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John Paul II's 1st Pilgrimage to the Philippines

17th - 22nd February 1981
Beatification of Lorenzo Ruiz

Saint John Paul II was a pilgrim for the first time to the Philippines during his 9th apostolic voyage, on which he also visited Pakistan, Guam, Japan & the USA.

Saludo del Papa Santo Juan Pablo II a la Ceremonia de Bienvenida
Aeropuerto internacional de Manila, Martes 17 de febrero de 1981- in Italian, Portuguese & Spanish 

"Señor Presidente, Eminencias y venerables hermanos obispos,
queridos hermanos y hermanas en Cristo, querido pueblo de Filipinas:

1. Salamat sa l'uong Maykapal! (¡Demos gracias a Dios!). Con profundo agradecimiento a Dios por poder venir a Filipinas, quiero presentaros a todos mis sinceros saludos de amor y de paz. Es una gran alegría poner los pies en el suelo de esta querida tierra y espero con gozo pasar los próximos días en medio de vosotros.

2. Vengo a vosotros en nombre de Jesucristo, de quien soy servidor. Y vengo en visita de carácter religioso y pastoral a proclamar su Evangelio, a proclamar la salvación en su nombre. Como Sucesor del Apóstol Pedro es mi deseo confirmar a mis hermanos y hermanas de la Iglesia católica en su fe en nuestro Señor Jesucristo, que es nuestra justicia y nuestra paz, nuestro mayor tesoro y la única fuente de nuestra esperanza.

3. Precisamente en la primera semana de mi pontificado, el cardenal Sin me habló sobre la posibilidad de venir a Filipinas con ocasión del IV centenario de la Iglesia en Manila. Al mismo tiempo solicitó que tuviera lugar en esta misma capital la beatificación de Lorenzo Ruiz. Como no fue posible cumplir esta petición en el año jubilar de 1979, deseo ahora, mediante la primera beatificación de un hijo nativo, clausurar, por así decir, la celebración de dicho centenario. Este es el primer y principal motivo de mi venida. La beatificación, que quiere también rendir solemne homenaje a otros quince mártires cristianos, es en verdad un acontecimiento histórico para este país y una gran bendición para la Iglesia universal. La vida heroica de este seglar filipino y el testimonio fiel de sus compañeros nos recuerdan que todos estamos llamados a la santidad de vida y que, como dice San Pablo, el poder de Dios, "que actúa en nosotros, es poderoso para hacer que copiosamente abundemos mas de lo que pedimos o pensamos" (Ef 3, 20).

4. Por tanto, vengo a compartir con el pueblo filipino esta circunstancia de inmensa alegría y de orgullo cristiano. Por la historia de la Iglesia de mi propia nación, sé la importancia que tuvo en aquel momento para todo el pueblo de Polonia la primera canonización de un hijo nativo, San Estanislao. Tuvo lugar en Asís el año 1253. Sabéis que en la actualidad toda ceremonia de esta naturaleza comúnmente tiene lugar en Roma, en la Sede de Pedro, centro de la Iglesia universal. Ahora, excepcionalmente, va a tener lugar por vez primera una beatificación fuera de Roma. Se va a realizar de una manera distinta, pero sin duda en medio de la Iglesia, en la Iglesia local donde el Beato Lorenzo Ruiz creció en la fe.

Este acontecimiento extraordinario quiere ilustrar de manera clara cómo las dos dimensiones de la única Iglesia —la dimensión universal y local— son complementarias y se incluyen mutuamente. Es oportuno que el marco para tal acontecimiento sea Filipinas, nación conocida por el dinamismo de su fe cristiana a la vez que por su firme tradición de una fidelidad indiscutida al Obispo de Roma.

5. En conexión con esta ceremonia, me alegro también de hacer una visita pastoral a través de Filipinas. Un extenso programa me va a ofrecer la posibilidad de encontrarme con las gentes de distintas regiones. Cuánto me gustaría ir a todas partes, visitar el conjunto de las florecientes parroquias católicas, estar con la gente de los barrios a lo largo de todo el país, pero el tiempo es limitado. Todo el pueblo de Filipinas estará en mi corazón y en mi oración al visitar las distintas comunidades que comprende el programa.

A este propósito, me siento muy agradecido hacia usted. Señor Presidente, lo mismo que hacia las autoridades nacionales y locales, por hacer que esto sea posible y por ofrecerme la hospitalidad de Filipinas.

6. De igual modo deseo, mediante este viaje apostólico, manifestar mi respeto y consideración a toda Asia, a todos los países que son vuestros vecinos en esta parte del mundo. A los miembros de las otras Iglesias cristianas, a quienes tengo la alegría de llamar también hermanos y hermanas en Cristo, les doy mis saludos fraternales y cordiales. Y a cuantos pertenecen a religiones no cristianas quiero hacerles llegar un saludo sincero de amigo y hermano dentro de la única familia de la humanidad.

7. Al concederme Dios este privilegio de visitar vuestro país formado por miles de islas, me siento movido a repetir, en alabanza de nuestro Creador, las palabras del Salmista: "¡Yavé reina! Gócese la tierra, alégrense las muchas islas" (Sal 97, I). Efectivamente, ¡alégrense y gócense las numerosas islas de Filipinas en la entrañable misericordia de nuestro Dios!

¡Que Dios os bendiga!
¡Que Dios bendiga a Filipinas!
Mabuhay ang Pilipinasl (¡Vivan siempre las Filipinas!)."

Pope John Paul II's Homily at Mass in the Cathedral of Manila
Manila, Tuesday 17 February 1981- in English, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish 

"Dearly beloved in Christ,
1. 400 years agο this year, Bishop Domingo de Salazar arrived in Manila. He had been sent by Pope Gregory XIII to be the first Bishop of this newly created Diocese, and he had come to continue here in your country the work of evangelization and to build upon the achievements of the missionaries who had preceded him.

Αs I celebrate the Eucharist today in the Cathedral of Manila I feel a spiritual closeness to Bishop de Salazar and to Pope Gregory. The same love for the Gospel and for the Filipino people which inspired them has in turn prompted me, the present Bishop of Rome, to come to your beloved land to proclaim the message of Christ and to strengthen you in the faith.

This is a moment of great joy for me as I celebrate the Eucharist with you in the Cathedral of Manila, as we unite our hearts and voices in proclaiming the greatness of God and in giving praise and glory to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. We do this, recalling the great efforts at renewal made by this local Church in Manila during the year 1979, and asking God to bring to fruition the good work begun in the Archdiocesan Synod.

During these days it will be my special honor to beatify Lorenzo Ruiz, one of your own countrymen, the father of a family and a layman of courageous faith. Among all the events by which you have commemorated the fourth centenary of the Church in Manila, the beatification of Lorenzo Ruiz and his fifteen martyr companions holds a principal place. May it also be an encouragement for all of you—Bishops, priests, religious and laity—to strive after the holiness that is found in Christ Jesus.

2. At this time I wish to address a special message to the men reli­gious—both priests and brothers—who are present here, and through them to all the men religious of the Philippines. May I begin, my brothers, by expressing my gratitude to the Lord for your presence in the Church and for your collaboration in the Church's mission of proclaiming the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

In the passage from Saint John which we have just heard, we are reminded of the essence of religious life. "You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit" ( Jn 15, 16). Through the initiative of the Savior and your own free response, Christ has become the purpose of your life and the center of all your thoughts. It is because of Christ that you made your profession of the evangelical counsels ; and it is Christ who will sustain yοu in faithfulness to himself and in loving service to his Church.

Religious consecration is essentially an act of love: Christ's love for you and in return your love for him and for all his brethren. This mystery is proclaimed today in the Gospel, when Jesus says to his disciples : "As the Father has loved me, sο I have loved yοu ; abide in my love" (Jn 15, 9). Christ wants yοu to abide in him, to be nourished by him daily in the celebration of the Eucharist and to surrender your lives to him through prayer and self-denial. Trusting in his word and confident of his mercy, yοu respond to Christ's love. You choose to follow him more closely in chastity, poverty and obedience ; and your want to share more completely in the life and holiness of the Church. You want to love all those whom Christ loves as brothers and sisters.

3. The world today needs to see yοur love for Christ. It needs the public witness of religious life. As Paul VI once said : "Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses" (AAS  66 (1974), 568). If the non-believers of this world are to come to believe in Christ, they need your faithful witness—a witness which springs from your complete trust in the bountiful mercy of the Father and your persevering hope in the power of the Cross and Resurrection.

And so the ideals, values and convictions which underlie your commitment to Christ must be translated into the language of daily life. In the midst of the people of God, in the local ecclesial community, your public witness is part of your contribution to the mission of the Church. As Saint Paul says, "You are a letter from Christ... written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts" (2 Cor 3, 3).

4. As religious brothers and priests you are engaged in a great variety of apostolic activities: proclaiming the word of God, administering the sacraments, teaching, catechizing, caring for the sick, assisting the poor and orphans, exercising charity, serving by prayer and sacrifice, building up the local communities to reflect the Gospel and embody the Kingdom of God. As you carry out these works of service with steadfast perseverance, remember the advice of Saint Paul : "Whatever you do, work at it with your whole being, do it for the Lord rather than for men" (Col 3, 23).

All these apostolic activities retain their importance today. They continue to be vital dimensions of evangelization, bearing prophetic witness to God's love and contributing to full human advancement. I am sure that the community in general, as well as the ecclesial community, will be grateful to the religious for helping the Church to maintain her commitment to these diverse expressions of her pastoral activity.

At the same time, you rightly seek additional ways of bearing witness to Christ and serving his people. The Church must indeed be attentive to the needs of the men and women of our time. She cannot be indifferent to the problems which they face or to the injustices which they suffer. As you seek new ways of furthering the Gospel and of promoting human values, I offer you my encouragement and the assurance of my prayers.

At the same time I ask you to observe this guideline : that each apostolic endeavor should be in harmony with the teaching of the Church, with the apostolic purposes of your individual Institutes and with the original charism of your founders. May I also remind you of my words at Puebla : "You are priests and religious ; you are not social or political leaders or officials of a temporal power ... Let us not be under the illusion that we are serving the Gospel if we 'dilute' our charism through an exaggerated interest in the wide field of temporal problems" (AAS 71, p 193). It is important for people to see you as "servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God" (1 Cor 4, 1).

5. Faithfulness to Christ in religious life requires a threefold fidelity: fidelity to the Gospel, fidelity to the Church, fidelity to the particular charism of your Institutes.

First of all, you must be faithful to the Gospel. We are reminded of this by the Second Vatican Council, which taught : "the fundamental norm of religious life is the following of Christ as it is presented to us in the Gοspel" (Perfectae Caritatis, 2). Fοr this reason you make it your first priority to listen to the word of God, ponder it in your heart and seek to put it into practice. May you find time every day to meditate on God's word, being confident in its power to enlighten your minds and to bring to life within you the spirit of the Beatitudes.

Secondly, your religious consecration, in addition to strengthening your commitment to Christ, also binds you inseparably to the life and holiness of his Spouse, the Church. And it is in the local ecclesial community that this is given concrete expression. This is the reason why it is so important for you to work in close collaboration with the clergy and laity of the local Church, and to accept willingly the authority and ministry of the local Bishop as the focus of its unity.

In this connection I would like to underline two relevant expressions of this commitment to the local Church. The first is the relationship of religious priests with the diocesan clergy. Religious priests should be happy to take part in the apostolate of the local Church, in a lοyal and disinterested way, with the diocesan priests, whose tasks they are called to share, not by way of exception, but on a regular basis.

The second is the relationship with the National Conference of Bishops. In the spirit of the Document Mutuae Relationes, religious superiors should seek, accept, and cultivate a frank and filial dialogue with the Pastors, whom the Holy Spirit has placed to govern the Church of God. In this sense it cannot be stressed too much how important are the relations between the National Conference of Bishops, whose task it is to work out and establish pastoral plans for the country, and the Associations of Major Religious Superiors, which assume the task of promoting the religious life, taking care that it should remain faithful to its deepest roots and to the charism that characterizes it.

As religious you are in a position to make a special contribution to the promotion of the unity of the Church. Your experience of community life, common prayer and corporate apostolic service prepares you for this task. May yοu dedicate yourselves to the great cause of unity with renewed vigor, seeking, in a spirit of openness and respect, to break down barriers of division and to encourage the progress of harmony and mutual collaboration.

Finally, may yοu always be faithful to the particular charism of your individual Institutes. To illustrate this point I wish to acknowledge two events of great significance to the Church in the Philippines occurring this year : first the three hundredth anniversary of the Christian Brothers of de la Salle. The instruction of young people in the Christian faith and in the other subjects remains as indispensable for the mission of Christ as at the time when this Congregation was founded. And the Church in the Philippines has been greatly blessed through their consecrated lives and dedicated service.

The second event is the celebration of the four hundredth anniver­sary of the presence of the Society of Jesus in the Philippines. Through their missionary efforts, through their work in schools and parishes and through the spirituality of Saint Ignatius, the priests and brothers of the Society of Jesus have made a great contribution to the Philippines and throughout the world.

Similarly, all the religious families represented here today, each in a distinctive way, contribute to the life and holiness of the Church. An indication of the effectiveness of your contributions has been, and continues to be, your faithfulness to the spirit of your founders, to their evangelical intentions and to the example of their sanctity. May this faithfulness to your respective charisms always be seen as part of your fidelity to Christ.

6. In closing, may I say once again that your life of consecration and your partnership in the Gospel fill me with joy in my role as Pastor of the universal Church. I have come here to this Cathedral to celebrate with you and the entire ecclesial community the holiness of Christ's Church and the marvels of grace that have been accomplished in this Archdiocese during the past four centuries of evangelization.

It is my prayer that the commemoration of this anniversary will be an added incentive for you to make your specific contribution as religious to the life of this local Church and to the life of the Church throughout the whole country. I pray that zealous religious will continue, as in the past four centuries, to serve the People of God faithfully by word and deed. And by your own generous and joyful example may young men be encouraged to carry on the traditions in this new era of grace.

May the Virgin Mary, Mother and model of all religious, assist you by her prayers. May she be your constant guide on the journey of faith to the heavenly Father, and may she help you to attain your highest goal: oneness in love with our Lord Jesus Christ."

Plegaria del Papa Juan Pablo II a Nuestra Señora del Perpetuo Socorro
Santuario de Baclaran, Manila, Martes 17 de febrero de 1981- in Italian, Portuguese & Spanish 

"He tenido la posibilidad de venir hoy aquí por segunda vez en mi vida. La primera vez que me detuve fue al ir al Congreso Eucarístico de Australia; y mientras celebraba la Misa al atardecer fui testigo de la devoción filial verdadera y de la confianza inmensa que tienen en Ti, Madre del Perpetuo Socorro, los fieles, la gente que vive en esta gran ciudad, capital de Filipinas.

Hoy vengo como Sucesor de San Pedro en la Sede de Roma, pues por inescrutables designios de la Divina Providencia plugo a Cristo llamarme al ministerio universal en la Iglesia. Siguiendo las huellas de mi predecesor Pablo VI, vengo como peregrino a las Iglesias y pueblos de Extremo Oriente. Vengo a elevar a los altares, lejos de Roma y al mismo tiempo en estrecha unión con ella, a los mártires que dieron la vida por Cristo en Nagasaki en los años 1633, 1634 y 1637. Entre ellos figuraba el filipino Lorenzo Ruiz, el primer hijo de la Iglesia de este país que llega a la gloria de la beatificación.

A Ti, Reina de los Mártires y Madre de la Iglesia, deseo confiar de modo especial este ministerio papal mío y sus múltiples dimensiones. Ya desde los comienzos, de la sangre de los mártires precisamente nació y creció con fuerza la Iglesia de tu Hijo, la Iglesia de Jesucristo, con cuyo sacrificio en la cruz, Tú, Madre, cooperaste, con el sacrificio maternal de tu corazón (cf. Lumen gentium, 58).

Son muchos ciertamente los ejemplos que encontramos de tal testimonio prestado por mártires santos y bienaventurados en varias partes del gran continente de Asia. Los fundamentos de la fe sellados con la sangre parecen estar hondamente arraigados ya en el terreno de la historia. Pero no somos nosotros, que somos seres humanos, quienes podemos medir y decir si estos fundamentos son suficientes para construir el servicio al Evangelio y a la Iglesia en estas extensas tierras y en las incontables islas que las rodean. Este juicio lo dejamos a la misericordia del mismo Dios, al Corazón de nuestro Redentor y Señor, y al Espíritu Santo que guía a la humanidad y a la Iglesia a través del testimonio de sangre prestado al Reino de amor y de verdad.

No obstante, todo el trabajo inmenso que se presenta ante nosotros, yo, Juan Pablo II, con plena conciencia de mi debilidad humana y de mi indignidad deseo —como siempre hago— confiarlo a Ti, Madre de Cristo y de la Iglesia, que velas con tu incesante amor maternal sobre ella en todas partes, dispuesta a prestar toda clase de ayuda a cada corazón humano y en medio de todos los pueblos. Y sobre todo entre quienes están probados más duramente por el sufrimiento, la pobreza y toda clase de aflicciones imaginables.

Así, en el umbral de mi visita pastoral a Extremo Oriente, te encomiendo y consagro con confianza absoluta, como a Madre de nuestro Redentor, todas las naciones y pueblos de Asia y de las islas que la rodean. Te encomiendo y confío la Iglesia, particularmente los lugares donde padece más dificultades, donde no es comprendida debidamente su misión ni tampoco su irreprimible deseo de servir a los individuos y a los pueblos. En el umbral de esta peregrinación te encomiendo hoy las hospitalarias Filipinas y la Iglesia que al estar arraigada aquí con fuerza particular, siente con la misma fuerza particular su responsabilidad misionera. Que no le falte la fuerza necesaria para la obra de evangelización. Que persevere en el servicio de su pueblo y en la apertura a todos los demás, como siervo fiel que espera constantemente la llegada del Señor.

Madre del Perpetuo Socorro:
Acoge esta consagración humilde y deposítala en el Corazón de tu Hijo, Tú que cuando estabas al pie de su cruz en el Calvario nos fuiste dada a cada uno de nosotros como Madre. Amén."

St JPII's words to Religious Women at the National Sanctuary of Our Lady of Perpetual Help
Baclaran, Tuesday 17 February 1981- in English, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish 

"Dearly beloved Sisters,
I bless the providence of God that has brought me back to Manila, back to this Sanctuary of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, where I once celebrated Mass. I bless the providence of God that has brought me to you, and you to me. It always brings me happiness to be with Sisters during my apostolic journeys, but today there is the special joy of knowing that your country is one of those where vocations to the consecrated life are flourishing, and that this generous response to grace is itself a gift of God to you.

 1. And as I thank the Lord for the many people whom he has called to the religious life, I wish to express to you my esteem and affection in Christ Jesus, and I wish to offer you my encouragement. In the first place, I would like to help you preserve and increase in your hearts the reverence and love for your sublime vocation. I pray that every day you will respond to that vocation more generously, so that you will grow steadily in the likeness of Christ your Ideal and your Teacher : for your religious consecration is essentially an act of love for Jesus Christ.

 2. The more intensely you live this love and unite yourselves more closely to Jesus, the greater witness you will bear to the Gospel. It has often been noted that there is a close connection between the fervor of the religious life of a country and the condition of the Church in that country : fervent religious life means a living and apostolic Church; where that fervor grows cold, the vitality of the local Church is reduced. If, by a mischance, tepidity and mediocrity were to set in, they would soon be reflected among the Christian people. On the other hand, throughout the history of the Church, when she has been assailed by crises, it has always been the religious life that has given the signal for a reawakening and a renewed fidelity to the Gospel.

And your own responsibility in this regard is increased by the fact of the special situation prevailing in the Philippines. Yours is a land profoundly marked by Catholicism, in an immense part of the world that needs the witness of a fervent and vital Church, so that the Gospel may be more widely known and embraced.

 3. You have perfectly understood this, and all your activity shows that your generous consecration to the love of God makes you particularly capable of loving all your brothers and sisters, ready to spend yourselves for them with no thought of self and without reserve. I know how hard you work for children, for the sick and the aged, for families, for the poor and for the many refugees who have come to this region. I know that you share in catechetical work, and I assure you that this work is deeply appreciated by the Bishops. You are truly witnesses to Christ's love, and your Pastors are thankful for your own loving presence and activity among those whom the Savior loves with a special love. In the name of Jesus and in the name of his Church I thank you all.

At the same time I would assure you that the transformation of the world and the building up of Christ's Kingdom of justice and peace can be effected only by grace and the power of God's love in us. Only love can trasform hearts, and without love there can be no adequate reform of structures in society. The only violence that leads to the building up of the Kingdom of Christ is the sacrifice and service that are born of love.

 4. I alsο express my gratitude to those of you who live the cloistered and contemplative life, so open to the presence of the living God, in the midst of a world that is sο often confused and is groping to find the light. You are so deeply needed. And through your daily life of prayer and sacrifice, united with the oblation of Christ, you powerfully aid your Sisters in the active apostolate. You are, moreover, of great assistance to the whole Church and its visible Head in the mission of proclaiming Christ, and I tell you that I count very much upon your collaboration and your supplications to the Lord.

 5. The mission of Religious is thus a very important one. And in order to help you to respond to it ever more perfectly, I would like to mention three points of fundamental importance.

First, there is your task of being witnesses. By reason of your baptism, you must be a sign and instrument of union with God and of the salvation of the world. It is life in the Spirit that must come first, through listening to the word, through interior prayer, through the faithful accomplishment of the task given to you, through the gift of yourselves in service, and through the humility of repentance (cf Mutuae Relationes, 4b). Through your religious consecration, yοu are a visible testimony to the wοrld of the deep mystery of Christ, for yοu represent him "in contemplation on the mountain, or proclaiming the kingdom of God to the multitudes, or healing the sick and maimed and converting sinners to a good life, or blessing children and doing good to all people, always in obedience to the will of the Father who sent him" (Lumen Gentium, 46).

Through your particular vocation, lived out in an Order or Congregation approved by the Church, you are a special sign of sanctification and apostolic work that gives yοu a specific role in the Church, a role with its own distinctive character. Always remain faithful to that vocation, in spite of temptations. Find your joy in preserving your interior identity and in being outwardly recognized for what you are.

The second point that I wish to mention is prayer. It is vital that everyone should appreciate the need for prayer and should actually pray, but Religious, as people called to be specialists in prayer, must seek God and lοve him above all things; in all circumstances, they must strive to live a life hidden with Christ in God, a life from which love of neighbor springs and becomes a pressing need. You must therefore, through Christ and with Christ and in Christ, intensify your personal and communal familiarity with the principal source of apostolic and charitable activity, and in this way yοu will be sharing intimately in the mission which takes its origin from the Father.

As I said in my message to the Plenary Meeting of the Sacred Congregation for Religious and Secular Institutes, "your first duty is to be with Christ. A constant danger for those engaged in apostolic work is to become so engrossed in work for the Lord as to forget the Lord of the work". And so, in the taxing routine of your apostolic tasks, always make sure that yοu devote periods of each day to personal and community prayer. These times of prayer must be carefully guarded and suitably prolonged, and you must not hesitate to supplement them by periods of more intense recollection and prayer, at times especially set aside for this purpose.

You must always ensure that the natural center of your communities is the Eucharist: you will accomplish this by your fervent daily participation in the Mass, and by community prayer in an oratory where the Eucharistic presence of Christ expresses and realizes what must be the principal mission of every religious family (cf Evangelica Testificatio, 48).

The third point that I wish to mention is loving docility to the Church's Magisterium, which is an obvious consequence of the special ecclesial position which is yours. As you know, religious life has no meaning except in the Church and in faithfulness to her directives. "It would be a serious mistake to make the two realities—religious life and ecclesial structures—independent one of the other, or to oppose one to the other as if they could subsist as two distinct entities, one charismatic, the other institutional. Both elements, namely, the spiritual gifts and the ecclesial structures, form one, even though complex, reality" (Mutuae Relationes, 34). So I exhort you to be always ready to embrace the teaching of the Church, and, in fidelity to your charism, to collaborate in the pastoral activity of your local dioceses, under the direction of yοur Bishops united to Peter and in union with Christ.

Your adherence to the word of God as it is proclaimed by the Church will be the measure of your effectiveness in communicating the truth and the freedom of Christ. The same Holy Spirit who makes us attentive to "the signs of the times" has endowed Christ's Church with the apostolic and pastoral charism of Magisterium, so that she may effectively transmit Christ's vivifying and liberating word of truth. Let us always remember the words of Jesus : "You will learn the truth and the truth will make yοu free" (Jn 8, 31).

 6. It is so appropriate that our meeting takes place today in this Sanctuary dedicated to Mary, Mother of Perpetual Help, the title which reminds us that we are in constant need of her protection. As the Council teaches, the Mother of God is the Christian's model in faith, love and perfect union with Christ (cf Lumen Gentium, 63); and in a special way she is the Mother and model of those who live the consecrated life.

You show your devotion to Mary by celebrating her feasts, by daily prayer in her honor and especially the Rosary, and by imitating her life. May that devotion grοw stronger every day.

Your consecrated life should mirror Mary's life : the "yes" which she uttered at the Annunciation was nothing but a confirmation of her previous attitude, and the point of departure for a journey in the Lord's company that lasted all her life. In this way, Mary reminds Religious of the need to respond ever more generously to the Lord's plans for them. Each one will give this response in the first place by her openness to the Holy Spirit, by her continual conversion to Christ, by her chastity, poverty and obedience, in short by the unending discovery of her vocation and mission in the Church. And this constitutes that "continued formation" that for a number of years has been put forward as being so necessary.

 7. The consecrated love of your religions life is lived in the context of an ecclesially approved Institute and for this reason has a community element. It concerns all Religious, whatever their place in their comunities. Each Institute has responsibility for the formation of its members according to its proper charism and in fidelity to the Magisterium of the Church. In this regard the union among sisters, devotion to others, interest in the world's problems, and the wholesome organization of daily life will sustain and foster the efforts of all concerned.

 8. I would like to extend an earnest invitation to you to intensify your apostolic collaboration at the service of Christian families. This is in harmony with the conclusions reached by the recent Synod of Bishops. The links between families and the religious life are both profound and vital; the Christian family is the normal source of vocations to the religious life. Religious life will help families to become ever more Christian and to witness ever more clearly to the love of Christ, by assisting them in the Christian education of their children, in caring for the sick and in meeting the problems of life.

 9. By your contact with families and through the example of holiness that you give in all your apostolates, you are able to be instruments of God's grace in regard to religious vocations. Indeed, you have been given this role to play: through prayer and your joyful lives of consecration to the Lord you are called to make the religious vocation in the Church something attractive to young girls and young women today. They must be able to perceive clearly—being convinced by the witness you give—that your lives are permeated with a personal love for your spouse Jesus Christ, a love that also embraces him in the whole of humanity.

In my first Encyclical I mentioned that we "cannot live without love". We remain incomprehensible to ourselves if we do not experience it and make it our own (cf Redemptor Hominis, 10). And it is when we do bear witness to a joyful and sacrificial love that our way of life becomes credible and the call of Christ, humanly speaking, becomes attractive and worth following. To be able to show the young that consecrated love for Jesus can itself fulfill the deepest aspirations of the human person is a great mission of faith, and, dear Sisters, it is yours.

Finally, I thank you once again for your help in making this pilgrimage possible through your prayers and your ready aid. I entrust all your intentions to Our Lady of Perpetual Help, and I ask her to assist yοu to live your vocation ever more generously, for the coming of the Kingdom of her beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. For in the words of Saint Peter : "Without having seen him, yοu love him; though yοu do not now see him, yοu believe in him and rejoice with unutterable and exalted joy" (1 Pt 1:8).

Beloved Sisters : Praised be Jesus Christ!"

John Paul II's Message to the President & People of the Philippines
Manila, Tuesday 17 February 1981- in English, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish 

Mr. President,
1. It gives me great joy to be in the Philippines, and your kind invitation to come to Malacañang honors me greatly. I take this opportunity to express to you my sincere gratitude for everything yοu have done to make this visit come about, as well as for your generous collaboration in making available to me the many services and facilities that enable me to travel to different parts of the country and to meet as many people as possible on these beautiful islands.

I look upon my stay among the Filipino people as a unique opportunity for learning more about the achievements and aspirations of this blessed nation, for bringing personally a fraternal greeting to the nations of Asia, and for offering support and encouragement to the local Churches of this continent. The enthusiastic welcome which your people have accorded me during this first day of my visit evokes from me the full measure of my pastoral love and concern for the people of the Philippines.

Once again, I thank you and, through you, all your fellow-citizens. Maraming salamat po!

Dear People of the Philippines,
2. In my desire to know personally the peoples of Asia, I wanted my first papal visit to be to the Philippines. I come here retracing the steps of Paul Vl, whose memorable visit to this land is still recalled, I am sure, with love and gratitude, and whose inspiring presence still lives on in the hearts and the minds of the Filipino people. I come here because it is my heart's desire to celebrate with my brothers and sisters the common faith that unites the Catholic population of this land with the See of Peter in Rome. At the same time I mention with satisfaction and pleasure the friendly relations between the Philippines and the Holy See. These relations are indeed a worthy expression of the special affection of your people for the Bishop of Rome.

The Philippine nation is deserving of particular honor since, from the beginning of its Christianization, from the moment that Magellan planted the Cross in Cebu four hundred and sixty years ago, on April 15, 1521, all through the centuries, its people have remained true to the Christian faith. In an achievement that remains unparalleled in history, the message of Christ took root in the hearts of the people within a very brief span of time, and the Church was thus strongly implanted in this nation of seven thousand islands and numerous tribal and ethnic communities.

The rich geographical and human diversity, the various cultural traditions, and the people's spirit of joy and sharing, together with the fruits of the missionary efforts, have successfully blended and have shaped, through periods which were sometimes not devoid of shadows and weaknesses, a clear national identity that is unmistakably Filipino and truly Christian. The attachment to the Catholic faith has been tested under succeeding regimes of colonial control and foreign occupation, but fidelity to the faith and to the Church remained unshaken and grew even stronger and more mature.

3. Due homage must be paid to this achievement of the Filipino people, but what you are also creates an obligation and it confers upon the nation a specific mission. A country that has kept the Catholic faith strong and vibrant through the vicissitudes of its history, the sole nation in Asia that is approximately ninety percent Christian, assumes by this very fact the obligation not only to preserve its Christian heritage but to bear witness to the values of its Christian culture before the whole world.

Although small in size of land and population compared to some of its neighbors, the Philippine nation has undoubtedly a special role in the concert of nations, in order to consolidate peace and international understanding, and more particularly in maintaining stability in South East Asia, where it has a vital task.

4. The Filipino people will always draw the strength and inspiration that they need to carry out this task from their noble heritage—a heritage not only of Christian faith but also of the rich human and cultural values that are their own. Every man and woman, whatever his or her status or role, must strive in all earnestness to preserve, to deepen and to consolidate these values—these priceless gifts—against the many factors which seriously threaten them today.

Preserve, through your lucid and deliberate efforts, your sense of the divine, your prayerfulness and your deeply religious consciousness. Preserve and reinforce your respect for the role of women in the home, in education and in other challenges of life in society. Keep and strengthen your reverence for the aged, the disabled and the sick. Above all maintain your great esteem for the family.

Preserve the indissolubility of the marriage bond. Keep inviolate the right to life of the unborn child and uphold firmly the exalted dignity of motherhood. Proclaim vigorously the right of parents to be free from economic, social and political coercion, as they endeavor to follow the dictates of an upright conscience in determining the size of their family in accordance with the will of God.

Establish firmly the serious responsibility of parents to raise their children in accordance with their human dignity. Defend the children from corrupting influences and uphold the structures of family life. A nation goes the way that the family goes, and when the integrity and stability of family life is imperiled, so will be the stability of the nation and the tasks it must assume before the judgment of history.

5. The challenge that faces each nation, and more particularly a Christian nation, is a challenge to its own internal life. I am sure that the leaders and the people of the Philippines fully realize their responsibility to construct an exemplary society and that they are willing to work together to achieve this end in a spirit of mutual respect and civic responsibility. It is the joint effort of all the citizens that builds a truly sovereign nation, where not only the legitimate material interests of the citizens are promoted and protected, but also their spiritual aspirations and their culture.

Even in exceptional situations that may at times arise, one can never justify any violation of the fundamental dignity of the human person or of the basic rights that safeguard this dignity. Legitimate concern for the security of a nation, as demanded by the common good, could lead to the temptation of subjugating to the State the human being and his or her dignity and rights. Any apparent conflict between the exigencies of security and of the citizens' basic rights must be resolved according to the fundamental principle—upheld always by the Church—that social organization exists only fοr the service of man and for the protection of his dignity, and that it cannot claim to serve the common good when human rights are not safeguarded.

People will have faith in the safeguarding of their security and the promotion of their well-being only to the extent that they feel truly involved, and supported in their very humanity.

It is my hope and prayer that all the Filipino people and their leaders will never cease to honor their commitment to a development that is fully human and that overcomes situations and structures of inequality, injustice and poverty in the name of the sacredness of humanity. I pray that everyone will work together with generosity and courage, without hatred, class struggle or fratricidal strife, resist­ing all temptations to materialistic or violent ideologies.

The moral resources of the Philippines are dynamic, and they are strong enough to withstand the pressures that are exercised from the outside to force this nation to adopt models of development that are alien to its culture and sensitivities. Recent initiatives that are worthy of praise augur well for the future, since they manifest confidence in the capacity of the people to assume their rightful share of responsibility in building a society that strives for peace and justice and protects all human rights.

Mr. President, dear friends,
7. The presence of so many representatives of the constituted bodies of national and local government, of the judiciary and the military honors me greatly, and I wish to express to them the great esteem in which the Church holds those that are invested with responsibility for the common good and the service of their fellowmen.

Ηοw exalted is the mission of those to whom the people have entrusted the leadership of the nation, and in whom they place their trust to see enacted those reforms and policies that aim at bringing about a truly human society, where all men, women and children receive what is due to them to live in dignity, where especially the poor and the underprivileged are made the priority concern of all. Those that are entrusted with the tasks of government do honor to Christianity when they uphold their credibility by placing the interests of the community above any other consideration, and by regarding themselves first and foremost as servants of the common good.

8. In closing these brief remarks, I wish to praise the special qualities of the Filipino people, steeped in a solid Christian tradition of faith and love for neighbor. Throughout your history, you have heeded the appeal of the Gospel, the invitation to goodness, to honesty, to respect for the human person, and to unselfish service.

Your commitment to the ideals of peace, justice and fraternal love holds the promise that the future of this land will match its past history. But the challenge is great and it faces each individual of this land. Nο one is exempt from personal responsibility. Everybody's contribution is important. Now that we are approaching the end of this second millennium, you must be ready to continue on the road that faith in Christ and his message of love have charted for yοu.

May God's grace sustain you. May the Blessed Virgin Mary, invoked under innumerable titles and honored in shrines and institutions all over the land, remain forever the loving and caring Mother of the Filipino people. And may her Son, Jesus Christ, the loving and merciful Saviour of mankind, give yοu the great gift of his peace—now and forever.

Mabuhay ang Pilipinas ! (Long live the Philippines !)

From Manila, 17 February 1981.

Wednesday, 18th February 

John Paul II - Address to the students of the University of Santo Tomas
- in English, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

"Μga giliw kong kabataan ng Maynila at ng buong Pilipinas: tanggapin ninyo ang aking taos pusong pagbati at pagmamahal! (Dear young people of Manila and of the Philippines: accept my heart felt greetings and affection!)

1. There is no hiding the joy I feel at this longed-for meeting with yοu, my dear friends. "Friendship" is a word that we all like. But the reality it points to is far more beautiful. Friendship indicates sincere love, a two-way love that wishes everything good for the other person — a love that brings about union and happiness. It is no secret that the Pope loves young people like you, and that he feels immensely happy in yοur company.

It is only right that it should be so. He is the Vicar of Christ and must therefore follow Christ's example. The Gospel records the intensity with which Jesus offered his friendship to each one of his disciples. It also notes the special affection that he had for the young.

It was on the basis of this friendship that Jesus set before his young friends the mission that was assigned to them. Like Jesus I would like to speak to you of your own special vocation. The Second Vatican Council pointed out that Catholic universities should prepare their students to be "truly outstanding in learning, ready to undertake responsible duties in society, and witnesses in the world to their faith". I would add, for my part, that, if yοu are to be in a position tomorrow to fulfill your threefold mission as fully mature adults, servants of society and representatives of the Gospel, yοu must today live to the full your vocation as young people, as university students, and as real Catholics.

2. First and foremost, be genuine young people. What is it to be young? To be young means possessing within oneself an incessant newness of spirit, nourishing a continual quest for gοod, and persevering in reaching a gοal. Being genuinely yοung in this sense is the way to prepare for your future, which is to fulfill your vocation as fully mature adults. Never try to ignore then the irresistible force that is driving you toward the future.

The Church is not frightened at the intensity of your feelings. It is a sign of vitality. It indicates pent-up energy, which of itself is neither good nor bad, but can be used fοr good causes or for bad. It is like rain water that accumulates on the mountains after days and days of raining. When whatever holds it bursts, it unleashes forces capable of wiping whole towns off the map, overwhelming their inhabitants in a sea of tears and blood. But, if properly channelled, dry fields are irrigated, producing the necessary food and the needed energy.

In your case it is not only food or material things that are involved; it is the destiny of your country, the future of your generation and the security of children yet unborn. It is without any doubt an exciting but crucial challenge fοr you, my dear young people. And I am positive that you can meet this challenge, that you are willing to assume this responsibility. Above all that yοu are ready to prepare yourselves now, today.

You will agree with me that it is worth your while to accept self-discipline, which not only indicates strength of character on your part but also offers valuable service to others. The effort involved is one that fits in perfectly with your lives as young people in the field of sports. Even as far back as the time of St Paul, Christian mortification was spoken of in these terms. The young athlete who is prepared to undergo hard training in order to improve his sporting performance should be generous about the self-discipline required for his fully human training.

As young people, you look to the future. You are not stagnantly fixed in the present. You must therefore decide in what direction you want to go, and then keep an eye on the compass. Young people do not like mediocre ideals. They prefer to launch out into the deep. It is your right — or rather, it is your duty, to aim high. Your aspirations must be sublime; your ideals must be high. Dear young people, strive to build a character that is strong, rich and consistent, one that is free and responsible, sensitive to genuine values, a character that accepts the superiority of "being" over "having", one that perseveres in challenges and shuns escapism, facile compromise and heartless self-centered calculation.

In going forward along the path of truth, sincerity and authenticity, you have an ideal model. The model for you is Christ: Christ in his humanity, Christ the man. Notice that he is not only your goal: he is also the way that leads you where yοu are going. And on the way he acts as a shepherd; he even goes so far to give himself as food for your journey.

If you agree to model your youth on Christ, you will find the whole process summed up in a single wοrd in Luke's Gospel. The word is that Jesus "grew". " Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and man". This is not just a statement of what happened in history. This is also an invitation to yοu. Christ's word "follow me" should also strike a special chord in your hearts. Accepting Christ's call is a sure way of responding to your vocation to be a fully mature adult, and this is the fundamental aspiration of every worthy young person.

"The direction that society will take tomorrow depends mainly on the minds and hearts of today's university students". This wise observation by Pope Pius XII is an invitation to you to be aware of the privilege and the responsibility that so many of you here today have as young people in an institute of higher learning.

The university offers you a whole array of excellent means for completing your formation. You must not however think of yourselves alone. You are called to help build up human society. As university students you have at your disposal abundant means that you must learn to know and appreciate fully.

The structure of a university is very much a community structure. The word "university" itself originally meant a society of professors and students. The university rests on the columns of society. It offers its members intense community experience. It strives to be a training ground for future experts who will take up key positions in the human family. The Second Vatican Council was well aware that young people in a university "are conscious of their importance in the life of society and are anxious to play their part in it all the sooner".

Your desire is laudable; your youthful impatience very understandable. But you must prepare yourselves carefully now for your noble service in the future ; because the effectiveness of your service will be in direct proportion to the resources of truth that are yours.

A university student must therefore have a permanent program for capturing truth. It is no easy task. It demands study and perseverance ; it calls for generosity and self-sacrifice. The assimilation of truth is conditioned by the surrounding culture. First you must personally make a critical examination and try to form an organic synthesis. Only in this way will a university student be in a position to contribute the expert, committed and creative service that society expects of him or her.

Needless to say, the conquest of truth must be carried out with complete respect for different viewpoints and in open dialogue with others: a dialogue that in every field reaches particular intensity in a university.

Finding myself here in this illustrious University of Santo Tomas, which has given us such cordial and generous hospitality, I must make at least a brief reference to a particular aspect of the dialogue between the Church and the world : I mean the fact that it enables us "to see more clearly how faith and reason converge on the one truth, following in the footsteps of the doctors of the Church, especially St Thomas Aquinas."

4. Thirdly, I would have you note that the Catholic faith that you profess fits in perfectly with your two other characteristics of being young and of being university students.

The catholicity of the Church has within it — for her divine Founder willed it so — an intrinsic dynamism that is in perfect accord with the enthusiasm of youth. The very words "catholicity" and "university" sound almost synonymous. Neither the Church nor the university admit boundaries. In the vertical dimension there is a difference, in that the Church is not content with a merely hypothetical openness to transcendence : she professes that such openness is a fact.

Fοr a young university student, being a Catholic is not just something extra. It involves values that are original and specific; it gives an incomparable power for building a better world and for proclaiming the Kingdom of God. As young Catholic university students, you are called to work in harmony with students of different religions and ideologies, in a common effort to advance truth, to serve man and to honor God. You are called to sincere ecumenical collaboration with all those who are your brothers and sisters in Christ. But at the same time yοu are called to make a specifically Catholic contribution at the university level to the evangelization of culture. As Catholics yοu must confess Christ openly and without embarrassment in the university environment that is yours.

In this way yοu are also contributing to maintaining the Catholic character of your University in its institutional commitment to the Gospel of Christ as proclaimed by the Catholic Church. Being dedicated to the further evangelization of your culture in depth, yοu are able, as Catholics, to bring new elements for an open and enriching dialogue. Hence as young Catholic university students you have a special testimony to give. Not to give it would be to deprive humanity of an expert and necessary contribution — one that can be made only by someone who is proud to be in the ranks of Christ's followers.

Dear young people, the mission that Christ gives you is a universal one, but at the same time it is to be realized in a unique way by each one of you. The particular way the mission is carried out depends on the missionaries, on yοu! It is up to yοu to discover all the right ways to fulfill the Lord's mission in your world of young university students.

Christ counts on yοur support. He needs you to spread the Good News of his love and the Gospel of eternal salvation. How providential it is that our meeting of friendship should conclude on the theme of evangelization in a country with a great mission for Christ! This is a challenge for everyone. Each of yοu is called to take up the torch and proclaim the truth of Christ. You can do it! You can do it with your youthful enthusiasm and with the confidence — the assurance — displayed by the first Apostles when the Church was young. You can do it, provided yοu do it together, and provided yοu do it with Christ and his Church!

5. I conclude with a loving and grateful remembrance of the Virgin Mary.

She is our Mother, an intimate, discreet and loving Μother. Although her affection is for all, it is a fact that the young have special need of her care, particularly today.

She is our Teacher, because she is our Μother. Students have a wonderful lesson to learn from her attitude of profound reverence before the unfathomable mystery of God, and from her search for truth through contemplation and prayer.

She is Queen of the Apostles: of all the apostles, both those of the Church's beginning and those in present-day history. Her presence is as discreet and effective today as it was at Cana of Galilee. May she be with yοu always. May she intercede for you with her divine Son, as she did then in order to prevent a shadow falling on the happiness of the bride and groom, who were young people just like yourselves — children of hers just like yοu, each and every one of yοu.

And in the name of her Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who is forever the friend of the youth of the world, I leave yοu with this heritage of yours, which is faith, hope and love."