FAREWELL CEREMONY FROM JAMAICA
ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS JOHN PAUL II
Norman Manley International Airport, Kingston
1. At the conclusion of my Pastoral Visit to Jamaica, I wish to thank everyone most heartily for the very warm welcome and many kindnesses shown me in these days. I express my particular gratitude to His Excellency the Governor–General for his kind words. Having come among you as a friend, I now take leave of the people of this beautiful Island with renewed sentiments of affection and esteem.
A special word of thanks goes to Archbishop Carter, Bishop Clarke and Bishop Boyle. It was my particular joy during these past days to visit Jamaica’s Catholics and to experience personally the life of the Church on this Island. The commitment of Jamaica’s Catholics to their country’s future, which finds concrete expression in numerous schools and other educational and social undertakings, reflects their respect for the centrality of the human person in all genuine development. Inspired by their faith in Christ, Jamaica’s Catholics will continue to work with other Christians and the followers of other religious traditions to build an ever more harmonious and peace–loving society.
2. The forthcoming celebrations marking the Quincentenary of Columbus’ arrival on these shores will be a time for remembering the past, for recalling the many threads which have come together to weave the pattern of Jamaica’s rich history. May those celebrations also be an occasion for all the people of this Island to rededicate themselves to the ideals which have guided Jamaica’s pursuit of liberty and progress. The Jamaican people’s love of freedom and their capacity to triumph over the legacy of past sufferings and oppression are a great resource in facing the various challenges of the present and the future.
It is my prayer that the hard–won freedom which you cherish so deeply will ever guide and inspire your development as a nation. I am speaking of authentic freedom: that freedom which liberates not merely bodies but hearts and souls; the freedom which enables all the members of a society to participate in building up the common good. By fostering this freedom Jamaicans will ensure a future in which each individual will be cherished and appreciated for his or her unique value as a human being, where every person will be given the opportunity to develop and prosper, and where the less fortunate and the disadvantaged will be helped to share fully in the life of society.
May God sustain your efforts to build a national life marked by justice and equality. The patient promotion of understanding and dialogue are the only truly effective means for ensuring progress. These are high and arduous goals, and I pray that Jamaica’s efforts to reach them will go hand in hand with a strengthening of cooperation among all the countries of the Caribbean.
3. As I continue my journey on my way to the World Youth Meeting in Denver I invoke God’s blessings in a special way on Jamaica’s children and young people. In looking at these new generations, Jamaica is looking at her own future. May they always find acceptance, love, and concern for their needs.
May all the inhabitants of this Island experience the abundant blessings of
Almighty God, the giver of every good gift (Cf. Jn. 1: 17). God bless Jamaica! God bless the
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