TO VARIOUS PILGRIMS
Saturday, 17 June 2000
Dear Brothers and Sisters!
1. I am pleased to extend an affectionate welcome to each of you at this meeting which takes place on the eve of the liturgical feast of the Holy Trinity. This year the feast has special importance because it takes us into the heart of the Great Jubilee, whose aim is "to give glory to the Trinity, from whom everything in the world and in history comes and to whom everything returns" (Tertio millennio adveniente, n. 55). Contemplation of the mystery of the Triune God thus instils in believers a renewed commitment to know, love and serve God, who calls us to cooperate with him in building a more just and fraternal world.
Dear brothers and sisters, I hope you can have a powerful experience of God's love during your Jubilee pilgrimage. Indeed, it is his love that helps us to be faithful to his law and makes us the leaven of authentic renewal in the world.
2. I greet you who are attending the meeting of the World Organization of Former Pupils of Catholic Education. During your studies you have not only had the opportunity to acquire intellectual training but also human, moral and spiritual formation. May you be able to offer its benefits to your children and today's young people, who need to learn reference-points from their elders so that their lives will be happy and full of hope!
I extend a cordial greeting to you, students taking part in the Council of Europe's photography competition on the theme: Europe: a common heritage. You are experiencing the relationships between the continent's various peoples and cultures; by doing so, you are in your own way preparing a fraternal Europe where each person shows solidarity to all and is open to other cultures, so that they can become a common heritage based on the essential values of respect for life and individuals.
3. I now extend a particular greeting to the groups of faithful from the Parishes of St Vitus and Modestus in Burago di Molgora, Sts Peter and Paul in Luino, Sts Faustinus and Jovita in Villalta di Gazzo, Our Lady of the Assumption in Frascarolo, St Blase in Vacri and St Joseph in San Cesareo.
Dear friends, may the marvellous days of your Jubilee pilgrimage, which have brought you to meet Christ, the "Door" leading to new life, and to pray at the tombs of the Apostles and martyrs be a joyful opportunity for each of you to rediscover the love of God and to have a renewed experience of belonging to the great family which is the Church. Enriched by this experience, may you be fervent peacemakers committed to good works in your communities, so that each of your parishes can be a living reflection of the Trinity.
By taking the relations between the three divine Persons as a paradigm of human society, in fact, it is possible to build the civilization of love in which equality becomes brotherhood and unity in a respectful communion between individuals and authority, in generous service to the good of others.
4. I next extend a warm greeting to the staff of the Ferrara agency of Assicurazioni Generali, the Sacred Family Hospital Group of the St John of God Hospitallers of Erba, the Thalassemia Association of Garibaldi Hospital in Catania, the Vinovo Musical Band and the group of faithful from Abbadia San Salvatore.
I hope that those belonging to these groups will bring the riches of the faith to their work and to the life of their associations, in order to live it as a call to grow in mutual esteem and acceptance, and generously to serve the common good. In this way, their time spent together and the needs of their brothers and sisters will become opportunities to bear witness to the love of God which triumphs over sin and divisions, and offers the hope of always returning to the way of goodness.
5. I cordially greet the German-speaking pilgrims, especially the relatives of the late Archbishop Josef Stimpfle, who led the Diocese of Augsburg for almost 30 years. I also welcome the students of the Catholic school in Bremerhaven. Dear young people, I am pleased that you have traveled from northern Germany over the Alps to the South, to visit the tombs of the Princes of the Apostles in the Holy Year. The region where you live your Christian lives is a diaspora. Thus the school you attend is a sort of "training ground" for mature Christian witness. I hope that you can lead convinced Christian lives with strength and courage. I pray God to grant you his help and blessing.
6. I now extend a greeting to the members of the War Academy of Ecuador's Ministry of Defence on the occasion of your visit to Rome in the Great Jubilee year. To cross the threshold of the Holy Door is to express the desire to be ever closer to God and thus to live your lives according to the teachings of the Gospel. May this action, accompanied by works of piety and charity, obtain the graces you need to carry out your family and professional tasks, as you bear witness to your fidelity to Christ and to your membership in his Church.
7. Dear brothers and sisters, I entrust each of you to the motherly protection of the One whom the Church venerates as the eminent dwelling-place of the Holy Trinity, and as I renew my wish that your Jubilee pilgrimage will be fruitful, I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing to you all.
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