Speeches 1987 - Fort Simpson, Canada

3. Such constructive service is what Jesus wants of his disciples. That has always been the Church’s intention in making herself present in each place, in each people’s history. When the faith was first preached among the native inhabitants of this land, “the worthy traditions of the Indian tribes were strengthened and enriched by the Gospel message. (Your forefathers) knew by instinct that the Gospel, far from destroying their authentic values and customs, had the power to purify and uplift the cultural heritage which they had received... Thus not only is Christianity relevant to the Indian peoples, but Christ, in the members of his Body, is himself Indian” (Ioannis Pauli PP. II Allocutio ad indianos canadenses in loco v. “Shrine Field” habita 5, die 15 sept. 1984: Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, VII, 2 (1984) 547s).

In that spirit of respect and missionary service, I repeat what I said on the occasion of my previous visit, that my coming among you looks back to your past in order to proclaim your dignity and support your destiny. Today I repeat those words to you, and to all the Aboriginal peoples of Canada and of the world. The Church extols the equal human dignity of all peoples and defends their right to uphold their own cultural character with its distinct traditions and customs.

4. I am aware that the major Aboriginal organizations - the Assembly of First Nations, the Inuit Tapirisat of Canada, the Metis National Council, and the Native Council of Canada - have been engaged in high level talks with the Prime Minister and Premiers regarding ways of protecting and enhancing the rights of the Aboriginal peoples of Canada in the Constitution of this great country. Once again I affirm the right to a just and equitable measure of self-government, along with a land base and adequate resources necessary for developing a viable economy for present and future generations. I pray with you that a new round of conferences will be beneficial and that, with God’s guidance and help, a path to a just agreement will be found to crown all the efforts being made.

These endeavours, in turn, were supported by the Catholic bishops of Canada and the leaders of the major Christian Churches and communities. Together, they have called for a “new covenant” to ensure your basic Aboriginal rights, including the right to self-government. Today, I pray that the Holy Spirit will help you all to find the just way so that Canada may be a model for the world in upholding the dignity of the Aboriginal peoples.

Let me recall that, at the dawn of the Church’s presence in the New World, my predecessor Pope Paul III proclaimed in 1537 the rights of the native peoples of those times.He affirmed their dignity, defended their freedom and asserted that they could not be enslaved or deprived of their goods or ownership. That has always been the Church’s position (Cfr. Pauli III Pastorale Oficium, die 29 maii 1537: DENZ.-SCHÖNM. 1495). My presence among you today marks my reaffirmation and reassertion of that teaching.

5. There are very close links between the teaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and human development. In his famous Encyclical on the Development of Peoples, Pope Paul VI reflected on this reality against the background of the deep aspirations of peoples all over the world towards freedom and development. In his words, the fundamental desire of peoples everywhere is “to seek to do more, know more and have more in order to be more“ (Pauli VI Populorum Progressio PP 6). Is that not the deepest hope of the Indian, Metis and Inuit peoples of Canada? To be more. That is your destiny and that is the challenge that faces you. And today I have come in order to assure you that the Church stands. with you as you strive to enhance your development as native peoples. Her missionary personnel and her institutions seek to work for that cause with you.

6. At the same time, instructed by the teachings of Christ and enlightened by history, the Church appeals to all developing peoples everywhere, not to limit the notion of human progress to the search for material well-being, at the cost of religious and spiritual growth. Paul VI wisely wrote that “personal and communal development would be threatened if the true scale of values were undermined. The desire for necessities is legitimate, and work undertaken to obtain them is a duty... But... increased possession is not the ultimate goal of nations or of individuals” (Ibid. 18-19).

There are other values which are essential to life and society. Each people possesses a civilization handed down from its ancestors, involving institutions called for by its way of life, with its artistic, cultural and religious manifestations. The true values contained in these realities must not be sacrificed to material considerations. “A people that would act in this way would thereby lose the best of its patrimony; in order to live, it would be sacrificing its reasons for living" (Ibid. 40).

What Christ said about individuals applies also to peoples: “for what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life?” (Mt 16,26). What would become of the “life” of the Indian, Inuit and Metis peoples if they cease to promote the values of the human spirit which have sustained them for generations? If they no longer see the earth and its benefits as given to them in trust by the Creator? If the bonds of family life are weakened, and instability undermines their societies? If they were to adopt an alien way of thinking, in which people are considered according to what they have and not according to what they are?

The soul of the native peoples of Canada is hungry f or the Spirit of God, because it is hungry for justice, peace, love, goodness, fortitude, responsibility and human dignity (Cfr. Ioannis Pauli PP. II Redemptor Hominis RH 18). This is indeed a decisive time in your history. It is essential that you be spiritually strong and clear-sighted as you build the future of your tribes and nations. Be assured that the Church will walk that path with you.

7. By coming among you I have wished to underline your dignity as native peoples. With heartfelt concern for your future. I invite you to renew your trust in God who guides the destinies of all peoples and clear-sighted as you build the future of your tribes and nations. The eternal Father has sent his Son to reveal to us the mystery of our living in this world and of our journeying to the everlasting life that is to come. In the Paschal Mystery of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, we have been reconciled with God and with each other. Jesus Christ is our peace (Cfr. Eph Ep 2,14).

"May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, grant you", the Aboriginal peoples of Canada, “a spirit of wisdom and insight to know him clearly.May he enlighten your innermost vision that you may know the great hope to which he has called you” (Ibid. 1, 17-18).

In the love of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, I bless each one of you, and pray for the peace and happiness of your families, your bands and your nations. God be with you all!




Saturday, 26 September 1987

Dear Brothers in our Lord Jesus Christ,

1. It is for me a special joy to meet with you, members of the Episcopal Conference of Nigeria, on this occasion of your ad limina visit. I warmly welcome you to this assembly by which we bear witness to our collegial unity. A few weeks ago I was pleased to address the first group of your brother Bishops from Nigeria. In particular, I reminded them that the College of Bishops is given to the Church by the Lord Jesus for safeguarding and deepening the unity of all her members.

It is in the exercise of your fraternity in Christ, with all its collegial manifestations, that you fulfil the offices of sanctifying, teaching and governing your people, mutually support one another as Bishops and keep faith with Christ through Peter. Our coming together today renews our fraternal communion with all the local Churches and their Bishops. Together we represent “the entire Church joined in the bond of peace, love and unity” (Lumen Gentium LG 23).

2. I wish to express my gratitude to Archbishop Ezeanya for the devoted sentiments which he has conveyed to me on behalf of the clergy, religious and lay people of your respective Dioceses. And I wish to reciprocate by offering my cordial greetings of grace and peace in our Lord Jesus Christ to all those entrusted to your pastoral care. To each of them I repeat in the words of the Apostle Paul: “I give thanks to God always for you because of the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him with all speech and knowledge – even as the testimony to Christ was confirmed among you – so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1Co 1,4-7).

My beloved brothers, you are the pastors of sixteen local Churches in the different regions of Nigeria. I am well aware that you bring with you today the deep and lively faith of your people. I fondly recall my pastoral visit among you when I was able to witness for myself the love of your people for Christ and his Church.

3. At this time I wish to express my fraternal affection for all the priests who actively collaborate with you in shepherding the flock of Christ entrusted to your care. As I have said on a previous occasion, “like yourselves, I learned as a Bishop to understand firsthand the ministry of priests, the problems affecting their lives, the splendid efforts they are making, the sacrifices that are an integral part of their service to God’s people. Like yourselves, I am fully aware of how much Christ depends on his priests in order to fulfil in time his mission of redemption” (Ioannis Pauli PP. II Ad Archiepiscopos et Episcopos V et VII Regionis Pastoralis Civitatum Foederatarum Americae Septemtrionalis, coram simul admissos occasione oblata eorum visitationis “ad limina”, die 9 nov. 1978: Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, I (1978) 122).

An essential aspect of our apostolic charge is to confirm our brother priests in their identity as ordained ministers of the Church. The meaning and worth of the ministerial priesthood can only be adequately explained by the principles which justify the Church herself. The priest is a servant of Jesus Christ. The power and glory of God abide in him in a special manner. The ministerial priesthood is indispensable to the worship of God and to the Church’s mission of proclaiming the Gospel.

4. We must never tire of asserting the essential priorities, of the priesthood. Each brother priest is meant to be with us, in the words of Saint Paul, "a servant of Christ... set apart to proclaim the Gospel of God" (Rm 1,1). The apostolic priorities, as stated in the Acts of the Apostles, are “to concentrate on prayer and the ministry of the word” (Act. 6, 4).

Similarly, the Second Vatican Council did not fail to emphasize the ministry of both the word and the Eucharist. For example, the Council clearly states: “The ministry of priests takes its start from the Gospel message” (Presbyterorum Ordinis PO 2). At the same time it points out that the word reaches its culmination in the Eucharist, which is itself “the source and summit of the whole work of evangelization” (Ibid. 5).

5. It is in the Eucharistic Sacrifice that the priest finds the source of all his pastoral charity (Cfr. ibid. 14), the basis for his own spirituality and the strength to make the daily offering of his life together with the sacrifice of Jesus. It is also through the Eucharist that his celibacy is confirmed as he enjoys sacramental communion with our merciful Redeemer and Lord.

The ministry to the People of God which we as Bishops share with our brother priests is greatly influenced by the quality of our mutual fidelity: our faithfulness to our priests, their loyalty to us. If we are true brothers to our priests, we know their burdens and their needs. At the same time they, as brothers to us, often know the special problems which trouble ourselves. At moments of difficulty, together with the help of God’s grace, it is the solidarity of priests, with their understanding and compassion, which helps us to perform, with generosity and perseverance, every priestly function that Christ has committed to the College of his Bishops in communion with Peter.

6. It is the Church, and more precisely the Bishop, who sends a priest to preach the Good News of salvation. That is why priestly obedience always remains an important virtue. It does much more than make the priest ready to serve; it helps ensure that his ministry is fruitful and always building up God’s people in unity.

Referring to the importance of priestly obedience, the Second Vatican Council says: “Since the priestly ministry is the ministry of the Church herself, it can be discharged only by hierarchical communion with the whole body. Therefore pastoral love demands that acting in this communion, priests dedicate their own wills through obedience to the service of God and their brothers and sisters. This love requires that they accept and carry out in a spirit of faith whatever is commanded or recommended by the Sovereign Pontiff, their own Bishop, or other superiors” (Presbyterorum Ordinis PO 15).

7. In his Encyclical On Priestly Celibacy, Pope Paul VI reminded his brother Bishops that “it is your fraternal and kindly presence and deeds that must fill up in advance the human loneliness of the priest, which is so often the cause of his discouragement and temptations. Before being the superiors and judges of your priests, be their masters, fathers, friends, their good and kind brothers, always ready to understand, to sympathize and to help. In every possible way encourage your priests to be your personal friends and to be very open with you. This will not weaken the relationship of juridical obedience; rather it will transform it into pastoral love so that they will obey more willingly, sincerely and securely” (Pauli VI Sacerdotalis Caelibatus, 92).

I am well aware of the great importance which you attribute to providing well prepared candidates for the ministerial priesthood. This is accomplished in large measure by the careful attention and support which you yourselves give to the programmes of priestly formation in your minor and major seminaries. I wish to assure you of my solicitude in this endeavour which is essential to the Church’s mission of proclaiming the Gospel. May each of you with active and loving concern always be a true father in Christ to each of your seminarians (Cfr. Optatam Totius OT 5).

8. Though I have spoken to you thus far about the ministerial priesthood, much of what I have said equally applies to Religious. The members of Institute of consecrated life constitute for the Church in Nigeria an indispensable element in the great task of evangelization. Their public witness to the counsels of chastity, poverty, and obedience and their generous example of community life provide for the Church in Nigeria an authentic evangelica testificatio.

In your work with Religious I encourage you to renew your endeavours to manifest the great esteem that the Church has for them in their vocations of consecrated love, urging them always to ever more generous collaboration in the corporate life of the ecclesial community. Religious offer inspiration to the rest of the faithful when they live their vocation in a spirit of joy and self-sacrifice. Likewise they give us a striking sign of the Church’s eschatological dimension.

The very presence of Religious in the world is a great consolation for the Church, and an effective means of proclaiming the Gospel of Christ. In Nigeria this proclamation has been accomplished in a special way by missionary priests, Sisters and Brothers who have manifested both heroism and holiness in planting the seeds of the Church. And I join you in giving thanks to God for the constantly growing number of native vocations to the priesthood and religious life. Continue to pray for more vocations and to invite young people to follow Christ in the Church’s consecrated life.

9. The forthcoming Assembly of the Synod of Bishops causes me to turn my reflections to the important role of the laity. I am very pleased to acknowledge the growing influence of lay organizations in your country, such as the National Laity Council, the Catholic Women’s Organization, the Legion of Mary, the Catholic Youth Organization and the Catholic Students Organization, each of which is making a significant contribution to evangelization in Nigeria. Moreover, it is with satisfaction that I have learned of the great interest of your lay people in the missionary activities of the Church. This is clearly seen in the strong support given by the Nigerian laity to the National Missionary Seminary of Saint Paul at Abuia, which is receiving a steadily increasing number of candidates to prepare for service as missionary priests.

Especially since the close of the Second Vatican Council the lay people of the Church in Nigeria have come more and more to see themselves as active participants in the Church’s life and mission. This is evidenced in the concern of the laity for the growth and well-being of the Church in each of their own communities. It is also seen in the greater interest of the laity in their role as evangelizers and catechists.

In the teaching of the Council we find this description of the sacred calling of the laity; “The laity are gathered together in the People of God and make up the Body of Christ under one Head. Whoever they are, they are called upon, as living members, to expend all their energy for the growth of the Church and its continuous sanctification. For this very energy is a gift of the Creator and a blessing of the Redeemer” (Lumen Gentium LG 33).

10. I cannot fail to mention that the Church in Nigeria has as a special object of its solicitude the country’s youth. Pastoral outreach to young people should be one of your highest priorities today, for they form the largest particular group within the ecclesial community and many of them are sorely tempted to disregard the Church, especially if they are ignorant of her teaching. I am pleased that there are at present various initiatives directed towards the apostolate of youth, such as the Catholic Youth Organization. But I also realize there are some negative forces to contend with. In the face of such difficulty the Church in Nigeria must seek above all to deepen the young people’s faith. New forms of apostolate must be discovered, new initiatives must be tried. But the primary means at the disposal of the Church is the whole apostolate of Catholic education. In every age, this remains a fundamental task of the Christian community, the teaching of the truths of our faith.

Catholic education is vital for all members of the Church for its purpose is to help persons to arrive at the fullness of Christian life. But it is only right that major efforts in this regard be directed to the education of young people. In order to grow to maturity in Christ, our youth need a systematic presentation of the whole of Christian revelation. We must hand on to them all that Jesus commanded to be taught (Cfr. Mt 28,20), the whole moral and doctrinal content of the sacred deposit of faith.

I am aware that you face serious obstacles in your endeavours to maintain and administer the Catholic Schools. Yet you are seeking every possible means to carry out this crucial part of your responsibility as Bishops. I offer you my fraternal encouragement and prayerful support for all these deserving efforts, fully convinced that there is nothing more important for the educational task than the guidance and leadership of the Bishops.

11. I wish to assure you of my continued prayers for your Nation, that Almighty God will ever lead the Government and people along the paths of peace, justice, harmony and social progress.

In all your pastoral endeavours you can be sure that I am united with you and dose to you in the love of Jesus Christ. Together we have a single purpose: to prove faithful to the pastoral trust committed to us by the Lord, to lead the People of God to the Kingdom of Heaven. May Mary, the Mother of the Church and Queen of the Apostles, who is “a sign of sure hope and solace for the pilgrim people of God” (Lumen Gentium LG 68), intercede for us. In the name of Jesus, peace to you and to all your people. With my Apostolic Blessing.




Hall of Blessing

Tuesday, 29 September 1987

Ladies and Gentlemen,

1. I willingly accepted your request for a special audience during these days in which you have come together from various parts of the world for the World Congress of the International Union of Local Authorities. This has been done on the initiative of the National Association of Italian Communes (ANCI), - and under the patronage and with the collaboration of the Commune of Rome. Among you there are Mayors, Town-Councilors, Regional Directors and Senior Officials.

This welcome encounter enables me to extend a cordial greeting to all of you for the gesture of sincere respect which you have desired to show me by your presence here today. I also greet all of those who share with you the honour and the responsibility of the administration of your respective cities and regions. I thank particularly your President, Mr Lars Eric Ericsson, for his thoughtful and practical words, conveyed with such kind and courteous sentiments. I am pleased to hear of your various proposals and concerns. They manifest both prudent reflection and generous commitment in the administrative service that is yours. Mr Ericsson’s words enabled me to perceive the number and the extent of the problems which weigh upon those called to govern and foster the social progress of a given city. They also helped me to understand the close attention and care which these demand. For this reason I wish to assure you of my encouragement and prayerful support, in view of the gravity of your task in interpreting, protecting and serving the interests of a civic community, and also in view of the degree of dedication which the city’s inhabitants expect of you. I was pleased, too, to detect in the address just delivered the lively awareness and generous spirit which guides and sustains your efforts.

2. The motto for your Congress is “The Way Ahead”. I trust that in keeping with this motto, your stay in Rome will give you new insights and real help for the future, as it provides you with a chance to study in depth the most urgent demands of social life. You will have the opportunity to exchange information and viewpoints, and to clarify and confront with keener awareness so many of the problems connected with your work. These days will help you to build friendships, promote cultural exchanges and provide assistance to one another in case of need. Certainly, these meetings will stimulate a deeper understanding and appreciation of your own local traditions. But they will also contribute to the overcoming of prejudices and misconceptions and thus open the way to better understanding and mutual esteem between one community and another.

If we genuinely desire to reach harmony in international relations, then special attention must be directed towards correct and effective relations between the local communities and institutions of our different countries. Wherever partisan and insular mentalities may have been inherited from the past, contemporary administrations must channel their energies to overcoming them and, with wisdom and serenity, aim at developing a new spirit of openness and fraternal collaboration. In this challenging and necessary endeavor, the spiritual dimension must not be neglected, for it contributes to the strengthening of socio-cultural progress and to the preservation of the cultural, artistic and religious values which the traditions of centuries have handed on from generation to generation. Such traditions are to be found in both the great metropolitan cities and in the small townships scattered throughout remoter districts.

You are all familiar with the celebrated pilgrimages to places and shrines linked to the memory of the Blessed Virgin, or to the memory of a Saint with heroic virtues, or to some special sign of divine benevolence. Pilgrimages such as these are a spiritual heritage which enriches people’s minds and hearts, nourishing and inspiring their way of thinking, acting and loving. The City of Rome is one such place of pilgrimage, a place made holy by the courageous witness of martyrs, especially the Apostles Peter and Paul. But at the same time my thoughts go out to many other great cities and shrines, other regional and provincial capitals throughout the world: centres of natural beauty or industrious human activity, places of spirituality and holiness. Together our cities and communities can offer one another a wealth of history and culture.

3. On the other hand, “The Way Ahead” entails an uphill struggle. It demands of you renewed resolve so that you can meet the enormous problems which you have been called to tackle. These involve the fundamental needs of the people under your administration, needs ranging from housing to employment, from education to health assistance, from traffic to ecology. Each of these themes merits fuller treatment, but time does not permit. However, I would not like the occasion to pass without making a few brief remarks on housing, also because the United Nations has declared 1987 the “International Year of Shelter for the Homeless”. We are all aware of the grave housing situation affecting thousands of families in most of the world’s big cities. The problem has become more and more acute in certain areas due to population growth, in others because of the exodus in recent decades from rural areas to urban centres. All of this renders the work of the competent authorities more complex than ever. It is indeed a social reality of the utmost seriousness, one which disturbs the conscience of all those who are genuinely sensitive to the aspirations and rights of every human person. The lack of adequate housing or living conditions contributes to moral decline and the breakdown of family life. It undermines the stability of society.

I am confident that you share my special concern about this issue, and that already you are pursuing every avenue in order to provide a home for those who have none: a home which corresponds to the dignity of man and woman, made in the image of God. I offer my encouragement to you as you seek concrete ways to meet the needs of those who find themselves in this unhappy predicament. In so doing, you are responding to the recommendation of the Second Vatican Council, that attention be paid “to the needs of the family in government policies regarding housing, the education of children, working conditions, social security and taxes” (Apostolicam Actuositatem AA 11).

4. In considering your obligations and programmes, and in the light of the valid contribution which this Congress will undoubtedly make to these, may you also be alert to the strength which the light of faith brings to your thoughts and deliberations. Those of you who are Christians will find special grace and wisdom in Jesus Christ and his Gospel of salvation. But I urge all of you, Christian and non-Christian alike, to take into consideration the moral and spiritual aspects of the problems which you face. On my part, I assure you that I will not fail to ask the Lord to be with you and sustain you in the fulfilment of the duties with which you have been entrusted. May the divine assistance remain always with you, your communities and your families.


                                                                   October 1987




Clementine Hall

Saturday, 10 October 1987

Dear Friends,

1. I am pleased to welcome to the Vatican today members of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachussetts. In greeting you, I am reminded of my recent pastoral visit to the United States which helped me appreciate in an even deeper way the rich ethnic and cultural pluralism of your country, as well as your youthful vitality and giftedness.

My thoughts also go back to my first visit to America, eight years ago, and more particularly to the time I spent in Boston, when many of you perhaps, and certainly many of your friends and neighbors, gave me such a warm and courteous welcome. I am happy to have this occasion to repay you for your most gracious hospitality.

2. Like the Swiss Guard which generously serves here at the Vatican, your renowned organization can boast a distinguished and glorious history. What began three and a half centuries ago as an organized effort to provide protection for the early settlers in New England has in its subsequent development carried out a variety of important services: framing and administering laws, promoting industry and trade, contributing to the education and well-being of your fellow citizens. You have been involved, in a special way, in many charitable activities, both as a Company and as individuals. In this, you have been faithful to the Golden Rule: "Love your neighbor as yourself".

3. The commitment of generous service is truly a commitment of selfless love. Forgetting yourselves and your own personal preferences and plans, you seek to be attentive to the needs of others. And if it is authentic love, then it embraces all others, without distinction of persons, with deep respect and concern for the God-given dignity of every one, from the moment of conception until the moment of natural death.

We who are followers of Christ believe that such love is only possible when it is founded on the love of God. As Saint John writes, “Love, then, consists in this: not that we have loved God but that he has loved us and has sent his Son as an offering for our sins” (1Io. 4, 10). This is a great source of consolation and hope: the fact that God has loved us, that God’s love accompanies us every day of our lives.

I pray that each of you will always know and rejoice in the love of God our Father. In this love, you will find the strength to continue to offer loving service to others, especially to the poor.

May the Lord grant his abundant blessings to you all your loved ones.



Clementine Hall

Tuesday, 13 October 1987

Your Eminence Cardinal Krol,
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

1. I am happy to welcome to the Vatican today the Regents of the Catholic University of America. You are people who know the necessity of Catholic education and who are firmly committed to supporting the Church’s efforts in this regard. Thus, as I greet you and welcome you to Rome, I also wish to thank you, in my own name and in the name of the Church, for the contribution you are making to the future of the Church and society by your generous support of the Catholic University.

2. From my many years of close association with a Catholic University in my own country, I have come to appreciate, at first hand, the special role which the academic community fulfils in the Church’s mission of evangelization. It is linked in a vital way with the Gospel’s impact on the evolution of thought and culture and with the integral development of society. As I stated in the Apostolic Constitution on Ecclesiastical Universities and Faculties, “the Church’s mission of spreading the Gospel not only demands that the Good News be preached ever more widely and to ever greater numbers of men and women, but that the very power of the Gospel should permeate thought patterns, standards of judgement, and norms of behaviour: in a word, it is necessary that the whole of human culture be steeped in the Gospel” (Ioannis Pauli PP. II, Sapientia Christiana, I).

3. Catholic educators take up this challenge in countries around the world, aware of the fact that the Christian message is not tied to any one culture exclusively, but that it is intended to uplift and strengthen them all. Your nation, like every other nation, boasts a unique history and culture, both of which exert great influence upon the thinking and acting of your citizens. In this context, who does not see the importance of Catholic institutions of higher education? They offer an authentic service to all the citizens of your country, and in particular to the enrichment of the American culture. Your own efforts, then, as Regents, are not only a needed support for the vital work of the Catholic University but also a contribution to the future of the United States.

4. I cannot close without extending a special word of gratitude to the members of the University’s Orchestra and Chorus. I am pleased that you have been able to be present at this audience. How good it is for all of us to sing and praise God’s Name. You remind us of this truth as you use your musical talents for the glory and honour of God. May the Lord fill you with much joy as you uplift the hearts of others through your hymns and songs.

And to all of you who have come to Rome, I impart my Apostolic Blessing. May the events of these days deepen your trust in the loving providence of God.

Speeches 1987 - Fort Simpson, Canada