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Thursday, 24 May 2001


The moment for our farewell has come. We give thanks to the Lord for the days of grace and profound ecclesial communion which we have lived together. The Extraordinary Consistory allowed us to reinforce the bonds of fraternity, reciprocal esteem and fruitful understanding, which unite us in the service of the Church. The fraternal agape which we now conclude is the expression of the fraternal and serene climate which we experienced in the course of our work.
I want to thank each of you for your presence and for the significant contribution which you generously made to these days of common reflection.

Now you return to your daily life. I ask you to bring my cordial greeting to all those whom the Lord has entrusted to your care while we remain united in the invocation of the Holy Spirit, whose gifts we await in the coming feast of Pentecost for the fruitful exercise of our daily apostolic work.

I direct a particular word of thanks to Cardinal Gantin, the Dean of the Sacred College, for the kind words he addressed to me in the name of all. In them I perceived the affection with which the College of Cardinals accompanies the Successor of Peter and the ardent desire of each of its members to be of help to him in his ministry of service to the universal Church.

Warm thanks to all those who in many different ways collaborated in the preparation and running of the Consistory. Thanks to the Daughters of Charity and to the personnel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae. We have benefited from the charism of Martha in the house that bears her name.

As was appropriate today, the weloming dining room helped us to remain in the climate of the Cenacle. In this spirit we now leave it, giving our mutual prayers to the Lord. In October some of us will be together again for the Synod of Bishops and we can again experience this very valid form of the exercise of episcopal collegiality.

May Mary, whom we venerate today with the title "Help of Christians", accompany and protect you always. I am close to you with my prayer and I bless you cordially.


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