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 Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People

People on the Move

N° 105 (Suppl.), December 2007



Concluding Address



Cardinal Renato Raffaele MARTINO

President of the Pontifical Council

for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People


We have come to the conclusion of these rich three days of the XIII World Seminar of Catholic Civil Aviation Chaplains and Chaplaincy Members. We have received much food for our reflections to guide us and experiences to learn from in carrying out our mission in the different airports in the world. We have realized that what we live daily in our airports are quite different from each other in some aspects, but are also very similar in many other aspects. They therefore give us a strong reason not to feel alone. Most of all we realize that Jesus Christ, the reason and the life of our apostolic work, is our Bond of Unity. In Him we are all one even if we are scattered all over the world.

At the close of our meeting, I feel the need to express my gratitude to many persons who have contributed to make this experience unforgettable and fruitful.

The first I wish to thank are you, yourselves, participants in this Seminar. You have generously left your field of action for a few days in order to share with your fellow chaplains and chaplaincy members not only your experiences, but also your friendship, your life, yourself. This is a very important aspect of your apostolic mission. As the saying goes, in union there is strength. And if Christ, who said “where two or three are gathered together in my name there I am in their midst”, is with us, who can be against us?

I would also like to thank my collaborators in the Pontifical Council, starting from my first collaborator, Archbishop Agostino Marchetto, who has efficiently coordinated the Seminar, and also Ms. Nilda Castro for following through the details of the meeting.

Thanks are due to all the speakers from whom we learned a lot, both in terms of reflections as well as in hints for future action.

Let me thank Sr. Alessandra Pander and Fr. Giorgio Rizzieri who have taken care of the Liturgy.

I am grateful to the workshop chairmen and secretaries who have carried the burden of writing down the workshop reports, but thanks, in a special way, to the Final Document team which has put together the output of this meeting.

Of course, we are extremely grateful to our interpreters, without whom it would have been impossible to carry out this assembly. 

Finally, I would like to thank the Sisters of the Istituto Maria Santissima Bambina who have been very welcoming in hosting us in this house. For a Seminar, the venue has an important part to play.   

I hope I have not forgotten anyone. With the collaboration that we received it is not difficult to miss  someone in the list.

Tomorrow you will go to pay homage to Our Lady of Loreto, Patroness of Civil Aviation. Let us lay at her feet the work that we have accomplished and ask her to bless us and help us continue in carrying out our challenging but beautiful apostolate.

May She strengthen us in our mission and send more labourers to her vineyard, and may we all be able to bring Christ to everyone who passes through or works in our airports. 

May God bless us all.