JPII's 2nd Apostolic Visit to the Philippines
12th - 16th February 1995
Pope John Paul II was a pilgrim to the Philippines a second time in 1995 to celebrate World Youth Day Manila. It was the leg of his 63rd apostolic journey, on which he also visited Papua New Guinea, Australia & Sri Lanka (JPII's 1st trip to the Philippines had been in 1981).
On his arrival, Papa John Paul II was welcomed at Manila airport. Friday began with
Holy Mass for the representatives of the Youth Forum before meeting with the community of Santo Tomás University in Manila. A video message was given to the young people taking part in the WYD Way of the Cross. On Saturday, Mass was celebrated on 4th centenary of the Archdiocese of Manila and the Dioceses of Cebu, Caceres and Nueva Segovia. John Paul II spoke with the Episcopal Conference of the Philippines, at a commemoration of 25th anniversary of Radio Veritas's foundation in Manila and gave a message to Catholics in China, before attending the WYD Prayer vigil. Sunday 15 January marked the 10th World Youth Day in Manila for which Papa Juan Pablo II celebrated Mass & recited the Angelus. In the afternoon, JPII spoke to the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences & to Delegates of the Federation of Episcopal Conferences in San Carlos Seminary. The next morning, our Holy Father was bid a fond farewell at Naia airport.
Pope John Paul II's words at the Arrival Ceremony
Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Manila, Thursday 12 January 1995 - in English, Italian & Spanish
"Dear President Ramos, Dear People of the Philippines,
1. I thank you, Mr President, for your kind words of welcome, full of the warmth and hospitality with which Filipinos traditionally welcome their guests. I greatly appreciate all that you and your Government have done to make this visit possible.
For a long time I have looked forward to stepping on to Philippine soil once more. The Filipino people are never far from my mind and heart, and I reach out to embrace each one with esteem and affection. We are indeed old friends, ever since my visit in 1981 for the beatification of Blessed Lorenzo Ruiz, now Saint Lorenzo Ruiz.
2. My Brother Bishops, Cardinal Sin and Cardinal Vidal, and all the Bishops – whom I gladly greet in the Lord – expressed many times their wish for the Successor of Peter to share the joy of Filipino Catholics on the 4th centenary of the Archdioceses of Manila, Cebu, Caceres and Nueva Segovia. I am here to celebrate with the Catholic community of the Philippines 400 years of the organized and hierarchical presence and action of the Church in these islands. That first evangelization has produced enduring fruits of Christian life and holiness, of civilizing action, of the transmission – especially through a strong family life – of fundamental human and civic values. As the third Christian millennium approaches, we should all be convinced that those fruits can thrive even more in concerted action by all sectors of society, in the building of a nation resolutely set on the path of genuine and integral development, and fully committed to the well-being of all its citizens, with special concern for the weakest.
3. The thought of celebrating the 10th World Youth Day in Manila in the Philippines, in Asia, has gladdened me and given me encouragement. The Spirit of God has led thousands of young men and women here and they are now filling the streets of Manila with their youthful joy and Christian witness. A large group of them are right here. I greet each one of you: I warmly embrace every young person here, all the youth of the Philippines, and all those who have come from other countries and continents.
At Denver, during the last World Youth Day outside Rome, we meditated on the "new life" which comes from Jesus Christ: "I came – he said – that they may have life, and have it abundantly" (Jn 10, 10). Now, here in Manila, we gather to hear him say: "As the Father sent me, so am I sending you" (Jn 20, 21). During these days we shall reflect on and pray about what these words mean for each one of you, for the young people of the end of the 20th century, the young people of the third Christian millennium.
4. To all Filipino young people, to all gathered for the World Youth Day, I make this invitation: See the world around you with the eyes of Jesus himself! The Gospel says that when he saw the crowds, "he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd" (Mat 9, 36). The Good News of God’s love and mercy – the word of truth, justice and peace which alone can inspire a life worthy of God’s sons and daughters – must be proclaimed to the ends of the earth. The Church and the world look to young people for new light, new love, a new commitment to meeting the great needs of humanity.
The young people gathered in Manila for the World Youth Day know this. The Church in the Philippines knows that it has a special vocation to bear witness to the Gospel in the heart of Asia. Guided by Divine Providence, your historic destiny is to build a "civilization of love", of brotherhood and solidarity, a civilization which will be perfectly at home among the ancient cultures and traditions of the whole Asian continent.
5. Mr President, members of the Government, and distinguished representatives of the Filipino people: the Church and the political community work on different levels and are mutually independent, but they serve the same human beings (cf Gaudium et Spes, 76). In that service there is ample room for dialogue, co–operation and mutual support. You have a very valid and specifically Philippine model of co–operation for development in The Social Pact, formally signed in March 1993. I pray that the "new solidarity" which The Social Pact espouses will be a striking success for the good of the Filipino people, and for the pride and glory of the Nation as a beacon of peace and harmony in Asia.
6. Cardinal Sin, Cardinal Vidal, Brother Bishops, Filipino Brothers and Sisters in Christ: I look forward to celebrating with you in faith the great things done in the Church and by the Church in these islands over the last four centuries. Together we shall pray that God may continue to protect and guide his pilgrim People in the Philippines!
God bless the Philippines! Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!"
Papa John Paul II's Address to the Students of Santo Tomas University
University of Santo Tomas, Manila, Friday 13 January 1995 - in English, French & Italian
"Dear Father Rector, Dominican Fathers, Faculty, Staff and Students of the University of Santo Tomás,
Distinguished Faculty and Students of the "University Belt",
1. I am deeply grateful to all of you for your presence here, and to Father Rector for his kind words of welcome. As a Pontifical University, Santo Tomás has a special right to the Pope’s attention. In fact, this is the third visit of a Pope to the oldest university in Asia: Pope Paul VI came here in 1970; I came in 1981 and now God gives me the grace of being here again to meet the "university world" of the Philippines. As a former University student and Professor myself, I feel a special affinity with you. I wish to encourage you to live the University experience with dedication and commitment, in the pursuit of human and academic excellence, with a great sense of responsibility towards your families and society, towards your future and the future of your country.
2. A University, and especially a Catholic university, cannot but be sensitive to the widespread and growing demand in society for authentic values, for sure ethical guidelines and for a transcendent vision of life’s meaning. A University therefore should not only impart knowledge according to the proper principles and methods of each area of study and with due freedom of scientific investigation; it should also educate men and women who will be true leaders in the scientific, technical, economic, cultural and social fields. It should thus be a community with a mission to train leaders in the all important field of life itself; leaders who have made a personal synthesis between faith and culture, who are willing and able to assume tasks in the service of the community and of society in general, bearing witness to their faith both in private and in public. May my visit therefore serve to encourage the Filipino academic community to reflect on "the priority of the ethical over the technical, of the primacy of the person over things, of the superiority of the spirit over matter" (Cfr. Ioannis Pauli PP. II Lutetiae Parisiorum, allocutio ad eos qui conventui Consilii ab exsecutione internationalis organismi compendiariis litteris UNESCO nuncupati affuere, 22, die 2 iun. 1980: Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, III, 1 (1980) 1654. ). The cause of the human person will only be served if knowledge is linked to conscience, if men and women of science preserve the sense of the transcendence of the human person over the world, and of God over the human person (Cfr. John Paul II, Ex Corde Ecclesiae, 18).
3. Most of you are still young, and youth constitutes a very special chapter in the book of life: there is enthusiasm, energy, hope and expectation. The "problems of life" have not yet come to stay. Instead, you are acquiring the skills and experience which will make you mature citizens of your nation and true sons and daughters of the Church – the Church which loves you and needs your co–operation.
What does the Church look for in Filipino youth? For help in saving your own generation from the futility, frustration and emptiness in which so many of your contemporaries find themselves. When I think of all the young men and women who should be the strength, the hope and even the conscience of society, but instead are caught in a web of uncertainty, or are desperately seeking happiness along paths that cannot lead to happiness – then I pray all the more that the young Catholics of the end of the twentieth century will come to an ever more profound knowledge of Jesus Christ and will be convinced of the marvelous challenge and adventure which he represents for every one of us.
4. In Christ and in his teaching you will find "the way, and the truth, and the life". In him you will discover the answer to all the fundamental questions. The world and the Church need young people who know that the beauty of living consists in giving oneself to others, in doing good to others. Let the light of Christ enlighten your consciences to true good, and to the evil of sin and everything that tarnishes true love.
Young people of the Philippines, the modern world needs a new kind of young person: it needs men and women who are capable of self–discipline, capable of committing themselves to the highest ideals, ready to change radically the false values which have enslaved so many young people and adults. All this is possible with trust in the Lord, and with the help of good teachers, in the University and in your parishes and groups.
5. This University was founded in 1611 under the title of "Santo Tomás de Nuestra Señora del Rosario". The Blessed Mother is a special teacher for all of us. She teaches us the most important lesson of all: love of God and love of neighbor for God’s sake. May our Lady continue to love and protect all of you! May she be close to your families! May God bless you all, bless the youth of the Filipino people and all the Filipino country. I see that it was my great privilege to be here and to discover anew this phenomenon I knew before. By today I knew better. This great phenomenon of the world and of the Church and to the world and to the Church and this phenomenon is called Filipino people... to discover anew the Philippines that is this phenomenon that I admire and I should. And I congratulate all the missionaries who came to you, who brought you Santo Tomás University. I congratulate also for this special experience, for this dear Catholic university in the Philippines of Santo Tomás. I congratulate this great doctor as his disciple. And at the end I congratulate Cardinal Sin, and Cardinal Vidal, and the Bishops of your Church, this wonderful, wonderful Church of the Philippines. Thank you very much. Thank God for all of you.
John Paul II, he loves you and tries to bring you a blessing."
After the Holy Father's blessing:
"Amen! Amen! Amen! Mabuhay!
I am very grateful for your gifts. All the gifts are expressing one gift. It is the gift of your hearts, of the hearts of the Filipino youth, young people, men and women. Very grateful."
JPII's Homily at Mass on the occasion of 4th centenary
of the archdiocese of Manila & the dioceses of Cebu, Caceres & Nueva Segovia
Philippine International Convention Center, Manila, Saturday 15 January 1995 - in English & Italian
""Full authority has been given to me both in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations" (Matth 28, 18-19).
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
1. These words from today’s Gospel take on a special meaning in the context of the Jubilee which, together with the World Youth Day, the Church in the Philippines is celebrating. Four hundred years ago, in 1595, the first Ecclesiastical Province was set up on these Islands: the Archdiocese of Manila and the Dioceses of Cebu, Caceres and Nueva Segovia.
I greet the whole Filipino people, wonderful Filipino people. I greet all their Pastors. I thank Cardinal Sin for these kind words of welcome. I greet also His Excellency President Ramos and the Authorities.
The establishment of a Metropolitan Church in the Philippines bore witness to the fact that the work of the first missionaries had borne abundant fruit. The process of planting and building up the Church had already taken place in other parts of the world, especially in the European countries. In the case of my own Poland, it had taken place in the year 1000. Later, the same thing happened in the countries of South America, Central America and North America. So it happened and continues to happen in Africa, in Australia and throughout Oceania, and on the continent of Asia. All this has a meaning that is not just a question of ecclesiastical administration. The Church is a living body. Like a living body, at a certain point she reaches a stage of maturity which makes it possible for a particular Church to give life to other Churches like itself.
Plantatio Ecclesiae. Mysterium plantationis Ecclesiae. Paulus plantavit; Apollo rigavit. Deus autem incrementum dedit. I see that Filipino people are understanding very well Latin.
2. Four hundred years ago the Church in Manila became the Metropolitan See for the Church in Cebu, Caceres and Nueva Segovia. In the space of these four centuries the number of the particular Churches in the Philippines has greatly increased. Those first four Dioceses have each become a Metropolitan See, and alongside them numerous particular Churches have developed and continue to grow. In this part of the world it is the Philippines which enjoys the greatest wealth of ecclesial life. Plantatio fecunda, fecundissima.
Dear brothers and sisters, we have come together here to give thanks to God precisely for this grace, great grace of God. Not just you who have come from all over the Philippines, but also representatives of the Churches throughout Asia and the Far East. As I see also many Cardinals from Europe, and from Africa, from Asia. All together we greet the delegates of the other Christian Churches and Communities, as well as the representatives of other religions. For me it is a great joy to be here with you on this day, as Bishop of Rome and Successor of Saint Peter. Peter was the first in "plantatio Ecclesiae" in Rome and from Rome. "Plantatio Ecclesiae" in Manila, in the Philippines, Peter, Successor of Peter, also a grace. Together let us praise God for the grace of this Four Hundredth Anniversary. In one great chorus let us commend the Church in the Philippines and the whole Nation to God’s Providence: "Save your people, Lord, and bless your inheritance" (Ps. 28 (27), 9).
In the midst of our joy on this occasion we cannot forget our Filipino brothers and sisters who live in difficult social and economic conditions, and those who are trying to recover from the natural disasters which have occurred with a certain frequency in recent times. I am thinking in particular of the victims of the Pinatubo eruption and its after-effects. I ask God to strengthen and comfort those who have lost their loved ones, their homes, their livelihood, and I earnestly hope that their appeals for further help and solidarity will not go unheard. And I think also there are many Filipinos in Rome, in Italy and through the world. I greet all of them. They are also the same inheritance. They are also celebrating this centenary.
3. Today, we cannot fail to remember the first messengers of the Good News who came to these Islands. Their origins were in Spain, for it was above all the Iberian Peninsula which gave rise to that great missionary thrust which followed the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus. At that same time other brave explorers were travelling south and east, round Africa by way of the Cape of Good Hope, through the Indian Ocean, towards Asia and the Far East. Those remarkable voyages opened up for the Church vast new horizons for her evangelizing mission. It was in that context that the evangelization of the Philippines began.
It is significant that the first Episcopal See in Manila was originally attached to Mexico, in spite of the enormous distance involved in crossing the Pacific Ocean. Clearly that was a temporary measure, until the first independent Ecclesiastical Province was erected in the Philippines, precisely in 1595. After hesitation at the beginning, the missionary Church of that early period gradually became more truly Filipina as the number of native-born priests and Bishops increased.
Looking back today on that past, we must express our thankfulness to God for those pioneers who laid the foundations of the Church in this land: for the Augustinians who were the first to arrive, followed by the Franciscans, the Jesuits, the Dominicans and the Augustinian Recollects. The early missionaries who sought to defend the native peoples from the abuses of the conquistadores and encomenderos found a vigorous leader in the Dominican Fray Domingo de Salazar, the first Bishop of Manila. As early as 1582 he summoned the first Synod, which decided many questions regarding conquest, settlement and administration in accordance with the principles of the faith and Christian morality.
A wonderful process, a wonderful history, history of the Church, history of salvation, history of Filipino people. All of us, all of you Filipinos today, you are the inheritance, the successors in this great process, great process.
4. Saint Paul writes to the Ephesians: "May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, grant you a spirit of wisdom and insight... that you may know the great hope to which he has called you... and the immeasurable scope of his power in us who believe" (Eph. 1, 17-19). What Saint Paul wished for the Christian community at Ephesus is what I wish today for the Catholic people of the Philippines. I pray above all that you will appreciate ever more fully the grace of your Christian vocation as explained by the Second Vatican Council in its Constitution on the Church (Cfr. Lumen Gentium, 40).
This vocation has its beginning and source in Christ himself. All Christians live by the inexhaustible riches given to us in him. Saint John of the Cross, the great Spanish mystic who lived just at the time when the evangelization of the Philippines was getting underway, reminds us of this fact. He wrote in the Spiritual Canticle: "(Christ) is like a rich mine with many recesses containing treasures, and no matter how men try to fathom them the end is never reached" (Saint John of the Cross, Spiritual Canticle, st. 36). Christ is so rich!
In the work of the missionaries and in their service to the people, the power of Christ, Crucified and Risen, was being manifested – the power of Christ, who is seated at the right hand of the Father and who, as Redeemer and Bridegroom of the Church, works through her in the Holy Spirit. It is very important not to confuse the Church with some merely human or humanitarian organization. The Church lives and grows in Christ and through Christ. All her members, in their thoughts and actions, are called to bear witness to the living presence of the Redeemer.
5. The Father, as we read in the Letter to the Ephesians, "has put all things under Christ’s feet and has made him thus exalted, head of the Church, which is his body" (Eph. 1,22-23). That is why, after his Resurrection, Christ sent out the Apostles with the words: "Full authority has been given to me both in heaven and on earth" (Matth 28,18). This saving power of the Redeemer is what sustained the missionaries who came to the Philippines in the sixteenth century. This same power is what has preserved the sons and daughters of your nation in living their lives as Christians, in forming Christian families, in educating your children in the faith. By doing all of this, your forefathers laid the foundations of the only predominantly Catholic country in this part of the world, a region which still presents an enormous challenge for evangelization. In time, children of this land, as priests and Bishops, took over full pastoral responsibility, while others filled the ranks of the congregations of men and women religious, so that the Church which is "the fullness of him who fills the universe in all its parts"(Eph. 1, 23) would be truly catholic and universal, but also truly immersed in the life and culture of these Islands.
6. Today therefore is a day of great joy: rejoice in great gratitude to the Lord. The Responsorial Psalm contains an appropriate invitation: "All you people, clap your hands, shout to God with cries of gladness... For the king of all the earth is God... God reigns over all the nations" (Ps. 47(46),2.8-9). The faith which springs from the Gospel transforms the life both of individuals and of nations. For four hundred years the Church has served as a leaven and as a kind of soul for Philippine society, most of all by her healing and elevating impact on respect for the human person, and by the way in which she strengthens families and communities, and imbues everyday activity with a deeper meaning and reference to God (Cfr. Gaudium et Spes, 40). Inspired by their faith, Filipino Catholics have begun countless initiatives for the good of society, in the fields of education, healthcare and service of all kinds. Out of the Church’s religious mission during these four hundred years there came a light and an energy which have served to structure and consolidate the human community according to the divine law (Cfr. Gaudium et Spes, 42). This is the source of our joy. This is the source for our joy and our gratitude to the Lord, the Almighty Father. This is the reason for the Philippine Church’s joy, visible in this celebration, with all the color and vitality of your culture and Christian traditions. But this is also your task and responsibility: to remain faithful to what has been handed down and to build on it, so that God’s law will abide in your hearts and his blessings will increasingly be poured out on your nation.
A great boost to our joy is given by the young people of the World Youth Day who have come to Manila from every corner of the Philippines, from many parts of Asia and the Far East, and from the other continents. They are the sign and the confirmation of your living faith. My heart is going to all of them, to all the Filipino young men and women, and to all young men and women of the whole world, of so many countries of the world... European, Asiatic, Africa, America, North America, Latin America, Central America, Australia, all the continents.
7. The joy of the human heart springs from the presence of God in us, in our hearts. Isaiah writes: "All who... hold to my covenant I will bring to my holy mountain and make joyful in my house of prayer". The spiritual joy of God’s people in the Philippines has two fundamental points of reference: the house of prayer and the holy mountain. First, the community gathers in "the house of prayer"(Is. 56, 6-7) – which is the home, or a chapel, a parish church or a cathedral – to celebrate the mysteries of our redemption and to profess the one, holy, catholic and apostolic faith. From there God’s pilgrim people go forth to ascend "the holy mountain": marching forward in hope towards the fullness of God’s kingdom, all the time striving to make present and operative at every level of your personal and national life that kingdom of holiness, justice, peace and solidarity. So two points: the house of prayer and the holy mountain, being together and ascending with Christ into heaven, into his kingdom. All that is inspired by the liturgical texts as of today’s liturgy.
8. Filipino People of God: at every Mass you hear the call to lift up your hearts: Sursum corda!
Lift up your heart, holy Church, which in four centuries has built a solid dwelling place for God in these Islands! So numerous islands, Filipino islands, wonderful islands!
Whole generations have gone up from here to the Holy Mountain, where the God of glory dwells. The sign of this ascent are your Filipino Saints, beginning with Saint Lorenzo Ruiz whom I had the joy to beatify here in Manila and to canonize in Rome. They remain closely united with you in the Communion of the Saints. They show you the way to God, which is the fulfilment of the vocation of each and every human being.
Rejoice, Filipino people, holy Church of Manila, Cebu, Caceres, Nueva Segovia! Rejoice, every Filipino family, every Filipino Diocese and parish! Rejoice, for it has pleased the Father to give you the kingdom! This promise of the Father is fulfilled unceasingly through the power of Christ: to him be honor and glory for ever! Amen.
A long homily, but not too long for this occasion!
Mabuhay, to all Filipino people! Long live!
Very, very, very grateful for this celebration, for this great festivity of the Church in the Philippines.
Very grateful to almighty God!
Very grateful to all of you!
Viva Manila, Cebu, Caceres, Nueva Segovia!
Thank you very much!
Juan Pablo II's address to the Episcopal Conference of the Philippines
Curia of the Archdiocese of Manila, Saturday, 14 January 1995 - in English, Italian & Spanish
"Dear Brothers in our Lord Jesus Christ,
1. My wish to celebrate the Tenth World Youth Day in Manila at the same time that the Filipino Catholic community commemorates the Fourth Centenary of the Archdioceses of Manila, Cebu, Caceres and Nueva Segovia, could not fail to include a desire to have this special meeting with you – the Pastors of the Church of God in the Philippines. Gathered together in his name (cf. Mt. 18:20), we are a living icon of the communion which gives life to the Church. Every meeting of the Bishop of Rome with members of the College of Bishops recalls the joy and evangelical enthusiasm of Pentecost when "Peter, standing with the Eleven" (Acts 2:14), fearlessly proclaimed the Good News of salvation through the Death and Resurrection of the Lord. Today in Manila, in this Hall dedicated to Domingo Salazar – the first Bishop of the Philippines – we experience anew the same bond of charity and affection which united the Apostles in Jerusalem.
2. Down the centuries, the Christian message has become deeply rooted in the Filipino soul and remains the animating force of your society. More than four and a half centuries after the Catholic faith was first preached here, the Spirit who led the peoples of this Archipelago to embrace the Gospel without forsaking the many positive elements of their cultural heritage is now calling the Church to bear a renewed witness to the power of the Gospel to transform human life and culture (cf. Gaudium et Spes, 58).
In order to further the "great springtime for Christianity" (John Paul II, Redemptoris Missio, 86) which God is preparing as the Third Millennium draws near, your particular Churches have wholeheartedly committed their spiritual and pastoral energies to the new evangelization. The Second Plenary Council of the Philippines (PCP–II), celebrated in accordance with the directives of the Second Vatican Council, is a decisive landmark in your journey to the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000. I urge everyone – Pastors, priests, Religious and laity: make the implementation of the Acts and Decrees of the Plenary Council and the National Pastoral Plan the fulcrum of your lives and apostolate.
3. As you acknowledged in your Conciliar Document, attention to catechesis is "the first element of a renewed evangelization" (Second Plenary Council of the Philippines, Conciliar Document, n. 156). The catechesis of the new evangelization is meant to call people, as a first step, to a more profound conversion of heart. This metànoia, the path of conversion leading to the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, involves a "commitment to walk the hard way of the Cross" (Ibid., n. 669). Pastors must be vigilant to ensure that preaching and catechesis will present the Good News fully and systematically, without distortion (cf. John Paul II, Catechesi Tradendae, 30), especially as regards the Sacraments, by which your people’s faith is sustained and nourished. You are wisely developing a thorough and sustained catechesis in this regard, aimed at leading the faithful to a more prayerful celebration of these "masterworks of God" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 1116). In this way, the specifically supernatural nature of the Church’s mission will be safeguarded and abundant spiritual energies will be activated in the lives of the faithful.
4. The Church’s pilgrimage to the Kingdom passes through the world which she strives to serve. In order to be God’s instrument of redemptive love amidst the social crises of our day, the Church must be a convincing sign of her Lord, who "emptied himself, taking the form of a servant" (Phil. 2:7). She is called to exercise "a truly prophetic role, condemning the evils of man in their infected source, showing the root of divisions and bringing hope in the possibility of overcoming tensions and conflicts and reaching brotherhood, concord and peace at all levels and in all sections of human society" (John Paul II, Reconciliatio et Paenitentia, 4). You know well the enormous challenges presented to you as Bishops: the loss of noble ideals, confusion of the moral conscience regarding good and evil, growing materialism and religious indifference, the injustices inherent in certain economic and political policies, the increasing gap between rich and poor. By addressing these and other questions with the liberating power of the Gospel your pastoral mission goes to the heart of Filipino society. Integral evangelization must aim at generating and nourishing a faith which brings about a genuine transformation of individuals and of society.
A situation where economic wealth and political power are concentrated in the hands of a few is, as you have written, "an affront to human dignity and solidarity" (Second Plenary Council of the Philippines, Conciliar Document, n. 296). Too many families remain without land to till or a home to live in, and too many people are without employment and basic services. Your task must be to help create a new attitude, a conviction shaped by the principle of the social purpose of power and wealth, which can lead to appropriate changes in the prevailing order. The riches of creation are a common good of all humanity, and those who possess the various forms of "wealth" in a given society are meant to regard themselves as "stewards, ministers charged with working in the name of God" (cf. John Paul II, Tertio Millennio Adveniente, 13).
5. Fulfilling your role as Pastors, you have committed the Church in the Philippines to be a "Church of the Poor". You have called on Catholics to embrace "the evangelical spirit of poverty, which combines detachment from possessions with a profound trust in the Lord as the source of salvation" (Second Plenary Council of the Philippines, Conciliar Document, n. 125). This is the way of the Lord Jesus, with his special love for the suffering, the marginalized, the little ones and sinners. You have not remained silent before injustices committed against the poor but have energetically defended their rights. In the Philippines the poor are called to be the vigorous agents of evangelization and not merely its objects.
You have strongly defended the truth about man in your teaching on the value of human life and the sanctity of procreation. Last year in my "Letter to Families" I wrote that "we are facing an immense threat to life; not only to the life of individuals but also to that of civilization itself" (John Paul II, Letter to Families, 21) When powerful interests promote policies which are against the moral law inscribed on the human heart (cf. Rom. 2:15), they offend the dignity of man who is made in the image and likeness of God, and in doing so they undermine the foundations of society itself. Because the Church treasures the divine gifts of human life and its inalienable dignity, she cannot but strenuously oppose all measures which are in any way directed at promoting abortion, sterilization and also contraception. Your firm stand against the pessimism and selfishness of those who plot against the splendor of human sexuality and human life (Second Plenary Council of the Philippines, Conciliar Document, n. 585) is an essential demand of your pastoral ministry and of your service to the Filipino people.
6. Since "to each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good", the "varieties of gifts" and the "varieties of service" present in the Christian community must all be channelled to build up the one body of Christ (cf. 1 Cor. 12:4-7). As your "helpers, sons and friends" (Lumen Gentium, 28), priests have the first claim to your guidance, encouragement and inspiration so that they can carry out their ministry faithfully and fruitfully. Your efforts to give a fresh impulse to evangelization will depend greatly on your careful attention to the spiritual development of priests and seminarians. I am pleased to note that your Conference is preparing an updated Philippine Program for Priestly Formation which will be based on the "Ratio Fundamentalis" and "Pastores Dabo Vobis", emphasizing sound formation in the spiritual life and the theology of the ministerial priesthood (cf. National Pastoral Plan, 75, 77.1). The entire community should feel the need to promote priestly vocations, and it falls to you to ensure that "the vocational dimension is always present in the whole range of ordinary pastoral work, and that it is fully integrated and practically identified with it" (John Paul II, Pastores Dabo Vobis, 41).
It goes without saying that men and women religious have a major role to play in the new evangelization of the Philippines, just as they have had since the beginning of the Church’s presence here. Each Institute is called to examine its particular charism in the light of the signs of the times, placing its communal gifts at the service of the Church (cf. Perfectae Caritatis, 20). The regular consultation through open channels of communication between Bishops and Major Superiors which you recommend in the National Pastoral Plan (cf. National Pastoral Plan, 89.1) cannot but make more effective that "work" in the vineyard from which the Lord will reap his harvest.
The Second Vatican Council – which must be regarded as the "great gift of the Spirit to the Church at the end of the second millennium" (John Paul II, Tertio Millennio Adveniente, 36)– opened the doors for the laity to develop a spirituality proper to their state in life. It urged them to participate more broadly in the areas of the Church’s life which rightly belong to them. Filipino lay Catholics must be encouraged to assume their full responsibility for the Church’s mission in the world. Since their specific vocation is to order temporal affairs "according to the plan of God" (Lumen Gentium, 31), the challenge before them is to be "holy in all conduct" (cf. 1 Pt. 1:15), drawing others to Christ by the convincing witness of their lives in the daily forum of human activities. For this they expect from you the resources for a spiritual and doctrinal formation capable of meeting the demands of an increasingly complex world.
7. A particular challenge facing your ministry is that of defending the family and strengthening family life. Filipino society still has a strong tradition in this regard, but increasingly – as you are well aware – families need help to offset the negative social and cultural effects accompanying the rapid and profound economic transformations taking place throughout Asia. I wish to thank you for all that your Conference, and in particular your Commission on Family Life, has done to focus attention on the family’s needs during the past Year of the Family.
Likewise, the special gifts and needs of young people deserve careful pastoral attention. Young people are the source of hope for the future, as we have seen during the Tenth "World Youth Day" right here in Manila. With their enthusiasm and energy, they must be encouraged and trained to become "leading characters in evangelization and participants in the renewal of society" (John Paul II, Christifideles Laici, 46). They are evangelizers who bring the Gospel to their peers, especially those alienated from the Church who often cannot be reached by normal pastoral activities. While the ordinary means of youth work in parishes should continue and be developed, in order to ensure that the young are not isolated from the broader community, equally helpful are associations, movements, special centers and groups which meet their particular needs (cf. John Paul II, Redemptoris Missio, 37). The Church, which is ever young, constantly follows the paths of the world to meet the members of a younger generation, drawing inspiration from their sincere idealism, their searching minds and generous hearts.
8. Dear Brother Bishops: these are some of the thoughts which I wished to share with you who shepherd God’s flock in the one nation of Asia in which the majority of the people are members of the Church. In the Lord’s name I encourage you to respond to the special grace of your vocation to carry the Gospel beyond the shores of this beautiful Archipelago to the other peoples of this vast continent. A great harvest is awaiting those who will lead these ancient and noble civilizations to the discovery of Christ, who alone is "the way, and the truth, and the life" (Jn. 14:3). Asia needs your help if it is to hear the Good News of Christ crucified and risen.
You are Pastors of a people in love with Mary. May the Mother of the Redeemer guide your episcopal ministry so that, gathered in Christ, the people of this beloved Nation "may be filled with all the fullness of God" (Eph. 3:19). With my Apostolic Blessing."
John Paul II's address at 25th anniversary of foundation of Radio Veritas
Philippine International Convention Center of Manila, Saturday, 14 January 1995 - in English & Italian
"Your Eminences, Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
1. "Radio Veritas" Asia is celebrating twenty-five years of outstanding service to the proclamation of the Gospel and to human development. It gives me great joy to mark this significant anniversary right here in the Philippines, the host country of this important instrument of the Church’s apostolate. Together with all of you, I give thanks to God for all that "Radio Veritas" has accomplished over the last quarter of a century to advance the Church’s mission, even enabling her voice to be heard in many places not otherwise accessible.
"Radio Veritas" Asia began as the fruit of a strong missionary commitment on the part of South–East Asian Bishops gathered for a general meeting in 1958. Their idea was to enable Asians to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ from other Asians. The actual realization of that ambitious project is linked to the memory of Cardinal Rufino Santos, who watched over the Radio’s first difficult years of existence. Today, "Radio Veritas" Asia continues to be a powerful expression of the co-responsibility of the Bishops of Asia in pursuing with vision and enthusiasm the Church’s missionary mandate. The fact that the Gospel is heard in so many of this continent’s languages truly makes "Radio Veritas" "the voice of Asian Christianity".
Here I must mention with gratitude the consolation and strength which your broadcasts have provided to the Church of Silence and to all those Christians who have suffered and continue to suffer for their fidelity to the one whom Christ has made the visible foundation of the Church’s unity.
2. An anniversary such as this also invites us to look to the future, with its hopes and challenges. For "Radio Veritas" Asia the future can only mean an ever greater commitment to evangelization as the third Millennium of the Redemption approaches. As I wrote in the Encyclical "Redemptoris Missio", "the moment has come to commit all of the Church’s energies to a new evangelization and to the mission ad gentes. No believer in Christ, no institution of the Church can avoid this supreme duty: to proclaim Christ to all peoples" (John Paul II, Redemptoris Missio, 3). "Radio Veritas" must be helped to fulfil this task, even though this will certainly involve even greater sacrifices and renewed commitment on the part of the Churches in Asia. The Lord of the harvest will surely bestow his abundant gifts upon those who make it possible to preach the Gospel to the ends of the earth.
"Radio Veritas" Asia faces the urgent task of finding ever more effective ways of sustaining and informing the faith of those who already believe in Christ, and of proclaiming him and his Kingdom to those who do not yet know him. Through its religious programs, "Radio Veritas" Asia spreads knowledge of Gospel truths and values, and makes possible a far-reaching, often barely conscious dialogue of the mind between the message of salvation in Jesus Christ and the "seeds of the Word" present in the ancient traditions of Asia, both cultural and religious. The proclamation of the Gospel, when carried out with respect and with the attitude of sharing a precious gift with those who have not yet received it, is an invaluable service to the human family, shaping people’s hearts in accordance with truth and love. "Radio Veritas" Asia can be proud of the respectful dialogue which it fosters with the followers of other religions, who make up such a large part of its listeners. Today more than ever, the followers of the various religious traditions need to know each other better, in order to work together in defending those common human and spiritual values without which a society worthy of man cannot be built. Through its educational, news and entertainment programs, "Radio Veritas" Asia contributes to the human development of countless individuals and families.
3. I wish to express appreciation to President Ramos and the Philippine Authorities for extending for another twenty-five years the Act allowing "Radio Veritas" Asia to function on Filipino soil. I hope that in the future more and more the international character of this unique means of pastoral service will be recognized. For all that "Radio Veritas" Asia represents in the Church’s pastoral and missionary outreach on this continent, I wish to say a special word of thanks to the Board of the Philippine Radio Educational and Information Center and the Management Council, as well as to the members of the Office of Social Communications of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences.
I thank the Radio’s supporters and benefactors: in particular, the Pontifical Missionary Work of the Propagation of the Faith, represented here by Cardinal Jozef Tomko, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples; the Bishops’ Conference of Germany and the Archdiocese of Cologne; as well as the mission aid societies such as MISSIO, "Misereor", Aid to the Church in Need, and the Holy Childhood Association. In a special way I acknowledge with gratitude the constant commitment of the German Government which has supported the work of "Radio Veritas" from its inception.
4. Dear friends: Jesus used the parable of the sower to illustrate the lavish generosity with which God spreads his word of light and life. In the spirit of that parable, another image comes to mind – an image taken from our modern technological civilization – that of a great radio transmitter which constantly broadcasts the Good News over the fields and byways of the world. This is the mission of "Radio Veritas" Asia, and I pray that its efforts to spread the word of God far and wide among the peoples of this continent will always be sustained by the grace of Christ and the power of his Holy Spirit. May God’s peace abound in the hearts of all those who co-operate in this worthy enterprise."
John Paul II's address to the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences
San Carlos Seminary of Manila, Sunday, 15 January 1995 - in English, Italian & Spanish
"Dear Brother Bishops,
1. In preparing for this meeting with the Pastors of the Church in Asia I have prayed to be an apt instrument of the Holy Spirit who at all times and in every place gives life to the Church and, according to Christ’s promise, leads her into all the truth (cf. Jn. 16:13). I have prayed to be able – in the words of the Psalm – to sing "his praise in the assembly of the faithful" (Ps. 149 :1). It is certainly with a song of praise and thanksgiving to God in my heart that I join you in marking the happy occasion of the Silver Jubilee of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences.
I have been deeply touched by Archbishop Rozario’s warm words of welcome and I also wish to thank the other Bishops for their thoughtful remarks on the vital questions of proclamation, life and ecology, which form the subject of your reflections during these days.
2. The Assemblies of your Federation – of which this is the Sixth – not only provide a forum for exchanging pastoral experiences and discussing issues of common interest. More significantly, they give expression to the profound ecclesial communion and affective collegiality which unite the Bishops of South, Southeast and East Asia with one another and with the See of Peter. Together with our brother Bishops throughout the world we feed the one flock which Christ has redeemed with his precious blood (cf. 1 Pt. 1:19). With one accord therefore, let us give thanks to God for the "bonds of unity, charity and peace" which link us with each other under "the chief Shepherd" (Ibid., 5.4), whose servants we are.
Our meeting is taking place against the background of the Tenth World Youth Day which has just concluded. We are all witnesses of the generous response of the young to the Church’s summons to take up the pilgrim Cross of Christ. In this case, tribute must be given to the Filipino Bishops who gave close attention to the spiritual preparation of the young people taking part. Yet, in a real sense it is these young people, and others like them all over the world, who are calling the Church – inviting the Pastors of the Church – to ever greater efforts to present Christ to them in the fulness of his grace and truth. My words therefore are meant to be a fraternal encouragement, exhorting you as Saint Paul exhorted Titus: that as he had already made a beginning, he should also complete the gracious work of his ministry (cf. 2 Cor. 8:6). It is your ministry as Bishops, and the situation in which it is exercised, that is the underlying theme of these thoughts which I share with you.
3. Since the establishment of your Federation 25 years ago, rapid technological progress and economic growth have revolutionized the face of Asia. While affirming the benefits of this development, the Church must nevertheless make a realistic assessment of the price paid for this modernization and confront those aspects which pose "an immense threat to life: not only to the life of individuals but also to that of civilization itself" (John Paul II, Letter to Families, 21). Even more striking than Asia’s recent material progress has been the transformation of the spiritual landscape of the Continent. Religious indifferentism and exaggerated individualism now threaten the traditional values which, generally speaking, bestowed meaning and harmony on the life of individuals and on the communities they composed. The forces of secularization tend to undermine your rich religious and cultural heritage. This great Continent is at a spiritual crossroads.
Such a moment can only confirm the Church’s resolve to carry out her primary mission: the proclamation of Jesus Christ, and the promotion of the values of God’s Kingdom (cf. John Paul II, Redemptoris Missio, 34). And in co–operation with every force for good, Catholics on this continent should feel the urgency of building up "the civilization of love, founded on the universal values of peace, solidarity, justice and liberty, which find their full attainment in Christ" (John Paul II, Tertio Millennio Adveniente, 52).
4. Jesus Christ, the God–Man, Crucified and Risen, is the hope of humanity. He is the foundation of our faith, the reason for our hope and the source of our love. The Incarnate Word, the Savior and Mediator between God and man (cf. 1 Tim. 2:5), is "the only one able to reveal God and lead to God" (John Paul II, Redemptoris Missio, 5). And Christ alone can fully reveal the ultimate grandeur and dignity of the human person and his destiny (cf. Gaudium et Spes, 22). The mystery of God’s saving love revealed in Jesus Christ is a doctrine of faith, not a theological opinion. And this Good News impels the Church to evangelize! It impels Bishops to foster evangelization as a primary task and responsibility of their ministry.
The magna charta of evangelization remains the Apostolic Exhortation "Evangelii Nuntiandi" of Pope Paul VI, with the complement of the Encyclical "Redemptoris Missio" which I wrote in 1990 in order to defend and promote the concept of "missionary evangelization" (John Paul II, Redemptoris Missio, 2) or the mission ad gentes, which seemed to have lost appeal and even validity in the eyes of some.
Paul VI’s notion of evangelization faithfully restates Christ’s teaching, the Church’s tradition, and the insights of the Second Vatican Council. It is a comprehensive notion which avoids the pitfall of overemphasis on one or other aspect of this complex reality, to the detriment of others. In Pope Paul’s view, evangelization includes those activities which dispose people to listen to the Christian message, the proclamation of the message itself, and the catechesis which unfolds the riches of truth and grace contained in the kerygma. Moreover, evangelization is directed not only to individuals but also to cultures, which need to be regenerated by contact with the Gospel. Human development and liberation are integral parts of this evangelizing mission, but they are not identical with it, and they are not the end of evangelization. Paul VI was clear about the fact that evangelization cannot be reduced to a merely temporal project of human betterment. It must always include a clear and unambiguous proclamation of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior who brings that "abundant life" (Jn. 10:10) which is no less than eternal life in God.
5. Allow me to make some general remarks about evangelizing this continent. A first requirement of this ecclesial task is the renewal of the Catholic community at every level – Bishops, priests, Religious and laity – so that all may contribute to spreading the faith in which we stand. Our prayer must be that the priests, Religious and laity in your pastoral care will never lose heart in accomplishing the prophetic mission entrusted to each one. "Every disciple is personally called by name; no disciple can withhold making a response: ‘ Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel’(1 Cor. 9:16)" (John Paul II, Christifideles Laici, 33). Indeed, to repeat something I once said to the Italian Bishops, the new evangelization "is not born of the will of those who decide to become propagators of their faith. It is born of the Spirit, who moves the Church to expand" (John Paul II, Address to the Bishops taking part in a Liturgical Course, 4 [12 Feb. 1988]). Everyone who has received the Spirit, every person who is baptized and confirmed, is called to be an evangelizer.
Without forgetting other important components of this renewal, "the signs of the times" urgently call for enabling the laity to assume their specific role in bringing the truths and values of the Gospel to bear on the realities of the temporal sphere. In fact, when we try to imagine the future of evangelization on this continent, do we not see it as the irradiation of a vibrant, living faith practised and declared by individual Christians and Christian communities, big or small, which, with few exceptions, form a pusillus grex in the midst of numerically superior "hearers" of the word?
To "irradiate" the faith implies the highest standards of Christian living – a rich life of prayer and sacramental practice, and moral integrity – on the part of everyone. To proclaim to others "eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom. 6:23) demands of each member of the Church the holiness and integrity of one for whom "to live is Christ" (Phil. 1:21). Proclamation becomes credible when it is accompanied by sanctity of life, sincerity of purpose and respect for others and for the whole of creation. The Encyclical "Redemptoris Missio" exhorts the Church’s members: "You must be like the first Christians and radiate enthusiasm and courage, in generous devotion to God and neighbour. In a word, you must set yourselves on the path of holiness. Only thus can you... re–live in your own countries the missionary epic of the early Church" (John Paul II, Redemptoris Missio, 91).
Herein lies a great challenge which confronts each Bishop, as the principal teacher and guide of the faithful in truth and holiness of life. But here too we have the source of our certain hope and of our optimism. The Church’s future will not be solely the result of our human efforts but, more fundamentally, the result of the workings of the Divine Spirit, whom we must not impede but assist.
6. A further consideration is the cultural framework in which evangelization in Asia has to be carried out. The religious traditions of very ancient cultures remain powerful forces in the East, and present you with particular challenges. The Church esteems these spiritual traditions as "living expressions of the soul of vast groups of people. They carry within them the echo of thousands of years of searching for God, a quest which is incomplete but often made with great sincerity and righteousness of heart" (Paul VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi, 53). While the Church rejects nothing of what is true and holy in the great religions (Nostra Aetate, 2), she can only hope that one day this preparation for the Gospel will come to maturity in ways which are fully Christian and fully Asian. As Bishops of the Churches in Asia, part of your concern must be to stimulate the growth of the seeds of truth and goodness found in those religions.
Under your pastoral supervision efforts are being made to increase understanding, respect and cooperation between Christians and followers of other religious traditions, and in many cases, in collaboration with the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, various forms of dialogue are now taking place and bearing fruit. Interreligious dialogue should not remain only a matter of theological discussion. Where possible, it must reach to the grass–roots, correcting misunderstandings which communities have of one another, and fostering solidarity in the building of a more just and human society. This "dialogue of life" must go forward with balance, sincerity and openness (cf. John Paul II, Redemptoris Missio, 57), always in the conviction that authentic dialogue is achieved only by "speaking the truth in love" (Eph. 4:15).
7. Furthermore, as Bishops you have the demanding task of accepting Saint Paul’s invitation to become "all things to all men" (1 Cor. 9:22), identifying yourselves with the life and traditions of your people so that the perennial truth of Revelation can be expressed in ways that are meaningful and convincing. On you rests responsibility for fostering with wisdom and fidelity the most suitable means for communicating the Gospel to the various Asian cultures. The more you take into account the questions, religious formation, language, signs and symbols of those whom you wish to lead to Christ, the more effectively you will serve the cause of evangelization (cf. Paul VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi, 63).
However arduous this task of authentic inculturation, we can take consolation from the experience of the early Church. Although the preaching of Christ Crucified and Risen ran counter to the religious culture of those to whom the Gospel was first preached, the Holy Spirit guided the Church’s growth. Beginning at Pentecost and continuing from generation to generation, the Spirit of Truth has ever accompanied the Church’s proclamation, leading its hearers to the "obedience of faith" (Rom. 1:6) which has then purified and elevated their way of life, imbuing customs and behaviour with a Christian outlook and spirit.
8. Another recurring aspect of your pastoral activity is the relationship between proclamation and human development. Briefly, let us acknowledge that no human need, no human suffering can leave Christ’s disciples indifferent or insensitive. Yet, the Church does not have and cannot claim to have a "technical" solution to all the ills which afflict humanity. Rather the Church herself, like a pilgrim in a foreign land, presses forward amid the difficulties and even persecutions of the world, strong only in the consolations of God (cf. Lumen Gentium, 8). At the same time it is her duty always to seek to make her voice heard in the conscience of individuals and the consciousness of society, defending the dignity of every human person, created in the image and likeness of God, and upholding the principles and values of faith, truth, freedom, justice and solidarity. She knows that the terrible evils which affect humanity have their source not only in man’s injustice towards man but in man’s radical injustice in the sight of God. In fulfilling her evangelizing mission therefore, the Church cannot neglect the needs of the poor, the hungry, the defenceless, the oppressed and the culturally deprived. But those involved in that mission must know that their responsibility goes far beyond healing the wounds of this life. They must also communicate the "new life" which comes through the grace of Jesus Christ. The Church’s mission and destiny is to save man, the whole man. At this level there is no distinction of persons, neither Jew nor Greek (cf. Rom. 10:12), neither rich nor poor. All are offered God’s word and the grace of redemption, because all are sinners (cf. ibid., 5:12).
9. Dear Brother Bishops, if ever you feel discouraged by the seemingly impossible task of a more effective evangelization – perhaps due to the fact that some Asian cultures seem disinclined to listen to the Gospel message – I urge you to remember that, when you proclaim "Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God" (1 Cor. 1:24), "it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you" (Mt. 10:20).
At the same time, you have to make it clear that the act of faith, and reception into the communion of the Church through Baptism, must always be entirely free (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 160). Evangelization must never be imposed. It involves love and respect for those being evangelized. While ever insisting on the Church’s right and duty to proclaim with joy the Good News of God’s mercy, Catholics must carefully avoid any suspicion of coercion or devious persuasion (cf. Dignitatis Humanae, 4). On the other hand, accusations of proselytism – which is far from the Church’s genuine missionary spirit – and a one-sided understanding of religious pluralism and tolerance should not be allowed to stifle your mission to the peoples of Asia.
10. Before I end, I wish to appeal to you to do all you can to foster what is generally called the mission ad gentes. Despite the fact that some try to minimize this holy duty, the Church cannot renounce her vocation to "make disciples of all nations" (Mt. 28:19).
She can never be content as a small minority or an inward–looking community. Indeed, the Church firmly believes that every person has "the right to know the riches of the mystery of Christ – riches in which we believe that the whole of humanity can find, in unsuspected fulness, everything that it is gropingly searching for concerning God, man and his destiny, life and death, and truth" (Paul VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi, 53). As the dawn of the Third Millennium draws near, it is "particularly in Asia, towards which the Church’s mission ad gentes ought to be chiefly directed" (John Paul II, Redemptoris Missio, 37).
The mission ad gentes, which often implies the idea of setting out towards new lands and new peoples, today implies above all setting out towards new areas of Asia’s human geography: towards those sectors of society made up of the urban poor, migrants and their often abandoned families, refugees, young people, and the modern areopagus of the media of social communication.
I ask you to pay careful attention to missionary evangelization in all your pastoral planning: in catechesis, preaching, priestly formation, the training of Religious, the apostolate to families and youth, the allocation of personnel, the sharing of resources, and in the prayer which Christians must always offer for the propagation of the faith. All individuals, associations and communities should ask themselves if there is more that they could do in order to open wide to Christ the doors of Asia.
11. In these years of preparation for the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, your particular Churches are fully committed to giving a fresh impulse to the evangelization of Asia. Just as in the first millennium the Cross was planted on the soil of Europe, and in the second on that of the Americas and Africa, we can pray that in the Third Christian Millennium a great harvest of faith will be reaped in this vast and vital Continent. If the Church in Asia is to fulfil its providential destiny, evangelization as the joyful, patient and progressive preaching of the saving Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ must be your absolute priority.
The Church must face all these tasks with the means which the Second Vatican Council has given us, one of which is the Synod of Bishops. In the Apostolic Letter "Tertio Millennio Adveniente" I have mentioned also a "plan for a continent–wide Synod" for Asia. I urge you to give serious consideration to such an event which could greatly help to lead the Church in Asia more firmly into the next Millennium.
In your work you are strengthened by the example and intercession of the great host of Martyrs who have given life to the Church in Asia through the shedding of their blood. Ablaze with love of Christ and his Church, those great men and women – from China, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Vietnam and elsewhere – were baptized "with the Holy Spirit and with fire" (Lk. 3:16). With your missionaries and the Saints who have borne witness to the Gospel, they became the seed of Christianity in your lands.
In closing, I make my own the memorable words spoken by Pope Paul VI twenty–five years ago here in Manila: "Jesus Christ is our constant preaching; it is his name that we proclaim to the ends of the earth (cf. Rom. 10:18) and throughout all ages (Ibid., 9:5). Remember this and ponder on it: the Pope has come among you and has proclaimed Jesus Christ" (Insegnamenti di Paolo VI, VIII  1237 ff.).
To you, dear Brothers, this grace has been given in South, Southeast and East Asia: "to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ" (Eph. 3:8). I entrust you, your pastoral endeavours and all your people to Mary, Mother of the Redeemer and Star of the New Evangelization, and I gladly impart my Apostolic Blessing."
Pope John Paul II's words at the conclusion of the meeting
with delegates of the Federation of Episcopal Conferences
San Carlos Seminary of Manila, Manila, Sunday, 15 January 1995 - in English & Italian
"What I wrote, I wrote and what is written, is written, and may be read. What is meditated, should be revealed. And so my visit here in the Philippines, in Manila, it is for me an extraordinary experience. Of course, this visit is established after some deliberation. What the Pope received these days are all the words that say: "Papa dei giovani", "the Pope of the Youth". And so, he is still looking for the young people, how to meet them, how to stay close to them and so on. That is now how they call him: "Papa dei giovani" and also "Papa delle famiglie". But what I would like to underline in this moment is of the other nature. Perhaps, the present Pope will be called once the "Pope of the Synod", "Synodal Pope". But my intention is the fruit and the heritage of Vatican II. Vatican II reminds the Church, the Pope, all the Popes, all of us that Christ chose not only one but twelve and so, He created the first collegio, (collegiality), the first episcopal body, apostolic body, episcopal body.
And this apostolic body and episcopal body should invent and should look for global expressions of that body just as the Church did at the beginning. The first council was during the life of the Apostles, the apostolic council in Jerusalem and now we have the great councils and many synods of the first millennium, the first thousand years of the Church. They are so important for maintaining the tradition, the magisterium, the spirit, and the collegiality as such of the episcopal body. We owe so much to all these great synods, this synodal movement of the first millennium. And Vatican Council II inspired a new synodal epoch, a new synodal era in the Church and that is the great thing about the end of the second millennium. I am convinced that it is necessary to return to this experience, the synodal experience of the Church.
Synodal experience is a very nice experience like the experience of the young people, the family experience, synodal experience. There is also the fact that we are meeting every five years for the "ad limina". We are meeting not only officially in an audience but we are meeting together in the chapel to celebrate the Holy Mass.
We are meeting at the table at the dining-room, having also the "cafe". And all that is collegiality. All that is synodal. What we need is to meet together sometimes as representatives of the whole Bishops collegium in the synod.
The general experience of the synodal Bishops is one form but we have also a more specific form of synodal experience. That is, for instance, last year, we had two kinds of synods of Bishops: the Synod of Africa, the continental synod and the other one was the general synod, the Synod for the Religious Life.
And so, I thought, I reflected about the need to organize as we are approaching the Third Millennium. I thought it could be useful to organize some continental session of the synod, like this African synod and like perhaps a Pan-American one and so also for Asia and the Far East and also for Australia. In other words, Australia and New Zealand, perhaps the Pacific Islands. It is necessary to look how to organize, how to assemble the Bishops according to the principles, the vital principles of culture, and of tradition and so on. So this is my thought, the fruit of my meditation this day. Yesterday, I meditated on another thing. I communicated that to the Bishops of Manila, of the Philippines, and today for the other Bishops. That is the fruit of my meditation.
The "synodal pope" is a good thing I would say. It means also to pray together more, to pray more in private and also to meet together more, to be at the table, at the dining-room. Maybe it is sufficient as an introduction for the next step which we have to do. The dining-room expects us. For this reason, I bless you! Maybe we can now pray the "Angelus Domini". It is the time for "Angelus Domini".
It was very nice yesterday at the "Radio Veritas" meeting."
Papa Juan Pablo II's words at the Farewell Ceremony
Naia Airport of Manila, Monday 16 January 1995 - in English, Italian & Spanish
"Dear Filipino Friends,
1. My Pastoral Visit to the beautiful Philippines is now at an end. I wish to thank everyone for the warmth and graciousness of the hospitality I have received from the first moment of my arrival. In a special way I am grateful to His Excellency President Ramos and the members of the Government for their close participation in each stage of the visit. I cordially thank Cardinal Sin and Cardinal Vidal and all my Brother Bishops and their collaborators for making my pilgrimage to the Church in these Islands such a fruitful and joyful celebration of our faith in Jesus Christ.
I thank everyone who took part in the Masses and other events, those who organized them, those who maintained order and security, those who have worked to broadcast and televise the events, those who in any way served the needs of so many pilgrims. May God reward each and every one, each one of you!
2. With particular affection I say thank you to the young people who have been the main actors in the Tenth World Youth Day. How can we explain or measure the mysterious working of divine grace in so many generous young hearts? The Lord described the Kingdom as a seed which a man sowed, and which then produced a rich harvest. Here, the seed had already fallen on rich soil. Many people – parents, teachers, catechists, Religious, priests – have kept watch over the seed of faith and helped it grow. And God gives the increase (cf. 1 Cor. 3:6). How far will it grow? How wide will it spread from here through the immense human geography of Asia? This is the challenge and the task which the young people of the Tenth World Youth Day and the whole Church in the Philippines have taken up and will carry into the next century and next millennium.
All of this fills my heart with gratitude and joy. I will continue to have boundless hope in the youth of the Philippines and of the world: Christ is working through them for the new springtime of Christianity on this continent. We see the early stages of the planting; others will rejoice in the rich harvest.
3. I take with me a thousand images of the Filipino people. I know your desire for greater justice and a better life for yourselves and your children. No one can underestimate the difficulties you face and the hard work that lies ahead. Above all, no one should pull back from the great demand of real and effective solidarity, a new solidarity between individuals, in families and throughout society. There has to be progress in sharing. There has to be a renewed sense of responsibility of everyone for everyone else; we are, each of us, our brother’s keeper. May God help you to follow the path you have already begun: towards a continuing development that preserves and promotes the true values of your Filipino culture!
4. My parting wish can be none other than the one I expressed for you when I came here almost fourteen years ago: may you always enjoy peace in your hearts and in your homes; may justice and freedom reign throughout your land; and may your families be faithful forever, united in joy and love!
May God bless you all! God bless the Philippines! Mabuhay!"
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