Sunday, 17 October 1999



Dear Brothers and Sisters,


1. Next Sunday we will celebrate World Mission Day whose theme is "The Father: Source of Apostolic Commitment in the Church".


The mission of Christ who, appearing to the Apostles on Easter Day in the evening, passed on to them his own mission: "As the Father has sent me, even so I send you" (John 20: 21) originates in God's heart, a source of infinite love. As the Father sent the Son, so the Son sends the Church to the very ends of the earth. This is a unique mission, a unique message of salvation which comes from God and is destined for every human being so that, redeemed from sin, all may become children of God.


2. The Church never ceases to proclaim God's fatherhood to the world with the preaching and witness of his children. Evangelization, in fact, is strengthened and made credible by the holiness of Christians and ecclesial communities who strive to live as true children of God, putting into practice the twofold commandment of love.


I am thinking of the many missionaries, priests, religious and lay people who witness to Christ in every corner of the earth, surrounded by difficulties, who sometimes pay with their blood for their fidelity to the mission. May these brothers and sisters of ours never lack the spiritual and material support of our communities.


3. World Mission Day invites all believers to be missionaries in their own walk of life. Indeed, the Church has many tasks, but only one mission. This is the spirit in which I too try to carry out the apostolic ministry which divine Providence entrusted to me on 16 October 1978. While I cordially thank all those who have renewed their fervent good wishes to me on this occasion and have assured me of their remembrance before the Lord, I ask everyone to continue to accompany me with prayer, so that I can faithfully continue this service to the Church of Rome and the entire Christian people.


I renew the total entrustment of my person, of my mission and of the entire Church to Mary, her tender and provident mother.

With these sentiments we now turn to her with the recitation of the Angelus.




Today we are celebrating World Day for the Eradication of Poverty, founded by Fr Wresinski and recognized by the United Nations. In this last preparatory year for the Great Jubilee which is dedicated to God the merciful Father and to charity, I express my spiritual closeness to all who live in conditions of extreme poverty.


God hears the cry of the poor. You who suffer and hope, Christ is with you for he fights beside those whose dignity is held up to ridicule. The Church is with you in your daily struggle to build your families and raise your children.


I also appeal to the leaders of nations, to all Christ's disciples and to people of good will to be more and more committed to finding a remedy for extreme poverty by supporting the efforts of those who are fighting the poverty in which they live and of those who support them, and to working enthusiastically to create a culture of solidarity and a society where each one has his place, with respect for the principles of justice, peace, brotherhood and charity.




To the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors the Holy Father said:


I welcome all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present for this Marian prayer. I extend a special greeting to the members of the Anti-Defamation League from Denver, Colorado. God bless you all!



Today, in the Diocese of Rome, a special day of prayer is being celebrated to promote awareness in preparation for World Youth Day which will take place from 15 to 20 August in the year 2000. I invite Romans to prepare a warm welcome - also in their own homes - for all the young people who will be gathering in our city from all over the world. I ask young people to continue with enthusiasm on their way to this great ecclesial event which will be their Jubilee par excellence.

Let us entrust the successful outcome of this important appointment to Mary, Salus populi romani.


I affectionately welcome the Young Albanians, Ambassadors of Peace, with their missionaries and teachers, and I am pleased to bless the "peace bell" made with shells collected in the Albanian region of Zadrima, which will be hung in the central square of Tirana on the first day of 2000.

I also greet the members of the Young Mountaineers' Association who, in the spirit of Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati, have followed an ancient "pilgrims' route" on foot through the Alps to Rome.

I cordially greet all the other pilgrims present, and wish each one a pleasant Sunday.



World Mission Sunday
Sunday, 20 October 2002



Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Lord,


1. "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" (Matthew 28:19).


The Risen Lord took his leave of the Apostles in this way before returning to the Father, "Go". His last word is an invitation to the mission, that is at the same time a promise, a testament and a duty. Christ entrusts his message of salvation to his disciples and asks them to spread it and to witness to it to the ends of the earth.


This is the meaning of today's World Mission Sunday. By a providential coincidence, on this very day, we proclaim new Blesseds who in an extraordinary way fulfilled the commandment of proclaiming and witnessing to the Gospel. They are Daudi Okelo and Jildo Irwa, Andrea Giacinto Longhin, Marcantonio Durando, Mary of the Passion and Liduina Meneguzzi.


Their Beatification on the very day of World Mission Sunday reminds us that the primary service we can give to the mission is the sincere and constant quest for holiness. We cannot witness to the Gospel genuinely, if first of all we do not live it faithfully.


2. My thoughts turn first of all to the two young catechists from Uganda, Daudi Okelo and Jildo Irwa. These two courageous witnesses were no more than boys when, with simplicity and faith, they shed their blood for Christ and his Church. With youthful enthusiasm for their mission of teaching the faith to their fellow countrymen, they set out in 1918 for northern Uganda. It was there, as evangelization was just beginning in that region, that they chose to embrace death rather than abandon the area and forsake their duties as catechists. Truly, in their lives and witness we can see that they were "beloved by God and chosen by him" (cf. I Thessalonians 1:4).


Daudi and Jildo are today raised to the glory of the altar. They are given to the entire Christian community as examples of holiness and virtue, and as models and intercessors for catechists throughout the world, especially in those places where catechists still suffer for the faith, sometimes facing social marginalization and even personal danger. May the life and witness of these two dedicated servants of the Gospel inspire many men and women - in Uganda, in Africa and elsewhere - to answer with generosity the call to be a catechist, bringing knowledge of Christ to others and strengthening the faith of those communities that have recently received the Gospel of salvation.


3. "I have called you by name" (Isaiah 45:4). The words which the prophet Isaiah uses to show the mission entrusted by God to his elect express well the vocation of Andrea Giacinto Longhin, the humble Capuchin who for 32 years was Bishop of the Diocese of Treviso at the beginning of the twentieth century. He was a simple, poor, humble, generous Pastor always available for his neighbour, in accord with the genuine tradition of the Capuchins.


They called him the Bishop of essential things. In an age that was noted for tragic and painful events, he was outstanding as a father for his priests and a zealous pastor of the people, always close to the people, especially in moments of difficulty and danger. In this way he anticipated what the Second Vatican Council emphasized when it taught that evangelization was "one of the principal duties of bishops" (Christus Dominus, n. 12; cf. Redemptoris missio, n. 63).


4. "Remembering ... your work of faith, and labour of love and your steadfastness of hope" (I Thessalonians 1:2-3). The words of the Apostle draw the spiritual portrait of Father Marcantonio Durando, of the Congregation of the Mission and worthy son of the Piedmont region. He lived the faith and a burning spiritual zeal, shunning every kind of compromise or interior tepidity.


At the school of St Vincent de Paul, he learned how to recognize in the humanity of Christ the greatest, most accessible and disarming expression of the love of God for every human being. Still today he indicates to us the mystery of the Cross as the culminating moment in which the unsearchable mystery of God's love is revealed.


5. "We know, brethren beloved of God, that you were chosen by him" (I Thessalonians 1:4). Mary of the Passion let herself be seized by God who was able to satisfy the thirst for truth that motivated her. Founding the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary, she burned to communicate the torrents of love that sprang up in her and wished to extend them over the world. At the heart of the missionary commitment, she placed prayer and the Eucharist because for her adoration and mission blended to become the same work. Drawing on Scripture and the Fathers of the Church, combining a mystical and an active vocation, passionate and intrepid, she gave herself with an intuitive and bold readiness to the universal mission of the Church. Dear Sisters, learn from your Foundress, in profound communion with the Church, and welcome the invitation to live, with renewed fidelity, the intuitions of your founding charism, so that the number of those who discover Jesus, who makes us enter into the mystery of the love that is God, may be more abundant.


6. "Give to the Lord, families of peoples, give to the Lord glory and power" (Psalm 95 [96]:7). The words of the responsorial Psalm express well the missionary yearning, that permeated the heart of Sr Liduina Meneguzzi, of the Sisters of St Francis de Sales. In the course of her brief but intense life, Sr Liduina poured herself out for her poorer and suffering brothers, particularly at the hospital of the mission of Dire Dawa in Ethiopia.


With fervent apostolic zeal, she sought to make known to everyone the only Saviour Jesus. At the school of Him who was "meek and humble of heart" (cf. Matthew 11:29), she learned to spread the charity that flows from a pure heart, overcoming mediocrity and inner inertia.


7. "Behold, I am with you all days even to the end of the world" (Matthew 28:20). This is the promise that Christ made to his disciples as he prepared to leave the world to return to his Father.
I am with you all days! Jesus says, I am with you, pilgrim Church in the world. I am with you, young ecclesial communities in missionary lands. Do not be afraid to enter into dialogue with everyone. Take the message of salvation to everyone. Take courage.


May Mary, Star of evangelization, and the new Blesseds protect and accompany your steps on the highways of the world. Amen.





Sunday, 20 October 2002



Dear Brothers and Sisters,


1. At the conclusion of this celebration, I greet cordially and gratefully the Cardinals present, my Brothers in the Episcopate, priests, religious and all the pilgrims who came to manifest their devotion to the new Blesseds.


To Italians


I greet the official delegation from Italy. Special greetings to the faithful of the Dioceses of Turin, Treviso and Padua, with their Bishops, the Capuchin Friars, the Priests and Sisters of the Family of St Vincent de Paul and the Sisters of St Francis de Sales.


To the French-speaking


2. I cordially greet the French-speaking pilgrims who came for the Beatification of Mary of the Passion, especially the Bishops and the official French delegation. As the new Blessed did, may you find in the contemplation of Christ the strength for your daily mission. I bless you with my whole heart.


To the English-speaking


I greet the official delegation from Uganda and the English-speaking visitors and pilgrims present at this Angelus prayer. May the example of those who have been beatified today serve to strengthen all of us in the service of others. With these holy men and women as our sure guides, and through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, may we walk always in the ways of light, grace and peace. Thank you very much.


3. On this World Mission Sunday we look to the new Blesseds as examples of untiring dedication to the service of proclaiming the Gospel. With great gratitude today I want to pay homage to the great multitude of missionaries - priests, men and women religious, laity - who in the front lines spend their energies in the service of Christ, at times sealing their witness even with their blood. My gratitude goes to those who collaborate with them in the Mission Works and in this way make an effective contribution to the building of the Kingdom of God in the world. I wish to assure to each one a special remembrance in prayer.


To the Blessed Virgin Mary, Star of Evangelization, I now entrust the entire missionary work of the Church.



Acknowledgment: We thank the Vatican Publisher for allowing us to publish the Homilies of Saint Pope John Paul II, so that they could be accessed by more people all over the world; as a source of God’s encouragements to all of us.






St Peter's Square
Sunday, 16 October 2005



Dear Brothers and Sisters,


Exactly 27 years ago today, the Lord called Cardinal Karol Wojtyła, Archbishop of Krakow, to succeed John Paul I who had died a little more than a month after his election. With John Paul II began one of the longest Pontificates in the Church's history, during which a Pope "from a far-away country" was also recognized as a moral authority by many non-Christians and non-believers. This was demonstrated by the moving expressions of affection on the occasion of his illness, and the touching condolences after his death.


The pilgrimage of so many of the faithful to his tomb in the Vatican Grottoes constantly continues, and this is an eloquent sign of how the beloved John Paul II had a place in people's hearts, particularly because of the witness of his love and dedication amid suffering. In him, we were able to admire the power of faith and prayer and a complete entrustment to Mary Most Holy, who never failed to accompany and protect him, especially in the most difficult and dramatic moments of his life.


We could describe John Paul II as a Pope totally consecrated to Jesus through Mary, as his motto highlighted clearly: "Totus tuus". He was elected in the middle of the month of the Rosary, and the pair of Rosary beads he often held in his hands became one of the symbols of his Pontificate, over which the Immaculate Virgin watched with motherly care.



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