ADDRESS OF JOHN PAUL II
Thursday, 3 June 2004
1. I am pleased to have this meeting with you who represent the Greek-Catholic Church of Ukraine, her Pastors, her men and women religious and all her faithful.
I thank you, Your Eminence, for your kind words on behalf of all your Confreres, and I would like to assure you that I am close to you with my affection, my prayers and my profound admiration for your Church's vitality and the fidelity that has distinguished her down the centuries.
With a wealth of heroic witnesses, also in the recent past, your Church is working on pastoral programmes that provide for the generous and harmonious collaboration of clergy and laity for an effective evangelization, encouraged by the atmosphere of freedom that today we can breathe in your Country too.
2. I therefore share in your aspiration to obtain a full juridical and ecclesial status that is firmly grounded in the canonical and conciliar discipline. I share in your prayers and in your suffering, awaiting the day established by God on which, as Successor of Peter, I will be able to approve the mature fruit of your ecclesial development. In the meantime, you know well that your request is being seriously studied, also in the light of the assessments of other Christian Churches.
May this delay not dampen your apostolic courage nor serve to extinguish or attenuate the joy of the Holy Spirit that enlivens and impels you, dear Cardinal Husar, as well as your Brother Bishops, together with the priests, Religious and faithful, to an ever more intense commitment to proclaim the Gospel and consolidate your ecclesial Tradition.
May I ask you, venerable Brothers, to take back to your faithful the expression of my vivid memories and the assurance of my constant prayers, together with the Apostolic Blessing that I cordially impart to you and to all the members of the Greek-Catholic Church of Ukraine.