The Holy See
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Mr President,

For many years, the World Movement of Christian Workers has maintained a trusting, open, and persevering dialogue with the Holy See, particularly through the Pontifical Council for the Laity. These relations had their highest and most significant expression in the meeting you had, you and your collaborators of the retiring World Board, with the Holy Father on 12 March last, on the occasion of your recent visit to Rome: You were able to inform him of your apostolic concerns, assure him of your faithfulness and your ecclesial commitment, and receive from him the encouragement and guidance you needed. May these relations continue and develop, thanks to an increasingly close collaboration between Catholic workers' movements and associations and their pastors at the diocesan and national levels, and thanks to their participation in organisms of pastoral coordination. The movements and associations which have institutional ties with the MMTC will experience this collaboration and this participation more intensely.

The Holy Father is happy to address now all Catholic workers gathered in Strasbourg these days for the "International Conversations" and the world Assembly of the MMTC, to greet them in a brotherly way, but also to encourage them and strengthen them in faith. I am happy to transmit these words which come from the heart of the universal Pastor of the Church and are dictated by the responsibility that the pastoral ministry confers on him as successor of Peter and Vicar of Jesus Christ.

On this occasion, how is it possible to fail to recall, in the first place, the meeting the Sovereign Pontiff had at Monterrey on 30 January last with an innumerable, faithful, and fervent crowd of workers who make up an integral partand how significant it isof the People of God in Mexico? They wished to follow and listen to the Servant of the Servants of God as he passed through their country. The substance of the message delivered by the Pope on this occasion concerns the workers as a whole and, in particular, all of you gathered in Strasbourg for ecclesial work. Accepting this message as your Mexican comrades did, you will meet, rest assured, a deep desire of the Holy Father. Moreover, why not see in this immense crowd of workers, gathered around the Pope at Monterrey, a sign and a symbol, as it were? A sign and a symbol of hope, a sign and a symbol of the meeting of the Church with the great masses of workers all over the world.

This meeting, or rather this full implantation of the Church in the working-class environment still calls for a great many efforts on both sides. To do so, it is necessary to deepen, in the Church, awareness of several convictions which must be familiar to you. It is important, of course, to have rightful esteem for the role of workers "who are the chief artisans of the prodigious changes which the world is undergoing today" (Vatican II Council, Message to Workers). It is necessary to be inspired by the sense of the dignity of work, of the worker and of the world of work, to try to overcome the different situations of injustice, even discrimination and oppression, from which workers often suffer still, in the different types of societies, whatever their ideological trend and degree of development. If it is important to sustain the best and most legitimate expressions of the values of solidarity, brotherhood, and friendship lived within the working-class world, it is necessary also to show discernment with regard to ideologies which, while claiming to assume the problems and represent the aspirations of workers, prove to be incapable of opening up to them the ways of integral liberation.

The Church recognizes the Workers' right of organization and participation. She therefore calls on the workers' movement to renew itself, following the lines that have just been recalled. But above all, she proclaims loudly that Jesus Christ alone ensures complete liberation, without frontiers of time, space, culture and social condition, and this through the Good News of salvation of which the Church is the sacrament.

That is why it is urgent that Christian communities should not cease to feel committed in the evangelization of the working-class world; that real vocations as working-class apostles should arise more and more among the workers, bearing evangelical and evangelizing witness within the workers' world itself. To assume this responsibility, the Church expects and requires a great deal of the MMTC: as a movement of laity, workers and Catholics, it must play the part of a bridge and ferment.

Between the close of your "International Conversations" and the beginning of your world Assembly, there will be "May the 1st" a day marked both by the holiday and by the reminder of working-class solidarity, and, in the Church, by the celebration of St Joseph the worker and therefore by the memory of the "carpenter's son". May it be for you the opportunity to renew, with Christ and in his Church, your commitment for the evangelization of the working class. May the bread shared in work and solidarity, in view of new forms of anticipation and a just distribution of goods, reach its full dimension in the Eucharist, the Bread which gives eternal life, in the Body of Christ which the Church prolongs in history until the definitive Kingdom when the faithful Worker will enter the joy of his Lord!

May the Apostolic Blessing which the Holy Father sends to you, to your collaborators, to the new leaders of the MMTC, to all participants in the "International Conversations" and to the world Assembly, be a token of new graces of the Lord.

Allow me to express, Mr President, my esteem and deep devotion.

From the Vatican, 26 April 1979.