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Sunday, 12 October 2003 


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

1. Next Thursday, 16 October, will be the 25th anniversary of my Pontificate. At 6: 00 p.m. in St Peter's Square I will celebrate a solemn Mass of Thanksgiving. I immediately thank all those who will be joining me in prayer, thanking God for his continuous and providential help.

2. Those days of October 1978 flash across my mind. Today I am thinking especially of the first Angelus that I recited from this window on 22 October. I then sought to "embrace" in the mystery of the Incarnation, which this prayer helps us to contemplate, "the whole future of the Pontificate, of the People of God and of the whole human family, because", I said, "the family begins with the father's will, but is always conceived under the mother's heart" (L'Osservatore Romano English edition, 2 November 1978, p. 2).

3. Now, as I think back to the past with gratitude, I turn my gaze on the young people with whom I have built up a preferential dialogue since the very beginning of my Petrine ministry. I recall that at the end of that first Angelus I added a special greeting to them, saying, "You are the future of the world, the hope of the Church. You are my hope!".

I must recognize that their response was truly encouraging. Today I would like to thank them for having been constantly close to me in these years, and I would like them to know that I continue to count on them.

I entrust them, O Mary, to you who are the eternal youth of the Church. Help them to be ready and available to do God's will, in order to build generously a world that is more just and more fraternal.
I wish you all an enjoyable Sunday!



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