Speeches 1979 - New York
Tuesday, 2 October 1979
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to extend my greetings to the representatives of the Intergovernmental and Non-governmental Organizations who are present here, and to thank you for your cordial welcome.
Your presence at the centre of the United Nations' activities is a consequence of the growing awareness that the problems of today's world can only be solved when all forces are joined together and directed towards the same common aim. The problems that the human family faces today may seem overwhelming. I for my part am convinced that there is immense potential with which to face them. History tells us that the human race is capable of reacting and of changing direction every time it perceives clearly the warning that it is on the wrong course. You are privileged to witness in this building how the Representatives of the nations endeavour to chart a common course in order that life on this planet will be lived in peace, order, justice and progress for all. But you are also aware that every individual must work towards the same end. It is individual actions put together which bring about today and tomorrow the total impact which is either beneficial or harmful for humanity.
The various programmes and organizations that exist within the framework of the United Nations Organization, as well as the Specialized Agencies and other intergovernmental bodies, are an important part of that total effort. In the area of its own specialization—be it food, agriculture, trade, environment, development, science, culture, education, health, disaster relief, or the problems of children and refugees—each one of these organizations makes a unique contribution not only to providing for people's wants, but also to fostering respect for human dignity and the cause of world peace.
No organization, however, not even the United Nations or any of its specialized agencies, can alone solve the global problems which are constantly brought to its attention, if its concerns are not shared by all the people. It is then the privileged task of the non-governmental organizations to help bring these concerns into the communities and the homes of the people, and to bring back to the established agencies the priorities and aspirations of the people, so that all the solutions and projects which are envisaged may be truly geared to the needs of the human person.
The Delegates who drafted the Charter of the United Nations had a vision of united and cooperating governments, but behind the nations, they saw also the individual and they wanted every human being to be free and to enjoy his or her fundamental rights. This fundamental inspiration must be preserved.
I wish to express my best wishes to all of you here who work together to bring the benefits of concerted action to all parts of the world. My cordial greeting goes to the Representatives of the various Protestant, Jewish and Moslem associations, and in a particular way to the Representatives of the International Catholic Organizations. May your dedication and your moral sense never become blunted by difficulties, may you never lose sight of the ultimate aim of your efforts: to create a world where every human person can live in dignity and loving harmony as a child of God.
Tuesday, 2 October 1979
My dear friends of the communications media,
It would hardly be possible for me to depart from the United Nations without saying "thank you" from my heart to those who have reported, not only this day's events, but all the activities of this worthy Organization. In this international assembly, you can truly be instruments of peace by being messengers of truth.
You are indeed servants of truth; you are its tireless transmitters, diffusers, defenders. You are dedicated communicators, promoting unity among all nations by sharing truth among all peoples.
If your reporting does not always command the attention you would desire, or if it does not always conclude with the success that you would wish, do not grow discouraged. Be faithful to the truth and to its transmission, for truth endures; truth will not go away. Truth will not pass or change.
And I say to you—take it as my parting word to you—that the service of truth, the service of humanity through the medium of the truth—is something worthy of your best years, your finest talents, your most dedicated efforts. As transmitters of truth, you are instruments of understanding among people and of peace among nations.
May God bless your labours for truth with the fruit of peace. This is my prayer for you, for your families and for those whom you serve as messengers of truth, and as instruments of peace.
Tuesday, 2 October 1979
Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends,
It is with great pleasure that I take this opportunity to greet all the Members of the Staff of the United Nations Headquarters in New York, and to reiterate before you my firm belief in the extraordinary value and importance of the role and activities of this international institution, of all its agencies and programmes.
When you accepted to serve here, either in study or research, in administrative tasks or in planning, in secretarial or logistical activities, you did so because you believed that your work, often hidden and unnoticed in the complexity of this operation, would constitute a valuable contribution to the aims and objectives of this Organization. And rightly so. For the first time in the history of humanity, there exists the possibility for all peoples, through their representatives, to meet constantly with each other in order to exchange views; to confer on and to seek peaceful solutions, effective solutions to the conflicts and problems that are causing suffering in all parts of the world to large numbers of men, women and children. You are part of this great and universal endeavour. You provide the necessary services, information and help that are indispensable for the success of this exciting adventure—you guarantee continuity of action and implementation. Each one of you is a servant of the unity, peace and brotherhood of all men.
Your task is no less important than that of the Representatives of the nations of the world, provided you are motivated by the great ideal of world peace and fraternal collaboration between all peoples: what counts is the spirit with which you perform your tasks. Peace and harmony among the nations, the progress of all humanity, the possibility for all men and women to live in dignity and happiness depend on you, on each one of you, and on the tasks that you perform here.
The builders of the pyramids in Egypt and Mexico, of the temples in Asia, of the cathedrals in Europe were not only the architects who laid out the designs, or those who provided financing, but also, and in no small way, the carvers of the stones, many of whom never had the satisfaction of contemplating in its entirety the beauty of the masterpiece that their hands helped create. And yet, they were producing a work of art that would be the object of admiration for generations to come.
You are in so many ways the carvers of the stones. Even a lifetime of dedicated service will not always enable you to see the finished monument of universal peace, of fraternal collaboration and of harmony between peoples. Sometimes you will catch a glimpse of it, in a particularly successful achievement, in a problem solved, in the smile of a happy and healthy child, in a conflict avoided, in a reconciliation of minds and hearts achieved. More often, you will experience only the monotony of your daily labours, or the frustrations of bureaucratic entanglements. But know that your work is great and that history will judge your achievements with favour.
The challenges that the world community will face in the coming years and decades will not diminish. The rapidly changing pace of world events, the tremendous steps forward of science and technology will increase both the potential for development and the complexity of the problems. Be prepared, be capable, but above all have confidence in the ideal you serve.
Look upon your contribution not only in terms of increased industrial production, of enhanced efficiency, of eliminated suffering. Above all look upon it in terms of growing dignity for every human being, of increased possibility for every person to advance to the fullest measure of spiritual, cultural and human completion. Your calling as international servants takes its value from the objectives pursued by the international organizations. These aims transcend the mere material or intellectual spheres; they reach out into the moral and spiritual fields. Through your work, you are able to extend your love to the entire human family, to every person who has received the wondrous gift of life, so that all may live together in peace and harmony, in a just and peaceful world, where all their basic needs—physical, moral and spiritual—may be fulfilled.
You have in the visitor who stands before you someone who admires what you do and who believes in the value of your task.
Thank you for your welcome. I send my heartfelt greetings also to your families. I especially hope that you may experience a deep and never fading joy in the work that you perform for the benefit of all men, women and children on this earth.
Tuesday, 2 October 1979
As I am about to conclude my all too brief visit at the world Headquarters of the United Nations, I wish to express my heartfelt thanks to all who were instrumental in making this visit possible.
My thanks go first of all to you, Mr. Secretary-General, for your kind invitation, which I considered not only a great honour but also an obligation, since it allowed me by my presence here to attest publicly and solemnly to the commitment of the Holy See to collaborate, to the extent consonant with its own mission, with this worthy Organization.
My gratitude goes also to the distinguished President of the Thirty-fourth General Assembly, who honoured me in inviting me to address this unique forum of the delegates of nearly all the nations of the world. By proclaiming the incomparable dignity of every human being and by manifesting my firm belief in the unity and solidarity of all nations, I have been permitted to affirm once again a basic tenet of my Encyclical Letter: "After all, peace comes down to respect for man's inviolable rights" (Redemptor Hominis RH 17).
May I also thank all the distinguished delegates of the nations represented here, as well as the whole Staff of the United Nations, for the friendly reception which they have given to the representatives of the Holy See, particularly to our Permanent Observer, Archbishop Giovanni Cheli.
The message which I wish to leave with you is a message of certitude and hope: the certitude that peace is possible when it is based on the recognition of the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of all men; the hope that the sense of moral responsibility which every person must assume will make it possible to create a better world in freedom, in justice and in love.
As one whose ministry is void of meaning except insofar as he is the faithful Vicar of Christ on earth, I now take leave of you with the words of the one whom I represent, of Jesus Christ himself : "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you" (Jn 14,27). My constant prayer for all of you is this : that there may be peace in justice and in love. May the praying voice of all those who believe in God—Christians and non-Christians alike—bring it about that the moral resources present in the hearts of men and women of good will be united for the common good, and call down from heaven that peace which human efforts alone cannot effect.
Maw God bless the United Nations.
Tuesday, 2 October 1979
Dear Cardinal Cooke, dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
I consider it a special grace to come back to New York—to be back in Saint Patrick's during the Cathedral's centenary year.
Six months ago I wrote a letter to Cardinal Cooke, stating that it was "my earnest hope that the local ecclesial community, symbolized by this glorious edifice in stone (cf. 1P 2,5), may be renewed in the faith of Peter and Paul—in the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ—and that each one of you will find fresh vigor for authentic Christian living". And this is my hope for all of you today. This is why I am here: to confirm you in your holy, Catholic and apostolic faith; to invoke upon you the joy and strength that will sustain you in Christian living.
On this occasion I send my greetings to all the people of New York. In a special way my heart is with the poor, with those who suffer, with those who are alone and abandoned in the midst of this teeming metropolis.
I pray for the success of the apostolate in this Archdiocese: may the spires of Saint Patrick's Cathedral always reflect the thrust with which the Church fulfills her fundamental function in every age: "to direct man's gaze, to point the awareness and experience of the whole of humanity towards the mystery of God, to help all men and women to be familiar with the profundity of the Redemption taking place in Christ Jesus" (Redemptor Hominis RH 10).
This too is included in the symbolism of Saint Patrick's; this is the mission of the Church in New York—the expression of her vital and distinctive service to humanity: to direct hearts to God, to keep alive hope in the world. And so we repeat with Saint Paul: "This explains why we work and struggle as we do; our hopes are fixed on the living God" (1Tm 4,10).
Tuesday, 2 October 1979
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
"This is the day the Lord has made ; let us be glad and rejoice in it" (Ps 118,24).
I greet you in the joy and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ. I welcome this opportunity to be with you and to speak to you, and through you to extend my greetings to all black Americans.
At Cardinal Cooke's suggestion, I was happy to include in my plans a visit to the Parish of Saint Charles Borromeo in Harlem, and to its black community, which for half a century has nurtured here the cultural, social and religious roots of black people. I have greatly looked forward to being here this evening.
I come to you as a servant of Jesus Christ, and I want to speak to you about him. Christ came to bring joy: joy to children, joy to parents, joy to families and to friends, joy to workers and to scholars, joy to the sick and to the elderly, joy to all humanity. In a true sense, joy is the keynote of the Christian message and the recurring motif of the Gospels. Recall the first words of the angel to Mary : "Rejoice, O full of grace, the Lord is with you" (Lc 1,28). And at the birth of Jesus, the angels announced to the shepherds: "Listen, I bring you news of great joy, joy to be shared by all people" (Lc 2,10). Years later as Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on a colt, "the whole group of disciples joyfully began to praise God at the top of their voices. 'Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord' !" (Lc 19,37-38) . We are told that some Pharisees in the crowd complained, saying : "Master, stop your disciples". But Jesus answered: " I tell you, if they were silent, the very stones would cry out" (Lc 19,39-40).
Are not those words of Jesus still true today? If we are silent about the joy that comes from knowing Jesus, the very stones of our cities will cry out ! For we are an Easter people and "Alleluia" is our song. With Saint Paul I exhort you: "Rejoice in the Lord always, I say it again, rejoice" (Ph 4,4).
Rejoice because Jesus has come into the world!
Rejoice because Jesus has died upon the Cross!
Rejoice because he rose again from the dead !
Rejoice because in baptism, he washed away our sins !
Rejoice because Jesus has come to set us free !
And rejoice because he is the master of our life!
But how many people have never known this joy? They feed on emptiness and tread the paths of despair. "They walk in darkness and the shadow of death" (Lc 1,79). And we need not look to the far ends of the earth for them. They live in our neighborhoods, they walk down our streets, they may even be members of our own families. They live without true joy because they live without hope. They live without hope because they have never heard, really heard the Good News of Jesus Christ, because they have never met a brother or a sister who touched their lives with the love of Jesus and lifted them up from their misery.
We must go to them therefore as messengers of hope. We must bring to them the witness of true joy. We must pledge to them our commitment to work for a just society and city where they feel respected and loved.
And so I encourage you, be men and women of deep and abiding faith. Be heralds of hope. Be messengers of joy. Be true workers for justice. Let the Good News of Christ radiate from your hearts, and the peace he alone gives remain forever in your souls.
My dear brothers and sisters in the black community : "Rejoice". Alleluia!
Wednesday, 3 October 1979
Dear brothers and sisters,
Saint Paul asks: "Who will separate us from the love of Christ?" As long as we remain what we are this morning—a community of prayer united in Christ, an ecclesial community of praise and worship of the Father—we shall understand and experience the answer: that no one—nothing at all—will ever separate us from the love of Christ. For us today, the Church's Morning Prayer is a joyful, communal celebration of God's love in Christ.
The value of the Liturgy of the Hours is enormous. Through it, all the faithful, but especially the clergy and religious, fulfill a, role of prime importance : Christ's prayer goes on in the world. The Holy Spirit himself intercedes for God's people (cf. Rom Rm 8,27). The Christian community, with praise and thanksgiving, glorifies the wisdom, the power, the providence and the salvation of our God.
In this prayer of praise we lift up our hearts to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, bringing with us the anguish and hopes, the joys and sorrows of all our brothers and sisters in the world.
And our prayer becomes likewise a school of sensitivity, making us aware of how much our destinies are linked together in the human family. Our prayer becomes a school of love—a special kind of Christian consecrated love, by which we love the world, but with the heart of Christ.
Through this prayer of Christ to which we give voice, our day is sanctified, our activities transformed, our actions made holy. We pray the same psalms that Jesus prayed, and come into personal contact with him—the person to whom all Scripture points, the goal to which all history is directed.
In our celebration of the word of God, the mystery of Christ opens up before us and envelops us. And through union with our Head, Jesus Christ, we become ever more increasingly one with all the members of his Body. As never before, it becomes possible for us to reach out and embrace the world, but to embrace it with Christ: with authentic generosity, with pure and effective love, in service, in healing and in reconciliation.
The efficacy of our prayer renders special honor to the Father because it is made always through Christ, and for the glory of his name : "We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever".
As a community of prayer and praise, with the Liturgy of the Hours among the highest priorities of our day—each day—we can be sure that nothing will separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Wednesday, 3 October 1979
Dear young people,
I am happy to be with you in Madison Square Garden. Today this is a garden of life, where young people are alive: alive with hope and love, alive with the life of Christ. And it is in the name of Christ that I greet each one of you today.
I have been told that most of you come from Catholic high schools. For this reason I would like to say something about Catholic education, to tell you why the Church considers it so important and expends so much energy in order to provide you and millions of other young people with a Catholic education. The answer can be summarized in one word, in one person, Jesus Christ. The Church wants to communicate Christ to you.
1. This is what education is all about, this is the meaning of life: to know Christ. To know Christ as a friend: as someone who cares about you and the person next to you, and all the people here and everywhere—no matter what language they speak, or what clothes they wear, or what color their skin is.
And so the purpose of Catholic education is to communicate Christ to you, so that your attitude toward others will be that of Christ. You are approaching that stage in your life when you must take personal responsibility for your own destiny. Soon you will be making major decisions which will affect the whole course of your life. If these decisions reflect Christ's attitude, then your education will be a success. We have to learn to meet challenges and even crises in the light of Christ's Cross and Resurrection. Part of our Catholic education is to learn to see the needs of others, to have the courage to practice what we believe in. With the support of a Catholic education we try to meet every circumstance of life with the attitude of Christ. Yes, the Church wants to communicate Christ to you so that you will come to full maturity in him who is the perfect human being, and, at the same time, the Son of God.
2. Dear young people: you and I and all of us together make up the Church, and we are convinced that only in Christ do we find real love, and the fullness of life.
And so I invite you today to look to Christ.
When you wonder about the mystery of yourself, look to Christ who gives you the meaning of life.
When you wonder what it means to be a mature person, look to Christ who is the fullness of humanity.
And when you wonder about your role in the future of the world and of the United States, look to Christ. Only in Christ will you fulfill your potential as an American citizen and as a citizen of the world community.
3. With the aid of your Catholic education, you have received the greatest of gifts : the knowledge of Christ. Of this gift Saint Paul wrote: "I believe nothing can happen that will outweigh the supreme advantage of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For him I have accepted the loss of everything and I look on everything as so much rubbish if only I can have Christ and be given a place in him" (Ph 3,8-9).
Be always grateful to God for this gift of knowing Christ. Be grateful also to your parents and to the community of the Church for making possible, through many sacrifices, your Catholic education. People have placed a lot of hope in you, and they now look forward to your collaboration in giving witness to Christ, and in transmitting the Gospel to others. The Church needs you. The world needs you, because it needs Christ, and you belong to Christ. And so I ask you to accept your responsibility in the Church, the responsibility of your Catholic education: to help—by your words, and, above all, by the example of your lives—to spread the Gospel. You do this by praying, and by being just and truthful and pure.
Dear young people : by a real Christian life, by the practice of your religion you are called to give witness to your faith. And because actions speak louder than words, you are called to proclaim, by the conduct of your daily lives that you really do believe that Jesus Christ is Lord !
Wednesday, 3 October 1979
My visit to your City would not have been complete without coming to Battery Park, without seeing Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty in the distance. Every nation has its historical symbols. They may be shrines or statues or documents; but their significance lies in the truths they represent to the citizens of a nation and in the image they convey to other nations. Such a symbol in the United States is the Statue of Liberty. This is an impressive symbol of what the United States has stood for from the very beginning of its history; this is a symbol of freedom. It reflects the immigrant history of the United States, for it was freedom that millions of human beings were looking for on these shores. And it was freedom that the young Republic offered in compassion. On this spot, I wish to pay homage to this noble trait of America and its people : its desire to be free, its determination to preserve freedom, and its willingness to share this freedom with others. May the ideal of liberty, of freedom remain a moving force for your nation and for all the nations in the world today !
It greatly honors your country and its citizens that on this foundation of liberty you have built a nation where the dignity of every human person is to be respected, where a religious sense and a strong family structure are fostered, where duty and honest work are held in high esteem, where generosity and hospitality are no idle words, and where the right to religious liberty is deeply rooted in your history.
Yesterday, before the General Assembly of the United Nations, I made a plea for peace and justice based on the full respect of all the fundamental rights of the human person. I also spoke of religious freedom because it regards a person's relationship to God, and because it is related in a special way to other human rights. It is closely allied with the right to freedom of conscience. If conscience is not secure in society, then the security of all others rights is threatened.
Liberty, in all its aspects, must be based on truth. I want to repeat here the words of Jesus "the truth will make you free" (Jn 8,32). It is then my wish that your sense of freedom may always go hand in hand with a profound sense of truth and honesty about yourselves and about the realities of your society. Past achievements can never be an acceptable substitute for present responsibilities toward the common good of the society you live in and towards your fellow-citizens. Just as the desire for freedom is a universal aspiration in the world today, so is the quest for justice. No institution or organization can credibly stand for freedom today if it does not also support the quest for justice, for both are essential demands of the human spirit.
3. It will always remain one of the glorious achievements of this nation that, when people looked towards America, they received together with freedom also a chance for their own advancement. This tradition must be honored also today. The freedom that was gained must be ratified each day by the firm rejection of whatever wounds, weakens or dishonors human life. And so I appeal to all who love freedom and justice to give a chance to all in need, to the poor and the powerless. Break open the hopeless cycles of poverty and ignorance that are still the lot of too many of our brothers and sisters; the hopeless cycles of prejudices that linger on despite enormous progress toward effective equality in education and employment; the cycles of despair in which are imprisoned all those that lack decent food, shelter or employment ; the cycles of underdevelopment that are the consequence of international mechanisms that subordinate human existence to the domination of partially conceived economic progress; and finally the inhuman cycles of war that springs from the violation of man's fundamental rights and produces still graver violations of them.
Freedom in justice will bring a new dawn of hope for the present generation as it has done before: for the homeless, for the unemployed, for the aging, for the sick and the handicapped, for the migrants and the undocumented workers, for all who hunger for human dignity in this land and in the world.
4. With sentiments of admiration and with confidence in your potential for true human greatness, I wish to greet in you the rich variety of your nation, where people of different ethnic origins and creeds can live, work and prosper together in freedom and mutual respect. I greet and I thank for their cordial welcome all those who have joined me here, businessmen and laborers, scholars and managers, social workers and civil servants, old and young. I greet you with respect, esteem and love. My warm greetings go to each and every group: to my fellow Catholics, to the members of the different Christian Churches with whom I am united in the faith in Jesus Christ.
And I address a special word of greeting to the leaders of the Jewish community whose presence here honors me greatly. A few months ago, I met with an international group of Jewish representatives in Rome. On that occasion, recalling the initiatives undertaken following the Second Vatican Council under my predecessor Paul VI, I stated that "our two communities are connected and closely related at the very level of their respective religious identities", and that on this basis "we recognize with utmost clarity that the path along which we should proceed is one of fraternal dialogue and fruitful collaboration" (L'Osservatore Romano, March 12-13, 1979). I am glad to ascertain that this same path has been followed here, in the United States, by large sections of both communities and their respective authorities and representative bodies. Several common programs of study, mutual knowledge, a common determination to reject all forms of antisemitism and discrimination, and various forms of collaboration for the human advance ment inspired by our common biblical heritage, have created deep and permanent links between Jews and Catholics. As one who in my homeland has shared the suffering of your brethren, I greet you with the word taken from the Hebrew language: Shalom ! Peace be with you.
And to everyone here I offer the expression of my respect, my esteem and my fraternal love. May God bless all of you ! May God bless New York !
Wednesday, 3 October 1979
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
I give thanks to the Lord for permitting me to come back to this city of Philadelphia, to this State of Pennsylvania. I have very happy memories of being here before as your guest, and I remember especially the Eucharistic Congress and Bicentennial celebration in 1976 that I attended as Archbishop of Cracow. Today, by the grace of God, I come here as Successor of Peter to bring you a message of love and to strengthen you in your faith. In your kind welcome I feel that you want to honor in me the Christ whom I represent and who lives in all of us—all of us who through the Holy Spirit form one community, one communion in faith and love. I feel moreover that I am truly among friends, and I feel very much at home in your midst.
In a very particular way I wish to thank you, Cardinal Krol, Archbishop of Philadelphia, for the invitation you extended to me, to come here and celebrate the Eucharist together with you and your people. A heartfelt greeting also goes to the clergy, religious and laity of this local Church. I have come as your Brother in Christ, bringing with me the same message that the Lord Jesus himself brought to the villages and cities in the Holy Land: let us praise the Lord our God and Father, and let us love one another !
It gives me great pleasure to meet you here in the Cathedral of Philadelphia, for it has a deep meaning for me. Above all, it means you: the living Church of Christ, here and now, alive in faith, united in the love of Jesus Christ.
This Cathedral recalls the memory of Saint John Neumann, once Bishop of this See, and now and for ever a saint of the universal Church. In this edifice, his message and his example of holiness must continually be transmitted to every new generation of young people. And if we listen carefully today we can hear Saint John Neumann speaking to all of us in the words of the Letter to the Hebrews: "Remember your leaders who spoke the word of God to you ; consider how their lives ended, and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever" (He 13,8).
Finally, this Cathedral links you to the great Apostles of Rome, Peter and Paul. They, in turn, continue to give you their testimony to Christ, to proclaim to you Christ's divinity, to acknowledge him before the world. Here today in Philadelphia, the confession of Peter becomes for all of us a personal act of faith, and this act of faith we make together, as we say to Jesus: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Mt 16,16). And with Saint Paul, each one of us is called say in the depths of our hearts and before the world: "I still live my human life, but it is a life of faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me" (Ga 2,20).
This Cathedral is also linked in religion to the heritage of this historic city. Every service to morality and spirituality is a service to the civilization of man ; it is a contribution to human happiness and to true well-being.
And so, from this Cathedral I offer my greetings to the whole City of Philadelphia, the civil authorities and all the people. As the City of brotherly love, as the first Capital of the United States of America, you area symbol of freedom and fraternal relations. My greeting is also a prayer. May the common dedication and the united efforts of all your citizens—Catholics, Protestants and Jews alike—succeed in making your inner city and suburbs places where people are no strangers to each other, where every man, woman and child feels respected; where nobody feels abandoned, rejected or alone.
Asking for your prayerful support for my visit of friendship and pastoral concern, I extend my blessing to all of you, to those present here today, to your dear ones at home, to the aged and the sick, and in a very special way to all the young people and the children.
God bless Philadelphia !
Speeches 1979 - New York