MASS IN A VILLAGE NAMED LEULUMOEGA
HOMILY OF THE HOLY FATHER PAUL VI
Pacific Ocean, Western Samoa
Dear Sons and Daughters,
Here I am in your midst! I come from far away, from Rome, from the place where the great Apostles Peter and Paul and so many other saints and martyrs are buried; I come to bring you their blessing.
It is not a desire for travel nor any self-interest whatever that has drawn me to you. I come because we are all brothers and sisters; or, to put it another way, you are my sons and daughters and it is fitting that I, as father of the family that is the Catholic Church, should show each one that he has a right to equal affection. Do you know the meaning of «Catholic Church»? It means that the Church is for the entire world, that she is for all, that nowhere is she an alien. Each man, whatever his country, his race, his age or his education has a place in the Church.
How can I say such an astonishing thing? Because that is what Jesus Christ, the first-born of all men, has wanted. He is the Son of God, our Father, in heaven, and at the same time he is the Son of Mary, our sister, a human being like ourselves. It is he who saves us, it is he who is our teacher. He has sent me just as he sent your missionaries.
It is on behalf of Jesus Christ that
these men and women of God have come to your islands. They have given you the
same teaching that I bring; they were impelled by the same love as I have.
And so I have a favour to ask of you. It is this. Let us together send a message, I mean a letter, an invitation, to all the Catholics of the whole world. Let us tell them that there are still many people, many peoples indeed, who have not yet received missionaries, or else have received too few of them. Let us say that they must send new men and women missionaries here and to all the islands and all parts of the world that still do not know Jesus Christ. They are needed to preach the Gospel, and to baptize all who desire to become Christians. They are also needed to educate the people, to teach the children, to instruct the youth in what is good and beautiful, to labour, and to give your life the chance to grow and develop. They are to come in order to proclaim to all the duty to respect every human being, to show to all the way to live well, in justice and peace, and to recall to all who the Risen Christ is, and that we must love God and love all men.
Do you like this idea?
I give you this sheet of paper. On it is written the missionary message. We will all sign it. It will be the Catholic Message from the Missions of Samoa for the Missions of the whole world. The whole world will listen to you.
We, Paul VI,
- With the Catholic community of the Island of Upolu, gathered around its Bishop, Pio Taofinu’u, and its clergy;
- With Our collaborators, Cardinals Eugène Tisserant and Agnelo Rossi, Archbishops Giovanni Benelli, Agostino CasaroIi and Sergio Pignedoli, and Bishop Jacques Martin;
- Launch an appeal that would be a call to the whole Church scattered to the four corners of the earth, from this privileged land, lost in the immensity of the Pacific Ocean, but long since open to the Gospel message;
- Responding to the anguished voices of those eager for light who beg us: «Come across and help us» (Cfr. Act. 16: 9);
- Seized with pity for the multitude hungry for the bread of the Word and the Bread of the Eucharist but with no one to give them these;
- Filled with admiration before the riches which God has placed in men’s hearts and the wonderful promises of a harvest for the Gospel;
- We repeat the call which, from distant times, God has addressed to generous hearts: «Leave your country, your family and your father’s house for the land I will show you» (Gen. 12: 1).
- To you, bishops of the Holy Catholic Church,
- To you,
- To you, young men and women,
- You who are rich,
- You who are
- You who suffer, you who weep or are persecuted,
- To the whole of Catholic Christendom
Unknown brothers and sisters, listen to our voice. And the grace of the Lord be with you. Amen.