SPEECH OF THE HOLY FATHER
19 June 2000
1. I am pleased to welcome you on the occasion of the Ordinary Assembly which you are holding these days in Bologna. I greet you all affectionately. In a special way I greet the Director General and her Council, as well as Fr Luigi Faccenda, your founder and the institute's spiritual guide. By your visit you intend to strengthen your communion with the Successor of Peter. I am grateful for this sign of fidelity and love for the Church.
When you were numbered among the secular institutes of pontifical right on 25 May 1992, you became in fact a new
branch on the fruitful millenary tree of the Church. As I join in your thanksgiving to God for the road you have
traveled so far, I hope that the General Assembly will be a favourable occasion for you to reflect ever more deeply on
your spirituality of total consecration to the Immaculata, following the example of St Maximilian Kolbe, the martyr of
2. I was delighted to learn that your young institute is spreading to various countries and that there are "Immaculata Houses" in Italy, Luxembourg, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, California and Poland, where, to keep alive the legacy of the martyr Maximilian Kolbe, you are finishing a "Sprituality Centre" at Auschwitz which is meant to offer a message of hope to all who visit that place, the symbol of the most atrocious denials of human dignity perpetrated in the 20th century.
I also know that the "Immaculata Volunteers" work at your side, men and women of all states of life who embrace your
spirituality and share the same apostolate. Your institute is distinguished by its Marian charism drawn from the teachings and example of St Maximilian Kolbe, whose
love for the Immaculata is well known. He sensed that the mystery of the Immaculata contains the profound synthesis of the
misfortune of original sin, the tragic story which ensued for sinful humanity and the divine plan of salvation which culminated in
the Word becoming incarnate in the Blessed Virgin's womb. Spurred by this inner certainty, Fr Kolbe urged that the truth about
the Immaculata be sown in the heart of every man and woman, so that the Blessed Virgin - as he said - would be able to
3. Dear Fr Kolbe Missionaries of the Immaculata! Your daily experience allows you to see with your own eyes how the people
of our time are waiting once again to hear Mary Magdalen's announcement on Easter morning: "The Lord is risen!" (cf.
Mk 16: 10). They need apostles today who will proclaim Christ, man's only Saviour, as was done at the dawn of our faith, and will
With Franciscan zeal sow the truth of the Gospel in the hearts and lives of the brothers and sisters you meet in your daily
ecclesial service. Your work of evangelization will have an impact on the hearts of those who hear you, if you remain firmly
rooted in Jesus Christ. Your apostolate must flow from ceaseless prayer and a fraternal life that is a continuous search for God
and his action in the complex realities of the world.
With these wishes, I cordially impart a special Apostolic Blessing to each of you, to the members of your spiritual Family and to everyone who receives your pastoral care.
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