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Sunday, 20 June 2004


1. Last Friday we celebrated the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the last of the great liturgical feasts after the Easter season which constitute many wonderful embodiments of the Christian mystery: the Most Holy Trinity, the Body and Blood of Christ and, precisely, his Most Sacred Heart, "source of life and holiness", "our peace and reconciliation" (Litany of the Sacred Heart).

No one can truly know Jesus Christ well without penetrating his Heart, that is, the inmost depths of his divine and human Person (cf. Pius XII, Encyclical Haurietis Aquas: AAS 48 [1956], 316ff.).

2. May the mystery of merciful love which is expressed in the Sacred Heart of Jesus help us to live better today's World Day of Refugees, whose theme is: "A place to call "home': Rebuilding life in dignity and safety". Every person needs a safe environment in which to live. Refugees aspire to this but unfortunately, millions in various countries of the world are still living in refugee camps or prevented for long periods from fully exercising their rights.

Let us not forget these refugee brothers and sisters of ours! I express my appreciation and encouragement to everyone in the Church who is committed to taking their part. At the same time, I am hoping for a renewed commitment in the International Community, so that the causes of this distressing phenomenon may be removed.

3. Let us confidently ask the Immaculate Heart of Mary, whose Memorial we celebrated yesterday, to obtain that humanity, in accepting Christ's message of love, may progress in brotherhood and peace, and that the earth become the "common home" of all the nations.

To special groups

I am pleased to greet the faithful who have come from Latvia and Lithuania, members of the Pro-Sanctitate Movement. Dear friends, may your visit to the tombs of the Apostles strengthen your faith and missionary commitment.

I then greet the Italian-speaking pilgrims, particularly the group from the Parish of Santa Maria di Testona in Moncalieri; the children preparing for First Communion from San Mauro in Lavello who are accompanied by their parish priest; the faithful from Case Finali, Cesena, who are celebrating the 50th anniversary of their parish, as well as those who have come from Milazzo; lastly, the members of the Misericordie of Italy and the "Fratres" blood donors.

I greet the pilgrims who have come from Poland and those who join us in our Sunday prayer. I thank Poland which has loyally defended in the European forum the Christian roots of our Continent, from which the culture and progress of the civilization of our times have developed. One does not cut away the roots from which one has grown.

I wish you all a good Sunday.


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