ADDRESS OF JOHN
Monday 8 October 2001
Dear Brothers in the Episcopate and in the Priesthood,
1. We are reliving in our hearts yesterday's solemn liturgical celebration which saw seven new Blesseds raised to the glory of the altars. I address warm greetings to all of you, dear pilgrims gathered in Rome for this happy event.
Above all, I would like to share with you and to entrust to the Lord the anxiety and concern that has been stirred up within us by this sensitive moment in international relations.
The family atmosphere of today's meeting gives us an opportunity to thank the Lord together for the new Blesseds and to reflect once again on their Gospel witness and the rich spiritual inheritance they have bequeathed to us.
Bl. Emilie's spiritual life gave her strength for her charitable mission; she emptied herself of all things and found the energy to comfort everyone. Taking her as your model, I encourage you to put yourselves at the service of the poor and of society's most underprivileged who are God's beloved, to alleviate their sufferings and thus make their dignity shine out.
Blessed Nikolaus Gross teaches us to obey God rather than men. Our time urgently needs convinced Christians, who listen to the voice of their conscience and have the courage to speak out when it is a question of the transcendence of the human person. Sister Euthymia also has a timely message for us. Her life shows us that seemingly small things can be very important in God's eyes.
From the human viewpoint this sister was not a "star" in the limelight, but her silent work was a ray of light to many people that is still shining today.
May the example of both the new Blesseds be an incentive to you, and may their intercession accompany you all your life. I gladly impart my Apostolic Blessing to you.
In his city of Angri, Canon Alfonso Maria Fusco was revered for his humble, simple spirit, which won for him affection and confidence. With the characteristic inner calm of saints that stems from absolute faith in God and his Providence, he managed to make the "dream" of his life come true: to found a women's congregation which would assist poor young people and provide them with an education. Today, the Sisters of St John the Baptist take his message to many parts of the world.
Bl. Tommaso Maria Fusco was also an apostle of charity. He responded to the Father's infinite love, made visible in the Most Precious Blood of Jesus, poured out as an effect of "his most tender love", with unconditional dedication of himself in the priestly ministry and in service to the little ones and the poor. Today his programme of life continues, thanks to you, dear Daughters of Charity of the Most Precious Blood, who make him present here and now in your daily activity.
I affectionately greet the Pastors of your ecclesial communities, together with the Little Daughters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary and with all of you, dear pilgrims who have come to pay homage to the new Blessed. In the congregation founded by Venerable Agostino Chieppi, she was a wise and prudent leader of her sisters, complying with the directions she received from the founder. Fully involved in the local Church, she made herself a mother to all, especially to the poor in whose tragedies, struggles and hopes she knew how to share. The experience of illness, especially in the last years of her life purified her soul. She can now teach everyone how to face difficult situations with the help of grace, how to serve the Church with the power of contemplation and how to approach brothers and sisters with the eagerness of charity.
May the Virgin Mary, whom the new Blesseds loved so tenderly, always guide and sustain us. I entrust all of you to her motherly protection, while I cordially bless you, together with your ecclesial and religious communities and your relatives and friends.