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Monday, 15 January 2001

Mr Director,
Officials and Officers,

1. Welcome to this meeting at the beginning of the year! I greet the Director-General, Dr Roberto Scigliano, and thank him for the sentiments he has expressed on behalf of all. I would also like to extend my respectful greetings to the Chief of Police, the Police Commissioner of Rome and the directors of the special branches of the State Police who work to guarantee security in your Inspectorate.

A very affectionate greeting to each of you, dear officers, who work each day with discretion and efficiency. I also cordially thank you for the significant gift you have offered me today, the Cross of Christ, sign of hope and salvation for every Christian.

2. I am particularly pleased with this occasion, which gives me the opportunity to express my gratitude and esteem to you for all you have done, not without sacrifice, during the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000.

Thanks be to God - as the Director-General observed - the intense Jubilee days passed without any serious episodes of disorder or danger. On the contrary, the prevailing atmosphere was certainly one of tranquillity. And for this very reason I feel the need to praise the Security Forces, who were able to anticipate and be vigilant to everyone's advantage.

If I think back to the events that Providence allowed us to live, especially World Youth Day, but also the Jubilee of Families, of Workers, of the Disabled and many other Jubilee events, I realize how many difficulties you had to face. I saw you collaborating methodically and generously with the Jubilee Volunteers. For many pilgrims, whether individuals, families or groups, you were a reliable reference-point. On behalf of the Church, therefore, I offer each of you my heartfelt thanks, and I am sure that your service this year earned esteem and appreciation not only for yourselves but also for the State institutions themselves.

3. I cherish the hope that, although you were busy fulfilling your duties, you were positively influenced by that atmosphere of faith and Christian celebration which was intensely experienced here in Rome in the last months, especially round the major basilicas. What I wrote in my Apostolic Letter Novo millennio ineunte also applies to you:  "It is impossible to take the measure of this event of grace which in the course of the year has touched people's hearts. But certainly, "a river of living water' ... has been poured out on the Church" (n. 1).

It is now time to channel this salutary water into the ordinary areas of life, into our daily tasks:  in the family, at work, in personal and social relations and in our free time. As Dr Scigliano fittingly recalled, the Jubilee is over but an indelible mark of it remains on our hearts. Nothing can be as it was before! This is especially true for believers, who must be spurred with renewed enthusiasm to reject compromises and mediocrity and be motivated to undertake whatever is best in every field.

This invitation is also extended to those who do not consider themselves believers. For it will depend on everyone's good will, if one of the Jubilee's effects is to be the improved "health", so to speak, of the entire social body.

Dear friends, as you return to your ordinary work routine, spread serenity and trust around you. May you be accompanied in your daily service by the protection of Mary, who maternally watches over you and your families. On my part, I assure you of a remembrance in my prayer, and, as I wish you and your loved ones all good things for the new year just begun, I cordially bless you all.


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