"Jackson's" Airport of Port Moresby (Papua New Guinea)
Monday, 7 May 1984
Your Excellency the Governor-General,
Mr Prime Minister,
Dear People of Papua New Guinea,
1. With great joy in my heart, I accept your warm welcome to Papua New Guinea. I am happy to have come to this young and vigorously developing nation, and I am grateful to God for the opportunity of spending these next days among the beloved people of this country.
As you know, this is not the first time that I have set foot on your land. Over ten years ago, when I was still Archbishop of Krakow, I already had the pleasure of being in your midst. I still remember well the beauty of the landscape and the warmth of your hospitality. I recall, too, the rich diversity of your citizens, how you are composed of many different tribes, each with its own history and traditions.
2. It is in friendship and brotherhood that I come to you today, desiring to strengthen the respect and love that unites us. But I come especially as chief Shepherd of the Catholic Church, to make a pastoral visit in this land.
For some time now, it has been a special desire of my heart to celebrate in Papua New Guinea the Centenary of the arrival of the first missionaries who came to you in obedience to Christ’s command: "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you...". The zealous efforts and personal sacrifices of those missionaries are well known throughout the world, as is the vitality and fervour of the Church here which they have helped to form. During the time of my pastoral visit, I shall have the poy of seeing and meeting this young and thriving Church. I shall be able to observe at first hand how its members are making important contributions to the well-being and development of your society. I hope to encourage and strengthen my brothers and sisters in the practice of the faith. I likewise look forward to meeting many of my other Christian brethren, especially those of the Anglican Communion who are so numerous in this land. Upon all I invoke the grace and peace of Jesus Christ. With deep respect I also wish to greet all men and women of good will who long for peace and harmony in the world.
May God bless Papua New Guinea. May his peace descend on your beautiful islands, your great rivers, high mountains and deep valleys; may it rest on your volcanoes and fill your blue seas. And may the love of Christ abide in your hearts and your homes, today and for ever.
Tuesday, 8 May 1984
Dear Young People,
I am very pleased to be able to meet you today. For me you represent all the youth of Papua New Guinea, whom I love deeply and in whom I have great trust and confidence.
Since there is only time to greet you very briefly, I wish to leave you with just one thought. I wish to tell you how important Jesus Christ is for you, and how important you are for him.
Jesus is important for you because he is the Son of God who became man. He teaches you the deepest meaning of life: who you are and what life is all about. In knowing Jesus, in studying his teaching in the Gospels, you will also get to understand yourselves more fully.
And you are important for Jesus because he loves you and died for you, so that you might live the fullness of life, both here on earth and later on in heaven. Yes, you are very important for Jesus. And you are very important for me and for the whole Church.
You have a special mission to perform in life; there is a particular task marked out for each and every one of you. And to succeed in life you must remain united to Jesus; you must listen to him when he tells you: "Remain in my love" (Jn 15,9).
Dear young people of Papua New Guinea: the meaning of life is found in Jesus Christ and in his love.
Tuesday, 8 May 1984
Dear Brothers in our Lord Jesus Christ,
1. I am happy to have this time, in the midst of a busy day of various pastoral activities, to be alone with you, the Successors of the Apostles in Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands. It has been a great joy to join you and your people in praising God’s name and in thanking the Lord of history for the many blessings which he has bestowed upon the Church in your countries. In particular, I am grateful to the Most Holy Trinity for the opportunity of celebrating the Eucharistic sacrifice here in Port Moresby and in Mount Hagen, and I look forward to the Liturgy which I shall celebrate tomorrow in Honiara. Although I deeply value all the other events that make up this pastoral visit, these are the high points of my time among you. In the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, the Second Vatican Council speaks to us about our own identity when it says: "A Bishop, marked with the fullness of the Sacrament of Orders, is the steward of the grace of the supreme priesthood, especially in the Eucharist, which he offers or causes to be offered, and by which the Church constantly lives and grows" (Lumen Gentium LG 26).
2. As we meet here today, I rejoice in the way that God has brought to rich fruition the missionary work of the past century. There has indeed been a great flowering of the Christian faith on these islands, despite the many obstacles which must often have seemed insurmountable. I am thinking of various difficulties, including those of travel, lack of roads and communications, and the problems of trying to proclaim Christ to people of hundreds of different languages and dialects. With all my heart I thank you for what you have done and are doing for the Gospel, and for your love of Jesus Christ and his people.
I rejoice, too, in the way that the young missionary Churches are making great strides towards maturity. Examples of this, to mention only a few, are the institution of the ordinary ecclesiastical hierarchy by Paul VI in 1966 and, more recently, the establishment of the Metropolitan Sees of Honiara and Mount Hagen.
3. The Church in your countries has been endowed by the Holy Spirit with unity in diversity. The faithful belong to a great variety of cultures and backgrounds, as is reflected in their many languages and traditions. The missionaries, too, come from all over the world and different religious Institutes. You dioceses differ widely from one another, in both their historical development and their present pastoral situations. And, in the midst of all this diversity, you are one in faith, hope and charity, one in the doctrine and discipline of the Catholic Church, One in the unity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
4. One of the many ways in which this unity is made visible is collaboration and joint action by the Bishop’s Conference of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands. I wish to encourage you in this important collegial endeavour, which is linked to your fraternal charity and your pastoral zeal for the universal mission entrusted to you as Successors of the Apostles. Today, more than ever before in the Church’s history, there is a need for a forum in which Bishops can share their insights and experiences, pool their resources, and draw up programmes for meeting the urgent challenges and problems of the Church and society. This need was spelled out by the Second Vatican Council, in these words: "All Bishops are consecrated not just for some one diocese, but for the salvation of the entire world. Christ’s mandate to preach the Gospel to every creature (Marc. 16, 15)primarily and immediately concerns them, with Peter and under Peter. From this fact arises that communion and cooperation between Churches which is so necessary today for carrying on the work of evangelization. In virtue of this communion, individual Churches carry a responsibility for all the others. They make their necessities known to one another, and keep one another mutually informed regarding their affairs" (Ad Gentes AGD 38).
5. The concrete implementation of this ecclesial communion and joint action by an Episcopal Conference takes on a variety of forms. I would like to point out two which are of particular relevance in our efforts to proclaim the Gospel.
First of all, Episcopal Conferences should strive to address the major pastoral problems affecting the life of the Church. After due deliberation and consultation, it is often most helpful to the local Churches, and to priests, religious and catechists, if the Bishops take a common pastoral stand on particular issues. There are many topics that await the clarifying and encouraging teaching of the Bishops. The family, sacraments, evangelization, catechesis and prayer are just examples. Joint pastoral documents give opportunities to present the official doctrine of the Church in clear and understandable terms while taking into consideration the concrete situations and problems. In addition to such initiatives of the Episcopal Conference, I would also encourage you individually, in your dioceses, to make use of the written word in proclaiming the Gospel, and thus to fulfil your role as authentic teachers of Catholic doctrine.
A second matter which cannot be overlooked arises from our prophetic mission as Bishops. There are profound links between evangelization and human advancement, for the people we evangelize are at the same time subject to social and economic factors. Thus, it is important to face together questions of the social order, such as human work, political ethics, alcoholism, bureaucratic corruption and so on. In the light of the Gospel, the Church always has something to say on matters touching the common good of society.
6. Allow me, now, to direct your attention to the topic of the laity. For many years I have heard of the outstanding contribution to evangelization which has been made by your catechists and lay church leaders. They have made and continue to make a truly indispensable contribution to the life and mission of the Church in your countries. Their roles as translators and assistants to the priests and religious are extremely important, as are their proper tasks of catechesis, Christian service and the permeating of society with the leaven of the Gospel. I commend you in your encouragement and support of these lay leaders in your Churches, especially through your training centres which perform an extremely valuable service for catechesis and evangelization.
I am also pleased to know of the many movements which are thriving here. When such movements act in union with the local Church, they are indeed a sign of the Holy Spirit at work among your people, and they can help the laity to integrate the faith more fully into their daily lives. At the same time, these movements require the pastoral guidance and care of the clergy. I know that you are fully aware of this need and have, in recent years, made provision for the appointment of ecclesiastical representatives to such groups, who help them to avoid possible errors and to serve the cause of truth and charity among the faithful.
In speaking of the laity, I cannot fail to mention that vital part of every community: the family. In every society today, marriage and family life are threatened by moral and social evils. And yet at no time in history has the stability and vitality of a Christian home been more necessary. As Bishops, we have a great responsibility to assist families and married couples. Our special service is to proclaim the truth of the Gospel, to hand on in its purity and entirety the Church’s teaching on marriage and family life. We owe it to Jesus Christ never to doubt the power of his grace to triumph in the lives of his people.
7. As I visit your Churches which are so full of promise for the future, I wish to encourage you in your efforts to foster vocations to the priesthood and religious life. Your young Churches are moving quickly towards greater responsibility for themselves and less reliance on missionaries and the help of other Christians round the world, and so the need for religious and priestly acute. For the most crucial factor in this time of transition is a steady increase of indigenous vocations, accompanied by careful provision for the spiritual educational and cultural formation of these young men and women.
In this regard, the Major Regional Seminary at Bomana is performing a vital service for the Church, a service without which the future development of your individual dioceses could not be ensured. As you know, it is important that candidates for ordination and religious life be well prepared to embrace a life of celibacy and be helped to develop a fervent life of prayer built around the Eucharist and the Liturgy of the Hours. I know that the fostering of vocations is a pastoral duty as dear to your hearts as it is to mine. And I assure you of my oneness with you in prayer as you seek to further this vital work. May the Mother of Jesus fill your lives with gladness and hope.
8. Dear Brothers in Christ: it is indeed a great joy to be with you in Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands. I thank you for your warm hospitality and for all the preparations which you have made for my pastoral visit. In the bonds of hierarchical communion and collegial service which unite us, in the universal fellowship of charity and faith which binds all the local Churches with one another and with the Lord, let us go forward together in the name of Jesus. Let us proclaim together the message of salvation. And let us give praise and glory to God whose "power at work within us is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, to him be glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever" (Ep 3,20-21).
Tuesday, 8 May 1984
Beloved faithful People of Port Moresby and Papua New Guinea,
1. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, "died for all, that those who live might live no longer for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised" (2Co 5,15).
My brothers and sisters in Christ, the redemption of the world was accomplished by the Passion, death and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Before the Redemption, mankind was enslaved by sin, inclined to dominate rather than serve, living for self and not for others. But by the mystery of his Cross and Resurrection, we have been given the freedom and grace to live no longer for ourselves but for him. What a wonderful gift from Christ, our Saviour!
It was precisely for this reason that Christ died for all of us, to liberate us from the bond of selfishness from which by ourselves we could never escape, to make us free, and to enable us to live for him. This is the gift which Christ won for all of us: clergy, religious, laity. It is the gift which the missionaries brought to Papua New Guinea, which they carried in their own hearts and which they put into practice in this land. I think of the example of Blessed Giovanni Mazzucconi, who gave his life for love of Christ. His martyrdom is an eloquent proclamation of the teaching of Jesus which we have heard in today’s Gospel: "Whoever of you does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple" (Lc 14,33).
2. Through the living waters of Baptism, all of us have received the grace of living for Christ. Thus we have been made sharers in the work which he himself came to accomplish, namely, to reconcile the world to God. As we have heard in today’s first reading: "God . . . through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation" (2Co 5,18).
All members of the Church share in the "ministry of reconciliation", but each according to the gifts that he or she has received.
3. The laity, by their daily witness to Christ at home, at work and in all the ordinary circumstances of the world, wrestle against the hostility and divisions which still exist in a society marked by sin, and seek to build a Kingdom of truth and justice, the Kingdom of the living God - a Kingdom of love and peace.
Married couples make an important contribution to the unity and stability of society by remaining faithful to their promises of lifelong fidelity and by bearing witness to the generous love of Christ for his Spouse, the Church. And the Christian family, united in faith and prayer, is like a school where the lessons of forgiveness, patience and love for one another are learned. In the family, children are prepared to take their part in the life and mission of the Church.
Lay leaders and catechists also serve as "ambassadors for Christ", seeking to promote harmony and peace. Here in Papua New Guinea, your apostolic efforts have been vitally needed to hand on the message of the Gospel to your brothers and sisters. And therefore I wish to commend you for your generosity and fidelity and for the way you work in close collaboration with the clergy and religious.
4. Men and women religious, by their religious consecration, play a special role in the Church’s ministry of reconciliation. In their desire to love Christ with an undivided heart (Cf. Cor. 7, 35), they bear public witness to the Gospel of Redemption and reconciliation.That is why it is so important for each community of religious to be united among themselves, to be "of one heart and soul" (Act. 4, 32). Dear Religious: this lived unity among yourselves, which underlies your public witness to the Gospel, is strengthened by your common life and prayer and by your sacred vows, especially the vow of obedience. Always remember that sin and division first entered the world "by one man’s disobedience", but reconciliation was restored "by one man’s obedience" (Rm 5,19), the obedience of Jesus. Therefore when you imitate Christ through the obedience you give to him and to the Church through your religious superiors, you are contributing to the Church’s ministry of reconciliation. As I stated in my recent Apostolic Exhortation to Men and Women Religious: "It can therefore be said that those who decide to live according to the counsel of obedience are placed in a unique way between the mystery of sin and the mystery of justification and salvific grace . . . Precisely by means of the vow of obedience they decide to be transformed into the likeness of Christ, who ‘redeemed humanity and made it holy by his obedience’. In the counsel of obedience they desire to find their own role in the Redemption of Christ and their own way of sanctification" (Ioannis Pauli PP. II, Redemptionis Donum, 13).
5. And now, I would like to say a word to my brother priests. The words of Saint Paul in the first reading this afternoon have a special meaning for us who share in the ordained ministry. The Apostle says, "In Christ God was reconciling the world to himself ... and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation" (2Co 5,19). As men chosen to proclaim the word of God, as priests strengthened for this noble task by the Sacrament of Holy Orders, we must place our whole lives at the service of the word, letting Christ make "his appeal through us ... be reconciled to God" (Ibid. 5, 20).
Working in hierarchical communion with the local Bishop, priests strive to build up the unity of the local Christian community, and to cultivate a fraternal spirit which embraces not only the local Church but the universal Church as well. Because the service of unity is so vital in today’s world, it is even more urgent that priests themselves should never create division through their activities, but rather should strive to unite the community by offering to the faithful the word of God.
Above all, dear brothers, you must foster reconciliation in the Church and in the world through your attentive ministry of the Sacrament of Penance and the celebration of the Eucharist. Never doubt the great value of the time you spend hearing Confessions. It is a time when, in a unique way, you represent the merciful Redeemer who rejoices in the conversion of sinners. And also remember the words of the Second Vatican Council: "No Christian community can be built up unless it has its basis and centre in the celebration of the most Holy Eucharist" (Presbyterorum Ordinis PO 6).
6. In the Gospel passage this evening we heard Jesus speak of someone "desiring to build a tower" (Lc 14,28). He warned of the importance of carefully calculating the cost before deciding to build; otherwise people would begin to mock the builder saying, "This man began to build, and was not able to finish" (Ibid.14, 30).
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, we too desire to build something in union with Jesus our Redeemer. We desire to build the Kingdom of the living God. In our desire, let us not forget to calculate the cost, the cost of building the Kingdom, the cost of discipleship. For Jesus warned us: "Whoever does not bear his own Cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple" (Lc 14,27).
In order to live for Christ and no longer for ourselves, to collaborate in the ministry of reconciliation, to build the Kingdom of God, we must bear the Cross and follow Jesus. Let us not be afraid to be sings of contradiction. Let us embrace the Cross, confident that it is a "tree of eternal life", trusting in the firm promise of the Resurrection.
Together with the Virgin Mary and all the Saints, let us build God’s Kingdom here on earth, so as to be able to live for ever with the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
"Lawson Tama" - Honiara (Solomon Islands)
Wednesday, 9 May 1984
Your Excellency the Governor-General,
Beloved People of Honiara and all Solomon Islands,
1. I am grateful for this most cordial welcome to your country. I consider it a gift of God, a great privilege, to be here with you this day, and I thank you for this warm reception.
From the beginning of my Pontificate, I have had a special interest in Solomon Islands. Only a month after I was elected Bishop of Rome and Successor of Saint Peter, I had the joy of establishing the first Ecclesiastical Province of the Catholic Church in this land, with Honiara being designated as the Metropolitan See and the Diocese of Gizo as its suffragan See. Then, less than a year and a half ago, I had the further pleasure of establishing the new Diocese of Auki, making it too a suffragan See of the Archdiocese of Honiara. These historic moments are signs of the vigorous life and growing maturity of the Christian faith in your country. And it is because of this vitality of your faith that I have greatly looked forward to being in your midst.
2. In the tradition of the Bishops of Rome, I come among you as "the Servant of the Servants of God", on a pastoral visit to the Catholic faithful of this young nation. It is my desire to strengthen my brothers and sisters in the faith, to urge them to stand firm in the message of the Gospel which they have received through the generous efforts of the missionaries. I look forward to celebrating the Eucharist with them today, so that together we con express our unity in Jesus Christ the Son of God and Saviour of the world, and in his name give glory and praise to the Most Holy Trinity.
3. I also wish to take this occasion to greet in the love of friendship all the beloved people of this land, and in particular my Christian brothers and sisters of other ecclesial communities, especially the Anglican Communion. I have heard that nearly everyone here is happy to be Christian, and I am pleased to learn of the many ecumenical efforts which are taking place. Such fraternal collaboration is indeed praiseworthy and gives concrete expression to our common desire to see the prayer of Christ fulfilled: "That they may all be one" (Jn 17,21).
4. As God gives me this opportunity of setting foot on the soil of a country of many different languages and customs, I express my admiration for the harmony and good will which you have been able to achieve in this one nation. May you always live in unity and peace, and may the spirit of brotherhood grow and develop among you.
I am grateful to God for this day which lies before us, the day of my pastoral visit to Solomon Islands. Today our hearts overflow with the words of the Psalm: "This is the day which the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it" (Ps 118,24).
Wednesday, 9 May 1984
1. As this day all too quickly draws to a close, I wish that I could remain with you longer. But other duties beckon me onward, and I must take my leave. Before departing, however, I wish to express my heartfelt thanks for your warm welcome and cordial hospitality. This has been a day truly blessed by the Lord. These hours among you, so rich and full, have given me the opportunity of meeting many different groups of people, including the sick and those in prison, for whom the Church, like her Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, shows a particular love and concern.
It has been my great joy to celebrate the Eucharist with the members of the Catholic Church and to proclaim the Gospel in your midst. Together we have given thanks to our heavenly Father for the work of evangelization which has been carried out in this land, and for the way the Christian faith has taken deep root in your hearts.
2. I wish to extend a special word of gratitude to all those who have prepared and organized this unforgettable visit so well. In particular, I thank His Excellency the Governor-General and the Government authorities and civic officials. To all who have provided security and good public order I am also most appreciative. A warm word of thanks goes to my brother Bishops in this country, as well as to their many collaborators who worked so hard to prepare for this historic occasion and to make it a privileged moment of grace for us all.
3. This young nation derives its name, I am told, from King Solomon, a man who was known for his wisdom and learning. Men and women from far and wide would come to King Solomon in Jerusalem, in those days, to seek his counsel and to profit from his insights. Today the Pope from Rome has come to Solomon Islands, wishing to make a pastoral visit and to learn from those who live here. And indeed, I have been enriched by being among you. I have profited from your wisdom which is embodied in your rich cultural heritage and expressed in your friendliness and warmth. As I leave, I make the words of Saint Paul my own: "Lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called... eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Ep 4,1 Ep 4,3).
May your families be blessed with the wisdom and peace of the Lord.
God bless Solomon Islands!
Thursday, 10 May 1984
This brief stay in Papua New Guinea has given me great joy. During these days, I have had the wonderful experience of being with the Church in this beloved country, surrounded by the lively affection of its generous and hospitable people. I bid you all farewell with deep emotion and sincere gratitude.
1. I wish to say a particular word of thanks to all those who have made this pastoral visit possible: first of all, to his Excellency the Governor-General, to the Prime Minister and all the distinguished members of the Government. I am also grateful to all those who have prepared and organized so well the various parts of my stay here. A special thank-you goes to my venerable Brothers in the Episcopate, and to the clergy, religious and laity, for all that they have done in their dioceses to prepare spiritually for this historic occasion.
2. The varied personal contacts which this visit has afforded me have been very pleasant and enriching. They have enable me to see the life and vitality of this young and promising nation. And I have witnessed how the Catholic faith has taken deep root in this land, and begun to bear fruit in generous measure. As I met the clergy and religious, the catechists and members of Christian families, and especially the young people and the sick, I could see great hope for the future of the Church in Papua New Guinea, a hope which the Holy Spirit can bring to fulfilment. I know, too, that by this pastoral visit, the bond of ecclesial communion which links the Bishop of Rome with the local Churches in this land has been confirmed and strengthened. For these many blessings, may the name of the Lord be praised for ever! Praised be Jesus Christ, the Son of God and Saviour of the world!
3. As I leave your country, I wish to assure you that I shall never forget you. You have a permanent place in my heart and I shall pray for you always. I ask our eternal Father to watch over you and keep you in his love, and I pray that his blessings will be extended to those whom I could not meet, to all those who live in the coastal and mountain regions, and in the most distant parts of this nation.
May God bless you with peace and joy!
God bless Papua New Guinea!
To my dear brothers and sisters in Vietnam.
As I return from my pastoral visit to Korea, Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands, I find myself near Vietnam. And I very much wish to greet all the people of that land which I love, and to express to them my good will and sentiments of peace, my encouragement and my cordial best wishes.
Every human being, every people with its culture, has its own place in the benevolent eyes of the Catholic—universal—Church, and in the heart of the one who is that Church's Pastor. This is the Gospel of love received from Jesus Christ : it embraces all nations in a spirit of service, bringing them a word of salvation and fraternal help. In the case of Vietnam, everyone knows and appreciates the courage in working, the tenacity in difficulties, the family sense and the other natural virtues of which you give proof. In your country which has cruelly suffered the trials of war, y?u have had to work hard at the rebuilding of the country ; y?u have had to make great efforts in order to face the various problems of education, health and so on. The Church takes a lively interest in these efforts marked by solidarity, and she encourages them. She hopes that they will succeed in giving to every individual not only food and education but also the opportunity to develop freely each one's best potentialities, including religious aspiration, and in a climate of peace with the other nations that are seeking, like Vietnam, to live in tranquillity and dignity.
This is certainly what is desired by the many Vietnamese among you who share the Christian faith. It is you, dear Catholic brothers and sisters, whom I now address. Since the beginning of evangelization, y?u have formed living communities, rich in the faith of the whole Church well assimilated by the genius of your Vietnamese culture, ardent in prayer, generous in a charity open to all. To your Bishops and priests, to your men and women religious, to the mothers and fathers of families, to the children, the young people and the aged, and especially those who are suffering illness or other difficult conditions of life, I wish to express my very special affection. Every day, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, I commend you to the Lord, asking him to continue to give y?u, together with the courage of faith, hope and peace. May your closeness to your Bishops never fail, as y?u stay close to Jesus Christ and his Church ! And I pray that y?u will always have practical opportunities for professing and living your faith. The guarantee of these opportunities does honor to a country, and manifests its concern for justice, and favors the realization of the spiritual values so necessary for its development.
The whole Church has her eyes fixed upon y?u. In her y?u have a special place. She is proud of y?u, knowing the Christian faith that dwells in your midst, together with loyal love for your nation. She encourages y?u to build, together with your compatriots, a better future for all. And she willingly encourages the Catholic movements and international bodies to provide y?u with unselfish aid. I am happy to be able today to assure you of this personally, and to send to y?u with all my heart my Apostolic Blessing.