pankratij, the leader of the delegation of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church; and the members of the Catholic delegation, among whom I see my brothers in the episcopate, His Excellency Mons. Bogdan Dobranov and Mons. Samuel Dijoundrine,

Your presence in Rome to attend the inauguration of the exhibition organized at the Vatican apostolic Library on "Vatican manuscripts and documents concerning the history of Bulgaria" and to take part in the celebrations in honour of SS Cyril and Methodius, is an eloquent illustration of the fact that the ties of the Holy See with Bulgaria, on the ecclesiastical and civil plane, do not date from yesterday but go back many centuries. Your delegations—composed of personalities of the religious world and the cultural world—prove, moreover, that culture and religious faith are not only not opposed to each other, but have with each other relations similar to those of the fruit with the tree. It is sufficient to study the origin of the cultures of different peoples to see how culture was and remains a real manifestation of some of the deepest requirements of man, who wishes to express, in art and in morals, what seems to him true, good, beautiful, just, and worthy of being loved.

In my first encyclical Redemptor Hominis, I explained how all the ways of the Church lead to man. It is a historical fact that the Christian Churches of East and West have encouraged and spread throughout the centuries love for one's own culture and respect for that of others. It was in this way that there arose magnificent churches and places of worship, full of architectural riches and sacred images such as the icons, for example, fruits of prayer and penitence as much as of artistic skill. It was in this way that there were produced so many documents and writings of a religious and cultural character, which instructed and edified the peoples for whom they were intended.

In this context, it is with pride and emotion that my thought rises to the Saints Cyril and Methodius. They left to the Slav peoples a cultural heritage which is concretely, as it were, the fruit of the tree of their Christian faith, deeply rooted in love of God and their brothers, whom they served in circumstances which were not always favourable. I hope that their message of unity among peoples, in real brotherhood and in peaceful life in society, is still heard today in the regions where they lived, where they worked, and which they loved with all their fervour as apostles, to the end of their lives.

When you return to your country, I want you to take with you the wishes of happiness, peace, and prosperity, both spiritual and material, which I form for the whole Bulgarian people, which is always so close to my heart.



26 May 1979

Venerable Brothers,

Your presence reminds me of the message which, at the beginning of my pontificate, I addressed to you on the occasion of the first centenary of the foundation of the ecclesiastical hierarchy in your country. I felt immensely pleased that an event of such importance for the religious history of your land should have its final celebration on the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, with a ceremony that culminated at the foot of the image of the Virgin of the Thirty-Three.

Today, seeing you here on your visit ad limina Apostolorum—and I feel present also the other Brothers in the Episcopate who will likewise come to visit Peter—I realize deeply that my union with you is becoming stronger: a strength that finds its perennial fruitfulness in the plan according to which Christ willed to construct his Church on Peter, with the mandate of strengthening his brothers, making his mission with them the unity of the Apostolic College. It is a question of the collegiality which the Second Vatican Council stressed insistently. The Bishop is the visible source and foundation of unity of the particular Church of which he is pastor (Lumen Gentium LG 23); but as a member of the Episcopal College he is obliged to act in solidarity with his brothers when there arise problems common to other ecclesial communities, especially if these problems affect the whole territory of a nation. For this reason, I am filled with joy at the image the Church offers in your country, a manifest sign of salvation and sacrament of unity for all men (Lumen Gentium LG 1), and therefore a model for the brotherly coexistence of the nation.

I wish to dwell particularly on one point, when emphasizing the operating unanimity of your aspirations: adequate and intense pastoral care for religious vocations and, above all, priestly vocations. It is an indispensable necessity, for which I, too, feel anxious solicitude when I look at countries where, as in yours, there is still lacking an organic and adequate development of the body of the particular Churches, which are obliged, for their life and mission, to avail themselves of the precious and generous, but precarious help that the clergy of other nations can offer.

For this reason I give fervent thanks to the Lord of the harvest who, for some time now, has been bringing forth a growing number of priestly vocations in your dioceses.

I consider it superfluous to call attention to the necessity of forming adequately the future workers in the vineyard. But allow me to stress that, in your mission as pastors, priority should go to care for the spirituality of those who will be your immediate collaborators, as well as of those whom the Lord has already put at your side. Let solicitude for your priests have all the vigour and all the delicate attentions that your fatherly office calls for, above all in order that supernatural inspiration, interpreting adequately the essence of the Gospel message, may play a decisive part in their attitudes and in their conduct.

Let this spiritual animation be your concern also in looking for, forming, and directing the other forces from whom the Church today asks a substantial organized contribution for the development of her mission.

In this way your five-year pastoral plan, prepared for the whole country, will be able to pass to a dynamic executive phase for the sanctification of the people of God. The moral and religious renewal of important sectors will also benefit, as is called for by serious necessities and fatal trends on which you have recently raised your voice.

I deeply appreciate your vigilant and efficacious zeal in the whole area of the specific mission of the Church. The latter, foreign to interventions that are outside her sphere of competence, renders service—certainly not a contingent one—to the cause of humanity in general and of the people in the midst of whom she acts as mother and teacher. In this connection you have made an explicit and well-balanced pronouncement, and I myself dealt with this fundamental subject in the opening address of the Third General Conference of the Latin-American Episcopate. It is a way clearly marked out for evangelization in a continent which I love deeply and in which your country has had and keeps a place of great prestige. It remains for me only to tell you, in such a delicate field, that I rely greatly on your zeal and on that of all your collaborators. But I also wish to express the hope that the human and Christian wisdom of your fellow citizens will benefit trustfully from the Magisterium and the work of the Church.

I wish to return again to the starting point of this talk: in spirit I go on pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of the Virgin of the Thirty-Three, commending to her motherly love your toil, your sorrows, your aspirations and those of all your priests, deacons, men and women religious, seminarians, all those engaged in pastoral work, and your whole people.

Receive the Apostolic Blessing which I willingly impart to you and which I wish to send to Cardinal Antonio Barbieri, this outstanding pastor who is completing in suffering and in prayer the long and precious service rendered to the Church in your country.



26 May 1979

Beloved Boys and Girls of Catholic Action!

Welcome to this magnificent St Peter's Square.

Be blessed all of you in the name of the Lord Jesus, the friend of children!

I thank you heartily for the joyful manifestation of affection which you reserved for me as I was passing in your midst to extend my cordial and fatherly greeting to you—who are "my joy and crown" (Ph 4,1) because you express the face of the Church "without spot or wrinkle" (Ep 5,27)—and to all those who have accompanied you here: parents, teachers, diocesan and national leaders of Catholic Action for Boys and Girls. In particular, let my gratitude go to the Assistant General, Mons. Giuseppe Costanzo, and the National President, Prof. Mario Agnes, who asked for this Audience on the occasion of your National Meeting, with which you intend also to offer your contribution to the initiatives which are being promoted on all sides in the framework of the International Year of the Child.

1. You have wished to meet the Pope on this day sacred to the memory of St Philip Neri, rightly described as the Apostle of the young owing to his long and indefatigable activity for their sake. Your meetings in Rome take place under his protection: the protection of him who succeeded so well in gathering around him the boys of the Roman suburbs and in educating them to the noble ideals of Christian faith and civil society! It is said that to aid the neediest, he did not hesitate to beg in the streets. One day a certain man, feeling that he was being pestered, slapped his face. The Saint answered with a smile: "That's for me, now give me some money for my boys." And to those who complained about the din they made, he would reply: "Provided they don't do wrong, I would be content for them to break my head." Such was his priestly love for the young that he did not hesitate to become for them a juggler for God, a master of truly evangelical merriment and joy, which he summed up in the famous motto: "Sadness and melancholy, get out of my house." On his grave, not far from here, in the Church of St Mary in Vallicella, where I will go shortly to celebrate Holy Mass, I will ask the Joint Patron Saint of Rome kindly to obtain for you, and for all young people in the world, serenity of spirit, nobility of heart, and unfailing consistency in evangelical witness in the environment in which you are called to live and operate.

2. With regard to your gathering here in Rome, this concludes the initiatives you have undertaken in this month of May, which was for you "The month of meetings". I saw with pleasure the wall poster which, with its ingenious slogan: "Roger and over", sums up very well the last stage of the work carried out this year. This slogan, which you have taken from radio jargon, defines very well the Christian commitment to which each of you is called. That is, the commitment to listen to the Word of God and of men in order to transmit it, in your turn, to others, just as Jesus said to his disciples: "What I tell you in the dark, utter in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim upon the housetops" (Mt 10,27). And you know how today can be seen on roofs forests of radio and television aerials which diffuse and pick up what is said in a broadcasting room.

— Roger [received and understood]: this first term of your motto means also knowing how to listen, study more deeply, discover and live what you have "received" in your group life: at meetings, at school, in associations, in games, in technical applications, in which you get to know one another, exchange experiences, share your sentiments, discover the mark that other groups have left in the country or in the district, their enthusiasm and their goodwill. All this stock of ideas that you receive must not, however, remain lifeless and inactive in you but must, in the first place, serve to improve your person, enrich it, change it for the better, make you become capable young people. But above all it means being able to accept good inspirations, letting oneself be imbued with God's grace, aspiring to holiness, according to the Lord's words: "You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Mt 5,48).

Over: all that you receive must not only not remain lifeless in you, but must also go over, that is, be given, communicated to others, as was done by the Apostles who scattered over the world to communicate and proclaim to all peoples the message of salvation they had received from their Master and ours, when he said: "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations... teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you" (Mt 28,19). You too will do this, if you feel in your hearts that you are "true living witnesses to Christ among (your) companions" (cf. Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity, n. 12). And such you will be if you are able to manifest your joy in living, growing and loving; if you are able to overcome the deceptive lure of the senses; if you succeed in not being proud in relation to other boys and girls who are not so gifted and who are worse-off as regards social status; if you do not act selfishly; if you are not spiteful; if you do not revenge yourselves, but are able to forgive sincerely those who have offended you; if, in other words, you are able to live in an evangelical way. In this way you will certainly succeed in putting "over" your ideals to others, and they, seeing your good works, will give glory to the Father in heaven (cf. Mt Mt 5,16).

Dear boys and girls, on going home, tell your friends what the Pope has just suggested to you in memory of this fine audience in St Peter's Square. Tell them all that the Pope loves them, waits for their visit and blesses them, just as I now impart to you present here my special Apostolic Blessing, with the hope that, by means of the motherly help of the Virgin Mary, the mystical rose of the month of May, you will really be able to receive and pass on the Christian order of faith and hope, in praise and glory of God.



28 May 1979

Your Eminence, Your Excellencies,

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

This week, the Pope's programme of work is rather a heavy one, before the journey to Poland. However, I was anxious to satisfy your desire for an audience, even if briefly, to show you my esteem and the importance I attach to "Caritas Internationalis".

I am very happy to note in the first place the ever wider implantation of diocesan "Caritas" organisms, in two thirds of the dioceses of the world. They are, on the local plane, the expression and instrument of the charity of the great Christian community presided over by the bishop, and therefore of all the ecclesial communities, parochial or others, attached to it. National "Caritas" organisms have an important role in over a hundred countries, to animate and coordinate charitable action, in close liaison with the episcopal Conferences. It seemed necessary too—and this was an idea that was already very dear to my late predecessor when he was still Mons. Montini—that these national organisms should be united on the international plane in "Caritas Internationalis", to study, stimulate and harmonize the projects of member associations. It is, as it were, a well structured tree with multiple ramifications. It must be added finally that the Pontifical Council " Cor Unum" constitutes, around the Pope, around the one "who presides over the universal assembly of charity" (cf. Constitution Lumen Gentium LG 13), a meeting place for all Church organisms dedicated to charity and to development.

According to the beautiful name you bear, which is the key-word of the Gospel, you are ordained to "charity". Your whole enterprise is to live by charity, to bear witness to it, to put it into practice, concretely and with others. Let us not let the word "charity", or its reality, be devalued. It is not just the fruit of a sentimental and fleeting pity. It is the deepest love for one's neighbour, for every person, and in particular for persons in need. Its justification and its dynamism come from high consideration for the person, his dignity, his right to have access to a decent life in spite of the material or moral misery that may overtake him owing to bad luck, natural disasters, illness, unjust social situations, etc. It is sufficient that this person should be in need, and sometimes immediate need, of food, shelter, clothes, a livelihood, comfort in loneliness, a visit, support, for himself and for the members of his family. And if this person is so important in our eyes, it is because he is important in God's eyes to begin with; it is because Christ identifies himself with him (cf. Mt Mt 25,34-40); it is because Christ asks us to do for him what, in this situation, we would like to be done for ourselves (cf. Mt Mt 7,12).

Christians would not be worthy of beaming this name if they did not try to accede to this charity which comes from God. They must bear witness to it personally, and no one is dispensed from doing so. No one has the monopoly of it either. But it is essential that Christians should bear witness to it jointly, that their heart should be formed to it, that their desire for charitable action should be enlightened, that their initiatives should be coordinated. That is the role of charitable associations in the Church, and especially of the "Caritas" organisms. When charity has been defined so deeply, it is no longer a question—in the Church of contrasting measures of assistance with actions aiming at development. The two must go hand in hand. How could we fail to be concerned to establish for tomorrow conditions of life such that the endemic miseries of today can be overcome or avoided in the future, as far as it depends on us? But what would this care for human advancement be if it neglected to meet, this very day, vital needs that cannot wait? For our society, God be thanked, makes it its business more and more to prepare a better future: Christians must be present in this effort, in their own way, that is, inspired by love and justice, with the aim of improving the whole man and of letting the persons concerned participate in their own development. You have been concerned with this matter in the course of this general Assembly.

But on the other hand, our society, in its desire to plan everything, tends to minimize, as being temporary, certain personal emergency cases, certain unforeseen situations of distress, certain categories of persons living on the fringes of society. Now you know that new types of poor people are continually arising, in all our societies, who are excluded from "progress". "You always have the poor with you", Jesus said (Mt 26,11). "Caritas" must keep as its first aim, as its special vocation, the eager desire to locate them, to help them with educative care and to make others aware of them. And let us always take care too that the sums collected for these poor people sometimes, indeed, by other poor people, are really used in the service of the poor.

Furthermore, your coordination on the international plane, the fact that you are recognized as having consultative status by the international organizations, give you the possibility and make it your duty to bear witness to Christian charity at the level of these international or intergovernmental authorities. It is a presence and an action that have their importance. The Second Vatican Council encouraged you to do so (cf. Constitution Gaudium et Spes GS 90). You know how much the Holy See appreciates this international activity, in which it does not hesitate to take part actively, on its own plane.

May it be possible to see everywhere, through your words and your actions, the Agape of the Lord, which knows no bounds! May this love be the evangelical leaven contributing to make this universe a world in which brotherhood and solidarity may really be lived, in which men may be able to lead a life worthy of sons of God! In this liturgical time, we implore especially the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of love: may he enlighten, purify and strengthen the love of all the members of the "Caritas" organizations, whom I willingly bless, with a special intention for the leaders and delegates present here.



Thursday, 31 May 1979

Dear Brothers in our Lord Jesus Christ,

FOR THE THIRD TIME in a little over a month it is my joy to be with a group of Indian Bishops making their ad limina visit. As I recall my meetings with your brother Bishops, I offer to you also, for your encouragement and strength, the reflections I made previously with them. I spoke about the ministry of faith which is ours, which rests on the power of God, and which is eminently expressed in the Eucharistic Sacrifice and in the Sacrament of Penance. I subsequently spoke about the holy name of Jesus, source of our strength and joyful inspiration for all our pastoral activities. And today I would like to continue to reflect with you on our common ministry of faith, exercised in the name of Jesus Christ the Son of God and Saviour of the world.

Day after day we are conscious of the challenge of Christ’s words, spoken before the Ascension: “Go out to the whole world. Proclaim the Good News to all creation”[1]. As Bishops with this mandate we know what it means to experience limitations, to meet opposition, to face injustice, and to feel the effects of sin. And still we are filled with hope in our work, accepting as we do the words of God: virtus in infirmitate perficitur[2]. This, dear Brothers, was likewise the conviction of all the Bishops of the world as they began the Second Vatican Council. In their Opening Message they stated: “To be sure, we are lacking in human resources and earthly power. Yet we place our trust in the power of God’s Spirit, who was promised to the Church by our Lord Jesus Christ”[3].

This then must be our attitude always, but especially today, as we wait, in the unity of apostolic fellowship, together with Mary the Mother of Jesus, to receive anew at Pentecost the Father’s gift of the Spirit, so that we can go forth to give witness to Jesus and to continue among our people his role as the Good Shepherd.

Only fast Sunday I had the joy of ordaining twenty-six new Bishops, including the Auxiliary of Calcutta. I could not help but reflect on the profound meaning of the ordination rite as I examined the candidates and asked: “Are you resolved as devoted fathers to sustain the people of God and to guide them in the way of salvation in cooperation with the priests and deacons who share your ministry?”. These are indeed two key words: to sustain and to guide. Our pastoral ministry exercised in close union with our collaborators is above all directed to the good of God’s people, of which our beloved laity are the great majority. For them we give our lives as devoted fathers to sustain them and to guide them in the way of salvation. And Paul VI completes our insight into the reality of his spiritual fatherhood of ours when he writes in Ecclesiam Suam. “In the very act of tryng to make ourselves pastors, fathers and teachers of men, we must make ourselves their brothers”. And so, in the brotherhood that we must also endeavour eo exemplify, Jesus Christ is indeed our supreme exemplar – he who is the only begotten Son of God, but who became and his so rightly called “the first-born among many brethren”.

In this time of Pentecost let us sustain our people, transmitting to them the encouragement of Jesus himself: “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom”. In particular, let us do this by spelling out the exalted dignity of the laity within the community of the Church. Of primary importance in this regard is the fact that by Baptism and Confirmation the laity are commissioned by the Lord himself to share in the saving mission of the Church. It is therefore no pragmatic reason that motivates us to sustain and guide them in their apostolate, but the very will of Christ for his people, for his Church. In so many circumstances the laity are the immediate heralds of faith giving authentic witness to God’s Kingdom, which is yet to be revealed in its fulness.

It is up to the laity to order temporal affaies in justice and peace, in equity and freedom, in truth and love – in accordance with the divine plan of creation and redemption. After the fashion of leaven, they are called to work for the sanctification of the world for the sanctification of the world from within, beginning with their own families. And all their efforts and struggles and sufferings on behalf of the Kingdom of God are of immense value when united with the Sacrifice of Christ. In the example of the laity the world must see the love of Christ manifested in his members. The nature of the Church as a community of prayers is readily perceived from the assemblies of the faithful gathered for the worship and praise of God.

In the community of the faithful – which must always maintain Catholic unity with the Bishops and the Apostolic See – there are great insights of faith. The Hoy Spirit is active in enlightening the minds of the faithful with his truth, and in inflaming their hearts with his love. But these insights of faith and this sensus fidelium are not independent of the magisterium of the Church, which is an instrument of the same Holy Spirit and is assisted by him. It is only when the faithful have been nourished by the word of God, faithfully transmitted in its purity and integrity, that their own charisms are fully operative and fruitful. Once the word of God is faithfully proclaimed to the community and is accepted it brings forth fruits of justice and holiness of life in abundance. But the dynamism of the community in understanding and living the word of God depends on its receiving intact the depositum fidei; and for this precise purpose a special apostolic and pastoral charism has been given to the Church. It is one and the same Spirit of truth who directs the hearts of the faithful and who guarantees the magisterium of the pastors of the flock.

One of the greatest services then that we can give to our people is to proclaim to them, day in and day out, “the unsearchable riches of Christ”, pointing out that Christianity is a unique and original message of salvation to be found in the name of Jesus Christ and in his name alone.

Brethren, each one of us must repeatedly confirm the yes of our episcopal ordination: we must indeed be resolved to sustain the people of God and to guide them in the way of salvation. And as we strive to fulfil this charge we must think of Jesus, who transmits to his disciples the great treasure of the Father’s word: Ego dedi eis sermonem tuum. We are called to continue his revelation of the Father, to transmit the word of God.

As we exhort our people more and more to undiscriminating service of their brethren and to universal love, we wish them to realize the great dignity that is theirs as disciples of Christ, and the real consequences of this discipleship in their daily living. With humility, but with deep conviction, we must take our stand, clearly passing on the exhortation of Saint Paul: “Do not be conformed to this world”.

All of this, Brethren, goes to describe the challenge that faces our laity, who must courageously take their place in loving union with their Bishops in the pusillus grex; all of this clarifies the goals of the seminary training that we must uphold; all of this emphasizes the priestly task of true evangelization and gives us deeper insights into our own pastoral ministry as Bishops of the Church of God.

Dear Brothers, let us go forward – forward together with each other and with our clergy – in the name of Jesus: strong in our communion of faith and love, serene in the face of obstacles, constant in prayer with Mary and to Mary – and, as fathers and brothers, sustaining our people in their distinctive vocation of Christianity, and guiding them in the way of salvation.

And together with the whole Church, let us await the Holy Spirit, who alone can supply for our weaknesses and bring to completion and perfection the ministry of faith that we exercise in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory and honour, for ever and ever. Amen.

[1] Mk 16 :16.

[2] 2 Cor 12 :9.

[3] 20 October 1962.

                                                                  June 1979

Speeches 1979 - 22 May 1979