LETTER OF JOHN PAUL II
On Sunday, 16 December, God willing, I will visit the Roman parish of St María Josefa of the Heart of Jesus. With this visit I will have visited 300 parishes since I began this spiritual pastoral pilgrimage in 1978 with the visit to the parish of St Francis Xavier in the Garbatella area.
Spontaneously I feel the desire to give thanks to God as I reach this significant goal. It is a sentiment that I want to share with you, my Cardinal Vicar for the Diocese of Rome, while with great fondness, I recall your esteemed predecessor, the late Cardinal Ugo Poletti, who accompanied me in the first part of this pilgrimage, and with tact and care helped me to learn the Diocese.
Visiting the parish communities, I could exercise my mission as Bishop of Rome, Successor of Peter, in a more concrete way. The time I dedicated to the faithful of Rome was not taken away from those of the entire world. I found it was fruitful for the faithful of the world and viceversa my concern for all the Churches has made me more rooted than ever in the special Diocese that is Rome.
While I prepare to visit a Roman parish for the 300th time, I return spiritually to the visits that have taken place: paleo-Christian basilicas, ultra-modern churches, some in the historic centre, others in the vast areas that sprang up in the 1950's and 60's or in areas that have just now become urban. Everywhere I have proclaimed the same Gospel, I have broken the One Bread: Christ, Redeemer of the human person. To all my sincere best wishes and for all a prayer and a blessing.
From the Vatican, 14 December 2001
IOANNES PAULUS II