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Friday, 15 September


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I am particularly pleased to welcome you this morning, religious and lay people of the Jesus and Mary Family, who have come from many countries to make your Jubilee pilgrimage to the tomb of the Apostles.

The step of faith you have taken expresses well the objective of your spiritual family, which is "to know Jesus Christ better and to work in the Church to make God and his merciful kindness known". Indeed, during this year when we are celebrating the 2,000th anniversary of the Saviour's birth, the whole Church is invited to lift her gaze in a new way to the Lord Jesus, who reveals to humanity the face of God the Father, "merciful and compassionate" and who, by sending the Holy Spirit, makes known the mystery of love which is the Trinity (cf. Bull Incarnationis mysterium, n. 3).

I therefore warmly encourage you generously to renew the gift of yourselves to Christ, accepting his gift of himself to you and remaining in close union with him. In your life as disciples of Christ, as well as in your apostolic commitments, keep a vivid ecclesial awareness alive within you. Religious of the Congregation of Jesus and Mary and your associated lay members, through fruitful collaboration in the service of the Church's mission of salvation, be ever more effective signs of the presence of Christ the Saviour among his human brothers and sisters, especially the littlest! May no one feel excluded from the love which the Father offers to all his children!

Following St Claudine Thévenet, be to everyone, especially to young people and children, fervent witnesses of forgiveness and mercy, looking at them in a way that enables you to discover in each one a promise, an expectation, an epiphany of the divine presence (cf. Homily for the canonization of Claudine Thévenet, 21 March 1993). Like your foundress and inspirer, draw your missionary energy from the source of the Heart of Christ and the Heart of his Mother, so that "love will be, as it were, the apple of your eye" (St Claudine Thévenet).

I entrust you present here, as well as all the religious and lay members of the Jesus and Mary Family, to the loving intercession of the Immaculate Virgin, and I cordially impart a special Apostolic Blessing to each one.


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