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Saturday, 23 August 2003



1. I welcome all of you, dear pilgrims, whom I have the joy of meeting today.

I salute in particular the faithful of the Parish of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin in Miane, Diocese of Vittorio Veneto. Beloved, the thought of your beautiful land recalls that of my Venerable Predecessor John Paul I. He loved the parish of Miane, and I, too, am bound to your community by deep affection. Thank you for this visit!

I bless with pleasure the image of Our Lady of Mount Carmel with the crowns of the Virgin and of the Infant Jesus that you have brought with you. I wish to express to you my appreciation for taking the initiative to recite the Rosary during this Year dedicated to it:  I encourage all of you - families, young people and the elderly - to contemplate diligently with Mary the face of Christ, in order to be always his faithful disciples and witnesses.

I also salute the group of the Salesian Youth Movement of Triveneto. Your presence, dear young people, offers me the occasion to say once again how up-to-date Don Bosco's charism and message are, especially for the new generations. The Salesian spirit, in fact, helps young people to understand that the Gospel is the inexorable font of life and joy. You too must live this wonderful reality: at the school of Don Bosco, always be happy, generous and courageous in fighting evil with good, builders of hope and of peace in every area of life.

I affectionately salute the Commandant and the Police of the Company of Castel Gandolfo, who generously lend service to the Pontifical Villas all year round.

I am likewise eager to greet the Delegation for the Pastoral Care of Youth of the Italian Bishops' Conference, which is on pilgrimage these days to the Cross of Adamello. Thank you for your generosity.

To Spanish-speaking pilgrims

2. I salute with affection Bishop Jaume Traserra Cunillera of Solsona, and the priests and young people who have made the pilgrimage here from Rome to Assisi. Dear young people:  Have no fear! Walk with the Spirit on the road of vocational discernment. I know that in your hearts there is a deep desire to generously serve the Lord and your brothers. May the love of the Virgin Mary and my cordial Blessing always accompany you.

3. Let us now turn our gaze to the holy Virgin, who yesterday we venerated under the fine title of "Queen". May Mary, the "servant of the Lord", make us always more aware that the true way to reign is to serve. May she also obtain that we render our service to God and neighbour joyfully. With this wish, I thank you again for your visit and I affectionately bless you all.

To Polish-speaking pilgrims

4. I cordially greet the pilgrims from Katowice, from the parish of the Cathedral of Christ the King.
I know you have come for the 25th anniversary of the pontificate. I thank you for your delicacy and good will. And I shall remember that in the past quarter of a century the Pope visited your cathedral on a certain day. I remember that meeting with the sick and the disabled workers some 20 years ago. I also recall the meeting with the citizens of Silesia at the aerodrome. I join you in thanking God for these meetings and for all the fruit they produced. And I am praying for Silesia because I know numerous difficulties beset that region and many are enduring hardship due to unemployment and a bread shortage. I hope that with God's help, the needs of the people who are facing such hard work can soon be met.

I impart a heartfelt blessing to you and your loved ones. Szczesc Boze! (May God help you!).


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