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Monday, 1 July 2002


Venerable Archbishops,
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

1. I am very pleased to welcome you and to renew my cordial greetings to you. After the celebration on Saturday, the Solemnity of Sts Peter and Paul, during which, according to tradition, I conferred on you, Metropolitans appointed during the past year, the sacred pallium, this meeting enables us to meet in a more family-like atmosphere.

Today again, it is the family of the Church that I can admire in contemplating you who come from diocesan communities on all five continents.

2. I greet with affection the Patriarch of Venice and the Archbishop of Catania, together with the great number of confreres, friends and faithful who have wished to accompany them on this special pilgrimage. May your dioceses always be distinguished by an intense and active spirit of communion.

I address a cordial welcome to the French-speaking pilgrims who came to be with their archbishops for the reception of the pallium, especially the faithful from the Dioceses of Gagnoa in Côte d'Ivoire, Saint-Boniface in Canada and Bordeaux in France. May this sign, given to your bishops, help you live in ever greater communion with the whole Church!

I extend a warm welcome to the English-speaking Metropolitans and to the pilgrims accompanying them:  from Newark, Madang, Visakhapatnam, Cardiff, Adelaide, Kumasi, New Orleans, Glasgow, Calcutta and Kingston. Your presence is an eloquent sign of the universality of the Church and a powerful witness to the communion through which the Church lives and fulfils her saving mission.

Dear friends: may your pilgrimage to the tombs of Sts Peter and Paul confirm you in the Catholic faith which comes to us from the Apostles. To you and to the local Churches that you represent I offer the assurance of my prayers and of my affection in the Lord.

I greet with affection the new archbishops of the Archdioceses of Burgos and Oviedo in Spain, Assumption in Paraguay, and Calabozo and Cumaná in Venezuela, as well as your relatives and friends. At the time when I express my cordial congratulations to you for the day of the reception of the pallium, I desire that, in putting on this ornament, the sign of a special bond of communion with the See of Peter, you might be living witnesses of faith and bearers of hope in the risen Christ in the particular Churches entrusted to you.

I also greet with affection the new Brazilian archbishops with their relatives and friends from the Archdioceses of Rio de Janeiro, Juiz de Fora, Florianópolis, Goiânia, Vitória da Conquista and Feira de Santana. With my congratulations on this occasion, I express the wish that, wearing this insignia, the sign of a special bond of communion with the See of Peter, you may serve as a stimulus to faith and hope in the risen Christ in the particular Churches that have been entrusted to you.

I am happy to greet Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz of the Mother of God in Moscow, and the group of relatives, friends and faithful who are with him. May the Virgin Theotokos obtain for each one and especially for the Catholic community of Russia the graces they desire.

I cordially greet the pilgrims who have come from Poznan accompanying their pastor, Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki, on the occasion of the conferral of the pallium, a sign of union with the Successor of Peter. I ask you always to remain faithfully with him and to support him with your prayers. God bless you!

3. "Plebs adunata de unitate Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti":  this is the Church, according to the ancient definition of St Cyprian (De Orat. Dom. 23:  PL 4, 553) revived by the Second Vatican Council.

Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate, always be passionate servants of the unity of the Church! And you, dear brothers and sisters, may you always be able to collaborate with them, so that every ecclesial community may live and work with one heart and one mind.

As I invoke the constant protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, with great affection I renew my Blessing on you.


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