S. John Paul II Homil. 860
Sunday, 26 April 1998
1. “It is the Lord!” (Jn 21,7). This exclamation of the Apostle John emphasizes the intense emotion experienced by the disciples on recognizing the risen Jesus, who appeared to them for the third time on the shore of the Sea of Tiberias.
861 John acts as spokesman for the sentiments of Peter and the other Apostles in the presence of the risen Lord. After a long night of loneliness and toil, the dawn arrives and his appearance radically changes everything: the darkness is overcome by light, the fruitless work becomes an easy and abundant catch of fish, the feeling of tiredness and loneliness is transformed into joy and peace.
Since then, these same sentiments enliven the Church. If at a superficial level it sometimes seems that the darkness of evil and the toil of everyday life have the upper hand, the Church knows with certainty that the light of Easter now shines eternally on those who follow Christ. The great message of the Resurrection fills the hearts of the faithful with inner joy and renewed hope.
2. The Acts of the Apostles, which the liturgy has us reread in this Easter season, describes the missionary vitality, rich in joy, which animated the first Christian community even amid difficulties and obstacles of every kind. This same vitality has continued down the centuries through the work of the Holy Spirit and the docile and generous cooperation of the faithful.
We read in the first reading today: “We are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit” (Ac 5,32). The Holy Spirit enlivens the apostolic commitment of Christ's disciples, sustaining them in their trials, enlightening them in their decisions, assuring effectiveness in their proclamation of the Easter mystery.
3. Christ is truly risen! Alleluia! Today too the Church continues to make the same joyful proclamation. “Christ is truly risen!”: these words are like a cry of joy and an invitation to hope. If Christ is risen, St Paul notes, our faith is not in vain. If we have died with Christ, we have risen with him: we must now live as risen people.
Dear brothers and sisters of St Stephen Protomartyr Parish, I greet you all with affection! My presence among you is linked in spirit with the visit that my venerable Predecessor, the Servant of God Paul VI, made to your community on Easter 1966, 32 years ago.
I cordially greet the Cardinal Vicar, the Vicegerent, your zealous parish priest, Mons. Vincenzo Vigorito, and all those who collaborate with him in leading the parish community. I address a special thought to those who are currently involved in the City Mission. I would like to encourage them to continue this missionary effort by proclaiming the Gospel in every way and in every circumstance, testifying that it renews human existence.
Everyone needs this saving Word: to everyone the risen Lord brings it personally. Dear parishioners, share this message of hope with those you meet at home, in school, at the office, in the workplace. Reach out especially to those who are alone, who are suffering and in precarious conditions, the sick and the marginalized. To each and every one of them proclaim: Christ is truly risen!
4. In this way, your community which, like many other Roman parishes, is relatively new but already has a history filled with many social and human problems, will increasingly become a place of solidarity and meeting, of joy and spiritual reinvigoration. This is what your parish has wanted to be since it began in 1953 through the work of the Passionist Fathers. Over the next 20 years the community grew considerably, due to the arrival of many immigrants particularly from the central and southern parts of Italy.
Many people moved to Rome in those years for financial reasons, separating themselves involuntarily from the traditions and values of their own regions. Some of you remember the difficulties of the beginning, with the related human and social problems, when the arches of the acqueduct had become places of shelter for so many immigrant families. To these difficult situations the parish tried to give concrete answers, according to its means, while always showing great courage and pastoral generosity.
Pope Paul VI, shocked at the situation of poverty that he saw here, personally supported various initiatives, including the creation of a public-health centre. Providentially, the Daughters of Christ the King later came to help the inhabitants of Tor Fiscale by establishing a school and day-care centre.
862 I cannot fail to recall dear Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who opened her first house in Europe here, which has now become the formation community for the Missionaries of Charity.
5. Thanks be to God, in recent years the situation has considerably improved after the construction of new housing in Tor Bella Monaca and New Ostia. However pockets of poverty and loneliness remain; the lack of housing, unemployment, especially among young people, truancy, the scourge of drugs, petty crime and prostitution.
You do not remain indifferent to all this. I am well aware of your generous efforts to proclaim the message of Christ by acts of courageous solidarity. The Pope, who is in your midst today, wishes by his presence to support you in this difficult, but exalting missionary and apostolic mission. Look to Christ: he is the life which does not die. He gives this life to whoever turns to him with sincere faith. Be witnesses and promoters of this life, putting the values of the Gospel at the foundation of a more just and united society.
I am also here today to praise and encourage you. To encourage the priests and religious who dedicate their efforts here, the committed laity who here, as in many other outlying areas of Rome, have too often been left to themselves, but have given and continue to give a valuable witness of love and care towards human life in all its stages. I wish to encourage especially those who dedicate themselves with perseverance to transmitting the values of the faith to their brothers and sisters, in particular to the poor and marginalized.
6. “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honour and glory and blessing” (Ap 5,12).
On this Third Sunday of Easter, we make our own the words of the heavenly liturgy recounted in Revelation. While we contemplate the glory of the Risen One, we ask the Lord that your community may be granted a future that is more serene and rich in hope.
May the Lord grant each of you a greater understanding of his mission in the service of the Gospel.
Dear brothers and sisters, may the risen Christ give you the courage of love; may he make you his witnesses! May he fill you with his Spirit so that, with the whole Church, supported by Mary's intercession, you may proclaim the song of glory of the redeemed: “To him who sits upon the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honour and glory and might” (Ap 5,13).
Sunday, 3 May 1998
863 1. The Good Shepherd! This biblical figure is drawn from observation and experience. For a long time Israel was a people of shepherds, and the tradition from the time of the patriarchs and subsequent generations is reflected in the texts of the Old Testament. The shepherd, the one who watches over his flock and leads it to fertile pastures, became the image of the man who guides and heads a nation, ever mindful of its concerns. This is how the shepherd of Israel is depicted in the Old Testament.
In his preaching, Jesus refers to this image but introduces a completely new element: the shepherd is the one who lays down his life for his sheep (cf. Jn Jn 10,11-18). He attributes this trait to the good shepherd, distinguishing him from the hireling, who therefore cares nothing for his flock. Indeed, he presents himself as the prototype of the good shepherd who is able to give his life for his flock. The Father has sent him into the world so that he will not be the shepherd of Israel alone but of all humanity.
It is especially in the Eucharist that the work of the Good Shepherd becomes sacramentally present; after preaching the “Good News” of the kingdom, he offered his own life in sacrifice for his sheep. Indeed, the Eucharist is the sacrament of the Lord’s Death and Resurrection, of his supreme act of Redemption. It is the sacrament in which the Good Shepherd makes his sacrificial love for all constantly present.
2. Dear deacons of the Diocese of Rome, on this Fourth Sunday of Easter, usually called “Good Shepherd Sunday”, when the World Day of Prayer for Vocations is celebrated, you are about to receive the sacrament of the priesthood, which will conform you to Christ the Good Shepherd. You will become ministers “who through his Spirit continually exercises his priestly function for our benefit in the liturgy” (Presbyterorum ordinis PO 5).
With the sacrament of Baptism, you will bring individuals into the People of God; with that of Penance, you will reconcile sinners with God and with the Church; and with the Anointing of the Sick, you will alleviate the sufferings of the infirm. Above all, you will be ministers of the Eucharist: you will receive this sacrament as a priceless inheritance in which the mystery of Christ’s sacrifice is renewed daily and the decisive event of his Death and Resurrection for the world’s salvation continues. You will celebrate the sacrifice of the Body and Blood of Christ under the appearances of bread and wine, as he himself offered it for the first time in the Upper Room, on the eve of his Passion. You will thus be personally associated with the mystery of the Good Shepherd, who lays down his life for his sheep.
Be conscious of the sublime mission which is entrusted to you today! It consists of sharing in Christ’s own mission. You will be his priests for ever: “Tu es sacerdos in aeternum”.
And every day, dear friends, as you devoutly approach the altar, renew your generous “here I am” to the Lord, so that your life, in the image of the Good Shepherd’s, may be totally dedicated to the good of souls.
3. Dear deacons, the Church in Rome rejoices at your ordination. I am the first to rejoice, because as your Bishop I can lay my hands upon you, invoking on you the power of the Holy Spirit.
The Cardinal Vicar, the Auxiliary Bishops and the diocesan priests, whose presbyterate you are about to enter as promising younger brothers, rejoice with me. Your parents, your relatives and friends and all who have guided you in your formation and share your joy today are happy as well. The whole diocesan community, gathered here in spirit, gives thanks to the Holy Spirit for the gift of this spiritual fruitfulness.
With deep gratitude it sings the hymn Veni Creator, imploring an abundance of the seven gifts for you:
“Accende lumen sensibus, infunde amorem cordibus
864 Infirma nostri corporis, virtute firmans perpeti”.
Mindful of the example of the Good Shepherd, who by the sacrifice of his own life protected the flock from the enemy, the Church of Rome also prays:
“Hostem repellas longius, pacemque dones protinus
Ductore sic te praevio vitemus omne noxium”.
She calls upon the Spirit of truth to lead you to full knowledge of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit:
“Per te sciamus da Patrem, noscamus atque Filium,
Te utriusque Spiritum credamus omni tempore”.
And with hearts overflowing with gratitude for the ineffable mystery which is accomplished in you today, we proclaim together the glory of the triune God:
“Deo Patri sit gloria, et Filio, qui a mortuis
Surrexit, ac Paraclito, in saeculorum saecula”.
865 Sunday, 10 May 1998
1. “I, John, saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God” (Ap 21,1-2).
The splendid vision of the heavenly Jerusalem, which today’s Liturgy of the Word presents to us again, closes the Book of Revelation and the whole series of sacred books which comprise the Bible. With this magnificent description of the City of God, the author of Revelation indicates the definitive defeat of evil and the achievement of perfect communion between God and men. From the beginning, the history of salvation aims at this goal.
Before the community of believers, who are also called to proclaim the Gospel and to witness to their own faith in Christ amid various trials, the supreme goal shines forth: the heavenly Jerusalem! We are all advancing towards that goal, where the saints and martyrs have preceded us down the centuries. On our earthly pilgrimage, these brethren of ours, who have passed victoriously through “great tribulations”, serve as an example, incentive and encouragement to us. The Church which “continues her pilgrimage amid the persecutions of the world and the consolations of God” (St Augustine, De Civitate Dei, XVIII, 51:2), knows she is sustained and encouraged by the example and communion of the heavenly Church.
2. In the glorious array of saints and blesseds who enjoy the vision of God, we contemplate in a particular way our illustrious sisters and brother in the faith whom today I have the joy of raising to the honours of the altar. They are: Rita Dolores Pujalte Sánchez and Francisca of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Aldea Araujo; María Gabriela Hinojosa and her six companions; María Sagrario of St Aloysius Gonzaga Elvira Moragas Cantarero; Nimatullah Al-Hardini Youssef Kassab; and María Maravillas de Jesús Pidal y Chico de Guzmán.
With very different experiences and in quite different contexts, they heroically lived an extraordinary, complete fidelity to Christ and the same ardent love of neighbour.
3. In beatifying Fr Nimatullah Kassab Al-Hardini, a Lebanese Maronite monk, I would first like to give thanks for my journey to the land of the cedars exactly one year ago. Today there is a new celebration for Lebanese all over the world, for one of their brothers is held up to them as a model of holiness. Throughout his monastic life, the new blessed willingly incarnated the words of Christ’s disciples which we have heard in the reading from the Acts of the Apostles: “We must undergo many trials if we are to enter into the reign of God”.
This same reading also shows us the different aspects of mission: prayer, fasting and the preaching of the Gospel. Through his rigorous asceticism, his long periods of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, his concern for theological research and his merciful attention to his brothers, Bl. Al-Hardini is a model of Christian and monastic life for the Maronite community and for all Christ’s followers in our time. As I recalled in my Post-Synodal Exhortation, A Hope for Lebanon, citing St Basil: “It is a moral life and an ascetical life in conformity with the commitment made which lead to reconciliation between people” (n. 53).
From now on the new blessed is a sign of hope for all Lebanese, especially families and youth people. As a man of prayer, he calls his brothers and sisters to trust in God and to commit all their efforts to following Christ, in order to build a better future. May Lebanon continue to be a land of witnesses and saints, and a land of ever greater peace and brotherhood!
4. In the Gospel proclaimed during this celebration we heard: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you” (Jn 13,34). Mother Rita Dolores Pujalte and Mother Francisca Aldea who today are raised to the glory of the altars, faithfully followed Jesus, loving to the end, as he did, and suffering death for the faith in July 1936.
They belonged to the community of St Susanna's College in Madrid, of the Sisters of Charity of the Sacred Heart, who decided to stay at their post despite the religious persecution which was unleashed in that time, so as not to abandon the orphans in their care. This heroic act of love and selfless devotion for their brethren cost Mother Rita and Mother Francisca their life: although they were old and ailing, they were captured and shot to death.
866 The supreme commandment of the Lord had taken deep root in them during the years of their religious consecration, which they lived in fidelity to the congregation’s charism. Growing in a love for the needy which is not frightened by danger nor, when necessary, shrinks from bloodshed, they achieved martyrdom. Their example is a call to all Christians to love as Christ loves, even amid the greatest difficulties.
5. “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another”. How well these words of today’s Gospel can be applied to Sr Gabriela Hinojosa and her six companions, Visitandine martyrs in Madrid, also in 1936! Obedience and community life are basic elements of consecrated life. This is how they understood it, so out of obedience they remained in Madrid despite the persecution, in order to follow, although from a distance, the monastery’s fate.
Thus, sustained by silence, prayer and sacrifice, they continued to prepare for the holocaust, giving themselves generously to God. In honouring them as martyrs for Christ, they enlighten us by their example, intercede for us and await us in glory. May their life and death serve as an example to the Visitation nuns, whose monasteries are found throughout the world, and draw to them many vocations who will follow the sweet and gentle spirit of St Francis de Sales and St Jane Frances de Chantal.
6. The Book of Revelation has shown us a vision of Jerusalem “prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (21:2). Although these words refer to the Church, we can also apply them to the two Discalced Carmelites who are proclaimed blessed at this celebration, having reached the same ideal by different paths: Mother Sagrario of St Aloysius Gonzaga and Mother Maravillas de Jesús. Adorned with Christian virtues, their human qualities and their commitment to the Lord in the Teresian Carmel, today they both stand before the eyes of the Christian people as brides of Christ.
Mother María Sagrario, a pharmacist in her youth and a Christian example for those who practise that noble profession, gave up everything to live for God alone in Christ Jesus (cf. Rm 6,11) in the Discalced Carmelite Monastery of St Anne and St Joseph in Madrid. There her commitment to the Lord matured, and she learned from him to serve and to sacrifice herself for her brothers and sisters. This how in the turbulent events of July 1936 she found the strength not to betray priests and friends of the community, facing death with integrity for her state as a Carmelite and to save others.
7. Mother Maravillas de Jesús, also a Discalced Carmelite, is another shining example of holiness whom the Church, in proclaiming her blessed, holds up today for the veneration of the faithful. This distinguished religious from Madrid sought God throughout her life and consecrated herself entirely to him in the quiet life of Carmel. She founded a monastery in Cerro de los Ángeles, the geographical centre of Spain, next to the Sacred Heart Monument to which the nation had been consecrated. Forced by the Civil War to leave her convent, she devoted all her energies to ensuring that the order would survive, which led her to make many foundations where she wanted the spirit of penance, sacrifice and recollection, characteristic of the Teresian reform, to prevail.
A well-known person in her time, she was able to make the most of this fact to attract many souls to God. She used all the help she received to aid monasteries, priests, seminaries and religious works in need. For this reason many had reason to be grateful to her. She was prioress for almost all her religious life, acting as a true Mother to her sisters. She lived with heroic faith, formed in response to an austere vocation, by putting God at the centre of her life. After suffering many trials, she died repeating: “What happiness to die a Carmelite!”. Her life and death are an eloquent message of hope for the world, so much in need of values and, at times, so tempted by hedonism, the easy life and living without God.
8. “All your works shall give thanks to you, O Lord, and all your saints shall bless you!” (Ps 145 :10) Together with Mary, Queen of Saints, and with the whole Church, we give thanks to God for the great things he has accomplished in these sisters and brother of ours, who shine forth as beacons of hope for everyone. They are a powerful reminder to all humanity of the perennial values of the spirit, on the threshold of the third Christian millennium.
In making the words of the liturgy our own, we praise the Lord for the precious gift of these blesseds, who enhance the face of the Church with renewed splendour. “Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvellous deeds” (entrance antiphon). Yes, we sing to God who has revealed his salvation to all peoples. And each of us responds in his heart: “Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures throughout all generations” (cf. Responsorial Psalm).
Thursday, 14 May 1998
867 1. "Iubilate Deo, Omnis terra, psalmum dicite gloriae nominis eius" (Ps 65:1-2).
The Synodal Assembly which is about to conclude, like the others which I have already convoked in preparation for the Great Jubilee of the Year Two Thousand, intends to respond to the exhortation addressed to us in today's Liturgy: "Acclaim God, all the earth, sing psalms to the glory of his name". The psalmist invites the earth to praise God; and we, in the epochal period which we are living, feel in a particular way the need to give glory to Him. This is the primary reason why the Bishops of the Church meet in regional and continental synodal assemblies.
After the Synod for Africa, which took place four years ago, the Special Assembly for Lebanon took place in 1995. In the autumn of last year the Assembly for America was held, with representatives from the Episcopacies of the North, Central and South America and the Caribbean reflecting and discussing among themselves about the situation of the Church in their countries.
Today, however, we are concluding the synodal encounter of the Pastors of the Ecclesial Communities of the Asian continent. This Synod has been in itself a canticle of praise to God. In fact, was this not the primary purpose of our works? We wanted to express, with all of our depth, the glory which the Churches of the vast continent give to God, the Creator and Father. In every corner of the world, in fact, the service of the Church is turned toward the living man, who is the authentic glory of God.
God is praised by the lands of Asia and the oceans surrounding them, the Himalayas with the highest peak in the world, and the immense rivers. God is praised by cities rich in millennial traditions, the centuries-old cultures of the continent with civilizations much more ancient than those of Europe.
This multiform and silent homage to the Creator finds its definitive achievement in man, who gives glory to God in a way proper to Him, exclusive and unrepeatable. The synodal experience brings forth clearly that those living in each and every corner of Asia - from India to China, from Japan to Indochina, from Indonesia to all the other Nations, from the heights of Tibet to the deserts of Central Asia - when they interpret the ineffable mystery of the pluri-millennial and varied Asian religious traditions, try to express it in prayer and contemplation.
2. "I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should last" (Jn 15,16). At the Cenacle, on the eve of His Passion, Jesus entrusted the task of continuing His mission among men to the Apostles. Thanks to the faithful participation of numerous witnesses to the Gospel, His Word of salvation has spread almost everywhere in the world, during the last two millenniums. In the text which we have just heard, the Lord emphasizes that He Himself chose and appointed His disciples, so that they may go out into the whole world and bring lasting fruits of salvation.
One of these was Saint Matthew, whose feast day we celebrate today. After Judas' betrayal, he joined the eleven Apostles, to become a "witness to the Resurrection" of Christ. We have received little information about him; we only know that he proclaimed the Gospel with courage and that he died the death of a martyr.
According to tradition, the Apostle Thomas was the one to bring the Gospel to India and to the heart of Asia. Since then, many missionaries have traveled through the immense Asian continent and have undertaken evangelization there, proclaiming Christ Jesus, the Word made flesh, who died on the Cross and rose again on the third day to save the world.
Witnesses of the Lord's Resurrection, they showed new ways to peoples who, by reason of their philosophical and religious traditions, were used to seeking the Absolute in the depths of their being. The evangelizers followed the Apostle Paul's example, echoing his exhortation: "Since you have been raised up to be with Christ, you must look for the things that are above" (Col 3,1).
3. If it is true that God is in the world and that He has a certain degree of immanence, it is above all true that He is Transcendent, "above" the world, and that He cannot be identified in the world alone. One must not only look for Him in the world as if He were just the most profound mystery of all visible things. On the contrary, one must first of all look for Him "on high": He is the Lord of heaven and earth. In virtue of this absolute transcendence, the Son of God descended to the earth; He was made man by being born of a Virgin; He lived and He suffered death for the Truth that He announced. Moreover, in truth, he did not suffer death, but He confronted it. He did not want it to overcome Him, but He broke its chains; He returned to His Father whence He came. This way, Christ showed men living on earth that their destiny is union with God: created in the image and likeness of God, the human being can only be fulfilled in union with Him, the Redeemer and Saviour.
868 Yes, in Jesus Christ, the Father created the world; in Him, He redeemed it. By His death and Resurrection, Christ proclaimed and achieved the truth about creation and redemption, truth which is the content of the permanent mission entrusted to the Church.
4. This is the saving truth which Jesus passed on to the disciples together with "his" commandment: "that you love one another as I have loved you" (Jn 15,12).
Dear Brothers and Sisters, you who have formed the Special Assembly for Asia of the Synod of Bishops! Today the Crucified and Risen Lord again repeats these same words to you, summoning you once more to evangelize your continent. To you in a special way, my Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate, he says: "I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should last" (Jn 15,16). And to everyone he says: "This is my commandment, that you love one another" (Jn 15,17).
As the Successor of the Apostle Peter, I have the honour and joy to echo these words, having shared with you in these past days the extraordinary experience of the Synod. Together we have experienced anew the love of Christ, and together we have seen the fruits of the Holy Spirit's power at work in Asia. The Church's mission of evangelization is a service of love to the Asian continent. And although the Christian community is but "a little flock" in the total population, it is the means through which God pursues his saving plan, which he will bring to completion if he finds that everyone is ready to work with him with generous heart.
Dear friends, this is precisely why I wish to say to you once more: remain in the Lord's love, like branches of the vine (cf. Jn Jn 15,5), and then among the peoples of Asia you will bear the abundant fruit of new life.
5. Among the peoples of that Continent I cannot fail to mention, in particular, the Chinese nation, which is the most numerous. To you, Brothers and Sisters of the Catholic Church that is on Mainland China, I wish to express, once more, my affection and tell you how sorry I am that the Bishop of Wanxian and his Coadjutor could not come to Rome to take part personally in the Synod. Bishop Matthew Duan Yinming's words expressing his loyalty to the Successor of Peter and his communion with the universal Church have touched our hearts. The Synod Fathers, from every country in Asia, always considered their Chinese brothers as being here in spirit, and they hope that present difficulties may soon be overcome and that on some occasion in the near future these Bishops may be able to meet the other Pastors of the Church.
We all hope that, as the People's Republic of China gradually opens to the rest of the world, the Church in China will also be permitted to have more contact with the universal Church. We implore the Holy Spirit to pour out his gifts on the Chinese faithful and to lead them to the whole truth (cf. Jn Jn 16,13), so that the proclamation of the Gospel in China, even in the midst of much suffering, will bring forth abundant fruit.
6. In the Liturgy of the Easter season, we read the Acts of the Apostles, which help us to understand how in our time too the Church does not cease to add new chapters to the history of salvation. Just as Saint Luke composed the "Acts" so that future generations of Christians would not forget their apostolic origins, so too have we, with this Synod Assembly, written a fresh page of ecclesial life on the Asian continent in this century. This page is an addition, in a sense, to the story of the Acts of the Apostles.
In surveying the whole of Asia, the work of the Synod has enabled us to see how the Gospel has taken root in that great continent in the course of the last two thousand years. In that continent, Christians remain a numerical minority, it is true; and such a situation stands as a sort of constant challenge to them. It stimulates the Church to offer her witness with special courage. How could we forget that Jesus was born at that unique crossroads of the world where Asia meets both Africa and Europe? He came into the world for all the continents, but for Asia in a special way; and Asia could therefore claim a certain right to pride of place. It was in a part of Asia that Christ lived; there he accomplished the work of the world's redemption; there he instituted the Eucharist and the other sacraments; there he rose again from the dead.
7. "Out of the men who have been with us the whole time that the Lord Jesus was living with us, from the time when John was baptizing until the day when he was taken up from us" (Ac 1,21-22), Jesus, born in Asia, sowed the seed of salvation for all peoples in that continent.
At the end of the second millennium, the path of the successors of the Apostles continues in every corner of the Asian continent, where they proclaim the same truth and do so with the same unchanged apostolic and missionary zeal, repeating and bearing witness: "Jesus Christ is the Saviour".
869 Dear Brothers and Sisters, continue this mission of love and service in Asia. May the maternal protection of Mary, Mother of the Church and of the Asian people, sustain you; may the martyrs, the saints and the beatified of Asia intercede for you. Remain faithful to the love of Christ, who called and appointed you as His disciples "that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should last" (Jn 15,16).
S. John Paul II Homil. 860