LETTER OF HIS HOLINESS JOHN PAUL II
To Our Venerable Brother Joseph Cardinal Schröffer
Amid so much that is expected of us by the whole Church and so sudden a change of events, we ourself nevertheless are thinking very much and kindly of you, our venerable brother, and especially of the beautiful event in your life which is already being commemorated by you no doubt with deep emotion, with gratitude to God, and with loving praise for the Eternal Priest.
On the twenty-eighth day of this month of October you will happily have completed the fiftieth year from the time when, as one of the faithful in the diocese of Eichstätt, you were chosen, precisely by the secret designs of the Lord of the harvest, and were admitted among the priests of the people of God. At that same time, therefore, you eagerly entered into the work of that sacred ministry which bore so much and such great fruit; at times for your beloved people of Eichstätt, at other times for the whole church.
Therefore in view of our great affection for you and of our distinct recognition of your many great qualities, we do not want to let this day pass without writing to you some brief and brotherly words of congratulation fitting the occasion, so that we also may add to your happiness by expressing the joy we share with you, and by these words of ours enhance the dignity of the commemoration of this anniversary.
For we well know how zealously and diligently you spent almost the first forty years of your priesthood in the pastoral care of the flock at Eichstätt, first as a priest and then for the next twenty years as its leader and bishop. But in the years that followed you have spent all the remainder of your fruitful apostolate with a like diligence and skill in very important assignments of the Holy See, at the Sacred Congregation for Christian Education, and in the many and various tasks entrusted to you as a Cardinal.
Therefore we see that there are many good reasons why, when this auspicious occasion presents itself, you should joyfully refer each of your acceptable labours and their beneficial results to Christ the very author of salvation and the teacher of priests.
Our Venerable Brother, long in the priesthood, during which time you became a member of the episcopate, for this reason also we congratulate you sincerely, in the name of the same divine Redeemer, on your fiftieth anniversary. But while we warmly congratulate you, we beseech for you from God the abundant rewards and consolations reserved for faithful ministers of the Church, as also a happy and fruitful life. As a pledge and token of these desiderable gifts we lovingly bestow on you, as if we were present, our Apostolic Blessing.
From the Vatican, the 23rd day of October in the year 1978, the first of our Pontificate.
IOANNES PAULUS PP. II
© Copyright 1978 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana