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Saturday, 29 May 2004


Most Reverend President,
Dear Student-Priests at the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy,

1. I am pleased to welcome you at a special Audience at the end of your academic year, and I greet you all with affection. First of all, I greet your President, Archbishop Justo Mullor García, whom I warmly thank for expressing your common sentiments of affection and filial loyalty to the Successor of the Apostle Peter. I renew to him my cordial good wishes for the 25th anniversary of his episcopal ordination.

I extend my greetings to all the members of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, and in particular to those who are dedicated to your formation, dear students who come from various nations. I also send a respectful thought to the Pastors of your respective dioceses, and thank them for assigning you to carry out this special pastoral service.

2. As your President has just recalled, our meeting is taking place on the vigil of Pentecost, a liturgical Solemnity that sheds light on the Church's missionary vocation. After receiving the Holy Spirit, the Apostles set out from Jerusalem filled with courage and enthusiasm and began to travel the world proclaiming the Good News. Ever since, this proclamation has never ceased to ring out among men: Christ, the Only-Begotten Son of God, is the Saviour of man, of every man and of the whole man.

Down the centuries, evangelization has come face to face with different cultures and, especially recently, with dialogue with the national and international civil institutions.

Dear students of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, the specific form of your participation in the evangelizing mission of the Church fits into this context. Keeping in touch with the Pope, the Pontifical Representations are called to represent him in the Ecclesial Communities of the Countries where they work, with the Governments of the nations and with the international organizations. This demands of the staff of these Missions an ability for dialogue and knowledge of the various peoples and of their cultural and religious expressions, as well as of their legitimate expectations. An appropriate theological and pastoral formation and, above all, mature and total fidelity to Christ are also indispensable to you. Your work will be fruitful and you will feel completely fulfilled in your priesthood only if you stay united to Christ in prayer and seek constantly to discern his will.

3. Dear Students, I hope you will keep alight in your minds and hearts the life-giving flame of the Holy Spirit that we fervently implore in these days, and that you will be witnesses of peace and love wherever divine Providence leads you.

May the Virgin Mary watch over you and make you gentle and courageous apostles of her divine Son. May problems never stand in the way of your generous dedication to Christ and to his Church.

I assure you of my daily remembrance in prayer, and I bless you as well as your families and all your loved ones with affection.

*L'Osservatore Romano. Weekly Edition in English n.24 p.5. 


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