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International Airport of Lusaka
Thursday, 4 May 1989


Mr President,
Distinguished Members of the Government of Zambia,
Dear Brother Bishops,
Dear Zambian Friends,

1. The time has come for me to leave your beautiful country. I have been very happy among you, and I take away with me the joy that we have shared during these days. I will always remember you with affection in my prayers.

You welcomed me with kindness, and since my arrival I have been accompanied every step of the way by your extraordinary hospitality. I have experienced at first hand the warmth of your human relations and the depth of your aspirations to live in a society based on respect for the dignity of every human person.

I will be very pleased if my visit leaves you convinced of my friendship and esteem. I thank you, President Kaunda, and the members of your Government for all that you have done to make this journey to Zambia truly memorable.

2. I came in fulfilment of my mission as Successor of the Apostle Peter: to proclaim the Good News of salvation in our Lord Jesus Christ, to confirm the faith of my brother bishops and of the Catholic community, and to begin the celebrations of the centenary of the Church’s presence in this region. It has been my special joy to witness the steadfastness and vigour of the Catholic Church in Zambia.

Brothers and sisters in Christ: I have seen the fruits of the missionary endeavour in your lives and I have seen how eager you are to grow in the knowledge and love of God’s saving word. With intense devotion we have celebrated the Eucharist together. I have been happy to meet the priests, religious and seminarians, and I have been edified by you all, young and old, by your families, and by those of you who are sick and offer your sufferings for the Church and for my ministry.

I have seen more closely the problems and challenges facing the Church, and I encourage all of you to place your trust in God and to persevere in his grace. I know your determination to serve God and country with all the strength of your love and compassion. May your light so shine that all may see your good works and give glory to our Father who is in heaven! (Cfr. Matth. 5, 16) 

3. To you, the young people of Zambia, I wish to say a special word of gratitude for taking such an active part in the various events of this visit and for sharing your joy so spontaneously. The future of Zambia and of Africa can indeed depend on your sense of responsibility and your willingness to strive for the noblest ideals. Take the future into your hands by preparing yourselves now, as fully and as actively as you can. Love your country! And be ever faithful to the grace of God at work in you!

4. My thanks go to all who have helped in the preparation and realization of this visit. I thank the representatives of the media who have brought my words not only to those who could not be present at the various meetings, but also to people throughout the world. I am deeply grateful to all those everywhere who have prayed for the success of my visit.

5. As I prepare to depart, I express once more my confidence and hope for this country: I pray that Zambia will ever keep close to God, and take to heart the words of the Prophet Micah:

“What does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?”
(Mic. 6, 8) 

God bless you, Mr President! God bless Zambia!


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