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Sunday, 6 July 2003


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

1. Today, 6 July, we conclude the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the death of St Maria Goretti, "little and sweet martyr of purity", as my venerable Predecessor Pius XII defined her. Her mortal remains rest in the Church of Nettuno in the Diocese of Albano, and her beautiful spirit lives in God's glory. What does this fragile but christianly mature girl say to today's young people, through her life and above all through her heroic death? Marietta, as she was lovingly called, reminds the youth of the third millennium that true happiness demands courage and a spirit of sacrifice, refusing every compromise with evil and having the disposition to pay personally, even with death, faithful to God and his commandments.

How timely this message is! Today, pleasure, selfishness and directly immoral actions are often exalted in the name of the false ideals of liberty and happiness. It is essential to reaffirm clearly that purity of heart and of body go together, because chastity "is the custodian" of authentic love.

2. St Maria Goretti helps all young people to experience the beauty and joy of the evangelical Beatitude:  "Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God" (Mt 5: 8).

Purity of heart, as with every virtue, requires a daily discipline of the will and a constant interior discipline. Above all, it calls for assidous recourse to God in prayer.

The many activities and accelerated rhythms of life make it difficult at times to cultivate this important spirutal dimension. Summer vacations, however, that for some begin during these days, can become an appropriate occasion to give new breath to the spiriutal life, if they are not wasted by squandering them and using them simply as entertainment.

3. While I hope to benefit from a summer rest in order to grow spiritually, I entrust the youth to Mary, shining with beauty. She, who sustained Maria Goretti in her trial, helps everyone, especially adolescents and children, to discover the value and importance of chastity in order to build the civilization of love.

After the prayer of the Angelus, the Holy Father said the following: 

In these days, the International Convention on the protection of the rights of migrant workers and their families, adopted by the United Nations Organization in 1990, is coming into force. This legislative instrument signals an important step forward because it considers the migrant as a person together with his family. While I express lively satisfaction at this juridical goal, I hope the States will join in supporting it to make it more effective so that, with the adoption of similar provisions and constant international collaboration, the complex phenomenon of migration can be legally resolved with respect for individuals and families.

To the English-speaking pilgrims

I wish to greet those taking part in the Knanaya Catholic Global Convention. May your meeting be guided by the Holy Spirit's gifts of wisdom and understanding. Upon all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present at today's Angelus, I invoke the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Holy Father also addressed the French-, Polish- and Italian-speaking pilgrims, ending with: "See you in Castel Gandolfo".



© Copyright 2003 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana


Copyright © Dicastero per la Comunicazione - Libreria Editrice Vaticana