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Monday, 5 November 2001


Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate and Priesthood, 
Dear Men and Women Religious, Brothers and Sisters in Christ!

1. Yesterday, three days after the Solemnity of All Saints, on which we gave thanks to God for the wonderful works he performed in many of our brothers and sisters who have gone before us on the road to holiness, the Church continues to rejoice over the proclamation of eight new Blesseds.
At this morning's meeting, we had a chance to learn from the teaching and example of charity that they have given us. All of this has to impel us to find the confidence and courage to continue on the demanding and exalting road to holiness, the "high standard of ordinary Christian living" (Novo millennio ineunte, n. 31).

2. My warm welcome goes firstly to you, dear pilgrims of Slovakia, who rejoice for the Beatification of Pavel Peter Gojdic and Methodius Dominic Trcka. Following the evangelical spirit and the apostolic zeal of Saints Cyril and Methodius, Apostles of the Slavs, these two new Blesseds are extraordinary for their love of Christ, service to their neighbour, and fidelity to the Chair of Peter.

For his episcopal ministry, the blessed Pavel Peter Gojdic chose the motto "God is love, let us love him!", which he translated into a strong devotion for the Eucharist and the Sacred Heart. He nourished a deep love for the Mother of God, especially towards the image of Our Lady of Klokov, which he kept in the chapel of his residence. When the Greek Catholic Church was outlawed by the Communist State, Blessed Gojdic was arrested and imprisoned. He could have left prison if he would have surrendered his fidelity to the Church and to the Pope. He remained faithful, and today we venerate him in the glory of the Blesseds, example of rich spirituality and enlightened pastoral work.

Blessed Methodius Dominic Trcka lived out his missionary work as Superior of the House of Michalovce and Apostolic Visitor of the Basilian Sisters of Presov and Uzhorod, becoming a solid guide and confidante for the spiritual life and apostolic initiatives of many persons. With the coming of the Communist regime, Father Trcka was imprisoned, subjected to continued interrogation, unjustly tried, and sentenced to 12 years in prison. Because of the hardships and suffering in prison, he died in his cell, offering an heroic example of fidelity to the Gospel, solidarity with his own people, and love for the Christian tradition of the Eastern Rite.

3. I turn to the Italian-speaking pilgrims, especially to those who have come to Rome to participate in the beatification of Giovanni Antonio Farina, who was a zealous and enlightened Bishop, first of Treviso and then of Vicenza. I greet the Pastors of these two Dioceses, successors of the new Blessed, and the Institute of the Sisters Teachers of St Dorothy, Daughters of the Sacred Hearts, which he founded.

Blessed Farina was completely dedicated to the authentic human and spiritual progress of the flock entrusted to his care. In his desire to be all things to all men, he even neglected the necessary things of his own life. His intense apostolic activity, in the days of his youth as in his mature years, was constantly permeated by union with God. Man of charity, he dedicated special attention to the formation of young people and to the care of the needy, abandoned and suffering of any kind, dealing with the serious social needs of the time with rich creativity and the spirit of total abandonment to God.

4. The World Day of Missions, celebrated in October, has its natural complement in the beatification of Fr Paolo Manna, who was Superior General of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME), great apostle of evangelization ad gentes. With his life spent completely for the cause of the missions, he was an authentic precursor of the intuitions and indications of the Second Vatican Council. The new Blessed had the great merit of insisting strongly on holiness without any watering down and without hesitation, as the indispensible premise to being authentic and credible apostles of the Gospel.

We turn to Blessed Luigi Tezza, in whom charity and love for the neediest shine forth in an extraordinary way. He lived day by day full fidelity to his own vocation, in the constant search for and realization of the divine will in the generous and unselfish service of his neighbour. The Lord's statement, "I was sick and you visited me" (Mt 25,36) was the foundation of his life as a religious belonging to the Order of St Camillus and founder of the Daughters of St Camillus, to whom he wanted to transmit the charism of "witnessing the merciful love of Christ towards the sick with the heart of mothers".

Gaetana Sterni, foundress of the Sisters of the Divine Will, knew how to lead an ordinary life with an extraordinary spirit. She suffered a great deal, above all, in her youth which, however, refined her sensitivity, rendering her capable of an unselfish love, pardon and availability for the poor. Living in the continual search for the will of God and of readiness for it, she understood that to do the will of God meant to dedicate herself like Jesus to drawing good from evil with the force of love. For this reason, her living witness is more necessary than ever in our day.

5. Blessed Bartholomew of the Martyrs, by vocation and ideal of life a Domenican, burned with zeal for the cause of God which is the salvation of humanity showing the way by means of the Gospel. Faithful to the apostolic norm, "we should dedicate ourselves to prayer and the ministry of the Word" (Acts 6,4), he drew after him the clergy:  he promoted their permanent formation, he made available resources for preaching and founded the Seminary to offer a worthy preparation for future priests.

The Seminary was only one of the means of reform laid down by the Council of Trent. The Blessed Archbishop was zealous in heart and mind to put them in place despite obstacles; some of them were reported to Rome. Pope Pius IV responded, saying of Fra Bartholomew:  "He gave us such satisfaction during the time in which he participated in the Council, with his goodness, his prayerfulness and devotion, that we continue to hold him in the highest consideration, with an appreciation of his honour and virtue that cannot be changed by anyone's complaints" (Letter to the King of Portugal, Cardinale Dom Henrique). Yesterday with the act of his beatification I could confirm the sentiments of my Predecessor. I greet the Church of Lisbon, which gave him his origin, and that of Viana do Castelo which welcomed him in his last years and preserves his mortal remains. I also greet the Archdiocese of Braga as it was then and the whole of Portugal which he served and loved, above all in the person of the poor.

6. I greet warmly all the pilgrims who yesterday participated in the Beatification of Mother María Pilar Izquierdo. They came from all the places where the Missionary Work of Jesus and Mary is present. In Europe, in Spain and Italy; in America, in Colombia, Eucuador and Venezuela; in Africa, in Nacala and Maputo in Mozambique.

In the present day world, where sometimes the unrestrained search for pleasure and immediate gratification prevails, the person of Mother María Pilar Izquierdo proclaims with great power the redemptive value of sacrifice, freely accepted and offered together with that of Christ for the salvation of the human race. The Blessed Pilar Izquierdo was an authentic apostle for the spread of the Gospel. With a group of followers, she was dedicated to teaching it in poor and neglected neighbourhoods, hungry for bread and above all for God, in a period of her life when she was surrounded by every kind of misunderstanding. She never lost her love for sacrifice, and in that way she is a shining example for those who, even with many difficulties, have dedicated their lives to the spread of the Kingdom of God.

7. Dear Brothers and Sisters, let us direct our prayer to the Lord to beg for ourselves the same faith, courage and dedication which made these eight new Blesseds so great.

May their heavenly intercession always support us, together with that of the Blessed Virgin Mary, to whose motherly protection I entrust all of you, your families and your communities, while I impart to you a special Blessing.


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