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Saturday, 5 February 1983


Dear brothers and sisters from New Zealand,

When the ordinary of a Diocese comes to Rome on pilgrimage, he may or may not be accompanied by members of the local Church, but in either case he is never alone. The Bishop carries in his heart the hopes and aspirations of all his people; he comes supported by their prayers and brings with him - to present them to Christ - the strengths and weaknesses of his flock. He comes as a high priest of Catholic unity and universality.

This is especially true today of the Archbishop of Wellington, who comes as a pilgrim to the See of Peter, and as one selected by the Successor of Peter to render a specific service to the universal Church. At the same time, I am sure that the entire Archdiocese - indeed the whole Church in New Zealand - wishes to be associated in this special task, by their prayers, their collaboration and their fidelity to the perennial message of salvation in Jesus Christ, which transcends the originality of any and all cultures and which remains the unchanging patrimony of the universal Church and of every local Church in every generation: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever” (Hebr. 13, 8).  Your local Church, although geographically distant, is today linked ever more closely with the universal Church and with her Pastor, and through this union is brought closer to all the other local Churches. And in this ecclesial communion she finds the guarantee of her own Catholicity.

In your task of universal service, dear Cardinal Williams, you will bring with you the great contribution of the sick and suffering, the prayers of your cloistered religious, the dedication of numerous Catholic families, the fidelity of priests, brothers and sisters, and the holiness of young and old alike. And in Catholic unity and love we shall work together, so “that the word of the Lord may speed on and triumph” (2 Thess. 3, 1). 

To all the citizens of New Zealand, and especially to the religious and civil authorities of your land, I send my greetings of respect and esteem. God bless New Zealand.


© Copyright 1983 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana


Copyright © Dicastero per la Comunicazione - Libreria Editrice Vaticana