APOSTOLIC JOURNEY TO THE PHILIPPINES,
ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS JOHN PAUL II
Philippine International Convention Center of Manila
1. "Radio Veritas" Asia is celebrating twenty-five years of outstanding service to the proclamation of the Gospel and to human development. It gives me great joy to mark this significant anniversary right here in the Philippines, the host country of this important instrument of the Church’s apostolate. Together with all of you, I give thanks to God for all that "Radio Veritas" has accomplished over the last quarter of a century to advance the Church’s mission, even enabling her voice to be heard in many places not otherwise accessible.
"Radio Veritas" Asia began as the fruit of a strong missionary commitment on the part of South–East Asian Bishops gathered for a general meeting in 1958. Their idea was to enable Asians to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ from other Asians. The actual realization of that ambitious project is linked to the memory of Cardinal Rufino Santos, who watched over the Radio’s first difficult years of existence. Today, "Radio Veritas" Asia continues to be a powerful expression of the co-responsibility of the Bishops of Asia in pursuing with vision and enthusiasm the Church’s missionary mandate. The fact that the Gospel is heard in so many of this continent’s languages truly makes "Radio Veritas" "the voice of Asian Christianity".
Here I must mention with gratitude the consolation and strength which your broadcasts have provided to the Church of Silence and to all those Christians who have suffered and continue to suffer for their fidelity to the one whom Christ has made the visible foundation of the Church’s unity.
2. An anniversary such as this also invites us to look to the future, with its hopes and challenges. For "Radio Veritas" Asia the future can only mean an ever greater commitment to evangelization as the third Millennium of the Redemption approaches. As I wrote in the Encyclical "Redemptoris Missio", "the moment has come to commit all of the Church’s energies to a new evangelization and to the mission ad gentes. No believer in Christ, no institution of the Church can avoid this supreme duty: to proclaim Christ to all peoples" (John Paul II, Redemptoris Missio, 3). "Radio Veritas" must be helped to fulfil this task, even though this will certainly involve even greater sacrifices and renewed commitment on the part of the Churches in Asia. The Lord of the harvest will surely bestow his abundant gifts upon those who make it possible to preach the Gospel to the ends of the earth.
"Radio Veritas" Asia faces the urgent task of finding ever more effective ways of sustaining and informing the faith of those who already believe in Christ, and of proclaiming him and his Kingdom to those who do not yet know him. Through its religious programs, "Radio Veritas" Asia spreads knowledge of Gospel truths and values, and makes possible a far-reaching, often barely conscious dialogue of the mind between the message of salvation in Jesus Christ and the "seeds of the Word" present in the ancient traditions of Asia, both cultural and religious. The proclamation of the Gospel, when carried out with respect and with the attitude of sharing a precious gift with those who have not yet received it, is an invaluable service to the human family, shaping people’s hearts in accordance with truth and love. "Radio Veritas" Asia can be proud of the respectful dialogue which it fosters with the followers of other religions, who make up such a large part of its listeners. Today more than ever, the followers of the various religious traditions need to know each other better, in order to work together in defending those common human and spiritual values without which a society worthy of man cannot be built. Through its educational, news and entertainment programs, "Radio Veritas" Asia contributes to the human development of countless individuals and families.
3. I wish to express appreciation to President Ramos and the Philippine Authorities for extending for another twenty-five years the Act allowing "Radio Veritas" Asia to function on Filipino soil. I hope that in the future more and more the international character of this unique means of pastoral service will be recognized. For all that "Radio Veritas" Asia represents in the Church’s pastoral and missionary outreach on this continent, I wish to say a special word of thanks to the Board of the Philippine Radio Educational and Information Center and the Management Council, as well as to the members of the Office of Social Communications of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences.
I thank the Radio’s supporters and benefactors: in particular, the Pontifical Missionary Work of the Propagation of the Faith, represented here by Cardinal Jozef Tomko, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples; the Bishops’ Conference of Germany and the Archdiocese of Cologne; as well as the mission aid societies such as MISSIO, "Misereor", Aid to the Church in Need, and the Holy Childhood Association. In a special way I acknowledge with gratitude the constant commitment of the German Government which has supported the work of "Radio Veritas" from its inception.
4. Dear friends: Jesus used the parable of the sower to illustrate the lavish generosity with which God spreads his word of light and life. In the spirit of that parable, another image comes to mind – an image taken from our modern technological civilization – that of a great radio transmitter which constantly broadcasts the Good News over the fields and byways of the world. This is the mission of "Radio Veritas" Asia, and I pray that its efforts to spread the word of God far and wide among the peoples of this continent will always be sustained by the grace of Christ and the power of his Holy Spirit. May God’s peace abound in the hearts of all those who co-operate in this worthy enterprise.
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