MESSAGE OF JOHN PAUL II
To Reverend Monsignor
On the occasion of your 80th birthday, dear Monsignor, I gladly join you in giving thanks to the Lord for the wonderful gifts he has bestowed on you during these 80 years of human and spiritual growth.
I renew to you my heartfelt sentiments of esteem and affection. With you I would like to embrace with a single glance these 80 years to entrust them to Mary, our heavenly Mother, whom you have been careful to point out to everyone as the favourable path for meeting Jesus and serving him faithfully.
With grateful heart, I look back with you over the years of your childhood, thinking of the example and help of your parents; of your years of preparation for the priesthood, when you met teachers who contributed a great deal to your human and spiritual formation; your years of teaching at the secondary school and at the university, the birth and development of the Movement of Communion and Liberation; then the years that saw the rapid spread of the work you founded to so many countries.
However, I join with special participation in your recent years when you have been tried by sickness, and I thank you for your witness of confident acceptance of the divine will, that you have never ceased to offer to the Movement and to the Church. May the Lord, giver of every good gift, allow you to experience the comfort of his presence and the joy of his love.
I share these wishes with your relatives and with the countless friends, spiritual sons and daughters who join in your celebration. I assure you of my prayer and I warmly impart a special blessing to you, which I gladly extend to all your loved ones.
From the Vatican, 7 October 2002.
JOHN PAUL II