Speeches 1979 - Thursday, 31 May 1979
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I thank you heartily for the noble resolutions and sentiments you have just expressed to me. I appreciated your desire to meet me, on the occasion of your twenty-seventh international Congress. I accede to it willingly, although, as you know, I am preparing for a great journey in my native country, a pastoral journey, which I recommend to your prayer.
Your Congress also comprises, moreover, according to its programme, a good number of visits or journeys, of a cultural nature, through Italy! I do not doubt that it has also given you the opportunity for interesting, fruitful and comforting exchanges for you, ladies, who have the heavy responsibilities of heads of businesses in your different countries.
Until quite a recent date, it is a fact that men had almost the monopoly of these responsibilities in the industrial, economic and social fields. You wish, rightly, that women should participate more in them. It is a way of making use of your real capacities, and I understand that you should feel satisfaction and personal fulfilment. It is also a way of making your specific contribution to the service of society. In fact, you then take a very active part in a world centred on work and production and which requires thorough organization: is this not an opportunity to let it benefit from your feminine qualities which, combined of course with the high professional qualifications necessary, can ensure a happy complementarity for the commitments of men. I say "complementarity", for you have the wisdom to want to work in collaboration and harmony with your masculine partners, "in the same management".
My wishes in this connection will be simple: be yourselves; be at once very competent to run your enterprises, and very human to promote just relations and conditions of work that are as human as possible among executives and all employees. Your sense of interpersonal relations should help you to do so.
It is natural, too, that you should seek representation with public authorities, private, national or international organizations, and at present European ones, in order to make your questions and points of view heard. Yes, make your contribution to the climate of peace, understanding and brotherhood which our societies need so much.
I wish you personally great courage, for, as is stressed in article 3 of the statutes of the Italian Association A.T.D.D.A. (Italian Association of Women Company Managers), you need understanding and support to carry out your double function as women—often mothers of a family—and company managers. I express the wish that you will bear your professional responsibilities in the best possible way, in these difficult times for the economy and the maintenance of employment. And I express good wishes also for your homes, your children, who need your presence, your love, your care in upbringing. For no mother can forget this essential mission which permits her not only to find fulfilment but also to prepare for society young people whose affective, intellectual and spiritual balance has matured in a united, happy and open home.
Yesterday, we were celebrating, in the Catholic Church, the Visitation of Mary. We contemplated Mary, the future mother of the Saviour, full of energy, joy, pride and also humility and hope, because of the love of God who took the initiative of the gift towards her. I will pray to her for each of you, particularly before the image at Jasna Gora, so venerated in my country. And on all of you, on your dear ones, on those who accompany you here. I implore the Blessings of the Lord and especially, in this time of Pentecost, the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
At the moment of leaving the beloved soil of Italy to go to the beloved soil of Poland, I have the deep impression that the journey is taking place, as it were, between two homelands and, as if by physical contact, serves to unite them even more in my heart. I am leaving my country of election, where the Lord's will has called me for an exceptional pastoral service, and am going to my country of origin, which I left just a few months ago: it is, therefore, a return, which will shortly be followed by another return, after following an itinerary which—like my preceding journey in Mexico—is, by my own choice, inspired by a religious and pastoral motivation.
It is, in fact, the recurrence of the jubilee of St Stanislaus, bishop and martyr, that guides my steps. His sacrifice for the faith, nine centuries ago, is—like the preceding and fundamental "Millennium Poloniae"—one of the most important historico-religious events of my native land, so it was decided some time ago to commemorate it with appropriate and solemn celebrations. And I who had already taken part in carrying out a vast programme of spiritual preparation for the event, could not fail to be present at this appointment with my people. I am all the more grateful for the invitation of the Polish Episcopate, headed by the Primate Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski. God willing, I will first reach Warsaw, the glorious capital, so sorely tired and now risen again, industrious and pulsating with life. I will then visit Gniezno, the city which was the cradle of the Christian faith for the Polish nation, because the sovereign Mieszko was baptized there in 996, and which is distinguished by devotion to the Patron Saint Woiciech. Then the famous Marian Sanctuary of Czestochowa; and then Krakow, which with unchanged affection I continue to call "my" city. The ancient capital of Poland, it was the episcopal see of the martyr Stanislaus, and for me close to Wadowice, the city of my youth and the field of a thirty-year apostolate. At Krakow what I would call the personal motive of this journey assumes importance, because I will meet there the Church from which I come.
But there is also an international motive, and in this connection I wish to recall the kind and respectful message that has reached me from Prof. Henryk Jablonski, President of the Council of State of the People's Republic of Poland, who, also on behalf of the Polish Government, has wished to express to me the satisfaction of the whole national. community at the fact that the "son of the Polish people", called to guide the universal Church, is about to visit his homeland. This is an act which gave, and still gives me, deep pleasure. For this reason I renew my most sincere appreciation to the Authorities of the Polish State, while I confirm what I already expressed in my letter of reply: that is, my attachment to the causes of peace, coexistence and cooperation among nations; the hope that my visit will consolidate internal unity among my beloved fellow-countrymen and also serve the further development of the relations between State and Church.
It is with these sentiments and thoughts that I prepare to set off, taking with me also the good wishes of my predecessor, Paul VI. I take with me the image of all of you, Authorities and Gentlemen, who have come with such courteousness—for which I am sincerely grateful—to see me off. Above all, I take with me the bond of affection that unites me with beloved Italy and its citizens.
Okecie Airport, 2 June 1979
Mr Chairman of the Council of State of the Polish People's Republic,
1. I express my sincere gratitude for the words with which you have greeted me at the beginning of my stay in Poland. I thank you for what you were so good to say with regard to the Apostolic See and myself. Through you, Mr Chairman, I express my esteem for the State Authorities and I again renew my cordial gratitude for the kind attitude towards my visit to Poland, "the beloved motherland of all Poles", my own motherland.
I desire to recall here once again the courteous letter which I received from you last March, in which you wished, in your own name and in that of the Government of the Polish People's Republic, to express satisfaction for the fact that "the son of the Polish nation called to the supreme dignity of the Church" desired to visit his motherland. I recall these words with gratitude. At the same time it is useful to repeat what I have already pointed out: that is, that my visit has been dictated by strictly religious motives. Furthermore, I earnestly hope that my present journey in Poland may serve the great cause of rapprochement and of collaboration among nations; that it may be useful for reciprocal understanding, for reconciliation, and for peace in the contemporary world. I desire finally that the fruit of this visit may be the internal unity of my fellow-countrymen and also a further favourable development of the relations between the State and the Church in my beloved motherland.
Your Eminence the Cardinal Primate of Poland,
I thank you for your words of greeting. They are particularly dear to me both in consideration of the Person who has spoken them and on account of the Church in Poland, whose feelings and thoughts they express.
I wish to give a response to your words by means of the whole of the service that it is planned for me to give in the programme for the days that Divine Providence and your cordial kindness are granting me to pass in Poland.
Beloved brothers and sisters, dear fellow-countrymen,
2. I have kissed the ground of Poland on which I grew up, the land from which, through the inscrutable design of Providence, God called me to the Chair of Peter in Rome, the land to which I am coming today as a pilgrim.
I would like therefore to address you and greet each and every one of you with the same words I used on 16 October last year to greet those present in Saint Peter's Square: Praised be Jesus Christ!
3. I greet you in the name of Christ, as I learned to greet people here in Poland,
— in Poland, my native land, to which I remain deeply attached by the roots of my life, of my heart, of my vocation;
— in Poland, this country in which, as the poet Cyprian Norwid wrote, "people gather up, through respect for heaven's gifts, every crumb that falls to the ground"; where the first greeting is an eternal confession of Christ: Praised be Jesus Christ!
— in Poland, whose thousand years of history makes it part of Europe and of contemporary humanity;
— in Poland, which throughout the course of history has been linked with the Church of Christ and the See of Rome by a special bond of spiritual unity.
4. Beloved brothers and sisters, fellow-countrymen,
I am coming to you as a son of this land, of this nation, and also, by the inscrutable designs of Providence, as a Successor of Saint Peter in the See of Rome.
I thank you for not having forgotten me and for not having ceased, from the day of my election, to help me with your prayers and to show me also such kindly benevolence.
I thank you for inviting me. I greet in spirit and embrace with my heart every human being living in the land of Poland.
I greet moreover all the guests who have gathered here from other countries for these days, and particularly those who represent the Polish Emigrants throughout the world.
5. What feelings arise in my heart at the music and words of the national anthem, which we have listened to a moment ago with the respect due to it!
I thank you because this Pole, coming today "from the land of Italy to the land of Poland" (Polish National Anthem), is received on the threshold of his pilgrimage in Poland with this music and these words, in which expression has always been found for the nation's unflagging will to live—"while we live" (Polish National Anthem).
I wish my stay in Poland to help to strengthen this unflagging will to live on the part of my fellow-countrymen in the land that is our common mother and homeland. May it be for the good of all the Poles, of all the Polish families, of the nation and of the State.
May my stay—I wish to repeat it once again—help the great cause of peace, friendship in relations between nations, and social justice.
Praised be Jesus Christ!
At the start of my pilgrimage through Poland I greet the Church of Warsaw gathered in its Cathedral. I greet the Capital and the Archdiocese.
I greet this Church in the person of its Bishop, the Primate of Poland.
Saint Ignatius of Antioch gave expression, even in that early time, to the unity that the Church attains in its Bishop. The teaching of this great apostolic Father and martyr passed into Tradition. It was echoed amply and forcefully in the Constitution Lumen Gentium of the Second Vatican Council.
This teaching has found a magnificent incarnation in this very place, in Warsaw, in the Church in Warsaw. For the Cardinal Primate has become a special keystone of that unity. A keystone is what forms the arch, what reflects the strength of the foundations of the building. The Cardinal Primate shows the strength of the foundation of the Church, which is Jesus Christ. This is what his strength consists of. The Cardinal Primate as been teaching for over thirty years that he owes this strength to Mary, the Mother of Christ. We all know well that it is possible, thanks to Mary, to make the strength of the foundation that is Christ shine out, and effectively to become a keystone of the Church.
This is taught by the life and ministry of the Primate of Poland.
He is the keystone of the Church of Warsaw and the keystone of all the Church of Poland. This is what constitutes the providential mission that he has been performing for more than thirty years. I wish to give expression to this at the beginning of my pilgrimage, here in the Capital of Poland, and I also desire to give thanks for it, together with all the Church and the nation, to the Most Holy Trinity. For, in all her aspects of time and space, of geography and history, the Church is gathered in the unity of the Father, of the Son and of the Spirit, as the Council too reminds us (Lumen Gentium LG 4).
2. So, in the name of the Most Holy Trinity, I wish to greet all those who constitute this Church in communion with their Bishop, the Primate of Poland. The Bishops—the aged Bishop Waclaw, Bishop Jerzy, Bishop Bronislaw, Secretary of the Polish Bishops' Conference, Bishop Wladislaw and Bishop Zbigniew.
The Metropolitan Chapter,
All the diocesan and regular clergy and the religious Brothers,
The Sisters of all the Congregations,
The Ecclesiastical Academic Institution that is the continuation of the Theology Faculty of the University of Warsaw.
I wish also, in union with the Archbishop of the Church of Warsaw, to see and embrace in the fullest way the whole of the community of the People of God represented by almost three million laypeople.
The Church is present "in the world" through the laity. I wish therefore to embrace all of you who constitute the pilgrim Church on earth, in the land of Poland, in Warsaw, in Mazowsze.
Fathers and Mothers.
You who are lonely.
Young People and Children. You who are old.
All of you who work on the land, in industry, in offices, in schools, in universities, in hospitals, in cultural institutes, in the ministries, everywhere. Members of all the professions who by your work are building the Poland of today, the heritage of so many generations, a well-loved heritage, a difficult heritage, a great commitment, our "great community duty" as Poles, the Motherland (C. K. Norwid).
All of you who are at the same time the Church, this Church of Warsaw. You who are confirming the thousand-year-old right of citizenship that this Church has in the present-day life of the Capital, of the nation, of the State.
3. In union with the Church of the Archdiocese I also greet all the Bishops who are suffragans of the Metropolitan of Warsaw: the Ordinaries of Lodz, of Sandomierz, of Lublin, of Siedlce, of Warmia and of Plock, with their Auxiliary Bishops and those who have come to represent the Dioceses.
4. The Cathedral of Warsaw, dedicated to Saint John the Baptist, was almost completely destroyed during the Rising. The one we are now in is a completely new building. It is also a sign of new Polish and Catholic life, having its centre in the Cathedral. It is a sign of what Christ once said: "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up" (Jn 2,19).
Beloved brothers and sisters.
You know that I am coming here to Poland for the ninth centenary of the martyrdom of Saint Stanislaus. He is the principal Patron of the Archdiocese of Warsaw. I am therefore beginning my veneration of him here, in Warsaw, at the first stopping place in my jubilee pilgrimage.
He once occupied the bishopric of Krakow, which for centuries was the capital of Poland, and it seems that he once said of himself to King Boleslaw: "Destroy this Church, and Christ, over the generations, will rebuild it". "He spoke of the temple of his body" (Jn 2,21).
Within this sign of the new building and the new life that is Christ and belongs to Christ, I am today meeting you, dearly beloved, and I greet you as the first Pope from the Polish race, on the threshold of the second Millennium of the Nation's Baptism and history.
"Christ... will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him" (Rm 6,9).
Mr First Secretary,
1. "A Poland that is prosperous and serene is also beneficial for tranquillity and good collaboration among peoples of Europe". I take the liberty of beginning with these words pronounced by the unforgettable Paul VI in his response to the Discourse of the First Secretary, during the meeting in the Vatican on 1 December 1977 (cf. L'Osservatore Romano, 2 December 1977). I am convinced that these words constitute the best motto for my response today to his Discourse, which we have all listened to with the deepest attention. Nevertheless, in this my response, I wish first of all to express my gratitude for such kind words addressed both to the Apostolic See and to me. I add a word of thanks to the Authorities of the State of the Polish People's Republic for their kind attitude in regard to the invitation of the Polish Episcopate, which expresses the will of the Catholic society in our motherland, and which on their part have also opened to me the gates of my native land. I renew this gratitude and at the same time I extend it, keeping in mind all that of which I have become the debtor to the various bodies of the central and local Authorities, in view of their contribution to the preparation and actuation of this visit.
2. Passing along the streets of Warsaw, which are so dear to the heart of every Pole, I could not restrain my emotion in thinking of the great but also sad historic route that this city has completed in the service and also in the history of our nation. The particular links of this route constitute the Belvedere Palace and above all the royal Castle which is under reconstruction. The latter has a truly particular eloquence. In it there speak centuries of the history of the motherland, from the time the Capital of the State was transferred from Krakow to Warsaw. Centuries particularly difficult and particularly responsible. I desire to express my joy, indeed I wish to express thanks for everything and for what the castle represents. Like almost all of Warsaw it was reduced to ruins during the Rising, and it is now being rapidly reconstructed as a symbol of the State and of the sovereignty of the motherland.
We Poles feel in a particularly deep way the fact that the raison d'être of the State is the sovereignty of society, of the nation, of the motherland. We have learned this during the whole course of our history, and especially through the hard trials of recent centuries. We can never forget that terrible historical lesson—the loss of the independence of Poland from the end of the eighteenth century until the beginning of the twentieth. This painful and essentially negative experience has become as it were a new forge of Polish patriotism. For us, the word "motherland" has a meaning, both for the mind and for the heart, such as the other nations of Europe and the world appear not to know, especially those nations that have not experienced, as ours has, historical wrongs, injustices and menaces. And thus the last World War and the Occupation, which Poland experienced, were still for our generation such a great shock thirty-five years ago when this war finished on all fronts. At this moment there began the new period of the history of our motherland. We cannot however forget everything that influenced the experiences of the war and of the Occupation. We cannot forget the sacrifice of the lives of so many men and women of Poland. Neither can we forget the heroism of the Polish soldier who fought on all fronts of the world "for our freedom and for yours".
We have respect for and we are grateful for every help that we received from others at that time, while we think with sadness of the disappointments that we were not spared.
3. In the telegrams and letters which the supreme State Authorities of Poland were good enough to send me, both on the occasion of the inauguration of the Pontificate and in connection with the present invitation, there repeatedly appeared the thought of peace, coexistence, and of the drawing together of the nations in the modern world. Certainly, the desire expressed in this thought has a profound ethical meaning. Behind which there also stands the history of Polish science, beginning with Pawel Wlodkowic. Peace and the drawing together of the peoples can be achieved only on the principle of respect for the objective rights of the nation, such as: the right to existence, to freedom, to be a social and political subject, and also to the formation of its own culture and civilization.
Once again I take the liberty of repeating the words of Paul VI who, in the unforgettable meeting of 1 December 1977, expressed himself in these terms: "...We shall never grow tired of striving further and always as our possibilities permit us, so that conflicts between nations may be prevented or resolved with equity, and so that there may be ensured and ameliorated the indispensable bases for a peaceful living together among countries and continents. And not last of all, a more just world economic order; the abandonment of the arms race, which is ever more threatening also in the nuclear sector, as a preparation for a gradual and balanced disarmament; the development of better economic, cultural and human relations among individual peoples and associated groups" (L'Osservatore Romano, 2 December 1977, p. 2).
In these words there is expressed the social doctrine of the Church, which always supports authentic progress and the peaceful development of humanity. Therefore, while all forms of political, economic or cultural colonialism remain in contradiction to the exigencies of the international order, it is necessary to esteem all the alliances and pacts which are based on reciprocal respect and on the recognition of the good of every nation and of every State in the system of reciprocal relations. It is important that the nations and the States uniting themselves for the aim of a voluntary collaboration and one that is in conformity with the goal find at the same time in this collaboration the increase of their own well-being and their own prosperity. It is precisely this system of international relations and such resolutions among the States that the Apostolic See hopes for in the name of the fundamental premises of justice and peace in the contemporary world.
4. The Church wishes to serve people also in the temporal dimension of their life and existence. Given the fact that this dimension is realized through people's membership of the various communities—national and State, and therefore at the same time social, political, economic and cultural—the Church continually rediscovers her own mission in relationship to these sectors of human life and activity. This is confirmed by the teaching of the Second Vatican Council and of the recent Popes.
By establishing a religious relationship with people, the Church consolidates them in their natural social bonds. The history of the Church in Poland has confirmed in an eminent way that the Church in our motherland has always sought, in various ways, to train sons and daughters who are of assistance to the State, good citizens, and useful and creative workers in the various spheres of social, professional and cultural life. And this derives from the fundamental mission of the Church, which everywhere and always strives to make people better, more conscious of their dignity, and more devoted in their lives to their family, social, professional and patriotic commitments. It is her mission to make people more confident, more courageous, conscious of their rights and duties, socially responsible, creative and useful.
For this activity the Church does not desire privileges, but only and exclusively what is essential for the accomplishment of her mission. And it is this direction that orientates the activity of the Episcopate, which has now been led for more than thirty years by a man of rare quality, Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski, Primate of Poland. In seeking, in this field, an agreement with the State Authorities, the Apostolic See is aware that, over and above reasons connected with creating the conditions for the Church's all-round activity, such an agreement corresponds to historical reasons of the nation, whose sons and daughters, in the vast majority, are the sons and daughters of the Catholic Church. In the light of these undoubted premises, we see such an agreement as one of the elements in the ethical and international order in Europe and the modern world, an order that flows from respect for the rights of the nation and for human rights. I therefore permit myself to express the opinion that one cannot desist from efforts and research in this direction.
5. I also permit myself to express my happiness for all the good things that are shared in by my fellow-countrymen, living in the motherland, of whatever nature these good things may be and whatever be the inspiration from which they come. The thought that creates what is truly good must carry a sign of truth.
This good, and every further success in the greatest abundance and in every sector of life, I wish for Poland. Gentlemen, permit me to continue to consider this good as my own, and to feel my sharing in it as deeply as if I still lived in this land and were still a citizen of this State.
And with the same, or perhaps even with increased intensity by reason of distance, I shall continue to feel in my heart everything that could threaten Poland, that could hurt her, that could be to her disadvantage, that could signify stagnation or a crisis.
Permit me to continue to feel, to think and to hope thus, and to pray for this.
It is a son of the same motherland that is speaking to you. Particularly near to my heart is everything in which solicitude is expressed for the good and for the consolidation of the family and for the moral health of the young generation.
Mr First Secretary,
I desire at the end to renew once again my cordial thanks to you and to express my esteem for all your solicitude that has as its aim the common good of fellow-citizens and the adequate importance of Poland in international life. I add the expression of my regard for all of you, the distinguished representatives of the Authorities, and for each one in particular, according to the office which you exercise and according to the dignity which you hold, as also according to the important part of responsibility that is incumbent on each one of you before history and before your conscience.
Your Eminence, beloved Primate of Poland,
1. "May God reward" the words of greeting addressed to me here, on the way that leads to Gniezno. Here are the field and the wide meadows where we meet to begin our pilgrimage. This pilgrimage must bring us to Gniezno, and then from Gniezno—through Jasna Gora—to Krakow. This is like the route of the history of the nation and also the route of our Patrons: Adalbert and Stanislaus, united in solicitude for the Christian patrimony of this land, next to the Mother of God at Jasna Gora.
Here, in these wide meadows I greet with veneration the nest of the Piasts, the origin of the history of our motherland and the cradle of the Church, in which our ancestors were united, through the bond of faith, with the Father, with the Son, and with the Holy Spirit.
I greet this bond! I greet it with great veneration since it goes back to the very beginnings of history, and after a thousand years it continues to be intact. And therefore I greet here, together with the illustrious Primate of Poland, also the Metropolitan Archbishop of Poznan and the Bishops of Szczecin-Kamien, Koszalin-Kolobrzeg, Gdansk, Pelplin and Wloclawek, with the Auxiliary Bishops of these sees. I greet the clergy of all the dioceses belonging to the metropolitan community of Gniezno of the Primates. I greet the religious families of men and women. I greet all those who have assembled here in such great numbers. All together we are "a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people he claims for his own" (1P 2,9). All together we form also "the royal race of the Piasts".
2. Dear brothers and sisters, my fellow-countrymen. I desire that my pilgrimage through Polish land, in communion with all of you, should become a living catechesis, the integration of that catechesis which entire generations of our forebears have inscribed into our history. May this be the catechesis of all the history of the Church and of Poland, and at the same time the catechesis of our times.
The fundamental task of the Church is catechesis. We know this well, not only on the basis of the work of the last Synod of Bishops, but also on the basis of our national experiences. In the field of this work of an ever more conscious faith that is always newly introduced into the life of each generation, we know how much depends on the common effort of parents, of the family, of the parish, of the priests and pastors of souls, of men and women catechists, of the community, of the instruments of social communication, and of customs. In fact the walls of the bell towers of the churches, the crosses at the crossroads, the holy pictures on the walls of the houses—all this in a certain way, catechizes. And on this great synthesis of the catechesis of life, in the present and in the past, depends the faith of future generations.
And therefore I desire today to be with you here, in the nest of the Piasts, in this cradle of the Church—here where over a thousand years ago catechesis began on Polish soil.
And I desire to greet from here all the ecclesial communities on Polish soil, in which catechesis takes place today. All the catechetical groups in the churches, chapels, halls and rooms...
I desire to greet from here the young Poland, all the Polish children and all the youth gathered in those groups where they assemble perseveringly and systematically... Yes, I say the young Poland; and my heart turns to all the Polish children, both to those who are present here at this moment and all those who live on Polish soil.
No one of us can ever forget the following words of Jesus; "Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them" (Lc 18,16). I want to be, before you dear Polish children, a living echo of these words of our Saviour, particularly in this year in which the Year of the Child is celebrated throughout the whole world.
With my thought and with my heart I embrace the infants that are still in the arms of their fathers and mothers. May those loving arms of parents never cease to exist! May the number be extremely small on Polish soil of those who are known as "social" orphans, coming from broken homes or from families that are unable to educate their own children.
May all the children of pre-school age have easy access to Christ. May they be prepared with joy to receive him in the Eucharist. May they grow "in wisdom and in stature, and in favour with God and man" (Lc 2,52), as he himself grew, in the house of Nazareth.
And as they grow up in years, as they pass from childhood to adolescence, let no one of us, dear brothers and sisters, ever be culpable in their regard, of causing that scandal of which Jesus speaks in such a severe manner. Let us meditate every once in a while on those words. May they help us to fulfil the great work of education and of catechesis with greater zeal and with a greater sense of responsibility.
3. The Cardinal Primate has greeted me in the name of Poland always faithful. The first and fundamental proof of this fidelity, the essential condition for the future is precisely this youth, these Polish children and, at their side, their parents, the pastors of souls, the sisters, the men and women catechists, united in the daily work of catechesis throughout all the land of Poland.
May God bless all of you, just as in the past he blessed our forebears, our sovereigns Mieszko and Boleslaw, here, along the route between Poznan and Gniezno. May he bless all of you!
Accept this sign of blessing from the hands of the pilgrim Pope who is visiting you.
Speeches 1979 - Thursday, 31 May 1979