FEAST OF OUR LADY OF CONFIDENCE
ADDRESS OF JOHN PAUL II
Saturday, 9 February 2002
1. I thank the Lord who, this year, has again given me the joy of passing the feast of Our Lady of Confidence with you. This has become a family appointment, looked forward to and appreciated, that allows us to thank the heavenly Mother of God for her constant assistance to the Roman Seminary, the heart of our Diocese.
I would like to make my own the words of the great writer, Alessandro Manzoni, that you have chosen as the theme of today's solemn meeting: "O Virgin, All Holy Lady, what beautiful names every language has for you! More than one proud people boasts of being under your gentle protection" (Inni Sacri, Il nome di Maria).
I greet you all in the name of the Blessed Virgin. I first greet the Cardinal Vicar and the Bishops present; I greet your rector and the priests who work with him. I greet the alumni, the friends of the Seminary, the young people and all who are taking part in this festive occasion. I greet you especially, dear students, who are invited today to reflect under the gaze of Our Lady of Confidence on the importance of your journey of formation with a view to your future mission in the Church.
In this spirit he favoured the ecumenical approach, that has obtained great results even if much still remains to be done. At his school, every Christian is invited to become a docile instrument, learning from him, so that Christ's burning prayer in the Upper Room may be fulfilled: "that they all may be one so that the world may believe" (Jn 17,21).
Move without pause towards this challenging and majestic peak, treasuring the grace dispensed to you every day and seeking to express it in zeal for good resolutions and courageous actions. This is the mission of every ecclesial community; it must be the main concern of every believer. May Christ be at the centre of it all: to be known, loved and served generously with an open and generous heart.
Holiness is a gift, but also a conquest: it is the gift that God offers his children, sharing his own life with them and calling them to deep communion with him. At the same time, it is a response to this gift, and a laborious conquest to be realized all the time.
6. Thank you so much for this Oratorio. It made me recall even moments of my life, especially the inauguration of the Second Vatican Council in which Providence allowed me to participate personally. It evoked the person of the Pope: Pope John who opened the solemn Conciliar assembly and who died a few months later. All of this came back as I followed the voices of the Oratorio, the music of the orchestra and the singing of the chorale. Thank you, Marco, thank you very much for such a great gift.
At the end of his visit the Holy Father said.
Thank you for the invitation to this delightful evening in the Roman Seminary, that we in passed front of Our Lady of Confidence. We heard how Our Lady of Confidence guided the steps of Pope John XXIII on a path that brought him from this Seminary to the Second Vatican Council, which was also a great seminary, the seminary of the bishops of the world. Let us thank Our Lady of Confidence for all that she did to assist Pope John in the preparation for and in the adventure of the Second Vatican Council. I wish all of you the grace to find her guidance in your lives: from the image of Our Lady of Confidence to the goals that Providence foresees for you and even asks of you to be accomplished through you. Once again, thank you for this wonderful evening. Many thanks.