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To my Venerable Brother Cardinal Fiorenzo Angelini
President emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care

1. I learned with pleasure that you will be going to inaugurate the "Holy Face of Jesus Home" for Social Assistance and Health Care which the praiseworthy Congregation of the Benedictine Sisters Reparatrix of the Holy Face of Our Lord Jesus Christ, under his inspiration and guidance, have set up on the Hill of Mãgura in the city of Bacau. I address my cordial greeting to you, to Bishop Petru Gherghel of Iasi, to my venerable Brothers in the Episcopate, as well as to the civil, religious and military Authorities, to the priests, consecrated persons and lay people who will be taking part in this important event.

With mind and heart I go in spirit to Romania, a Nation that is very dear to me, recalling with keen emotion my memorable and joyful Visit there in 1999. As a pilgrim of faith and hope, I was welcomed at that time with great warmth by the President and State Authorities, by His Beatitude Patriarch Teoctist and by all the people of the venerable Orthodox Church of Romania. I received a particularly fraternal embrace from the Bishops and the beloved Catholic Communities of both Byzantine and Latin rites.

2. The new structure for assistance, with the annexed place of worship dedicated to Jesus the eternal Priest, is ready to admit elderly and disabled people, starting with priests. It offers an important service to all who find themselves in situations of poverty or illness and have no relatives to turn to in their need. The initiative, therefore, comes as a practical response to the divine commandment to love God and neighbour with all one's heart, with all one's soul, with all one's mind and with all one's strength (cf. Mk 12: 29-31). At the same time, it makes a solid contribution to the needs of the Country which is reorganizing its economy and social life after emerging from the yoke of Communism.

On this occasion, I am eager to express my deep appreciation to you, Your Eminence, to the Superior General of the Benedictine Sisters Reparatrix of the Holy Face of Our Lord Jesus Christ, as well as to all those who have supported this provident institution and made it a reality. It constitutes an important means of assistance to the poor, the sick and the elderly, witnessing effectively to that "creativity in charity" that I proposed to the Church in my Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio Ineunte (cf. n. 50).

3. The dedication of all those who will work in the new structure will enable many people to experience the Heavenly Father's provident tenderness. I hope that the efforts made with a view to this important social service will inspire in the community of Christ's disciples renewed intentions of solidarity and generous cooperation in a Nation such as Romania, whose location makes it a bridge between East and West.

With these sentiments, I invoke an abundance of heavenly rewards upon all those who have contributed in every capacity to setting up this important Centre for social assistance and health care, and I cordially impart to you, Venerable Brother, and to all who will be present at the solemn opening, the Apostolic Blessing implored.

From the Vatican, 13 May 2004



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