Bookmark and Share

John Paul II's 1st Pilgrimage to the Philippines

17th - 22nd February 1981

Pope Saint John Paul II was a pilgrim to the Philippines for the first time in 1981 during his 9th apostolic voyage, on which he also visited Pakistan, Guam, Japan & the USA. During his pilgrimage he beatified Filipino Lawrence Ruiz along with 15 other martyrs of Japan, the first beatification to be celebrated outside Rome. He returned to the Philippines in 1995 for World Youth Day Manila.

Papa San Juan Pablo II's itinerary included the following:
Tuesday 17th February - Welcome Ceremony in Manila, Holy Mass in Manila Cathedral, Prayer to Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Baclaran, Meeting with Religious women , Message to the President and people of the Philippines, Meeting with the Philippine Episcopate & Asian Bishops in Manila
Wednesday 18th February - Meeting with professional people in Manila, with students at
Santo Tomas University, with people of Tondo district, Holy Mass with the beatification of Lorenzo Ruiz & 15 martyrs of Japan, Meeting with Chinese Catholic communities in Asia and with the Diplomatic Corps
Thursday 19th February - Holy Mass for peace in Manila, Meeting with priests and seminarians in Cebu City and Holy Mass for families
Friday 20th February - Holy Mass for the Community of Davao, Meeting with representatives of the Muslim community at Davao, with landowners & workers of the sugar cane plantations in Bacolod City, and with representatives of Catholic organizations & movements in Jaro in Iloilo Cathedral
Saturday 21st February - Holy Mass for farmers in Legazpi City, Visit to a refugees camp in Morong, Meeting with a group of lepers in Tala, Message to the people of Asia, Meeting with representatives of the mass media, with representatives of other Christian Churches and with labour committees at the Apostolic Nunciature
Sunday 22nd February - Holy Mass for the indigenous tribes and Recital of the Angelus in Baguio City, Farewell Ceremony from the Philippines

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

"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 St John Paul II's homily at Holy Mass in the Cathedral of Manila
Manila, Tuesday 17 February 1981- also in 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 - also in Italian & Portuguese  

"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 John Paul II's words to Religious Women at the National Sanctuary of Our Lady of Perpetual Help
Baclaran, Tuesday 17 February 1981 - also in 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!"

Pope John Paul II's message to the President & People of the Philippines
Manila, Tuesday 17 February 1981 - also in 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 460 years ago, on 15 April 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 7000 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 !)

St John Paul II's address to the Philippine Episcopate & Asian Bishops
Villa San Miguel, Manila, Tuesday 17 February 1981- also in Italian, Portuguese & Spanish 

"Dear Brothers in our Lord Jesus Christ,
1. Since my arrival on Philippine soil, I have already had the occasion to state that my first and principal reason for coming here is the Beatification of Lorenzo Ruiz, whose martyrdom shows forth the holiness of the Church. At the same time I consider my pastoral visit a pilgrimage to the living shrine of the people of God in this land. And today, in you, the Bishops, I greet every ecclesial community that makes up the Church in the Philippines.

My thoughts go likewise to the past generations who have received and passed on the Catholic faith. In the name of the universal Church I express praise and thanksgiving to God for this great gift that your people have received and preserved. I give thanks also for the special vocation that has been given to the Church in the Philippines. In coming to yοu it is my desire to fulfill my pastoral service to the faithful in your land and to all of you, their Bishops. And so we gather together to represent the scene of the Acts of the Apostles where Peter and the Eleven assemble to speak about Jesus and to reflect on the power of his Spirit. Just being with you is enough to draw strength and power from the One who is in our midst. And on my part I wish, in fidelity to Christ, to confirm you in the faith that you hold and proclaim.

2. My coming is linked to the conviction that the word of God is powerful and, when faithfully preached, is light and strength for our people. It is in truth the foundation of their faith. That is why we never cease to communicate to them the conviction of Saint Paul: "Your faith rests not on the wisdom of men but on the power of God" [1 Cor 2, 5].

As pastors of God's people we have the role of announcing "God's design in its entirety" [Acts 20, 27]. Through the full proclamation of Christ and his Gospel a gentle but invincible force is unleashed in the world. In this regard let me share with you two testimonies of particular interest for you as Bishops in the Philippines.

The first is that of Paul VI. It was the great testimony that he gave ten years ago in Quezon Circle. Speaking about Christ he said : "I feel the need to proclaim him, I cannot keep silent. 'Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel' [1 Cor 9, 16]. I am sent by him, by Christ himself, to do this, I am an apostle, I am a witness ... I must bear witness to his name : Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God [cf Mt 16, 16]. He reveals the invisible God, he is the firstborn of all creation, the foundation of everything created. He is the Teacher of mankind, and its Redeemer ... Jesus Christ is our constant preaching; it is his name that we proclaim to the ends of the earths [cf Rom 10, 18] and throughout all ages" [cf Rom 9, 5] (November 29, 1970). This was his mission ten years ago, and some of you were present then, together with the late Cardinal Santos and with the other Bishops of that time. And I am convinced that, sometime in the future, yet another Successor of Peter will gather with your successors in this same proclamation of the faith.

The second testimony that I wish to recall with you is likewise a very special one. Certainly a number of you were present to hear John Paul I speak the following words to the Philippine Bishops gathered in Rome for their ad limina visit: "On our part we hope to sustain you, support you, and encourage you in the great mission of the episcopate: to proclaim Jesus Christ and to evangelize his people ... A great challenge of our day is the full evangelization of all those who have been baptized. In this, the Bishops of the Church have a prime responsibility. Our message must be a clear proclamation of salvation in Jesus Christ" (28 September 1978). It was a memorable testimony for its contents and for the circumstances in which it was given. It was the last public act of John Paul I; it was the last hour of his public ministry. It was his legacy — and it was for you. And I wish to perpetuate his testimony and to make it my own today.

3. This proclamation of Jesus Christ and salvation in his name is the basis for all pastoral service. It is the content of all evangelization and catechesis. And it is a credit to you that yοu accomplish it in union with the Successor of Peter and with the whole Church. It must always be so.

Your unity with the universal Church is the authentication of all yοur pastoral initiatives and the guarantee of their supernatural effectiveness. This unity was indeed the concern that motivated Saint Paul to take counsel so that the course he was pursuing and had pursued "would not prove useless" [Gal 2, 2]. I thank God today for your Catholic unity and the strength it gives you.

4. Fortified by the word of Christ and strengthened in the unity of his Church, yοu are well able to pursue effectively your pastoral ministry in imitation of Jesus the Good Shepherd. The suggestion that Saint Paul received in his consultation I would repeat today : "The only stipulation was that we should be mindful of the poor — the one thing that I was making every effort to do" [Gal 2, 10]. And may this be the special mark of your ministry too: concern for the poor, for those who are materially or spiritually in need. Renee your pastoral love will embrace those in want, those afflicted, those in sin.

And let us remember that the greatest good we can give them is the word of God. This does not mean that we do not assist them in their physical needs, but it does mean that they need something more, and that we have something more to give : the Gospel of Jesus Christ. With great pastoral insight and evangelical love, John Paul I also expressed this thought succinctly on that day he died : "From the days of the Gospel, and in imitation of the Lord, who 'went about doing good' [Acts 10, 38], the Church is irrevocably committed to contributing to the relief of physical misery and need. But her pastoral charity would be incomplete if she did not point out even 'higher needs'. In the Philippines Paul VI did precisely this. At a moment when he chose to speak about the poor, about justice and peace, about human rights, about economic and social liberation — at a moment when he also effectively committed the Church to the alleviation of misery — he did not and could not remain silent about `higher good', the fullness of life in the Kingdom of heaven".

5. Another aspect of your ministry is the fraternal interest that you have for your brother priests. They need to be convinced of your love; they need your example of holiness and they have to see you as their spiritual leaders, as heralds of the Gospel, so that they too can concentrate all their energies on their proper priestly role in the building up of Christ's Kingdom of justice and peace.

In this regard it is important that the laity be given the full responsibility that is specifically theirs. Through their activity in the temporal order they have a special task to fulfill, in order to bring about the consecration of the world to God. It is a lofty task, and they need their Bishops and priests to support them through spiritual leadership.

At the same time it has to be apparent in the Body of Christ, where there is a diversity of functions, that the laity are worthy of trust, that they can accomplish what the Lord has assigned specifically to them. This will also make it possible for the clergy to pay full heed to the apostolic injunction to concentrate on "prayer and the ministry of the word" [Acts 6, 4]. The Spirit of God continues to confirm these priorities of the priestly ministry for each generation in the Church.

6. In reflecting on the Church in the Philippines, the missionary aspect emerges in various ways. There is first of all your glorious missionary beginning, in which your ancestors embraced the message of salvation that was proclaimed to them. To reflect on this is to praise God in your history, in the generosity of the missionaries that continues into the present.

To reflect on your missionary past is to be challenged to gο forward with the same zeal. In order to understand your missionary destiny, it is enough to listen to the Prophet Isaiah who urges you: "Look to the rock from which you were hewn [Is 51, 1]. There are indeed many places where the name of Jesus is not yet known and where his Gospel is yet to be proclaimed among yοu. It will be your zeal and that of your priests, together with the commitment of the whole ecclesial community, that will devise means to pursue initial evangelization and subsequent catechesis in the face of a harvest that is immense.

At the same time yοu will hear other nations, especially your neighbors in Asia, calling to yοu : "Come over ... and help us" [Acts 16, 9]. There is no doubt about it : the Philippines have a special missionary vocation to proclaim the Good News, to carry the light of Christ to the nations. It must be accomplished with personal sacrifice, and in spite of limited resources, but God will not be wanting with his grace and he will supply your needs.

Paul VI confirmed this missionary vocation of yours during his visit here, and repeatedly thereafter. From many points of view, dear Brothers, you are truly called to be a missionary Church.

7. As yοu endeavor to fulfill your pastoral charge, I knοw that you will recall the words with which the Gospel records the calling of the Apostles: "And he appointed Twelve to be with him and to be sent out to preach" [Mk 3, 14]. The twο aspects of the apostolic vocation may seem mutually exclusive, but it is not so. Jesus wants us both to stay with him and to go out to preach. We are meant to be his companions and his friends, as well as his tireless apostles. In a word, we are called to holiness. There can be no successful episcopal ministry without holiness of life, because our ministry is modeled on that of the chief Pastor and the Bishop of our souls, Jesus Christ [cf 1 Pt 5, 4; 2, 25].

My dear Brothers, in our intimate friendship with Jesus Christ we shall find strength for fraternal love, the power to touch hearts and to proclaim a convincing message. In the love of Jesus we shall discover the way to build community in Christ and to serve our people, giving them the word of God. By sharing in the holiness of Jesus we shall exercise an authentic prophetic role: announcing holiness and courageously practising it as an example to be followed in the ecclesial community. To be faithful to the tradition that is ours, let us remember the Apostle Peter exhorting us : "Be examples to the flock" [1 Pt 5, 3].

8. To these important aspects of our pastoral ministry that I have mentioned — God's word, unity and holiness — I would add a final word of fraternal exhortation, and it is this: let us trust fully in the merits of our Lord Jesus Christ; let us trust in his power to renew, by the action of his Spirit, the face of the earth. Our mission and our destiny, linked with that of our people, are in the hands of God, who has given all power of redemption and sanctification to Jesus Christ. And it is Christ who tells us today that we are strong in him and sustained by his promise : "I am with yοu always until the end of the world" [Mt 28, 20].

And finally, as Bishops we feel ourselves enveloped by the gentle and maternal love of Mary, Mother of Jesus and Queen of the Apostles. I am confident that by her intercession she will assist the Church in the Philippines — Jesus Christ the salvation of Asia and the eternal light of the world.

9. The joy of this meeting is increased by the presence of the other Asian Bishops — all of you united in this common mission of proclaiming Jesus Christ.

We are rightly gratified by the awareness that exists in the Church today — thanks to the action of God's Spirit in our times — of the need to bring the Gospel to bear upon all cultures, to make it incarnate in the lives of all peoples, to present the Christian message in a way that is ever more effective. The goal is a noble one, a delicate one; it is a goal to which the Church is firmly committed. Indeed, on the opening day of the Second Vatican Council, John XXIII announced that the Council's principal aim was to ensure "that the sacred deposit of Christian doctrine should be more effectively guarded and taught" (11 October 1962).

In all your efforts, my brother Bishops, to pursue this aim throughout the postconciliar period, be assured of the support of the universal Church, which embraces every nation under heaven and yet proclaims the same Christ to every people and to every generation. Be mindful above all of the sovereign action of the Holy Spirit, who alone can stir up the new creation. For this reason Paul VI could declare that "techniques of evangelization are good, but even the most advanced ones could not replace the gentle action of the Spirit ... It must be said that the holy Spirit is the principal agent of evangelization: it is he who impels each individual to proclaim the Gospel and it is he who in the depths of consciences causes the word of salvation to be accepted and understood" [Evangelii Nuntiandi, 75].

It is to the Holy Spirit that we turn humbly to ask that our mission as evangelizers be fruitful for the Kingdom of God and for the glory of the name of Jesus: Veni Sancte Spiritus! Veni Sancte Spiritus!"

Pope St John Paul II's address to Professional People
Araneta Coliseum, Manila, Wednesday 18 February 1981 - also in Italian, Portuguese & Spanish 

"Dear professional people, my dear friends in Christ,
1. It is a joy for me to be able to greet the representatives of various professions from different parts of the Philippines : lawyers, doctors, nurses, engineers, educators and members of other professions as well. Many of you are in positions of leadership or community service in the world, or lay leaders in the Church — you are people who have had the benefit of education and training.

Permit me to go immediately to the heart of my message. It is this: Jesus Christ needs yοu for the building up of his Kingdom on earth. And the Church needs your special gifts, individually and collectively, to fulfill her mission of communicating Christ. Moreover, millions of your fellowmen and women count on your services in order to live worthy lives in accordance with their human and Christian dignity.

2. You can see then that this meeting emphasizes the Church's great interest in you, and her desire to consult, to listen to and to bring together all those who play a responsible part in the different fields of culture, and who exercise this responsibility in a Christian spirit of service. As representatives of professions that require greater educational attainment, and as creators and spreaders of culture, you share the Church's life and mission in a specific way.

This present meeting also emphasizes the need to gο beyond an individualistic way of life. It is up to you to create ever more effective forms of association and collaboration between Catholics belonging to the professions in general and within each profession in particular, sο that yοu can reflect upon your responsibilities as Christians in the light of faith and the Church's social teaching.

3. You are people who have reached your present positions as a result of hard and serious efforts, both personal and collective. Personal efforts, in the sense that the studies which yοu undertook in order to obtain your professional qualifications certainly demanded of you sacrifice, self-discipline and intellectual rigor. It is only after you have reached the goal that yοu can properly appreciate the path that has led to it. One only reaps the fruits of what was well sown in the first place.

But you are also the result of a great effort on the collective level. For your families and your nation have had to invest great material and spiritual resources in order to train and perfect ever more numerous builders of society, with a solid intellectual and technical education.

4. You have a twofold calling. In the first place, you have to meet your personal needs and those of your families, through the exercise of your professions. In this you have sometimes experienced difficulties and frustrations and perhaps even discouragement. And yet you must not give up, knowing as you do that you are also called upon to make your contribution to the service of the common good.

When things are going well, never shut yourselves off from society for the sake of making money, gaining power or acquiring more knowledge ; do not retreat into a position of privilege. May you put your talents to good use by serving ever more generously the needs and aspirations of all your brothers and sisters in the Philippines. I am thinking in particular of that great number of people who, as a result of different circumstances — injustice, poverty, the need to make a bare living, the lack of cultural stimulus — have been unable to attain the levels of university training and education that you have enjoyed.

Thus there is a close link between your demanding professional activities and the hard toil of the factory worker, the life of the worker on the land, the self-denial of the housewife in her home. This is why your sensitivity to human and Christian values will be the source of a creative energy that will help yοu to place yοur skills and your activity really and effectively at the service of yοur people, in response to their needs.

The complete development of the people of yοur country, and the satisfaction of their spiritual and material needs, call for much effort on your part; health-care for everyone; the defense of the sacred nature of human life and its promotion; the affirmation of the role of law in social and political relations if true order and real freedom are to be ensured; the building of worthy housing, properly adapted to every family and every individual; the education of youth by teaching directed towards the search for truth and its affirmation; the balanced and fruitful management of natural resources in order to ensure that everyone has a fair share of their benefits: all these are matters that concern you directly.

It is often the case that the great percentage of the lay people who are zealously endeavoring as organized groups to permeate temporal affairs with the spirit of the Gospel and to build genuine Christian communities come mostly from non-professional groups. Thus an unfortunate impression is created that the leader/professional groups are not deeply interested in religious activities.

In a country where the vast majority of people look up to the leaders and are easily encouraged by example, this apostolate of witness and example has great effectiveness and should be increasingly adopted. I sincerely hope that you can offer more and more of your talent and time in the service of the Church, in the lay apostolate of building up an authentic Christian community. Those, for example, who are recognized leaders in the field of health can do much to promote the Catholic principles regarding the intrinsic value of life in all its stages. Similarly, in the other professions, true Christian leadership is most effective.

5. May your efforts in this direction always be sustained by inflexible integrity of conduct, in the midst of the professional problems that you meet. But even more, may they be inspired by a desire to help those who are most in need, so that your service will be ruled by the criteria of justice and truth, of freedom and integrity, and be crowned with love. Remember always that as Christians you are called to live in accordance with the principles that you have learned from Christ and his Church. You are called to live upright lives consistent with your Gospel principles.

6. Everyone is aware that the disciplines that you exercise call for constant renewal, in order that yοu may keep up with the rapid pace of new discoveries. Your capacity to adapt yourselves and to keep abreast of these developments will depend on your constant study of the basic principles underlying these disciplines. And may your Catholic faith also be constantly renewed ; may it grow deeper and develop, through the radical dynamism of constant conversion to Christ, a conversion animated by a life lived according to the Gospel and in harmony with the Magisterium, nourished by a life of personal piety based upon prayer and the reception of the sacraments. May the testimony of your faith shine brightly in your professional lives, as well as in your personal and family lives.

7. You are aware of the present-day risks involved in shutting oneself up within the narrow limits of a "specialization". Such specializations can narrow one's horizons, fragment one's personal life and obscure the rich nature of life in general. It is very clear that professional specialization must be considered within the wider setting of what is called general culture. It is in this context that I urge you to take as your fundamental points of reference the religious and ethical values that are the powerful promoters of culture by shedding their light on man's different problems and deepest aspirations and by transforming his whole life and all his knowledge. Your professional experience will thus gain in depth, perspective and fruitfulness.

As Catholics with greater educational attainment and as representatives of the professions, you are called upon to show how knowledge and professional work blend with the wealth and resources of the culture of the people of the Philippines. That culture is rooted in the Christian tradition, and is therefore imbued with liberating and life-giving wisdom concerning the being and dignity of the human person, concerning the meaning of his life, his death and his final destiny.

I greet you once more, and in your persons I greet your families and all the representatives of the professions in this great country. May God grant you his abundant blessings!

8. And now I would like to address myself to another group among yοu, those men and women so very dear to the Church and to your Pope — the catechists.

Thank you, my dear catechists, for the gift of your presence. Thank you for permitting me to tell yοu, and through you, all the other catechists of the country who are not here with us, how much you are needed.

The world needs you because it needs catechesis. For the most precious gift that the Church can offer the modern world — confused and restless as it is — is to form Christians sure about essentials and humbly joyful in their faith. Catechesis does this, and it does this through yοu.

The Church needs yοu. She needs yοu in order to be able to accomplish her absolutely fundamental task of forming Christ in the hearts of people, of putting people in intimate communion with Christ [cf Catechesi Tradendae, 5]. In catechesis, it is Christ, the Word Incarnate and the Son of God, who is taught, and everything else that is taught is with reference to him. How noble and important then is yοur service! But it is difficult as well as noble, delicate as well as important.

Catechesis is not just a matter of transmitting ideas. It involves above all communicating Christ and his life-giving message and helping people to give their response of faith and love.

What do you need, my dear catechists, in order to elicit the proper response to Christ's message of life? You need to be faithful to Christ, to his Church and to man.

You must be faithful first of all to Christ, to his truth, to his mandate ; otherwise there would be distortion, betrayal. As catechists you are, after all, echoes of Christ [CT, 6]. The Church too should be the object of your consistent faithfulness. For catechesis, which is growth in faith and the maturing of the Christian life, is a work that Christ wills to accomplish in his Church. An authentic catechist must necessarily be an ecclesial catechist. Finally, yοu must be faithful to man, for the Lοrd's word and message is intended for every human person. Not an abstract, imaginary person, but the individual who lives in time, with his or her difficulties, problems and hopes. It is to this person that the Gospel must be proclaimed, so that through it he or she may receive from the Holy Spirit the light and strength to come to full Christian maturity. To a large extent, the effectiveness of catechesis will depend on its capacity to give meaning, Christian meaning, to everything that constitutes man's life in this world.

Beloved catechists, I have spoken to you with deep affection. I would like to stay with yοu longer, but I must meet yοur other brothers and sisters as well. Before leaving, however, I assure you of my confidence, give you my love and assure you of the peace of Christ.

May the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother and Model of all catechists, guide yοu in your great mission to communicate Christ. May she give joy to you and yοur families and protect the Philippines forever."

Papa St JPII's words to Students at Santo Tomas University
Manila, Wednesday 18 February 1981 - also in 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 [cf Jn 15, 15]. It also notes the special affection that he had for the young [cf Mk 10, 21].

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" [Gravissimum Educationis, 10]. 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 Saint 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" [Lk 2, 52]. This is not just a statement of what happened in history. This is also an invitation to yοu. Christ's word "follow me" [Mt 4, 19] 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" [GE, note 33]. 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" [Gaudium et Spes, 7].

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 Saint Thomas Aquinas" [GE, 10].

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."

Papa St JPII's words to the People of Tondo District
Manila, Wednesday 18 February 1981 - also in Italian, Portuguese & Spanish 

"Mga ginigiliw kong kapatid kay Kristo (My dear brothers and sisters in Christ),

1. Kay tindi ng ligaya na aking nadarama sa mga sandaling ito! (What intense happiness I feel at this very moment!) I have looked forward to this visit, because I wanted to tell you that you are the Pope's beloved friends, to whom he wishes to bring the message of lοve that Jesus entrusted to his Church. My visit to you as the successor of the Apostle Peter is a visit of love. It cannot be anything else, because I see in you Christ himself and to him I have pledged my love. In telling Peter that he was to be the shepherd of the flock, Jesus asked him three times, with ever greater insistence: "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" [Jn 21, 15]. And Saint Peter professed his love for Christ. I too profess my love fοr Christ, and in coming to yοu I simply want to give testimony to that love. I simply want to repeat to yοu the words of Christ who said: "As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you" [Jn 15, 9].

2. I thank the Lord for giving me this opportunity to come to Tondo District and meet the people of Foreshoreland, and in particular the people of the Parish of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage. The name Tondo is linked in a special way with the name of my predecessor Paul VI, the first worldwide pilgrim Pope of modern times. When he came here more than ten years agο, he blessed the beginnings of this parish in the middle of an area where human and Christian needs were many and deep. He pleaded for greater respect for the rights of the human person, fοr the dignity of the children of God ; he asked for greater awareness of the plight of the people on the part of civil and Church authorities.

I have been told that much has happened since that time, that the various sectors of society have shown greater concern, and especially that the people of Tondo themselves have achieved much by forming their own organizations for spiritual, pastoral, social and economic development. But so much more needs to be done to make Tondo a place of hope for every man, woman and child who calls this place home.

3. When we think about the many problems that face you daily, when we think about the many people in other areas, in the slums of the big cities and in the neglected rural zones in other parts of the Philippines, then we think about Christ. In the faces of the poor I see the face of Christ. In the life of the poor I see reflected the life of Christ.

In turn, the poor and those discriminated against identify more easily with Christ, for in him they discover one of their own. Right from the beginning of his life, at the blessed moment of his birth as Son of the Virgin Mary, Jesus was homeless, for there was no place for him in the inn [Lk 2, 7]. When his parents took him up to Jerusalem for the first time, to present their offering in the temple, they were numbered among the poor and they offered the gift of the poor [cf Lk 2, 25]. In his childhood he was a refugee, forced to flee the hatred that broke loose in persecution, to leave his own land and live in exile on foreign soil. As a boy, he was able to confound the learned teachers with his wisdom, but he still worked with his hands as a humble carpenter like his foster-father Joseph. After speaking out and explaining the Scriptures in the synagogue at Nazareth, "the carpenter's son" was rejected [Mt 1, 55 cf Lk 4, 29]. Even one of the disciples chosen to follow him asked: "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" [Jn 1, 46].

He was also the victim of injustice and torture and was put to death without anyone coming to his defense. Yes, he was the brother of the poor; it was his mission — for he was sent by God the Father and anointed by the Holy Spirit — to proclaim the Gospel to the poor [Lk 4, 18]. He praised the poor when he uttered this unsettling challenge to all who want to be his followers: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" [Mt 5, 3].

4. Blessed are the poor in spirit! This is the opening statement of the Sermon on the Mount, in which Jesus proclaimed the Beatitudes as the program for all who want to follow him. The Beatitudes were meant not only for the people of his own day but for all generations throughout the ages; they are an invitation to everyone who accepts the name of Christian. This was the message that I held up in Brazil to the slum dwellers in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro and to the inhabitants of the muddy peninsula of Salvador da Bahia. This is the message that I present to rich and poor alike, the message that the Church in the Philippines, as elsewhere, must make her own and put into practice. Any Church that wants to be a Church of the poor must heed this challenge, discover its full depth and implement its full truth.

Here in Tondo, and in other parts of this land, there are many poor people, and in them I also see the poor in spirit whom Jesus called blessed. The poor in spirit are these that keep their eyes on God, and their hearts open to his divine workings. They accept the gift of life as a gift frοm on high, and value it because it comes from God. With gratitude towards the Creator and mercy towards their fellow human beings, they are ready to share what they have with those in greater need. They love their families and children and share their homes and tables with the hungry child and the homeless youth. The poor in spirit grοw rich in human qualities; they are close to God, ready to listen to his voice and to sing his praises.

5. Being poor in spirit does not mean being unconcerned with the problems that beset the community, and nobody has a keener sense of justice than the poor people who suffer the injustices that circumstances and human selfishness heap upon them. Finding strength in human solidarity, the poor by their very existence indicate the obligation of justice that confronts society and all who have power, whether economic, cultural or political. And so it is the same truth of the first Beatitude that indicates a path that every person must walk.

It tells those that live in material poverty that their dignity, their human dignity, must be preserved, that their inviolable human rights must be cherished and protected. It also tells them that they themselves can achieve much if they pool their skills and talents, and especially their determination to be the artisans of their own progress and development.

The first Beatitude tells the rich, who enjoy material well-being or who accumulate a disproportionate share of material goods, that man is great not by reason of what he possesses but by what he is — not by what he has but by what he shares with others. Poor in spirit is the rich man who does not close heart, but faces up to the intolerable situations that perpetuate the poverty and misery of the many who are constantly hungry and deprived of their rightful chances to grow and develop their human potential, who lack decent housing and sufficient clothing, who suffer illness for want of even basic health care, who grow desperate for want of employment that would enable them to provide, through honest work, for the needs of their families.

Poor in spirit indeed is the rich man who does not rest so long as a brother or sister is entrapped in ιnjustice and powerlessness. Poor in spirit is the one who holds political power and remembers that it is given for the common good only, and who never ceases to devise means to organize all sectors of society according to the demands of the dignity and equality that is the birthright of every man, woman and child that God has called into existence.

6. The Church herself, the Church in Asia, in the Philippines and in Tondo, will heed the call of the Beatitudes and be the Church of the poor because she must do what Jesus did and proclaim the Gospel to the pοor [cf Lk 4, 18]. But the preference that the Church shows for the poor and underprivileged does not mean that she directs her concern only to one group or class or category.

She preaches the same message to all: that God loves man and sent his Son for the salvation of all, that Jesus Christ is the Savior, "the way, and the truth, and the life" [Jn 14, 6]. Being the Church of the poor means that she will speak the language of the Beatitudes to all people, to all groups or professions, to all ideologies, to all political and economic systems. She does so, not to serve political interests, nor to acquire power, nor to offer pretexts for violence, but to save man in his humanity and in his supernatural destiny.

Defending the human dignity of the poor and their hope for a human future is not a luxury for the Church, nor is it a strategy of opportunism, nor a means for currying favor with the masses. It is her duty because it is God who wishes all human beings to live in accordance with the dignity that he bestowed on them. It is the mission of the Church to travel the path of man "because man — without any exception whatever — has been redeemed by Christ, and because with man — with each man without any exception whatever — Christ is in a way united, even when man is unaware of it" [Redemptor Hominis, 14].

The Church will therefore preach to the poor the whole Gospel; she will encourage them to be faithful to the divine life which they have received in Baptism, the life which is nourished in the Eucharist and which is revived and supported through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. For the same reason, I encourage you, the people of Tondo, and all the People of God in the Philippines, to exercise your individual and corporate responsibility for increasing catechetical instruction as you endeavor to implement fully the social teachings of the Church. Be fully convinced of how important it is for every future generation of Filipinos to be aware of the supreme dignity to which they are called, which is eternal life in Christ Jesus.

7. My dear friends of Tondo, be faithful to Christ, and joyfully embrace his Gospel of salvation. Do not be tempted by ideologies that preach only material values or purely temporal ideals, which separate political, social and economic development from the things of the spirit, and in which happiness is sought apart from Christ. The road towards your total liberation is not the way of violence, class struggle or hate; it is the way of love, brotherhood and peaceful solidarity. I know that yοu understand me, yοu the poor of Tondo, for yοu are blessed and possess the kingdom of heaven. And when I go away, always remember these words of Jesus: "if the Son makes yοu free, yοu will be free indeed" [Jn 8, 36].

Because of Christ I make all your concerns and struggles my own; because of my love in Christ I am with yοu in your efforts to secure a worthy future for yourselves and your children; because of Christ's supreme love for yοu I preach to you an uplifting Gospel of eternal life.

I pray for you, for each one of yοu, for yοur families, for yοur children, fοr the young and the old, for the sick and the suffering. I pray that the strength of Jesus may be in your hearts as you work together to improve your lives, to be good Christians and good citizens. I pray that yοu will find Jesus in each other and in every fellow human being. And I pray that together you will find him and adore him — the eternal Son of God — in the arms of his Mother, Mary.

Αnd may Our Lady of Peace and Goοd Voyage be a loving Mother to you all!

Mabuhay kayong lahat! (Long live you all!)"

Pope St John Paul II's homily at Holy Mass with the Beatification of Lawrence Ruiz, Dominic Ibáñez de Erquicia OP, James Kyushei Tomonaga OP & 13 Companions
Manila, Wednesday 18th February 1981 - also in Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

“Dear brothers and sisters in the Lord,
1. The City of Manila and all the Philippines are filled with joy on this day as they sing a hymn of glory to Jesus Christ. For, according to his Gospel promise, Christ is truly acknowledging, in the presence of his Father in heaven, those faithful martyrs who acknowledged him before men [cf Mt, 10, 32]. And because of the nearness of Luneta Park to old Manila "intra muros", the hymn of glory to God which has just been sung by numberless voices is an echo of the Te Deum sung in the Church of Santo Domingo on the evening of December 27, 1637, when the news arrived of the martyrdom at Nagasaki of a group of six Christians. Among them were the head of the mission, Father Antonio González, a Spanish Dominican from León, and Lorenzo Ruiz, a married man with a family, born in Manila "extra muros" : in the suburb of Binondo.

These witnesses had also in their turn sung psalms to the Lord of mercy and power, both while they were in prison and during their execution by the gallows and the pit, which lasted three days. The song of these "designated" martyrs—to use a definition made by my predecessor Benedict XIV — was followed in Manila, then as now, by the song of thanksgiving for the martyrs nοw "consummated" and "glorified". Te martyrum candidatus laudat exercitus: they belonged indeed to a white-robed throng, whose members included those of the white legion of the Order of Preachers.

2. Our hymn is at same time a hymn of faith that conquers the world [1 Jn 5, 4]. The preaching of this faith enlightens like the sun all who wish to attain the knowledge of truth. Indeed, although there are different languages in the world, the power of the Christian tradition is the same. And so, as Saint Irenaeus explains, the Churches founded in Germany or in Spain believe and teach no differently from the Churches founded in the East or in the central parts of the world.

I therefore greet with deep affection in Christ Jesus the European Churches in Italy, France and Spain, and the Asian Churches in Taiwan, Macau, the Philippines and Japan, represented here or at least spiritually united to this ceremony of the beatification of sixteen martyrs who belong to them by birth, apostolic work or martyrdom.

3. The Lord Jesus by his blood truly redeemed his servants, gathered from every race, tongue, people and nation, to make them a royal priesthood for our God [cf Apoc 5, 9-10]. The sixteen blessed martyrs, by the exercise of their priesthood—that of baptism or of Holy Orders — performed the greatest act of worship and love of God by the sacrifice of their blood united with Christ's own Sacrifice of the Cross. In this way they imitated Christ the priest and victim in the most perfect way possible for human creatures [cf S Th 11-11, q124 a3]. It was at the same time an act of the greatest possible love for their brethren, for whose sake we are all called to sacrifice ourselves, following the example of the Son of God who sacrificed himself for us [cf Jn 3, 16].

4. This is what Lorenzo Ruiz did. Guided by the Holy Spirit to an unexpected goal after an adventurous journey, he told the court that he was a Christian, and must die for God, and wοuld give his life for him a thousand times [cf Positio, p47].

Kahit maging sanglibo man
Ang buhay n'yaring katawan
Pawa kong ipapapatay,
Kung inyong pagpipilitang
Si Kristo'y aking talikdan.

(Had I many thousands of lives I would offer them all for him. Never shall I apostatize. You may kill me if that is what you want. To die for God — such is my will.)

Here we have him summed up ; here we have a description of his faith and the reason fοr his death. It was at this moment that this young father of a family professed and brought to completion the Christian catechesis that he had received in the Dominican Friars' school in Binondo: a catechesis that cannot be other than Christ-centered, by reason both of the mystery it contains and the fact that it is Christ who teaches through the lips of his messenger [cf Catechesi Tradendae, 5-6].

This is the Christian essence of the first Beatus of the Philippine nation, today exalted as a fitting climax to the fourth centenary of the Archdiocese of Manila. Just as the young Church in Jerusalem brought forth its first martyr for Christ in the person of the deacon Stephen, sο the young Church in Manila, founded in 1579, brought forth its first martyr in the person of Lorenzo Ruiz, who had served in the parish church of Saint Gabriel in Binondo. The local parish and the family, the domestic church, are indeed the center of faith that is lived, taught and witnessed to.

5. The example of Lorenzo Ruiz, the son of a Chinese father and Tagala mother, reminds us that everyone's life and the whole of one's life must be at Christ's disposal. Christianity means daily giving, in response to the gift of Christ who came into the world so that all might have life and have it to the full [cf Jn 10,10]. Or, as so aptly expressed in the theme of my visit to this country : To die for the faith is a gift to some; to live the faith is a call for all.

I too have come from the city of the martyrs Peter and Paul to this capital city to speak to you about the meaning of our existence, about the value of living and dying for Christ. And that is what I wish to affirm by this act of beatification, desired by myself and by my predecessor Paul VI, and requested by the various local Churches and by the Dominican Order.

6. But the attractive figure of the first Filipino martyr would not be fully explained in its historical context without extolling the witness given by fifteen companions, who suffered in 1633, 1634 and 1637. They form the group led by two men : Domingo Ibáñez de Erquicia, the vicar provincial of the Japanese mission and a native of Régil in the Spanish Diocese of San Sebastián; and Jacobo Kyuhei Tomonaga, a native of Kyudetsu in the Diocese of Nagasaki.

Both of these belonged to the Dominican Province of the Holy Rosary in the Philippines, established in 1587 for the evangelization of the Far East. The whole group of Lorenzo's companions was composed of nine priests, two professed brothers, two members of the Third Order, and a catechist and a guide-interpreter. Nine were Japanese, four were Spaniards, one a Frenchman, and one an Italian. They had one reason for their evangelical witness: the reason of Saint Paul, baptized by Ananias to carry the name of Christ to all peoples [cf Acts 9,15]: "We have come to Japan only to preach faith in God and to teach salvation to little ones and to the innocent and to all the rest of the people". Thus did the martyr Guillaume Courtet sum up their mission before the judges at Nagasaki [cf Positio, p412-414].

7. I shall have the joy of speaking again about these brave apostles in a few days' time, in Nagasaki, near that holy hill called Nishizaka, where they suffered martyrdom. By their place of death they are all Japanese. That archipelago was the land of their true and definitive birth, the birth that brings the adopted children of God to eternal light.

8. Fοr the moment, as we consider the place where they are being beatified, I would dwell upon the fact that the city of Manila, the island of Luzón and the island of Formosa, which at time came under a single civil gοvernment, were the wide and providential starting-point of the nine priests who later sailed for Nagasaki. There was a ministry among the Chinese of the suburb of Bínondo, among the Japanese colony in Manila, among the peoples of the regions of Bataán, Pangasinán, Cagayán, and, further north, in Formosa. For some of them there was a teaching assignment in the College of Santo Tomás in Manila, which in 1645 became the present Pontifical University, the oldest and the largest Catholic university in the Far East.

Four of the new Beati were professors in the College, one was also the Rector, and a fifth had studied there. In the first century of the evangelization of the Far East, begun by the preaching of Saint Francis Xavier, the Philippine Islands had already, in this university institution, a further means of carrying out the mission of evangelization [cf Sapientia Christiana]. A fruitful program aimed at imparting theological knowledge and propagating the faith, which still today is enhanced by the cultural heritage of the Philippines and vivified by the Christian spirit, is a fitting instrument for assisting the spread of the Gospel.

The harmonious mingling of faith and culture is spoken of by the Filipino poet and national hero José Rizal, in these verses :

Tal la Educación estrecha alianza
Con alma Religión une sincera:
Por ella Educación renombre alcanza ;
Y ay ! del ser que ciego desechando
De santa Religión sabias doctrinas,
De su puro raudal huye nefando.

All the more therefore, it is my duty and the object of my apostolic ministry to confirm my brethren in the truth [cf Lk 22,32], and to repeat to the missionaries, to the students of theological and human sciences, as well as to all the Catholics of East Asia, the words of Christ : "You shall be my witnesses ... to the ends of the earth" [Acts 1,8].

9. Let us endeavor to imitate the commitment to faith and the fidelity to commitment of those who, through their difficult missionary task, accepted with joy and steadfastness hard journeys, difficulties of climate, betrayal even by their friends, privations of every kind and terrible tortures. They were so much in love with Christ's Passion that they could cry out, like Miguel de Aozaraza contemplating Christ's wounds : "What beautiful carnations, what bloodred roses shed for love of you, my God!" [cf Positio, p446]. They asked Mary, as did Giordano Ansalone, to enable them to recover their health, sο that they could die only as victims for Christ.

I entrust all this to Mary, who, with her rosary, helped our martyrs to imitate and to proclaim her Son ; to be intrepid guardians of his word, like the courageous women Magdalena of Nagasaki and Marina of Omura. I entrust the destiny of the Philippines and of all Asia to Mary, Queen of the Rosary, who with the title of "La Naval" is venerated as the guardian of freedom for the Catholic faith.

10. This is the full meaning of this beatification : to animate all the Christians of the Far East and to spread the word of the Lord [cf 2 Thess 3,1]. In a special way I say this to you Filipinos, who form the only predominantly Catholic nation in the eastern part of the continent of Asia. It is an invitation that I also extend to the other Christians of the nearby lands that border the Pacific Ocean like a symbol of the search for God described by Saint Catherine of Siena : "A deep sea, in which the further I enter it the more I find ; and the mοre I find the more I look fοr you. You are insatiable, for as the soul becomes satiated in your abyss, it is not satiated, because it always remains hungry for you, thirsty for yοu, desiring to see you by the light of your light" [Dialogue, ch167].

Dearly beloved : amidst the efforts needed for our own Christian lives, and for spreading the light of Christ thoughout Asia and the whole world, let us look today to these zealous martyrs who give us deep assurance and fresh hope when they tell us : "In all this we are more than conquerors because of him who has loved us" [Rom 8,37]. And this is the mystery we celebrate today : the love of Jesus Christ, who is the light of the world. Amen."

St John Paul II's address to the Chinese Catholic Communities in Asia
Manila, Wednesday 18th February 1981 - also in Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

“Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
1. I find it very significant and important to have the opportunity to say a brief word to Chinese Christians during my pastoral visit to Asia. I greet in a particular way Archbishop Mattew Kia and the other Bishops accompanying him, who have honored me with their presence during my pastoral visit to the Philippines. Most sincerely I thank you for coming as the representatives of the Christians of Overseas Chinese Communities to meet me here in Manila.

Some of yοu have lived for generations in the Philippines or in other Asian countries ; others have come here more recently. I know that it is your desire to be fully integrated into the life of the country where you live, and to contribute by your work, as good citizens, to the prosperity of the nation that is now your home. At the same time you wish to remain united in spirit with your relatives and friends in China. You wish to preserve the traditional Chinese moral values and culture that link yοu to your families' country of origin, the country you will always love dearly and to the progress of which yοu are willing to offer all the help desired.

You are also members of the local church communities. These strengthen your commitment to Christ, and imbue you with the same Christian spirit that has been, in the past, the hallmark of the Chinese Christian communities in various countries of the world. Famous people in Chinese history have encountered Christ and have become Christians through the contact they had with those fervent and dynamic communities. If you maintain that spirit, if you live inspired by the Christian faith and strengthened by the specifically Chinese moral traditions, you will in a profound way be truly Christian and truly Chinese, and contribute to the richness of the whole Church.

Through you who are present here, I now wish to reach out to all who are in China and to greet, with joy and affection, all my brothers and sisters in Christ who live in that vast land.

2. I, John Paul II, Bishop of Rome and Successor of Peter, greet you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, my dear brothers and sisters in China. On my first pastoral visit to Asia I shall meet with the Bishops, clergy, religious and laity of the Church in the Philippines and in Japan, in order to speak to them about the merciful love of God, to proclaim the name of Jesus, "for there is no other name under heaven given by which we must be saved" [Acts 4, 12], and to encourage them to witness to the Gospel. Travelling so close to the borders of your country, I also wanted to speak to you, for across the distances that separate us we are all united "in the name of the Lord Jesus" [Col 3, 12].

Ever since God's providence in its mysterious ways called me from my native Poland to the See of Peter in Rome, I have ardently desired to express my affection and esteem to all my brothers and sisters of the Church in China, and to praise the Lord for the great things that he has wrought in the hearts of those who profess his name in the cities and villages of your immense land.

The Spirit of the Lord is at work in all peoples and nations, and to this Spirit I have wanted to bear witness by making it the special gοal of my pilgrimage to Asia to honour the Martyrs of Nagasaki. Through them I pay homage to all the men and women in Asia who have offered up their lives for the name of Jesus, giving proof thereby that the Gospel of Christ and his Church are not alien to any people or any nation but that they live in the hearts and in the minds of the people of all races and nations around the wοrld.

And so, in greeting you, I make my own the words of the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Church in Rome : "First I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you and for the way in which your faith is spoken of all over the world ... I am longing to see you either to strengthen you by sharing a spiritual gift with yοu, or what is better, to find encouragement among yοu from our common faith" [Rom 1, 8,11-12].

3. Through my humble words, I also want to express my esteem for your great country. Your country is great indeed, not only in terms of geographical extension and population, but especially because of its history, the wealth of its culture, and the moral values that the people have cultivated all through the ages. The Jesuit, Father Matteo Ricci, understood and appreciated Chinese culture fully from the beginning, and his example should serve as an inspiration to many. Others, at times, did not show the same understanding. But whatever difficulties there may have been, they belong to the past, and now it is the future that we have to lοοk to.

Your country is indeed devoting all its energies to the future. It wishes to ensure, through scientific and technological development, and through the industrious collaboration of all its people, that its citizens can live in true happiness. I am convinced that every Catholic within your frontiers will fully contribute to the building up of China, since a genuine and faithful Christian is also a genuine and good citizen. A Christian — in any country of the world — is faithful to God, but he also has a deep sense of duty and of love towards his native land and his own people. He respects the things of the spirit and at the same time he consecrates his talents and skills to the common good. A good Chinese Catholic works lοyally for the progress of the nation, observes the obligations of filial piety towards parents, family and country. Strengthened by the Gospel message, he will cultivate, like all good Chinese, the "five main virtues" of charity, justice, temperance, prudence and fidelity.

4. The Church seeks to respect the traditions and cultural values of every people, following what Saint Paul said when he entreated the early Christians of Philippi to treasure "whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious" [Phil 4, 8]. From earliest times, the Church has learned to express the truth of Christ through the help of ideas and in the culture of various peoples, because the message that she preaches is intended for all peoples and nations. The Christian message is not the exclusive property of any one group or race ; it is addressed to everyone and belongs to everyone. There is therefore no opposition or incompatibility in being at the same time truly Christian and authentically Chinese.

In proclaiming Jesus Christ as the eternal Son of God and Savior of the world, the Church has no other aim than to be faithful to the mission entrusted to her by her Divine Founder. She has no political or economic goals, she has no worldly mission. She wants to be, in China as in any other country, the herald of the kingdom of God. She desires no privileges, but only that all those who follow Christ may be able to express their faith freely and publicly and to live according to their consciences.

Christ came to serve and to bear witness to the truth. In the same spirit the Church will offer her contribution to fostering human brotherhood and the dignity of every human being. She therefore encourages her members to be good Christians and exemplary citizens dedicated to the common good and to the service of their fellowman, and collaborating through their personal efforts to the progress of their country.

5. All this I say to you, dear brothers and sisters, because I feel so near to you. The course of history, shaped by human decisions, has been such that for many years we have not been able to have contact with each other. Very little was known about you, your joys, your hopes, and also your sufferings. Recently however, from various parts of your immense land information about yοu has reached me. But in those lοng years you have undoubtedly lived through other experiences which are still unknown, and at times you will have wondered in your consciences what was the right thing for you to do. For those who have never had such experiences it is difficult to appreciate fully such situations.

Yet, I want yοu to know that, all through this period and up to the present day, I, and the universal Church with me, have been with you in thought, in prayer, in genuine brotherly love and in pastoral cοncern. I place my trust in your faith and in the Lord who promised : "Do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour" [Mt 10, 19]. If you remain united with the Lord in faith and prayer, he will strengthen and guide you.

I also wish to express my deep admiration of the testimonies of heroic faith that many of you have shown and are still showing today. The whole Church is proud of yοu and feels strengthened through your witness. At the same time she hopes that you in your turn have been strengthened by her continuous prayer and communion in our Lord Jesus Christ.

6. What unites us, dear brothers and sisters, is not a bond of physical nature or a political allegiance, but faith in him who is the Son of God and Savior of the world and who has proclaimed the brotherhood of all men. It is he, Jesus Christ, whο lοves all people irrespective of their race or culture, or their social or political status. We are all brothers and sisters, and at the center of Jesus' message is the call to universal brotherhood. Is it not inspiring to discover that a similar message is aptly expressed in your Chinese saying: "Between the four seas, all men are brothers"? More than at any other time, there is a need for us to proclaim this message all over the world, since injustice and discrimination among peoples and nations still linger on.

7. As I am travelling so near to your great country, let me send you a message that comes from my heart and from our common faith. At this time of grace and change, I say : open your hearts and minds to God, who in his divine providence guides all events and pursues his plan in all that happens. Out of human suffering and even out of weakness and error, the Lord creates new growth. It is my sincere and heartfelt hope that some day soon we shall all be able to join together, praising the Lord and saying : "Behold how gοοd and pleasant it is to dwell in unity as brothers" [Ps 133, 1].

I entrust you all to Mary, Virgin most faithful, Queen of China. May the peace of Jesus Christ her Son be with you all. May God bless China!"

St John Paul II's address to the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Philippines
Manila, Wednesday 18th February 1981 - also in Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

“Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
1. I have come to this part of the world to meet the Catholic communities of the Philippines and Japan, and to present to both nations the expression of the profound esteem in which the Church holds them. At the same time I am also very pleased to have the opportunity to be with you this evening, since, as diplomats accredited to the Government of this land, you represent peoples not only in Asia but throughout the whole world. Later in my program, I shall address myself directly to the Asian peoples ; but I cannot let the present occasion pass without expressing here before you the joy I experience in being able, through you, to greet the peoples and the Governments of your nations, many of whom maintain most cordial relations with the Holy See.

I wish to reiterate the deep esteem which the Catholic Church has for the noble cultural and religious traditions of all peoples, and to reaffirm her desire to be of service to all in the common pursuit of peace, justice and human advancement.

2. The Church has no political ambitions. When she offers her own specific contribution to the great permanent tasks of mankind—peace, justice, development and every worthy effort aimed at promoting and defending human dignity—she does so because she is convinced that such action is related to her mission.

This mission is concerned with the salvation of man : the whole human being, the individual person who fulfills his or her eternal vocation in temporal history, within a complex of communities and societies. When giving attention to individuals' and peoples' needs and aspirations, the Church follows the command of her Founder ; she implements the solicitude of Christ for each and every person, especially for the poor and for those who are suffering. Her own contribution to the humanization of society and the world derives from Jesus Christ and his Gospel. Through her social teaching, the Church does not present prefabricated models, nor does she align herself with prevailing and passing practices. Rather, with reference to Jesus Christ she strives to bring about a transformation of hearts and minds so that man can see himself in the full truth of his humanity.

3. The Church's action therefore is not political, or economic, or technical. The Church is not competent in the fields of technology or science, nor does she assert herself through power politics. Her competence, like her mission, is religious and moral in nature; and she must remain within her proper field of competence, lest her action be ineffective or irresponsible. It is the Church's practice therefore to respect the specific area of responsibility of the State, without interfering in the tasks of the politicians and without participating directly in the management of temporal affairs.

At the same time the Church encourages her members to assume their full responsibility as citizens of a given nation and to seek together with their fellow human beings the paths and models which can best promote the progress of society. She sees as her specific contribution the strengthening of the spiritual and moral bases of society, and as a service to humanity she assists people in forming their consciences correctly.

4. It is in this sense that I wish my journey through Asia to be a call for peace and for human progress, and an encouragement for all those who are engaged in protecting and promoting the dignity of all human beings. I also hope that my meeting with you this evening will reinforce your own sense of mission in the service of your countries and of the whole human family. For is it not the mission of a diplomat to be a builder of bridges between nations, to be a specialist in dialogue and understanding, to be a defender of the dignity of man, so that the common welfare of all may be promoted?

Beyond the fostering of legitimate interests of your own nation, your mission directs you in a special way to the wider concerns of the whole human family, particularly on this Asian continent. Inspired as you are by the noblest ideals of brotherhood, you will, I am sure, share my concern for peace and progress in this area, and you will understand the need to face the deeper causes of the problems that plague nations and peoples.

In my recent Encyclical on the Mercy of God I have indicated what I believe to be the " sources of uneasiness". I have cited the fear connected with the prospect of a conflict that, in view of the stockpiling of atomic weapons, could mean the partial self-destruction of humanity. I have drawn attention to what human beings can do to other human beings through the means provided by an ever mοre sophisticated military technology.

But I have also drawn attention to other elements when I wrote: " Sian rightly fears falling victim to an oppression that will deprive him of his interior freedom, of the possibility of expressing the truth of which he is convinced, of the faith that he professes, of the ability to obey the voice of conscience that tells him the right path to follow. The technical means at the disposal of modern society conceal within themselves not only the possibility of destruction through military conflict, but also the possibility of a peaceful subjugation of individuals, of environments, of entire societies and of nations, that for one reason or another might prove inconvenient for those who possess the necessary means and are ready to use them without scruple" [n 11].

I have mentioned the tragic problem of the many who suffer from hunger and malnutrition and of the increasing state of inequality between individuals and nations whereby "side by side with those who are wealthy and living in plenty there exist those who are living in want, suffering, misery and often actually dying of hunger" [n 11].

5. But in that same document, I also stated (and I would like to leave this thought with you for your reflection) : " The experience of the past and of our own time demonstrates that justice alone is not enough, that it can even lead to the negation and destruction of itself, if that deeper power, which is love, is not allowed to shape human life in its various dimensions" [n 12].

Yes, dear friends, my message to you this evening concerns this same power of love. A love that is deeply felt and effectively expressed in concrete actions, individual as well as collective, is indeed the moving force that enables man to be true to himself. Only love can make peoples really responsive to the call of the needy. And may it be this same force—fraternal love—that impels you to ever higher peaks of service and solidarity. Ladies and gentlemen, in the lofty diplomatic mission that is yours be assured of my total support."

Papa San Juan Pablo II's homily at Holy Mass for Peace
Manila, Thursday 19th February 1981 - also in Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

“Here in Quezon circle we have listened to the words of the Lord our God as recorded by the Prophet Isaiah : "Peace, peace to the far and to the near, says the Lord ; and I will heal them" [Is 57, 19]. And looking out today over this vast assembly, I proclaim to all of you, far and near, the peace of the Lord, the peace of Christ ! With the Apostle Peter I say : "Peace to all of you who are in Christ" [1 Pt 5, 14].

1. Dearly beloved brothers and sisters here in the Philippines : we are celebrating today the peace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ—the peace that was announced by the angels at his birth ; the peace that he communicated to all who came into contact with him during his earthly life ; the peace that he gave to his Apostles when he stood among them after his Resurrection, saying : " Peace be with you" [Jn 19, 19].

We are celebrating the peace that Christ won for us by his Paschal Mystery — by his Passion, death and Resurrection from the dead. We are able to enjoy peace because God sent his own Son into the world to be our Redeemer.

2. And the peace that we are celebrating is our redemption from sin, our deliverance from God's anger and from eternal punishment. Without Christ we would have remained, in the words of Saint Paul, "children of wrath" [Eph 2, 3]. But in truth we have been liberated by Christ ; everything is new in our relationship with God. Christ has reconciled us to himself, "making peace by the blood of his cross" [Col 1, 20]. We have been called out of the darkness of sin into the Kingdom of God's marvellous light, where we have received mercy and grace and peace from Jesus Christ.

3. Through God's love we have not only received the gift of human life but we have also become adopted children of God. Through Christ's great peacemaking act — his Sacrifice on the Cross — we have become his brothers and sisters, and, with him, heirs of eternal life. Because of this new relationship of ours with God in Christ, peace is nοw possible: peace in our hearts and in our homes, peace in our communities and in our nations, peace throughout the wοrld.

Yes, Jesus Christ is the supreme Peacemaker of human history, the Reconciler of human hearts, the Liberator of humanity, the Redeemer of man. " He is our peace" [Eph 2, 14].

4. It is God the Father's plan that the peace which his beloved Son Jesus Christ won for us on Calvary should be communicated to every human being, individually and as a member of society. This communication of Christ's peace takes place in the Church through the action of the Holy Spirit working through God's word and the sacraments.

By faith and Baptism we take on a relationship with God that makes peace truly possible. We become in fact the children of God and are incorporated into the Body of Christ. We are baptized into Christ's death [cf Rom 6, 4] — his great peacemaking act — so that we may share in his Resurrection and walk in newness of life.

Through the Sacrament of Penance Jesus offers us pardon and peace. Precisely because of its importance as the Sacrament of Reconciliation, I stressed in my first Encyclical " man's right to a more personal encounter with the crucified forgiving Christ" [Redemptor Hominis, 20], and urged the faithful observance of the centuries-old practice of individual confession. Today I present once again the Sacrament of Penance as a gift of Christ's peace and his love, and I ask you all to make every effort to profit from this opportunity of grace.

And the Eucharist, my dear friends, is the culmination of our sacramental peace, in which we re-present to the Father the gift of reconcilia­tion and peace — the gift of Jesus himself. Jesus, the Prince of Peace, communicates himself and becomes our peace.

5. Dear brothers and sisters: it is indeed important for us to understand how God puts us into contact with Christ and communicates to us the peace of Christ. It is vitally important for parents to transmit to their children an understanding of the faith, and a deep appreciation of sacramental life, so that each generation may be aware of Christ's peace. The success of the Church's mission in this regard depends on you ; it is intimately linked with the family's irreplaceable catechetical activity.

6. At the same time Christ invites us and bids us bring his peace to the world. This is the way he wants us to live; he has spelled it out for us in the Gospel Beatitudes : "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God" [Mt 5, 9]. We are called to pass on the healing that we have experienced, and the reconciliation that we have been given so lavishly. And in the Second Reading today we are told what we must dο : "Clothe yourselves with heartfelt mercy, with kindness, humility, meekness and patience. Bear with one another ... Forgive as the Lord has forgiven you" [Col 3, 12].

Having been forgiven, we are called to forgive. Having been justified by God's grace, we are called to give witness to justice in our lives, for we know full well that peaceful relationships can exist in the world only when the justice of Christ permeates hearts and is expressed in all the structures of society.

7. But in order to communicate peace in accordance with Christ's words, we must live that peace. In the wοrds of the Apostle Paul, "Christ's peace must reign in your hearts, since as members of the one body you are called to that peace" [Col 3, 15] Yes, dear brothers and sisters, there must be peace in our families, between husbands and wives, between parents and children ; peace in our communities ; peace in our parishes and local Churches ; peace in society and over the earth : peace in the hearts of the ministers of Christ, in the hearts of the religious and laity, in the hearts of all those who embrace his Gospel of love.

8. Only then can our proclamation and communication of peace be effective: peace to the poor and to the rich, peace to the young and to the old, peace to the sick and the suffering, to prisoners and to all who mourn. Peace to those who are crushed by the burden of sin, and to those who stumble beneath the weight of their cross. Peace to all who serve with us in the name of Christ and for the glory of his Father. Peace to all our brothers and sisters in Christ, to all our fellow human beings : the peace of reconciliation, of justice, of freedom from fear, of liberation from oppression and sin, of deliverance from eternal death. The peace of Christ's Kingdom, the peace of hope, the peace of Jesus himself.

Dearly beloved, this is indeed the peace that I proclaim to you today — to those far and near : the peace of God's Kingdom, the peace of Christ.

9. Peace is yours as a gift from the Lord, as a responsibility and a challenge. Let us listen to Jesus, today and all the days of our lives. He is speaking to our hearts, as he says : "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God". Amen."

Papa San Juan Pablo II's address to Priests and Seminarians
Auditorium of the Sacred Heart, Cebu City, Thursday 19th February 1981 - also in Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

“Dear priests and seminarians,
I greet you in the Name of Jesus ! It is a joy for me to be with you, and through you to greet the priests of all the Philippines, and to bless and encourage the seminarians throughout this nation.

1. "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings glad tidings, announcing peace, bearing good news, announcing salvation, and saying to Zion, 'Your God is King"' [Is 52, 7]. These words of the prophet Isaiah readily come to mind when we recall the apostolic zeal of those missionary priests who over four centuries ago began to preach the Gospel of salvation to the people of these islands. It was the mysterious working of God's grace which made their hearts anxious and set their feet in motion until peace and salvation had been announced in this land.

Consider the Dominican priest Fray Domingo de Salazar. He left his native Spain to gο first to Venezuela, then to Mexico, briefly to Florida, and finally to the Philippines. Here he became the first Bishop in the Philippines — at Manila in 1578 ; here he preached the Good News not only to the people of these islands but also to his compatriots, in order to persuade them that the Lord's Gospel means justice and not slavery for the people they had come to colonize. It was Bishop Domingo de Salazar too, who, on his return to Spain, recommended the foundation of the ecclesiastical province of the Philippines.

2. You are the heirs of the missionary task begun by Fray Domingo and the early evangelists of these islands : the Augustinian, Franciscan, Jesuit and Dominican priests whose evangelizing feet will forever be called beautiful. In paying homage to those missionaries and to all the other missionaries — to those of every generation in the Philippines, including the present generation — I praise the grace of God that sustained them in their zeal for his Kingdom.

In God's mysterious design you have been called by Christ to announce his glad tidings here in your own homeland. Together let us reflect upon this priestly task which is yours today, my brother priests, and for which, dear seminarians, yοu must diligently prepare yourselves.

3. It is faith in Jesus Christ, who is Lοrd fοrever, that is the response which God invites when he sends out his word over the earth. It is faith at the heart of the priest's vocation that animates his ministry and grounds the witness of his life. In his Letter to the Romans, Saint Paul says: " If you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lοrd, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, yοu will be saved. Faith in the heart leads to justification, confession on the lips to salvation. But how shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how can they believe unless they have heard of him? And how can they hear unless there is someone to preach? Scripture says, 'How beautiful are the feet of those whο announce good news!'... Faith, then, comes through hearing, and what is heard is the wοrd of Christ" [Rom 10, 9-17].

4. To preach the wοrd of God : this is the work of every generation. The " faith which comes through hearing" is a response invited by God himself, a response which leads people to confess with their lips that Jesus is Lord and to become his disciples. The proclamation of the word and the response of faith set up the initial encounter, the basic community of the Church. And it is for this encounter that the priestly apostle is "sent" to preach : in persona Christi he offers the Sacrifice of the Eucharist, which recapitulates the entire prοclamatiοn of the word in which Christ's own invitation to believe and to be built up into the Church is continually heard by his people. As the Vatican Council teaches : " By sacred ordination and by the mission they receive from their bishops, priests are promoted to the service of Christ, the Teacher, the Priest, and the King. They share in his ministry of unceasingly building up the Church on earth into the People of God, the Body of Christ, and the Temple of the Spirit" [Presbyterorum Ordinis, 1].

This Church is missionary by her very nature [cf Ad Gentes, 2]. All Christians who believe and are made one in Christ share in the missionary task of apostolic service to the world. But "hearing" the call to faith — the word of salvation — must be a constant summons to conversion and renewal within the Church herself, and it is to the Apostles and their successors in the Episcopate, together with their priestly collaborators, that the Lords has entrusted the role of shepherding his missionary people. By God's own plan, the Church cannot exist without those apostolic men "sent" to preach, to be within the Church herself a sacramental sign of the fundamental and perennial call to " believe in our hearts" that Jesus is Lord.

6. Today there are some who ignore or misunderstand this important dimension of the nature of the Church, and suggest that only by diminishing the importance of the priesthood can the laity be given their full place in the Church. Perhaps this is due to an over-reaction to those priests who, through human frailty or spiritual blindness, have not taken to heart the profound lesson Jesus taught when he replied to the request of the mother of James and John: "You know how those who exercise authority among the Gentiles lord it over them: their great ones make their importance felt. It cannot be like that with you. Anyone who aspires to greatness must serve the rest, and whoever wants to rank first amοng you must serve the needs of all. Such is the case with the Son of Man who has come, not to be served by others, but to serve, to give his own life as a ransom fοr the many" [Mt 20, 25-8].

Nevertheless, an attitude which sees opposition or rivalry between the ministerial priesthood and the priesthood of the faithful fails to perceive the design of God in instituting the Sacrament of Holy Orders within his Church. The Second Vatican Council's Constitution on the Church clearly teaches that "though they differ from one another in essence and not only in degree, the common priesthood of the faithful and the ministerial or hierarchical priesthood are nonetheless interrelated. Each of them in its own special way is a participation in the one priesthood of Christ" [Lumen Gentium, 10].

In the ministerial priesthood of Holy Orders, Gοd has set within his Church a visible sign, by which the divine dialogue which he has initiated — the word of salvation inviting the response of faith — is sacramentally, and therefore efficaciously, represented. Priesthood is therefore a sacrament whose "celebration" affects the entire Church, and the whole Church — laity and clergy alike — must take care that its "celebration" is not diminished through misunderstanding or misplaced zeal for a multiplication of ministries intended as a substitution for the ministerial priesthood.

7. Jesus is Lord ! This proclamation of the word reaches its most perfect moment in the Eucharist: "The other sacraments, as well as every ministry of the Church and every work of the apostolate, are linked with the Holy Eucharist and are directed towards it ... Hence the Eucharist shows itself to be the source and summit of all evangelization" [PO, 5]. The celebration of the Eucharist is the heart of priestly ministry and of Christian life, because it is Christ's own service of self-sacrificing love. Through each Eucharist the Church herself is continually formed anew and given her definitive shape: Christ, through the ministry of his priests, calls all his disciples together, makes them one in his love, and sends them forth to be bearers of the unity and love of the Eucharistic banquet as the pattern and model of all human community and service.

8. My brother priests, this missionary Church, this Eucharistic people, depends upon you for the authentic proclamation of the Good News. But if you are to be effective preachers of the word, you must be men of deep faith who are hearers and doers of the word as well. For with Saint Paul we must always say : "It is not ourselves we preach but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake" [2 Cor 4, 5]. For this reason we must never cease examining carefully hοw we live our priestly lives, lest they become a countersign which disfigures the sacramental presence which the Lord intends us to be in and for his Church.

9. For this purpose I offer you today three brief reflections on living the priestly life according to the mind and heart of Christ.

In the first place, Jesus has called priests to a special intimacy with himself. The very nature of our task requires it. If we are to preach Christ and not ourselves, we must know him intimately in the Scriptures and in prayer. If we are to lead others to the encounter and response of faith, our own faith must itself be a witness. In the Holy Scriptures, God's word is ever before us. Let us therefore make the Scriptures the nourishment of our daily prayer and the subject of our regular theological study. Only in this way can we possess the word of God—and be possessed by the Word—in that intimacy reserved for those to whom Jesus said: " I call you friends" [Jn 15, 15].

The second consideration I wish to offer you concerns the unity of the priesthood. The Fathers of the Second Vatican Council reminded us that "all priests, together with bishops, so share in one and the same priesthood and ministry of Christ that the very unity of their consecration and mission requires their hierarchical communion with the order of bishops" [PO, 7]. This unity must take shape concretely in the realization that priests, diocesan and religious, form a single presbyterium around their bishop.

The collegiality which describes the entire episcopal order's union of faith and sharing in responsibility with the Bishop of Rome is reflected by analogy in the unity of priests with their Bishop and with each other in their common pastoral task. We must not underestimate the importance of this unity of our priesthood for the effective evangelization of the world.

The sacramental sign of priesthood itself must not be fragmented or individualized : we constitute one priesthood — the priesthood of Christ — to which our harmony of life and apostolic service must testify. The fundamental oneness of the Eucharist offered by the Church requires that this unity be lived out as a visible, sacramental reality in the lives of priests. On the night before he died, Jesus invoked his heavenly Father: " I pray also for those who will believe in me through their word, that all may be one as yοu, Father, are in me, and I in yοu ; I pray that they may be one in us, that the world may believe that yοu sent me" [Jn 17, 20-21].

Our unity in the Lord, sacramentally visible at the center of the Church's own unity, is an indispensable condition for the effectiveness of everything we do: our preaching of the faith, our service of the poor as a preferential option, our efforts at building basic Christian communities as vital units of God's Kingdom, our work fοr promoting Christ's justice and his peace, all our varied parochial apostolates, every endeavor to furnish spiritual leadership to our people — all of this depends totally on our union with Jesus Christ and his Church.

In the third place I wish to reflect with you on the value of a life of authentic priestly celibacy. It is difficult to overestimate the profound witness to the faith that a priest gives through celibacy. The priest announces the Good News of the kingdom as one unafraid to forgo the special human joys of marriage and family life in order to bear witness to his "conviction about things we dο not see" [Heb 11, 1].

The Church needs the witness of celibacy willingly embraced and joyfully lived by her priests for the sake of the Kingdom. For celibacy is by no means marginal to priestly life; it gives testimony to a dimension of love patterned upon the love of Christ himself. This love speaks clearly the language of all genuine love, the language of the gift of oneself for the sake of the beloved; and its perfect symbol is forever the Cross of Jesus Christ!

10. My dear seminarians ! All that I have already said to my brother priests I say with you in mind. This precious time of seminary formation is given to you so that a solid foundation may be laid for the task that awaits you as priests. You may be sure that the whole Church looks on with prayerful anticipation as the Lord's words to yοu — "Come, follow me" — take ever deeper root in your lives. And what is true of all God's people is all the more true of these priests whose companions in preaching the word of God you are preparing to become.

For the priests know well how much work is to be done and they have "prayed the Lord of the harvest to send labοrers into the harvest" [Mt 9, 37]. They now rejoice to see in you an answer to their fervent prayer. Hence you seminarians are already united with the priests in this prayer for an increase of priestly vocations. To those young people in whom the Lord is even now planting the hidden seeds of this vocation yοu must offer yourselves as companions and guides, and you must be eager to set before them the example of your own intimate union with Jesus and of your own zealous apostolic service of his people.

Yes, yοu must always keep Jesus before your eyes. He is the real reason why you are in the seminary; it can never be for any motive of personal advancement or prestige, but only to prepare for a ministry of service based on the word of the Lord. Jesus has chosen you to bring the light of his word to your brothers and sisters. You can see, then, how important it is for you personally tο know the word of God, to embrace it with all its challenges of love and sacrifice, and, like Mary, to reflect on it in your hearts [cf Lk 2, 51]. The seminary exists to prepare you for your mission of proclaiming the holiness and truth of the Incarnate Nord of God. But if the seminary is to fulfill its purpose in your regard, you must open your hearts in generosity to the Spirit of God, so that he may form Jesus in you.

11. Jesus is Lord ! As Saint Paul assures us, "No one can say `Jesus is Lord', except in the Holy Spirit" [1 Cor 12, 3]. Let us be confident in the Holy Spirit's guidance of the whole Church, and in his power that is active in our priestly ministry. With trust and untiring zeal, let us preach the wοrd of Christ so as to bring spontaneously to the lips of our brothers and sisters the refrain of the prophet : "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings glad tidings, announcing peace, bearing gοοd news, announcing salvation, and saying to Zion, 'Yοur God is King!".

May Mary, Regina Cleri, Mother of priests and seminarians, help you to place your complete confidence in that same Holy Spirit, who caused her to become the Mother of Jesus, who is Lord forever !"

Pope St John Paul II's homily at Holy Mass for Families
Cebu City, Thursday 19th February 1981 - also in Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

“Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
1. Finding myself in this important city known as the cradle of Christianity in the Philippines, I want to express my deep joy and profound thanksgiving to the Lord of history. The thought that for 450 years the light of the Gospel has shone with undimmed brightness in this land and on its people is cause for great rejoicing. Four and a half centuries of fruitful interaction between the local culture and the Christian message have resulted in this harmonious blending called "Filipino Christian culture".

Any Christian coming here from any part of the world finds himself at home among people sharing the same aspirations and the same hope that are centered in Jesus Christ. Praised be the Name of Jesus fοr what his love has wrought!

God's providence in the Philippines has been truly wonderful. The Christianization that took place in the sixteenth century was not something merely accidental. Divine grace was at work when the people of this region had their first contact with the image of the Santo Niño. It is an important historical fact, rich in religious meaning, that on January 1, 1571 the village kingdom of Sugbu was renamed the "Villa del Santo Niño", and thus the first city of the Philippines was placed under the patronage of the Child Jesus.

2. Divine providence has made it possible fοr us to be together here today, in order to offer a Sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving to our Father in heaven for the four and a half centuries of Christianity in this country. The whole Church thanks God that the people who " were once far off have been brought near in the blood of Christ" [Eph 2, 12-13]. She thanks God fοr the four hundred and fifty years that his Name has been glorified here, that true worship has been offered to him, that the Blessed Virgin Mary has been devoutly and lovingly venerated, and that millions of people have been reborn in Christ. The unforgettable ceremonies held yesterday in Manila honoring the Filipino Protomartyr, Blessed Lorenzo Ruiz, forcefully illustrate that the Christian faith has taken deep root in the Filipino soul.

In a particular way the Church thanks God that the tiny Christian community of Sugbu, under the patronage of the Infant Jesus, has now become a flourishing archdiocese of two million people, almοst all of whom are Catholics, with an active and zealous clergy, both diocesan and religious, with dedicated men and women religious, and with an encοuraging number of seminarians. I am also deeply gratified to knοw that there are numerous Catholic institutions and organizations and movements of the laity.

It can truly be said that growth in faith and Christian living has been until now a constant feature of the Church in Cebu as well as in the whole of the Philippines. The glorious past gives great hope for the future. The harmonious relationship, under the leadership of the Cardinal Archbishop, the Coadjutor Archbishop and the Auxiliary Bishop, between the hierarchy and the diocesan aid religious clergy; the deep commitment to evangelization by priests, religious and laity; the existence of a solid ecclesial sense and the profound religiosity of the people — all this constitutes great spiritual force for the building up of a dynamic Church in Cebu.

3. Beloved and sisters in Christ, the centuries-old veneration of the Santo Niño here in Cebu prompts me to speak to you today about the family. The Infant Jesus himself was born of the Virgin Mary and lived in a family, and it was in the family of Nazareth that he began the mission which the Father had entrusted to him. "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given" [Is 9, 6]. In him a new era dawned, in him the world was re-created, in him a new life was offered to humanity, a life redeemed by and in Christ.

Because the Creator wills that life should take its origin from the love of a man and a woman joined in a covenant of sharing in marriage, and because Christ elevated this union of spouses to the dignity of sacrament, we must look at the family, at its nature and mission, in the bright light of our Christian faith. With legitimate pride one can state that whatever the Church teaches today on marriage and the family has been her constant teaching in fidelity to Christ.

The Catholic Church has consistently taught — and I repeat here with the conviction that springs from my office as chief Pastor and Teacher — that marriage was established by God; that marriage is a covenant of love between one man and one woman; that the bond uniting husband and wife is by God's will indissoluble; that marriage between Christians is a sacrament symbolizing the union of Christ and his Church ; and that marriage must be open to the transmission of human life.

4. When Jesus was going about, teaching and healing, he was one day confronted by some Pharisees who wanted to test him about marriage. Jesus answered, clearly and firmly, by reaffirming what Scripture had said : "From the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother, and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one. So they are no longer two but one. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder" [Mk 10, 6-9].

By making them male and female God established the complementarity of the sexes, for a man leaves his father and mother in order to be joined to his wife in that union of love that permeates all levels of human existence. This union of love enables man and woman to grow together and to care properly for their children. The union that makes them one cannot be broken by any human authority ; it is permanently at the service of the children and of the spouses themselves. Thus the love between a man and a woman in marriage is a love that is both faithful and fruitful. It is a holy love, sacramentally symbolizing the union of love between Christ and the Church, as Saint Paul wrote to the Ephesians : "This is a great mystery, and I mean in reference to Christ and the Church" [Eph 5, 33].

5. Fοr these reasons, the Church will never dilute or change her teaching on marriage and the family.

Fοr these reasons, the Church rejects any attempt through the practice of polygamy to destroy the unity of marriage, and any attempt through divorce to destroy the marriage bond.

For these reasons also the Church states clearly that marriage should be open to the transmission of human life. God willed the loving union of husband and wife to be the source of new life. He wishes to share, as it were, his creative power with husbands and wives, endowing them with procreative power. God desires that this tremendous power to procreate a new human life should be willingly and lovingly accepted by the couple when they freely choose to marry. Parenthood has a dignity all of its own, guaranteed by God himself. On my part I owe it to my Apostolic Office to reaffirm as clearly and as strongly as possible what the Church of Christ teaches in this respect, and to reiterate vigorously her rejection of artificial contraception and abortion.

6. Yes, from the moment of conception and through all subsequent stages, all human life is sacred, for it is created in the image and likeness of God. Human life is precious because it is a gift of God, whose love knows no limit ; and when God gives life, it is forever. Whoever attempts to destroy human life in the womb of the mother, not only violates the sacredness of a living, growing and developing human being, and thus opposes God, but also attacks society by undermining respect for all human life.

I want to repeat here what I stated when visiting my homeland : "If a person's right to life is violated at the moment in which he is first conceived in his mother's womb, an indirect blow is struck also at the whole moral order, which serves to ensure the inviolable goods of man. Among those goods, life occupies the first place. The Church defends the right to life, not only in regard to the majesty of the Creator, who is the first Giver of this life, but also in respect of the essential good of the human person" [8 June 1979].

7. When the Church holds up before you the ideals of Christian marriage and the Christian family, when she insists that the love of husband and wife and the love of parents should be marked by generosity, she knows that there are many factors today that threaten family life and tempt the human heart. The selfish pursuit of pleasure, sexual permissiveness and the fear of a permanent commitment are destructive forces. As a good mother, the Church stands by her children in difficult times ; she stands by the couples who experience difficulties in abiding by her teachings. With love and with an understanding of human weakness, but also with an understanding of the power of Christ's grace in individual human hearts, the Church constantly challenges her children.

She challenges them to be conscious of the dignity of their Baptism and of the gift of sacramental grace that they have been given precisely in order that they might be able to reflect Christ's sacrificial love in their lives develop their own love in a faithful and indissoluble union, and respond with generosity to the gift of parenthood.

As the Second Vatican Council declared: "Authentic married love is caught up into divine love and is governed and enriched by Christ's redeeming power and the saving activity of the Church. Thus this lοve can lead the spouses to God with powerful effect and can aid and strengthen them in the sublime role of being a father or a mother" [Gaudium et Spes, 48].

To all of you Christian couples — spouses and parents — I offer the invitation: walk with Christ ! It is he who reveals to you the dignity of the covenant you have made; it is he who gives immense value to your conjugal love; it is he, Jesus Christ, who can accomplish in yοu immeasurably more than yοu can ask or imagine [cf Eph 3, 21].

8. In a Christian community, everyone has a responsibility fοr families. Programs that focus on the family and on the dignity of marriage are of great importance: programs to prepare those who are getting married, and programs for those whο are already married. In regard to their children parents have an irreplaceable role to play, not only as the first educators in the faith and as models of virtue, but alsο as examples of faithful conjugal love. In the community of love and trust that each family ought to be, parents and children can be evangelized and at the same time instruments of evangelization.

Sincere respect for life and human dignity, unselfish charity and the sense of duty and justice, rooted firmly in the Gospel, comes from a family where wholesome relations between parents and children prevail, and where each member of the family tries to be a servant to each other. A family where prayer, loving support and formation in the faith are of constant concern will bring untold benefits not only to the members of the family themselves, but also to the Church and to society.

9. I am most happy to know that all over the Philippines the Family Apostolate has received enthusiastic endorsement and support. I wish to praise the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines for having declared the present decade, 1981 to 1990, "The Decade of the Family" and for having prepared a comprehensive pastoral program for this purpose.

I commend most heartily the different organizations and movements, which, in close collaboration with the hierarchy, devote their zealous efforts to the family. I encourage all Catholic educators, but especially parents themselves, to devote great attention to the proper formation of the young in regard to human sexuality, placing in proper perspective the purpose of the Creator from the beginning, the redemptive power of Christ, and the influence of a true sacramental life. The delicate responsibility for sex education belongs principally to the families, where an atmosphere of loving reverence will be conducive to a fully human and Christian understanding of the meaning of love and life.

10. And sο, my brothers and sisters in Christ, my friends of Cebu City and the surrounding areas, I am taking leave of you. This has been a memorable time for me : to be with you, to share with you the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ on the Christian family, and to experience and reciprocate your lοve in the midst of God's family—the Church. May the Santo Níño bless you. May Mary the Mother of Jesus and Saint Joseph her spouse assist yοu and all the families in the Philippines to reflect the holiness and joy and love of the Holy Family of Nazareth.

Pagpalain kayo nang Poong Maykapal ! (May Almighty God bless yοu !)"

San Juan Pablo II's homily at Holy Mass for the Community of Davao
Friday 20th February 1981 - also in Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

“Dear brothers and sisters in our Lord Jesus Christ,
1. The vibrant sound of our voices rending the air of this growing city of Davao, in this rapidly developing island of Mindanao, as we sing the praises of God through and in our Lord Jesus, recalls to us our Lord's voice addressed to the first Apostles saying : "All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you ; and so, I am with you always to the close of the age". [Mt 28, 18,20]

Jesus, who was himself sent by the Father, was in turn sending his Apostles : "Αs the Father has sent me, even sο I send yοu" [Jn 20, 21]. Since then, there has been no interruption in the sending and going forth : "and they went forth and preached everywhere" [Mk 16, 20]. Since then, too, there has been an unceasing ecclesial or communitarian response of those who believe and are baptized. The Acts of the Apostles tell us : "So those who received his word were baptized ... And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers" [Acts 2, 41-42].

From the foregoing we can see already the communitarian nature of the Church which would be formed by all nations being gathered into one. Believers would be bound to each other by faith and fellowship, by the breaking together of bread and common prayers. Those who believe would form one Church, one community.

Dearly beloved brothers and sisters, I cannot describe to you how overjoyed I am to be with you today in this Eucharistic celebration. As the one chosen by God's providence to be the Vicar of Christ on earth and the Successor of Saint Peter in the Apostolic See of Rome, I am celebrating with you, in a place thousands of miles away from Rome, the Sacrifice of the Mass, the memorial of Christ's death and Resurrection. We are proclaiming together the mystery of faith : that "Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again".

This is indeed a unique moment of deep fulfilment. For we are gathered here as Pastor and Flock, as a Church, as the Body of Christ, where there are varieties of service but the same Lord, where there are varieties of working, but it is the same God who inspires them all in every one ; where to each is given the same manifestation of the Spirit for the common good [cf 1 Cor 12, 4-7]. I see in your characteristically Filipino faces, filled with wonder, the faces of children of our common Father, brothers and sisters in our Lord Jesus Christ. But I also see in your faces the pain that is linked to the memory of all those who suffered and died during the recent floods that ravaged six provinces of this island.

I offer to all of you the expression of my sympathy for the loss of your loved ones, my prayers for the dead and the injured and the homeless, and my encouragement as you face the future with the burdensome task of reconstructing, with God's grace, your homes and your lives. I see in all of us, assembled here in our Lord's name, the one family of God, the new People of God, building together — each according to his respective role but always in ecclesial solidarity — the Body of Christ in joy and in sorrow.

2. This Eucharistic assembly, composed of us coming here from the West and you of Davao and Mindanao representing the only Catholic country in the East, is a synthesis of our Lord's desire, our Lord's command, and our own response. Our Lord desired to gather all nations into one Flock under one Shepherd. His command was to make disciples of all nations, East and West, and our response is this vast multitude of people of varied tongues and color, of varied cultures and status, united in ecclesial communion to share the word of God and the Bread of eternal life. Here around your Archbishop and around the table of God's word and the Eucharistic Sacrifice you form your local Church, your local ecclesial community.

You are united in the unity of one faith and one worship and in that bond of love which is the distinctive mark of the true disciples of Christ : " By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another" [Jn 13, 35].

This ecclesial community on the diocesan level, with the Bishop as the sign and center of unity, is nourished constantly by loyal adherence to the word of God and to an authentic worship according to that basic relationship between faith and worship: "lex οrandi, lex credendi". It is also strengthened by the bond of love among the members, and by the conscious participation of all members according to the gifts each one has received for the building up of the local Church.

3. The same ecclesial life on the diocesan level is reflected on the parish level. The same variety of gifts and ministries contributes to the one mission of building up the Body of Christ. The same consciousness of being a member of an ecclesial community prevails.

On the parish level a truly meaningful ecclesial communion and participation is experienced day after day. It is in small Christian communities where the members know each other more personally that true love and fraternal concern is more easily practised. The affliction and need of a brother or a sister whom one knows and sees every day moves the human heart to love and compassion. Conversely, we are less inclined to have love and compassion for someone whο is unknown and unseen. "For he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom be has not seen'' [1 Jn 4, 20].

Moreover the communitarian dimension of our Christian vocation has been strongly emphasized by the liturgical reform of the Second Vatican Council. Every liturgical act is in itself an act of the whole Body of Christ, of the Head and of the members. Every sacrament and every Mass that is celebrated is an act of Christ and of his Body. Every good deed performed by a member benefits the whole membership, and every sin is not only an offense against God, but a wound inflicted on the Body of Christ.

In this perspective, our first communal act at the start of this Eucharistic celebration is a confession of our sins against God and the Body of Christ: "I confess to almighty God, and to you, my brothers and sisters"; and at the latter part of this communal penitential act we say "and I ask blessed Mary, ever virgin, all the angels and saints, and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God".

It is quite clear from all this, that there is no such thing as a Christian for one's own self. We are Christians because we belong to Christ and to his Body. A Christian who has not learned to see and love Christ in his neighbour is not fully a Christian. A Christian cannot be like Cain who refused to be his brother's keeper. We are keepers of our brothers, we are bound to one another by the bond of love. This love is God's command for all those who believe in him.

For a Christian, to live is to love, and to love is to live. Magmahalan tayo tulad ng pagmahal sa atin nang Diyos. (Let us love one another as Gοd has loved us!)

4. This communitarian or ecclesial nature of our Christian vocation which is more easily practised on the diocesan and parish levels, must, however, be directed towards the universal Church. We are a local Church only to the extent that we are part of the universal Church established by Christ our Lord. We are a legitimate part only because we belong to the whοle. And our Lord intended and actually established a Church that will extend from one end to the other of the world, to become the new People of God, the new Israel.

Christ οur Lord wanted his Church to be universal and yet to be one and the same all over the world. He wanted all nations beyond boundaries and barriers to be one ecclesial community shepherded by one supreme Pastor. He wanted his Church or ecclesial community to preach the same doctrine, practise the same worship, observe the same law of love, and be shepherded by one holder of the keys, with the assistance of the Holy Spirit. This same Church is the fountain of truth and source of spiritual power that assimilates all cultures of all places and times. This assimilation does not result in the destruction of the human and local cultures but in their sublimation. Christian truth, in turn, is made incarnate in each local culture, purifying, elevating and solidifying its values.

The unity of doctrine and worship proclaimed and safeguarded from adulteration by the universal Church is perfectly complemented by the law of love that binds all Christians to God and to one another, all local Churches to the universal Church and to each other. Thus the universal Church, thrοugh the local Churches and under the impulse of the indwelling Spirit, gradually transforms the whοle world into the kingdom of God here on earth and ceaselessly promotes a civilization of love.

5. Dearly beloved brothers and sisters, our Lord Jesus Christ wants us to live οur faith for the building up of the ecclesial community, sο that his redemption can be applied to the individual members through the ministry of the Church. At the same time we must never cease to emphasize that each member must continuously be converted to God and conformed to Christ by love, in order to share in this common task of building up the Body of Christ.

It may not be hard for one to remain faithful to the doctrine of faith as proposed by the universal Church and faithful to authentic worship ; we may even be able to speak in tongues, and interpret them and be gifted with prophecies. But if we fail to follow our Lord's command to love God and one another, we will not be counted wοrthy of his eternal reward. With clear deliberation our Lord summarized all the commandments of the Old Law into a command to love God and one another.

Doing no harm or injury to others is much less and truly short of loving others. In our community of Christians, Saint Paul's understanding of love is the true understanding of our Lord's command to love one another. " If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith sο as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing" [1 Cor 13, 1-13].

Dearly beloved brothers and sisters, if my visit here would only make all of you love one another just a little bit more; if my visit here would make you just a little more ecclesial or community-oriented, sο that you would think more and more of others with love ; if my visit here would make yοu desire more to serve than to be served, then my visit, by God's grace, would be fruitful and worthwhile.

Finally, allow me, dearly beloved in οur Lord, to recall and propose as our rule of life in our ecclesial relationship the unsurpassable prayer of the Seraphic Doctor, Saint Francis of Assisi : "Make me a channel of your peace, where there is hatred let me bring your love, where there is injury your pardon, Lord, and where there is doubt true faith in yοu. O Master, grant that I may never seek sο much to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love with all my soul. Make me a channel of your peace. It is in pardoning that we are pardoned, in giving to all men that we receive, and in dying that we are born to eternal life. Make me a channel of your peace. Where there is despair in life let me bring hope; where there is darkness only light, and where is sadness ever joy".

Maraming salamat at Pagpalain nawa kayo nang Diyos !"

Encuentro del Santo Padre Juan Pablo II con los Representantes de la Comunidad Islamica
Aeropuerto de Davao, viernes 20 de febrero de 1981 - also in Italian & Spanish

“Queridos hermanos:
Siempre es un placer para mí el encontrarme con los miembros de las comunidades musulmanas durante mis viajes, y saludarles en mi nombre y en nombre de todos sus hermanos y hermanas cristianos de todo el mundo.

1. Me dirijo a vosotros, deliberadamente, como "hermanos": esto es lo que somos realmente, porque somos miembros de la misma familia humana, cuyos esfuerzos, tanto si se es consciente de ello como si no, tienden hacia Dios y hacia la verdad que viene de El. Pero somos especialmente hermanos en Dios, quien nos creó y a quien tratamos de llegar, por nuestros propios caminos, a través de la fe, la oración y el culto, de la observancia de su ley y de la sumisión a sus designios.

Pero, ¿no sois, sobre todo, hermanos de los cristianos de este gran país, mediante lazos de nacionalidad, historia, geografía, cultura y esperanza de un futuro mejor, un futuro que estáis construyendo juntos? ¿No es cierto que, en Filipinas, musulmanes y cristianos están viajando en el mismo barco, para lo bueno y para lo malo, y que en las tormentas que agitan al mundo la seguridad de cada individuo depende de los esfuerzos y la cooperación de todos?

Permitid que me extienda un poco en este último punto.

2. Me dirijo a vosotros como Cabeza espiritual de la Iglesia católica, que no tiene poder en asuntos políticos. Yo puedo solamente comunicaros la enseñanza y las palabras de Jesús: "Bienaventurados los pacíficos", dice en su Evangelio, "porque ellos serán llamados hijos de Dios" (Mt 5, 9). En otro lugar dice: "Por eso, cuanto quisiereis que os hagan a vosotros los hombres, hacédselo vosotros a ellos, porque ésta es la Ley y los Profetas" (Mt 7, 12). Estas palabras que he repetido a mis hermanos y hermanas, a mis hijos e hijas de la Iglesia católica, me permito repetirlas a vosotros en este momento.

3. Tenéis en común con los cristianos la misma ciudadanía, que habéis adquirido viviendo aquí y participando en la vida de la nación, con todas las obligaciones y deberes que ello comporta. Además de vuestra nacionalidad filipina y de las demás cualidades y valores comunes a todos los filipinos, vosotros sois conscientes de ser los portadores de ciertas cualidades específicas, entre las cuales la cultura del Islam es quizá la más obvia. Esto es lo que añade a vuestra común identidad nacional un elemento original que merece atención y respeto.

Vuestro bienestar total y el de vuestros hermanos y hermanas cristianos requiere un clima de mutua estima y confianza. Sabéis tan bien como yo que en el pasado este clima ha sido a menudo deteriorado, en detrimento de todos los interesados.

Pero queridos hermanos, sólo sabemos muy bien que no hay razón positiva por la que aquel pasado deba continuar escribiéndose hoy. Si acaso, debemos mirar hacia atrás con dolor, para asegurar el establecimiento de un futuro mejor. Y vosotros tenéis la tarea, envidiable y crucial, de ayudar a construir este futuro, el futuro de vuestros hijos musulmanes, así como como el armonioso futuro de toda la nación filipina.

Sé que tanto vosotros como vuestros hermanos y hermanas cristianos estáis siendo cada vez más conscientes de la responsabilidad que recae sobre vuestra generación. Desde hace unos años, habéis sentido la necesidad urgente de sentaros juntos, afrontar vuestros problemas y restablecer la estima y la confianza mutuas. Comenzó así un diálogo fructuoso, y desde entonces no pasa un año sin que os reunáis con vuestros conciudadanos cristianos, bajo los auspicios de corporaciones estatales o de instituciones privadas, en Marawi, Cotabato, Cagayan de Oro, Jolo, Zamboanga, Tagaytay y también en esta agradable ciudad de Davao.

4. Veo todos estos esfuerzos con gran satisfacción, y aliento decididamente su extensión. La sociedad no puede aportar a los ciudadanos la felicidad que éstos esperan de ella si la propia sociedad no está construida sobre el diálogo. El diálogo, a su vez, se construye sobre la confianza, y la confianza presupone no sólo la justicia, sino también la misericordia. Sin duda alguna, la igualdad y la libertad, que están en la base de toda sociedad, necesitan el derecho y la justicia. Pero, como dije en una reciente carta dirigida a toda la Iglesia católica, la justicia por sí misma no es suficiente: "...la igualdad introducida mediante la justicia se limita, sin embargo, al ámbito de los bienes objetivos y extrínsecos, mientras el amor y la misericordia logran que los hombres se encuentren entre sí en ese valor que es el mismo hombre, con la dignidad que le es propia" (Dives in misericordia, 14).

Queridos musulmanes, mis hermanos:
Me gustaría añadir que nosotros los cristianos, como vosotros, buscamos la base y el modelo de la misericordia en Dios mismo, el Dios a quien vuestro Libro da el nombre, verdaderamente hermoso, de al-Rahman, mientras que la Biblia lo llama al-Rahum, el Misericordioso.

5. Solamente dentro de este marco de la religión y de las promesas que compartimos en la fe se puede hablar realmente de respeto mutuo, apertura y colaboración entre cristianos y musulmanes. Entonces vienen deseos de trabajar juntos, de construir una sociedad más fraterna. A pesar de la naturaleza geográfica de vuestro gran país, hoy es más oportuno que nunca el repetir el proverbio de que "ningún hombre es una isla".

¡Mis queridos amigos: Deseo que estéis convencidos de que vuestros hermanos y ¿hermanas cristianos os necesitan y tienen necesidad de vuestro amor. Y el mundo entero, con su anhelo de una paz, hermandad y armonía mayores, necesita ver una convivencia fraterna entre cristianos y musulmanes en una moderna, creyente y pacífica nación filipina."

Pope St John Paul II's address to Landowners & Workers of Sugar Cane Plantations
Bacolod City, Friday 20th February 1981 - also in Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

“Dear brothers and sisters,
1. "Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ" [Phl 1, 2]. With this blessing of the Apostle Paul I greet you all most cordially. It is a great joy for me to come to you today in this City of Bacolod to meet the people of Negros Occidental. My only regret is that my visit with you is so short, but many more communities in the Philippines have invited me, from the North to the South of these beautiful islands. Even if I can be with you only for a few hours, I want yοu to know that every encounter with the Filipino people is special to me because it is yοu, the people, young and old, who make it so. And therefore, I say from the bottom of my heart : thank yοu for coming together here this afternoon, thank yοu for making me feel at home in Bacolod.

Madamo guid nga salamat! (Thank yοu very much!)

I come in the name of the Lord Jesus and as his servant. I come as the Bishop of Rome, the Vicar of Christ and your brother in the faith. I come as a friend of all the people, and especially of the young people who are sο numerous here and whose smiling faces and wonderful dances give me such deep joy.

My fraternal greetings go in the first place to your pastor, Bishop Antonio Yapsutco Fortich, who kindly invited me to this island, and to the other Bishops and priests present. In the priests, diocesan and religious, in the religious Sisters, I greet the successors of the first missionaries who, more that four hundred years ago, established flourishing Christian communities on these shores. I greet in them the tireless workers for the faith, who keep alive among the people the message of the Gospel in unselfish service and generous dedication, collaborating with the Bishop, in a spirit of unity and in "the obedience of faith" [Rom 1, 5].

2. In particular, however, my heartfelt greetings go to yοu, my brothers and sisters of the Catholic laity in Bacolod, to you who are such a great sector of the one People of God, reborn in Christ and united by his Holy Spirit.

Because yοu believe in Christ and have been regenerated in the Sacrament of Baptism you are children of God. Because you believe in Christ, you are able to approach him in the Sacrament of Penance and to receive his love in the Holy Eucharist. I know hοw much you esteem the Sacraments, and I want to encourage yοu to remain ever faithful to them. They are your source of life and hope, and they will give yοu strength to remain true to your calling as Christians, real Christians. And, when they look at yοu, people shοuld be able to say: "See how much they love each other".

Love each other, my brothers and sisters, love each other in Jesus Christ, for in doing sο you will be true witnesses of Jesus, of his immense love for every human being. Jesus needs yοu, dear faithful people of the Church in Bacolod. Jesus needs yοu, because his love will not reach the world without the witness of your Christian lives. Jesus cannot be fully present in your cities and villages, in your families and schools, in yοur workshops or in the fields where yοu toil, unless yοu, the lay people, bring him there, manifest him there by what yοu say and do, make him visible in your love for each other.

3. The message which I bring to yοu today is a message of love, the same message which the Church has brought to people all over the world in ages past and which she will never cease to proclaim to future generations. It is the same message that you, the Church in Bacolod, must bring to all the people of this island.

It is in the name of Christ, and because she must preach his message of love to the whole world, that the Church speaks out on behalf of the dignity of man, created in the image of God[3] and redeemed by Jesus Christ. Because she believes in the God-given dignity of every human person, the Church sees it as her mission to embrace in her solicitude man in his totality : man whose definitive destiny is God, man who must live, in the concrete reality of his daily life, according to the dignity that is his.

For these reasons, the Church desires to bring the message of salvation, which Christ has entrusted to her, to every human being, to every culture and social environment, to the whole of mankind, but in the first place to those who are most in need. Without abandoning her specific task of evangelization, she will also strive to ensure that all aspects of the life of man and of the society of which he is part should be imbued with respect for human dignity and therefore with justice.

To you people of Bacolod, and through you to all the people of the Philippines, who are sons and daughters of a nation engaged in the search for a better life for all its citizens, I repeat what I said once before : that "the world willed by God is a world of justice. That this order must be continually realized in the world, and even that it must always be realized anew, as situations and social systems grow and develop, in proportion to new conditions and economic possibilities, new possibilities and necessities of distributing goods" [31 May 1980]. The dignity of man and the common good of society demand that society be based on justice.

4. There are in today's world too many situations of injustice. Injustice reigns when some nations accumulate riches and live in abundance while other nations cannot offer the majority of people the basic necessities. Injustice reigns when within the same society some groups hold most of the wealth and power while large strata of the population cannot decently provide for the livelihood of their families even through long hours of backbreaking labor in factories or in the fields.

Injustice reigns when the laws of economic growth and ever greater profit determine social relations, leaving in poverty and destitution those that have only the work of their hands to offer. Being aware of such situations, the Church will not hesitate to take up the cause of the poor and to become the voice of those who are not listened to when they speak up, not to demand charity, but to ask for justice.

Yes, the preference fοr the poor is a Christian preference! It is a preference that expresses the concern of Christ who came to proclaim a message of salvation to the poor, for the poor are indeed loved by God, and God it is who guarantees their rights. The Church proclaims her preference for the poor within the totality of her mission of evangelization that is directed to all people sο that all may come to know Christ and find in the love of God and of neighbor their highest fulfillment.

The Church wants to be of service to all people, in whatever social condition they may be; she wants to be close to all human beings, since all are poor and in need of salvation and all ought to be "poor in spirit". But she shows a special solidarity with those that are suffering and in need, with those that weep and are humiliated, with those that have been left at the margin of society and of life; she does this so that they may be helped to become aware of their dignity as human beings and as children of God.

Nο area of her pastoral mission will be omitted in her concern for the poor: she will preach to them the Gospel, she will invite them to the sacramental life of the Church and to prayer, she will speak to them about sacrifice and resurrection, she will include them in her social apostolate.

5. I have been told that many of you here present are connected with the agricultural sector, and more specifically with the sugar cane cultivation, either as landowners, planters or laborers. You all live close to the land and the land provides your livelihood. To all of you I would address some special words in order to apply to you and your particular situation the social message of the Church.

You lοve the land, you cherish the fertile plains. You belong to this land and this land belongs to you. I myself have always been close to nature and I understand your attachment to your rural setting. During my pastoral visits to other parts of the globe, I have insisted on meeting every time the people who live from the land: at Cuilapan and Oaxaca in Mexico, at Nowy Targ in my native Poland, at Des Moines in the United States of America, at Kisangani in Zaire, at Recife and Teresina in Brasil. To all of them I have repeated the same message : that the land is a gift of God to all humanity, a gift entrusted to man by the Creator, a gift of divine love.

In his gratuitous love, God did not only create man and woman, but the gave them the earth so that human life could be sustained through their efforts. From the beginning, and for the benefit of all, God has willed the interaction of land and labor sο that the full dignity of man may always be protected and promoted.

6. Yes, human dignity must be promoted by the land. Because the land is a gift of God for the benefit of all, it is not admissible to use this gift in such a manner that the benefits it produces serve only a limited number of people, while the others — the vast majority — are excluded from the benefits which the land yields. It is not admissible that in the general development process of a nation there should continue to exist the injustice whereby progress worthy of man does not reach precisely those people who live in the rural areas, who in sweat and toil make the land productive, and who must rely on the work of their hands for the sustenance of their family.

It is not admissible that people who work the land must continue to live in a situation that offers them no hope for a better future. No, in giving the land to humanity, God had a different purpose, for his gift was a gift of love to humanity.

A truly Christian challenge is therefore presented to those that own or control the land. I know that many of you who are plantation-owners or who are planters are truly concerned with the welfare of your workers, but the Church, aware of her responsibilities, feels impelled to hold up before you again and again the ideal of love and justice, and to encourage yοu to compare constantly your actions and attitudes with the ethical principles regarding the priority of the common good and regarding the social purpose of economic activity.

The right of ownership is legitimate in itself but it cannot be separated from its wider social dimension. In his Encyclical Populorum Progressio, Paul VI, echoing the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, stated this principle very clearly when he wrote : "God intended the earth and all it contains for the use of every human being and people. Thus, as all people follow justice and unite in charity, created goods should abound for them on a reasonable basis [Gaudium et Spes, 69]. All other rights whatsoever, including those of property and of free commerce, are to be subordinated to this principle. They should not hinder but on the contrary favor its application. It is a grave and urgent social duty to redirect them to their primary finality" [GS, 22].

The landowners and the planters should therefore not let themselves be guided in the first place by the economic laws of growth and gain, nor by the demands of competition or the selfish accumulation of goods, but by the demands of justice and by the moral imperative of contributing to a decent standard of living and to working conditions which make it possible for the workers and for the rural society to live a life that is truly human and to see all their fundamental rights respected.

7. Likewise the workers, either duma-ans, sacadas or industrial workers, must be guided by a truly human and Christian concept of their task. Human labor remains the superior element in the economic enterprise, for through it man exerts his dominion over the material world for the building up of his own human dignity [cf GS, 67].

The man or the woman who works becomes a cooperator of God. Made to the image of God, man received the mission of governing the universe so that its riches can be developed and used for the benefit of all, in order to grant every human person the possibility to live according to his or her own dignity and thus give glory to God.

To all the sugar cane workers I say, as I say to all workers everywhere: never forget the great dignity that God has granted you, never let your work degrade you but remember always the mission that God has entrusted to you : to be, by the work of your hands, his collaborators in the continuation of the work of creation. See in your work a labor of love, for yοur daily work expresses love for yοur dear ones and yοur commitment to the well-being of yοur family. Be prοud to be workers of the land.

At the same time, know that the Church supports you in yοur endeavors to have yοur rights as workers respected. Ninety years ago already, the great social Encyclical Rerum Novarum spelled out very clearly that the worker is entitled to wages that give him a just share in the wealth he helps to produce, and that working conditions should be geared not to the ever increasing economic profit of the enterprise but to the inviolable dignity of man as an individual, as a provider for his family and as a builder of the society to which he belongs.

It has been the constant teaching of the Church that workers have a right to unite in free associations for the purpose of defending their interest and contributing as responsible partners to the common good. Such associations should be protected by appropriate laws which, rather that restrict their activities, should guarantee the free pursuit of the social welfare of all their members and of the workers in general.

8. Wherever people work together, inspired by the aim of securing the dignity of every human being and of building a society based on justice, the hope for a better future will be kept alive, and ways and means will be found to share the fruits of progress with all in the community. When the legitimate rights of every category are respected, peaceful ways will be devised to achieve the common good and no one will hesitate to put the full wealth of his talents, skills and influence at the service of his brothers and sisters in the common pursuit of a just society.

Government agencies that are guided by a true concern for the dignity of the human person will not become instruments of oppression or powertools for one class or category. Free associations of workers that base their action on the peerless dignity of man will inspire confidence as partners in the search for just solutions.

Workers and employers who learn to see each other as brothers will not get locked in bitter disputes that leave the problems unsolved and human solidarity weakened or in ruins. When man himself, man with his unsurpassed dignity, is the measure that is applied to the social problems, then there will be no room for violence in the struggle for justice. To adopt man as the criterion of all social activity means committing oneself to the transformation of every unjust situation without destroying what one seeks to protect : a society based on brotherhood, justice and love.

Violence can never be a means for solving social conflict, and class struggle which opposes one group to another cannot create justice since its premise is destruction and contempt for man. To construct a truly human society in the Philippines, every man and woman must make a choice for justice and love, for solidarity and brotherhood against selfishness and hatred. Choose human dignity and a better future will be yours !

9. My dear friends of Bacolod, of Negros Occidental, and all of you who have come from far away to be with me today, I know that you are not lacking in generosity and courage. In your communities, in the cities and in the villages, you keep alive a, marvelous heritage of values and qualities that is yοur strength for the future.

Remain true to what you are : preserve always yοur joy, your love of the family, your solidarity within each community, and above all your determination to share whatever you are and whatever you have — evens if it be little or humble — with those of yοur brothers and sisters who are in need. In doing so, your community will be graced by the mark of humanity!

To all my brothers and sisters in Christ I say: keep alive in yοur hearts yοur confidence in Gοd, yοur faithfulness to the Church and your devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The moment has now come for me to take leave of yοu. I would have liked to stay longer with you but others are waiting to celebrate with me in the bond of lοve that unites us in Jesus Christ. Thank you for yοur presence here and for the sharing of this hour. I feel so much richer for having met you and for having seen yοur pride as Filipinos and as Christians.

When you return to yοur villages and yοur families, take with yοu the blessing of the Pope. And tell all those that could not be here oday, tell you old people and your sick, that the Pope loves them and carries them always in his heart and his prayers. I bless you all in the name of Jesus Christ, our merciful and loving Savior.

Kabay pa nga bendisyonan kamo sang Dios ! (Μay God bless yοu, as you go with my love and care !)."

Pope St John Paul II's address to Representatives of Catholic Organizations & Movements
Cathedral of Jaro, Iloilo, Friday 20th February 1981 - also in Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

“Dear brothers and sisters,
I have come to Iloilo City to tell yοu all of my love in Christ Jesus. I greet all the inhabitants of this city and all the people of this large Archdiocese of Jaro. I wish to express my fraternal esteem for the priests and sisters who labor in this sector of the Lord's vineyard, and to offer you my encouragement and support as you endeavor day after day to proclaim the Gospel of God by word and example, and to build up the community of the faithful.

1. In a very special way, however, the providence of God has determined that this part of my visit should be devoted to a meeting with the Catholic laity and, in particular, with representatives of their various associations and movements. My dear lay brothers and sisters : in you I greet the heirs of the Catholic faith that is deeply rooted in the tradition and culture of the Filipino people. I give thanks to God for the love and zeal that is in yοu, that has been implanted in yοu by the Spirit of Jesus. I feel very close to yοu today ; I feel as though you are telling me that yοu appreciate your mission in the Church, and that you wish to be strengthened and encouraged in your Christian vocation as lay people consecrated in Baptism and united to Christ by faith. And this is why I have come : to speak to yοu about your Christian dignity — what it means to belong to Christ ; about the responsibility of your mission and about the urgency of the task that Christ has entrusted to yοu.

2. Yes, dear lay people, Jesus Christ himself through your Baptism and Confirmation has commissioned yοu to the lay apostolate, that wonderful sharing in the saving mission of his Church [cf Lumen Gentium, 33]. Your mission and your destiny are forever linked with Christ the Saviour of the world.

You have a specific role to fulfill in the application of God's plan of redemption. The Second Vatican Council has spoken of the need to recognize the relationship of all creation to the praise of God. It has called you, by your activity in the world, to help one another to attain an ever greater holiness of life, "sο that this world may be filled with the spirit of Christ and may more effectively attain its destiny in justice, in love and in peace" [LG, 36].

3. In order to do this, you must remain united with Christ. His words are the basis for your effectiveness : " I am the vine, you are the branches ... apart from me you can do nothing" [Jn 15, 5]. Indeed, he is calling you this very day to a greater love, because he is inviting you to constant conversion of heart. He is calling you to greater union with himself in his Church, for it is there that you find him. And union with Christ in his Church is the essential condition for all your apostolic effectiveness. It is Christ who entrusts you with your mission, but a mission that is coordinated within the unity of his Body by the pastors of the Church. This explains the great value there is in a loving communion of faith and discipline with your Bishops who, in the words of the Letter to the Hebrews, "must give an account of the way they look after yοur souls" [Heb 13, 17].

4. You have heard the Good News of salvation and embraced it with joy, bringing forth fruits of justice and holiness of life. But it is important that the grace of faith should develop in you and in all believers with God's help, and lead yοu to a deeper knowledge of the person and message of our Lord Jesus Christ [cf Catechesi Tradendae, 19]. The need for a systematic catechesis is one of the greatest needs of the Church in this day. It is a great challenge for you as Filipino Catholics. As laity, yοu are called, individually and collectively, to meet this challenge.

5. Among all the opportunities open to you for the exercise of the individual apostolate, the family occupies a place of primary importance. The family can provide an effective response to the secularization of the world; the family has a special charism for transmitting the faith and for assisting in developing an initial evangelization.

Within the intimacy of the family, every individual can find an opportunity to give personal witness to the love of Christ. Parents have the right and duty to catechize their children ; they have the immense privilege of being the first ones to teach their children to pray. In the words of my predecessor John Paul I, I would like to "encourage parents in their role as educators of their children — the first catechists and the best ones. What a great task and challenge they have: to teach children the love of God, to make it something real for them. And by God's grace, how easily some families can fulfill the role of being a primum seminarium: the germ of a vocation to the priesthood is nourished through family prayer, the example of faith and the support of love" (21 September, 1978).

6. Besides the varied opportunities for exercising the individual apostοlate, I strongly recommend intensification of the group apostolate through Catholic organizations and Church-inspired lay movements.

I mention with profound gratitude the invaluable service rendered tο the Church by Catholic organizations in the past decades. Their dedication to the lay apοstolate according to the charisms of their respective goals has merited the admiration of the hierarchy and I wish to add my own appreciation. Undoubtedly, certain changes and adaptations may be desirable in order to make these organizations and movements better suited to meet the present needs of the apostolate, but the existence of these associations and groups continues to be of great help to the mission of the Church.

In consultation with your Bishops and the pastors of your parishes, be open to new methods of apostolic activity in order to build up continuously the Body of Christ. Small Christian communities, where personal exchanges and the practice of fraternal love and solidarity can be more easily achieved, open vast opportunities for creativeness in the apostolate. Remember all the time that the effectiveness of your activity in the apostolate depends on your unity with the hierarchy and among yourselves.

Your apostolate will be fruitful to the degree that you are faithful and are firmly attached to the local Church in which you are inserted, and to the universal Church [cf Evangelii Nuntiandi, 58].

7. A consistent collective Christian commitment by the Philippine lay people is felt not only in the ecclesial community. It is alsο an immense force bringing the power of the Gospel to bear on culture, transforming and regenerating it. Working in accordance with their ecclesial nature, your associations and movements are especially effective means for proclaiming the Church's commitment to the dignity of the human person and to the advancement of the freedom and rights of all Filipinos. The People of God, who have been given God's peace, must always be collectively intent on promoting that human justice which is a requirement of social peace.

8. My brothers and sisters: you will not be surprised if at times the most worthy initiatives are subject to human frailty and to opposition from others. Vigilance is always a condition for Christian freedom — the vigilance expressed above all in prayer. Jesus told his disciples : "Watch and pray that you may mint enter into temptation" [Mt 26, 41]. Ideological temptations may present themselves and divisions may arise, but the grace of Christ is sufficient for yοu — Christ's grace calling you to unity and fraternal love, Christ's grace transforming you into a people of hope.

Jesus Christ has truly called you to share his salvific mission, and to build up the communion of his Church. At the same time he prepares us for Christian effort and victory : " In the world yοu will have affliction, but have confidence, I have overcome the world" [Jn 16, 33]. And in over-coming the world in everything that is sinful and corrupt, you will at the same time, in union with Christ, be able to offer to the Father the glory of creation, and to direct it to the praise of the Most Holy Trinity.

As lay people in the wοrld yοu can make a unique contribution, in an ecclesial role, to the Church's dialogue of salvation. You can offer to the world not only the message of Christ but also its concrete application in your lives, thus furthering the very spirit of dialogue in friendship and service and love. My dear brothers and sisters: This is your dignity and your strength: to remain united with Christ, sharing his salvific mission, promoting his cause, building up his kingdom of truth and life, holiness and grace, justice, love and peace. You do this day after day, week after week, in the ordinary yet extremely important setting of yοur daily Christian lives.

9. And remember always that Mary the Mother of God is with you. She is the Mother of mercy and fair love, who has been watching over the Filipino people for centuries and will continue to preside over your destiny in the years to come. She will lead you to her Son and assist yοu in communicating him to others—in communicating Jesus to the world."

Pope St John Paul II's homily at Holy Mass for Farmers
Legazpi City, Saturday 21st February 1981 - also in Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

“Dear brothers and sisters,
1. The readings of today's liturgy, listened to against the background of your beautiful Mayon, acquire a special meaning and a living clarity. The almost perfect cone of Mayon accentuates the verdict of perfection pronounced by God regarding his creation.

But it is not only the beauty of creation that Mayon reminds us of. Its shape resembles hands in an attitude both of thanksgiving and acceptance: thanksgiving for the gift of the land for all people, and acceptance to put into it the human effort of work.

I have been eagerly waiting to meet you, in order to give you this twin message: the land as God's gift for all men, and the beautiful mystery of work.

2. Why to you, my dear farm-workers? Because you are important and have a special place in God's plan for the world: you provide food for your fellowman. It is a task that deserves the appreciation and grateful esteem of all; it is a task which deserves the recognition of the dignity of those engaged in it. You have every right therefore to expect from the Pope, who is your father and brother and servant in Christ, a word of encouragement and hope, of guidance and support.

But I wanted so very much to meet yοu not only for this reason, but also to proclaim the important values to which your lives bear witness. The rural world truly possesses enviable human and religious riches: a deep-rooted love of the family and of peace, a religious sense, an appreciation of friendship, trust and openness to God, and devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, particularly in your case under the title of Our Lady of Peñafrancia.

Do you not extol these values when you sing :
Kung ang hanap mo ay ligaya sa buhay
(If your quest is happiness in life)
Sa libis ng nayon doon manirahan :
(In the farm you reside)
Taga-bukid man ay may gintong kalooban,
(Although farm people, they have a golden heart)
Kayamanan at dangal ng kabukiran.
(Which is the treasure and pride of the farm)?


It is a well-deserved tribute of recognition that the Pope wishes to express to you, for society is indeed indebted to you. Thank yοu, my dear farm-workers, for your precious contribution to the social well-being of mankind; society owes yοu a great deal.

3. Your distinct contribution to society rests on your deep and living awareness that the land is a gift of God, a gift that he makes to all human beings, whom he wishes to see gathered in a single family and treating one another as brothers and sisters [cf Gaudium et Spes, 24]. Is not this gift emphasized in the first chapter of Genesis? "And God said, 'Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed ... and every tree with seed in its fruit : you shall have them for food'" [Gen 1, 29]. The land belongs to man because God entrusted it to man, and by his work man subdues it and makes it yield fruit [cf Gen 1, 28].

What follows from this? That it is not the will of God—it is not according to his plan — for this gift to be used in such a way that its benefits are to the advantage of only a few, while others, the vast majority, are excluded. And when this vast majority are in fact excluded from sharing the benefits of the land, and consequently condemned to a state of want, poverty and borderline existence, then it is a very serious matter.

For in this case, the land is not serving the dignity of human persons — human persons called to the fullness of life in Christ Jesus ! But this is what you are and must always remain, in your own eyes and in the eyes of others, in theory and in practice. Consequently, you must be able to realize your human potentialities — potentialities for "being more". You have the right to live and to be treated in accordance with your human dignity; at the same time you have the corresponding duty to treat others in the same way. You should then be able to draw from your work on the farms the necessary and sufficient means to meet your family and social responsibilities in a worthy human and Christian way.

4. In the Book of Genesis we see that " the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it" [Gen 2, 15]. And in our reading today we heard God's command : Fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over creation [cf Gen 1, 28].

What do these texts tell us? The clear language of the Bible is telling us that it is our Creator's will that man should communicate with nature as an intelligent and noble master and guardian, and not as a reckless exploiter. This is what is meant when we are told "to have dominion", "to till" the earth : the principle that dictates the obligatory line of action for all those who are responsible for, and interested in, the problem of the earth : persons invested with public authority, technicians, entrepreneurs, and workers.

Recalling here what I said on another occasion, but adapting it to yοu and your country, let me urge yοu to till the land of your beloved Philippines and to preserve it. Make the most of the goods of nature; ensure that they will yield more in favor of man, the man of today and of tomorrow. As regards the use of God's gift of the land, it is necessary to think a great deal of the future generations, to pay the price of austerity in order not to weaken or reduce—or worse still, to make unbearable — the living conditions of future generations. Justice and humanity require this too [cf homily 7 July 1980].

5. Our response to God's gift is made with human effort and work. These characterize man's struggle in time and space to subdue nature ; they are the subject of my special message to yοu, my dear workers, tricycle and jeepney drivers.

I feel deep joy when I meet workers like you, for you remind me of those years in my youth when I too experienced the grandeur and severity, the happy hours and the moments of anxiety, the achievements and the frustrations that a worker's condition entails. Thank you then most especially for giving me this opportunity to meet you.

Let us reflect together on the dignity of work, the nobility of work. Do I have to tell you about it? You know the dignity and the nobility of your work — you who work to live, to improve your life, to provide for your children's sustenance, education and well-being. Your work is noble because it is a service for your families and for the wider community, which is society. Work is a service in which man himself grows to the extent to which he gives himself for others.

6. For this reason, a fundamental concern of one and all — rulers, labor leaders and businessmen — must be this : to give work to everyone. But there is a deeper reason why every man has the right to work ; it is in order to be in a position to fulfill completely his human vocation, that is, to become in Christ a co-creator with God. Man becomes more fully man by means of work freely undertaken and performed. Work is not punishment, but an honor. It has become difficult and burden-some only because of sin : "With sweat on your brow shall you eat bread" [Gen 3, 19], but it always retains its uplifting dignity.

Let us not deceive ourselves. Providing employment must not be taken lightly, or considered a secondary aspect of the economic order and of development. It should be a central element in the aims of economic theory and practice.

7. But it is not only employment that justice requires. Justice also requires that workers be paid a wage that is sufficient to maintain their families in a manner consonant with human dignity.

It requires, moreover, that working conditions should be as worthy as possible, and that social security should be perfected sο as to enable everyone, on the basis of growing solidarity, to face up to risks, difficult situations and social burdens; that wages should be regulated in their various and complementary forms; that workers should have a real and just share in the wealth that they help to produce in enterprises, in professions and in the national economy.

You can be sure that your Pope is with yοu on this issue and on similar issues, because what is at stake is man and his dignity.

There are many more reflections that I would like to make with yοu, my dear brothers and sisters. But it is time to continue the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Before I do so, however, let me once more make this appeal: never forget the great dignity which, as human beings and as Christians, you should imprint on your work, even the most ordinary work, even the most insignificant tasks.

Never let yourselves be degraded by work, but rather try to live thoroughly your real dignity, according to the word of God and the teaching of the Church. Yes, from the viewpoint of faith, work corresponds to the will of God the Creator. It is part of God's plan for man and for the fulfillment of the human person; by work man is indeed given a share in God's own work of creation. And from the viewpoint of faith, work is immeasurably ennobled by Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of man. By his work as a carpenter in Nazareth and by his many other labors he sanctified all human work, thus conferring on workers a special solidarity with himself and giving them a share in his own redemptive work of uplifting humanity, transforming society, and leading the world to the praise of his Father in heaven. All of this shows too the need for work to be performed well, and the obligation on the part of workers to fulfill their duties conscientiously and in accordance with the requirements of justice and love.

8. Dearly beloved brothers and sisters in Christ : the Pope invites yοu to pray with him and with the universal Church, so that all the farmers and workers of the world will live their dignity, fulfill their role worthily and make their great contribution to the building up of the Kingdom of Christ, for the glory of the Most Holy Trinity.

And may Our Lady of Peñafrancia continue to love you, console yοu, and protect yοu and your families and your country. Amen."

St John Paul II's words during a visit to a Refugees Camp in Morong
Saturday 21st February 1981 - also in Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

“Your Excellency, Mrs. Marcos, Mr. Delegate,
Dear brothers and sisters,
1. I am happy to be with yοu today, to tell you of the concern of the whole Church for you and for all who have been forced, due to unfortunate circumstances beyond their own control, to flee their native land. I would like this occasion to serve as a symbol of the Church's solidarity with all refugees, as a symbol of the visit I would like to make, if it were possible, to every camp or settlement of refugees in the world. At this moment in history when we are witnessing with alarm an ever increasing number of people being forced to abandon their homeland, I am grateful to God for this opportunity to meet you and to assure you, each one of you, of my heartfelt concern and oneness with you in prayer.

2. I take this occasion to express my admiration for all who have participated in the various programs for aiding refugees: the governments — including that of the Philippines — that have received refugees on a temporary basis, the individuals and organizations that have provided badly-needed financial assistance, and in particular those countries that have offered a permanent residence for these displaced persons and have assisted them in the slow, painstaking process of joining the mainstream of life in a new culture and society.

It is also fitting to mention the deserving work of the High Commission for Refugees which faces a most difficult task, yet one which is greatly needed. All these endeavours are indeed praiseworthy, for they bear witness to the inviolable value and dignity of every human being. At the same time, they are a sign of hope in that they signal an awakening consciousness on the part of humanity to the cry of the poor and defenseless.

I must not fail to mention the important contribution which has been made by local Churches around the world, a contribution which has been inspired by the evangelical spirit of charity. In particular I am thinking of all the volunteer personnel whο work in the camps and receiving centers, men and women who have extended hospitality in circumstances which often are very trying and difficult. To these volunteers and to the organizations which they represent, as well as to all those who work day after day and week after week assisting the refugees in the process of adapting to their new situations, I extend a special word of encouragement and praise.

3. The fact that the Church carries out extensive relief efforts on behalf of refugees, especially in recent years, should not be a source of surprise to anyone. Indeed this is an integral part of the Church's mission in the world. The Church is ever mindful that Jesus Christ himself was a refugee, that as a child he had to flee with his parents from his native land in order to escape persecution. In every age therefore the Church feels herself called to help refugees. And she will continue to dο so, to the full extent that her limited means allow.

In this part of Asia, the number of natural disasters and human catastrophes has been many. There have been earthquakes, typhoons, floods and civil strife, to name only a few. To the victims of these various calamities the Church extends a helping hand, and she seeks to work in close collaboration with those governments and international organizations which are engaged in the same relief activities. But of all the human tragedies of our day, perhaps the greatest is that of refugees. To them especially the Church reaches out, desiring to place herself at their service.

4. Jesus Christ once told a parable which I should like to recall at this time. This parable is known even among those of you who do not share the Christian faith. It is a parable which appeals to the hearts of all people of good will, not only to the followers of Christ; it is the parable of the Good Samaritan.

The Gospel of Luke records the parable, telling how a man had been robbed, beaten and left beside the road half dead. According to the Gospel account, "a Samaritan who was journeying along came on him and was moved to pity at the sight. He approached him and dressed his wounds, pouring in oil and wine. He then hoisted him on his own beast and brought him to an inn, where he cared for him. The next day he took out two silver pieces and gave them to the innkeeper with the request : Look after him, and if there is any further expense I will repay you on my way back" [Lk 10, 33-35].

The Good Samaritan does not mind that he might be criticized for helping someone whο has "tradi­tionally" been considered his enemy. And he does not ask him any questions : where he comes from, why he is there, where he is going. He asks no questions at all. Very simply the Good Samaritan sees the injured person in need, and he spontaneously helps him up, takes him to an inn, and sees that he receives all he needs to get well again. This is charity ! A charity which makes no exception because of the other person's ethnic origin, religious allegiance or political preference, no exceptions whatsoever ; a charity which sees the person as a brother or sister in need and seeks only one thing: to be of immediate assistance, to be a neighbour.

May this same charity motivate all of us who live in a world approaching the end of the second millennium ! May it inspire all of us to have compassion for the millions of refugees whο cry out for our help!

5. My brothers and sisters present here, and all you refugees who may hear my voice, may you never lose confidence in the rest of mankind or think that you are forgotten. Fοr you have not been rejected by everyone. You are not looked upon as a burden which is too heavy to bear. In every country on the face of the earth there are men and women of good will who care about you, who are concerned about your future, whο remember you each day in their prayers.

6. Finally, I ask everyone to join me in a heartfelt appeal to the nations. I appeal, in the presence of the Lord of history and before the Supreme Judge of human hearts, on behalf of all the displaced persons throughout the world. I appeal for increased aid for them, so that present efforts may be sustained, strengthened and reinforced. I appeal for continued prayers for all the refugees throughout the world, and for the warmth of human concern and fraternal love towards every brother and sister who needs our solidarity and support.

May God bless you all !"

Discurso del Santo Padre Juan Pablo II a un grupo de Leprosos
Leproseria de Tala en la Sede de Radio Veritas, Sábado 21 de febrero de 1981 - also in Italian & Portuguese

“Mga kuibigan:
Maratning salamat sa inyong lahat (Muchas gracias a todos). Me hubiera gustado visitaros en vuestra casa, pero esto no ha sido posible. Gracias por haber venido a saludarme vosotros. Gracias por representar a todos aquellos otros que hubieran deseado venir pero no han podido hacerlo. Estar con vosotros hoy me produce una alegría inmensa. Os saludo con afecto y confío que sabréis cuánto he deseado este encuentro.

En mis anteriores visitas pastorales a África y al Brasil tuve la oportunidad de encontrar a otros hombres y mujeres que sufren la enfermedad de la lepra. Aquellos contactos dejaron en mí una fuerte impresión, pues pude constatar la paciencia amorosa y el ánimo resuelto con que viven a pesar de los sufrimientos y la adversidad.

1. Estoy aquí en el nombre de Cristo Jesús para recordaros su amor extraordinario por todos sus hermanos y hermanas y, en particular, por cada uno de vosotros. Los Evangelios dan testimonio de esta verdad. Pensad un momento con qué frecuencia mostró Jesús esta actitud transformando situaciones de miseria en momentos de gracia. En el Evangelio de San Lucas, por ejemplo, diez leprosos se acercan a Jesús pidiéndole que les cure. Nuestro Señor les manda que se presenten a los sacerdotes y, por el camino, son curados. Uno de ellos vuelve para dar gracias. Con su agradecimiento demuestra una fe fuerte, gozosa y dispuesta a la alabanza por el carácter maravilloso de los dones de Dios. Es evidente que Jesús ha tocado con el amor el corazón de este ser humano.

2. También en los Evangelios de Mateo y Marcos leemos el relato de un leproso que suplica la curación a Jesús. Pero sólo si éste quiere. ¡Qué agradecimiento el de aquel hombre cuando comprobó que su petición había sido atendida! Sin perder tiempo, marcha a comunicar a todos los que le salen al paso la alegre noticia del milagro realizado. Aquella alegría inmensa nacía de la fe de aquel hombre. Sus palabras, "si quieres puedes curarme", eran el testimonio de una voluntad dispuesta a aceptar lo que Jesús quisiera hacer con él. ¡Pero su fe en Jesús no quedó defraudada! Hermanos y hermanas: ¡que vuestra fe en Jesús no sea menos firme y constante que la de estos personajes de que nos hablan los Evangelios!

3. Conozco los sufrimientos que os causa vuestra enfermedad, no sólo los de carácter físico. Las falsas imágenes con que mucha gente asocia la enfermedad de Hansen aumentan vuestro dolor. Con mucha frecuencia os encontráis con viejos prejuicios que se convierten en una nueva fuente, mayor aún, de sufrimientos. Por lo que a mi toca, continuaré proclamando ante el mundo la necesidad de que todos tomen mayor conciencia de las posibilidades de curación de esta enfermedad si se actúan las atenciones adecuadas. Por esta razón pido a todos que concedan un apoyo creciente a los valientes esfuerzos que se están haciendo en la superación de la lepra y que se aplique un tratamiento eficaz a los que sufren esta enfermedad.

4. Ruego a Dios para que nunca os desaniméis ni os amarguéis. En todos los lugares y momentos en que encontréis la cruz, abrazadla como la abrazó Jesús para que se cumpla la voluntad del Padre. Ofreced vuestro sufrimiento por el bien de toda la Iglesia, de modo que podáis decir con San Pablo: "Ahora me alegro de mis padecimientos... y suplo en mi carne lo que falta a las tribulaciones de Cristo por su cuerpo, que es la Iglesia" (Col I, 24).

Hace tres días beatifiqué en vuestro país a 16 mártires de Nagasaki. Entre ellos se encuentra el Beato Lázaro de Kyoto, que era un leproso. ¡Qué alegría sentimos al contemplar la asistencia prestada por el Beato Lázaro a los misioneros como intérprete y guía! Al final, su compromiso en la difusión del Evangelio le costó la vida. Murió derramando su sangre por la fe. ¡Su amor a Jesucristo le supuso muchos sufrimientos, incluida la tortura! ¡Fue incomprendido, rechazado y odiado por los demás en su servicio a la Iglesia! Pero con la fuerza de la gracia divina, el Beato Lázaro dio testimonio de su fe y mereció el premio maravilloso de la corona del martirio.

Mis queridos amigos: yo os invito a imitar la valentía del Beato Lázaro, que os es tan cercano. Compartid vuestras convicciones de fe con vuestros hermanos y hermanas que sufren con vosotros. Corresponded al amor que os demuestran los médicos, enfermeras y voluntarios que con tanta generosidad se ocupan de vosotros. ¡Trabajad por construir una comunidad de fe viva, una comunidad que servirá de soporte, fortalecerá y enriquecerá a la Iglesia universal! ¡Este es vuestro servicio a Cristo! ¡Este es el reto de vuestras vidas! ¡Así es como podéis manifestar vuestra fe, vuestra esperanza y vuestro amor!

¡Que Dios os bendiga, queridos hermanos y hermanas! ¡Que Dios bendiga a todos los que sufren de lepra en este país! ¡Que Dios bendiga a vuestras familias, a vuestros amigos y a todos los que os asisten! At higit sa lahat, inihahabilin ko ang aking sarili sa inyong panalangin, sa inyon pagmamahal: (Sobre todo, me encomiendo a vuestras oraciones y amor)."

Pope St John Paul II's Message to the people of Asia
Auditorium of Radio Veritas Asia, Manila, Saturday 21 February 1981 - also in Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

“To you the people of Asia,
To you the hundreds of millions of men, women and children living on the immense mainland of this continent and in its archipelagos,
To you especially who are suffering or who are in need,
To all of yοu I address my heartfelt greetings.
May Almighty God bless you all with lasting peace and harmony.

1. It is with great joy that I have come to Asia for my first visit as Bishop of Rome and Successor of the Apostle Peter. I have come to visit the Catholic communities and to bring a message of fraternal love to all the people of the Philippines and Japan, two countries among the many that make up Asia. My journey is meant to be a journey of brotherhood, in fulfillment of a mission that is entirely religious. But I have also come with the desire of being able in the future to travel to other Asian countries, in order to convey personally to them too my sentiments of deep respect and esteem.

In the meantime, I am happy to send from Manila a message of hope to all the peoples of Asia. I do so through Radio Veritas, which for a number of years already has been regularly transmitting the words of the Pope and a wide range of religious information in many languages.

2. My mission is religious and spiritual in nature. In addressing all the people of Asia, I do not do sο as a statesman, but as the servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, entrusted with "the mysteries of God" [cf 1 Cor 4,1]. I have come to Asia to be a witness to the Spirit who is active in the history of peoples and of nations, to the Spirit who proceeds from the Father and the Son, about whom it was written : "God loved the world sο much that he gave his only Son, sο that everyone who believes in him may not be lost but may have eternal life" [Jn 3,16].

In the Holy Spirit, every individual and all people have become, through the Cross and Resurrection of Christ, children of God, partakers in the divine nature and heirs to eternal life. All are redeemed and called to share in glory in Jesus Christ, without any distinction of language, race, nation or culture. The Good News which Christ proclaimed and which the Church continues to proclaim, in accordance with the Lord's will, must be preached "to all creation" [Mk 16,16] and "to the ends of the earth" [Acts 1,8].

From the very beginning, the followers of Christ, the Apostles and their successors, came to the countries of this immense Asian continent: first to India, the land of Saint Thomas the Apostle; later, in the course of the centuries, other lands and archipelagos were visited by Saint Francis Xavier, the Jesuit Matteo Ricci, and many more.

Today I have come to Asia, following the example of Pope Paul VI, retracing the footsteps of great missionary apostles. Today I have come with the same truth about the ineffable love of the Father — a love through which every man attains, in Christ, the full measure of his dignity and his final destiny.

3. Coming to the peoples of Asia — just as all those before me who, in different periods of history proclaimed here Jesus Christ — I encounter today, in the same way, the local heritage and the ancient cultures that contain praiseworthy elements of spiritual growth, indieating the paths of life and conduct that are often so near to those found in the Gospel of Christ.

Different religions have tried to respond to man's search for the ultimate explanation of creation and the meaning of man's journey through life. Hinduism uses philosophy to answer man, and Hindus practice asceticism and meditation in their ascent towards God. Buddhism teaches that by devout confidence man ascends to freedom and enlightenment. Other religions follow similar routes. Moslems adore the one God and associate themselves with Abraham, revering Christ and honoring Mary, professing esteem for moral living, prayer and fasting.

The Catholic Church accepts the truth and goodness found in these religions, and she sees reflections there of the truth of Christ, whom she proclaims as "the way and the truth and the life" [Jn 14,6]. She wishes to do everything possible to cooperate with other believers in preserving all that is good in their religions and cultures, stressing the things that are held in common, and helping all people to lives as brothers and sisters [cf Nostra Aetate, 1-3].

4. The Church of Jesus Christ in this age experiences a profound need to enter into contact and dialogue with all these religions. She pays homage to the many moral values contained in these religions, as well as to the potential for spiritual living which sο deeply marks the traditions and the cultures of whole societies.

What seems to bring together and unite, in a particular way, Christians and the believers of other religions is an acknowledgment of the need for prayer as an expression of man's spirituality directed towards the Absolute. Even when, for some, he is the Great Unknown, he nevertheless remains always in reality the same living God. We trust that wherever the human spirit opens itself in prayer to this Unknown God, an echo will be heard of the same Spirit who, knowing the limits and weakness of the human person, himself prays in us and on our behalf, "expressing our plea in a way that could never be put into words" [Rom 8,26]. The intercession of the Spirit of God who prays in us and for us is the fruit of the mystery of the Redemption of Christ, in which the all-embracing love of the Father has been shown to the world.

5. All Christians must therefore be committed to dialogue with the believers of all religions, sο that mutual understanding and collaboration may grow ; so that moral values may be strengthened ; so that God may be praised in all creation. Ways must be developed to make this dialogue become a reality everywhere, but especially in Asia, the continent that is the cradle of ancient cultures and religions.

Likewise the Catholics and the Christians of other Churches must join together in the search for full unity, in order that Christ may become ever more manifest in the love of his followers. The divisions that still exist between those who profess the name of Jesus Christ must be felt as an incentive to fervent prayer and to conversion of heart, so that a more perfect witness to the Gospel may be given.

Christians will, moreover, join hands with all men and women of good will who share a belief in the inestimable dignity of each human person. They will work together in order to bring about a more just and peaceful society in which the poor will be the first to be served. Asia is the continent where the spiritual is held in high esteem and where the religious sense is deep and innate : the preservation of this precious heritage must be the common task of all.

6. In recalling the great spiritual and religious traditions of Asia, and in urging fraternal collaboration among all its inhabitants, I would also address the problems that still face the many nations of Asia and the continent as a whole.

Economic difficulties and the persisting need for more rapid and wholesome development have rightly preoccupied your leaders and your peoples. Poverty still weighs heavily on large groups and classes in many countries. Not only are there wide contrasts in the social and economic situation of different nations, but also within individual countries great numbers of people still lack the basic minimum that is necessary for human beings to live in dignity and to take part in the advancement of their own community. Hunger is still a tragic reality for many parents and children, as is the lack of decent housing, health care and educational facilities. Great efforts have been made, various models have been applied, new ideologies have been adopted, but the results have not always been satisfactory. In some areas economic progress has not been accompanied by an improvement in the quality of life ; sometimes, in fact, it has unfortunately obscured important and essential values.

7. Many factors have contributed to this state of affairs, factors that operate inside the different communities as well as elements that are imposed from the outside. Today more than ever before, one is aware of the fact that it is not possible to explain the problems of developing countries satisfactorily by merely pointing to insufficient or delayed scientific and technological progress in comparison with the more advanced or industrialized countries.

It must also be acknowledged that the industrialized world has often imposed the force of its own centers of decision or life style, and has thus caused a disorganization of the very structures and possibilities of the less advanced nations.

8. Justice and equity demand that each nation and the international community as a whole assume their part of responsibility for the development of Asia in true international solidarity. Such solidarity is based on the fact that all peoples have equal dignity and together constitute a community of worldwide dimensions. In order to respect this solidarity, hard decisions will have to be taken, and the necessary structures will have to be created that will bring about a new order of international relations as a condition for the true development of all nations. All nations have a claim on international solidarity, but the nations whose very dignity and existence is threatened have a special claim and a priority right to international solidarity.

9. Above all, the true nature of the development process must be understood. Development is not a state of things achieved once and for all. Development is a long process, difficult and uncertain at times, whereby each nation assumes the management of its own affairs and obtains the means necessary to ensure that all individuals and communities have full chances of existence and growth.

True development depends on the personal commitment of the men and women that compose the community. Structures are certainly important, but they can either support or destroy people. Structures must therefore always be put at the service of man, for they exist only for man, and are in constant need of adaptation in order to serve effectively the cause of human advancement.

10. From the humblest rural laborer to the person in a high position of responsibility, all men and women must be conscious of the common progress in social and economic development. In this context, I would like to insist on the importance of creating worthy employment for all, and likewise on the importance of fostering a true understanding of the meaning of work. In the agricultural sector, as well as in industry and service-related employment, a man's work enables him to share in the development process, and also enables him to discharge the duties that, out of love, he assumes for the members of his family. Human labor, while promoting social and economic development, must also promote the total well-being and true advancement of the human person.

11. In order to succeed, the development of nations must take place in an atmosphere of peace. I cannot address myself to you, peoples of Asia, without touching upon this most important issue, for peace is the necessary condition for every nation and people if they are to live and develop.

My heart is heavy when I think of the many parts of your continent where the sound of war has not yet died down, where the people involved might have changed, but not the reality of war, where weapons alone are thought to provide security, or where brother fights against brother in order to redress real or alleged injustices. Asia has not been spared the lot of many other parts in the world where peace — true peace in freedom, mutual trust and fraternal collaboration — still remains but a dream.

Too many men, women and children on Asian soil suffer and die ; too many families are disrupted or forced to flee their homes and villages; too much hate still creates sorrow and destruction. I shall not cease to raise my voice to plead for peace. As I have constantly done in public appeals and in private conversations with the leaders of the world, so now again I beseech each and every one to respect the values and rights of peoples and nations.

12. I cannot finish without sending a heartfelt greeting to my brothers and sisters in the Christian faith, to all those with whom I confess the name of Jesus Christ, and, in particular, to those whom I love as the members of the Church that I have been called to guide and serve. Tο all the Catholic Bishops, priests, religious and lay men and women I say: the Lord be with you! Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum!

The Church has been present in Asia from her very beginning, and you are the successors of the early Christians who spread the Gospel message of love and service throughout Asia. In many parts of this continent you are small in number, but in every country the Church has taken root. In the members of his Church — in you — Christ is Asian.

13. Christ and his Church cannot be alien to any people, nation or culture. Christ's message belongs to everyone and is addressed to everyone. The Church has no worldly designs, no political or economic ambitions. She wants to be, in Asia as in every other part of the world, the sign of the merciful love of God, our common Father. The Church's mission is to proclaim Jesus Christ, born of the Virgin Mary, as the eternal Son of God and Saviour of the world; to bear witness to his sacrificial love; to render service in his name.

Like Christ, her Teacher, the Church desires the well-being of all humanity. Wherever she is, the Church must sink her roots deeply into the spiritual and cultural soil of the country, assimilate all genuine values, enriching them also with the insights that she received from Jesus Christ, who is "the way and the truth and the life" [Jn 14,6] for all humanity. The Church's members will be at one and the same time good Christians and good citizens, making their contribution to the building up of the society of which they are full members. They will want to be, in every society, the best sons and daughters of their homeland, working unselfishly in collaboration with the others for the true good of the country.

The Church does not claim any privileges ; she wants only to be free and unimpaired in pursuing her own mission. The principle of freedom of conscience and of religion is enshrined in the laws and customs of most of the nations. May it effectively guarantee to all the sons and daughters of the Catholic Church the free and public profession of their faith and their religious convictions.

This also entails for the Church the possibility of freely establishing educational and charitable programmes and institutions ; moreover, these activities will benefit the interests of society as a whole. Christians see it indeed as their task to contribute to the safeguarding of sound morality in personal, family and social life. They see it as their duty to serve God in their brothers and sisters.

14. As true sons and daughters of their nation, true children of Asia, Christians give an eloquent testimony to the fact that the Gospel of Christ and the teaching of the Church flourish in the hearts and consciences of the people of every nation under the sun.

Many are the men and women who have testified to this truth by laying down their lives for the sake of Christ in different places of the Asian continent. They did this in the same way as others before them did, during the first centuries of Christianity in Rome, or in the course of two millennia in different places around the world.

My present pilgrimage in Asia is intimately bound to the Christian witness of faith given by the Japanese martyrs. The Church honors them with the conviction that the sacrifice of their lives will help to obtain salvation and peace, faith and love for all the people of this continent.

15. My final word is a prayer for Asia. Upon the Heads of State and the Governments of Asia, I invoke wisdom and strength, that they may lead their nations towards full human well-being and progress. Upon the leaders of the religions in Asia, I invoke assistance from on high, that they may always encourage believers in their quest for the Absolute. I pray that the parents and children of Asia will grow in love for each other and in service to their fellow-citizens.

And I commend to the Almighty and Merciful God the dignity and destiny of every man, woman and child on this continent — the dignity and destiny of all Asia !"

Encuentro del Santo Padre Juan Pablo II con los Representantes de los Medios de Comunicacion Social en la Sede de Radio Veritas
Manila, Sábado 21 de febrero de 1981 - also in Italian & Portuguese 

“Queridos amigos:
1. Me alegro mucho de saludaros aquí, en "Radio Véritas" esta importantísima estación radiofónica católica de Filipinas. Os saludo a todos muy cordial y respetuosamente, pues como corresponsales, fotógrafos y especialistas de radio y televisión, sois la centella de vida y el espíritu que anima los diferentes instrumentos modernos de comunicación.

Quisiera rogaros que seáis siempre enormemente conscientes de vuestra responsabilidad. Las imágenes que filmáis, los sonidos que grabáis y los programas que emitís, cruzan todas las barreras del tiempo y del espacio. Llegan, algunas veces de forma instantánea, hasta las más lejanas y las más diversas poblaciones del globo. Lo que la gente oye y ve en vuestras transmisiones y comentarios influye profundamente en su modo de pensar y de actuar.

Hoy, gente de todos los estilos de vida, y de modo especial los jóvenes, buscan constantemente valores y principios humanos que les ayuden a construir un mundo mejor. Los líderes, en sus distintos niveles, tienen necesidad de valores y principios para construir un orden social y económica más humano. Es necesario que estos valores y principios lleguen hasta estas personas. Los medios sociales de comunicación pueden ofrecer un gran servicio a la humanidad en este proceso. Se trata, ciertamente, de un reto y una responsabilidad muy grandes, pero puede ser una contribución verdaderamente maravillosa a la humanidad.

2. Durante estos días de mi visita, el pueblo filipino recuerda el gozo con que sus antepasados acogieron la primera proclamación del mensaje cristiano. Reflexionan sobre los ejemplos de generosidad y heroísmo que esta proclamación suscitó en ellos. Reflexionan sobre los valores cristianos que tratan de mantener como la base del progreso técnico, económico y social a que aspiran con todo derecho. En todo esto se hallan asistidos por la contribución de los medios sociales de comunicación y por vuestro generoso servicio.

Vosotros tenéis la misión de transmitir los acontecimientos de estos días al mundo. Tenéis la posibilidad de ofrecer, durante algunas horas, a un mundo atormentado por una lucha creciente, algunas imágenes gozosas de solidaridad humana, junto con palabras de ánimo e invitaciones a la esperanza.

3. Que el convencimiento de la importancia de vuestra misión os sostenga en medio de las dificultades que lleva consigo vuestro trabajo: cambios de clima, viajes intensivos, numerosas presiones, y las duras situaciones de muerte con que tenéis que encontraros. Que la alegría que lleva consigo la comunicación de lo bueno, lo verdadero y lo bello, acreciente vuestras fuerzas y recompense vuestro trabajo.

Pido a Dios Todopoderoso que os conceda a cada uno de vosotros éxito y satisfacción en vuestra importante misión, el éxito y la satisfacción que proceden de la fidelidad a la verdad y al compromiso del amor fraterno. Imploro abundancia de paz y felicidad sobre vuestras familias, de modo especial sobre aquellas que se encuentran más lejos. Que estén siempre orgullosas de vosotros y se beneficien de vuestro trabajo. ¡Que Dios os bendiga a vosotros y a vuestros seres queridos!"

Encuentro del Papa Juan Pablo II con los Representantes de Otras Iglesias Cristianas
Nunciatura de Manila, Sábado 21 de febrero de 1981 - also in Italian & Portuguese

“Queridos hermanos y hermanas en Jesucristo:
En el curso de esta visita pastoral que estoy haciendo a la Iglesia católica en Filipinas, es para mí una gran dicha encontrarme con vosotros, representantes de las Iglesias y comunidades cristianas, y con los representantes del Consejo nacional de Iglesias de Filipinas.

1. Cada país posee sus especiales características de corazón y mente. En Filipinas uno piensa inmediatamente en vuestro cálido sentido de comunidad, la conciencia de que estáis estrechamente vinculados, un sentido de fraternidad que llamáis el espíritu "pakikisama". Yo mismo lo he experimentado en el breve tiempo que he pasado entre vosotros.

2. A la luz de este espíritu, las divisiones entre cristianos parecen todavía más extrañas e innaturales. Esto ciertamente constituye una base para vuestra sensibilidad ecuménica, pero sin duda nuestra preocupación por la unidad de los cristianos se funda en una razón más profunda. Todo cuanto es noble y bueno en la comunidad humana ha sido realizado y llevado a perfección en aquella más profunda comunidad universal, de la cual dice San Pablo: "Porque cuantos en Cristo habéis sido bautizados, os habéis vestido de Cristo. No hay ya judío o griego, no hay siervo o libre, no hay varón o hembra, porque todos sois uno en Cristo Jesús" (Gál 3, 26-27). Esta es la comunión creada por el amor desbordante de Dios por medio de Jesucristo en el Espíritu Santo. Esta Iglesia, única grey de Dios, signo y ya pregusto de su Reino, como un estandarte alzado bien alto para que lo vean las naciones, sirve al ministerio del Evangelio de paz para la humanidad entera (cf. Unitatis redintegratio, 2).

3. La unidad de la Iglesia es el don de Dios y no obra de los hombres. Pero las desgraciadas divisiones entre cristianos dañan este Cuerpo de Cristo, de manera que ahora la comunión eclesial entre las diversas comunidades es incompleta y en esa medida un eficaz testimonio de Cristo es impedido y oscurecido. Es una gran gracia y una energía de renovación, que en nuestros días Dios haya despertado en los corazones de los cristianos un ansia profunda por "una Iglesia de Dios única y visible, que sea verdaderamente universal y enviada a todo el mundo, a fin de que el mundo se convierta al Evangelio y de esta manera se salve para gloria de Dios" (Unitatis redintegratio, 1).

4. Como cristianos, estamos ya estrechamente vinculados. Justificados por la fe en nuestro bautismo y así incorporados a Cristo (cf. Unitatis redintegratio, 3), viviendo de su Espíritu, estamos unidos por una real aunque imperfecta comunión. Es responsabilidad nuestra expresar y hacer visible lo más posible esta comunión que nos une en Cristo, "conservando la unidad del Espíritu en el vínculo de la paz" (Ef 4, 3). "Podemos y debemos, ya desde ahora, alcanzar y manifestar al mundo nuestra unidad en el anuncio del misterio de Cristo" (Redemptor hominis, 11; L'Osservatore Romano, Edición en Lengua Española, 18 de marzo de 1979, pág. 7). De la misma manera, no debemos escatimar esfuerzos para restaurar aquella plenitud de comunión en Cristo, nuestro Señor y nuestra Cabeza, que vino "para reunir en uno todos los hijos de Dios que estaban dispersos" (Jn 11, 32).

5. Ante las grandes naciones de Asia, los cristianos de Filipinas tienen una especial vocación de dar testimonio de la común esperanza que poseen en Cristo. Particularmente aquí es necesario asegurar que "esta cooperación entre los cristianos exprese con viveza la unión que ya los vincula entre sí y exponga a más plena luz el rostro de Cristo siervo" (Unitatis redintegratio, 12). Se os presenta una oportunidad de combinar o coordinar vuestros esfuerzos para mejorar la condición humana, aliviando las necesidades y ayudando a crear en la sociedad aquellas condiciones que hacen la vida más conforme a la dignidad de cada hombre y cada mujer.

6. Tales esfuerzos pueden brindar un testimonio común al único Evangelio de Jesucristo. El Evangelio es nuestro común tesoro, y la tarea misionera que os corresponde como cristianos os debo también conducir a la búsqueda de modos y maneras de proclamar juntos, en la medida de lo posible, las verdades básicas en él contenidas, descubriendo lo que ya os une, incluso antes de que se alcance la plena comunión entre vosotros (cf. Redemptor hominis, 12). En esto os enfrentáis enseguida con aquello que os divide todavía y que limita el testimonio que podéis dar juntos. Esta es la tragedia de nuestras divisiones.

Lejos de hacer fecundo y eficaz nuestro testimonio de Cristo, el escándalo de nuestras divisiones ha disminuido nuestra credibilidad: Y esto resulta verdad, no sólo cuando se trata de no cristianos, sino también de cristianos de fe simple. Con toda honestidad, nos toca asumir nuestra responsabilidad por ello. Por esto es tan urgente que, a todos los niveles, los cristianos estén dispuestos a obrar activamente y pedir por el restablecimiento de la plena comunión. Él empeño del diálogo teológico es parte integral de todo esto, pero el alma es la conversión personal, la santidad de vida y la oración por la unidad cristiana (cf. Unitatis redintegratio, 8).

7. La situación ecuménica en Filipinas resulta especial, dado que la mayoría de los cristianos son miembros de la Iglesia católica. Los católicos tienen entonces una particular responsabilidad. A ellos toca así disponer de un conocimiento adecuado de los principios católicos del ecumenismo, serles profundamente fieles y empeñarse en ponerlos en práctica con valentía y prudencia. Fallar en esto, por impaciencia o por inercia, equivale a impedir a la Iglesia católica contribuir a] movimiento ecuménico con los dones de gracia y de fe a ella confiados. Y es importante usar estos dones en comunión con el resto de los fieles y con los obispos.

8. Quisiera concluir con una palabra de ánimo a todos los cristianos de Filipinas. Vuestra tarea es bien real, porque las divisiones son en muchos casos de reciente origen: ha habido una proliferación de varios grupos diferentes. Para algunos, las divisiones se expresan todavía en patente mala voluntad y proselitismo. Pero recordadlo, la unidad que Cristo quiere para su Iglesia es su propio don. Vuestros esfuerzos pacientes y bien informados para superar la separación y restablecer la comunión, el testimonio común que sois ahora capaces de dar, son una forma de obediencia amante a la voluntad del Señor. Sean ellos sostenidos y fecundados incesantemente por vuestras oraciones. En cada parroquia y comunidad, en cada Iglesia, en cada capilla y cada estación misionera, haya súplicas a Dios por la unidad que El quiere para su pueblo y por medio de él para toda la familia humana.

"Mi amor está con todos vosotros en Cristo Jesús" (1 Cor 16, 24). Amén."