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19 May 1998 


I warmly greet you all as you come once more to the Tomb of the Prince of the Apostles to greet the Successor of Peter. The seed of all that we find in this holy and historic place is the apostolic witness of the Galilean fisherman, and especially the witness of his martyrdom for the sake of fidelity to the Lord. It is the task of the Successor of Peter to continue to witness to the power of the Risen Christ, and to proclaim the hope which nothing can destroy. In fulfilling that duty, I am greatly strengthened by the support of the entire household of God, gathered in the witness of faith, the proclamation of hope and the work of charity. The Papal Foundation is a cherished part of that household; and I thank you from my heart for the support which you offer me in my ministry of service to the Church throughout the world.

The Church is looking to the coming of the Third Millennium of the Christian era and the challenge which it brings. In this second year of our spiritual preparation, we turn with special urgency to the Holy Spirit, and we repeat the ancient cry: “Come, Holy Spirit!”. We are like the disciples gathered in the Upper Room awaiting the Holy Spirit promised by the Father (cf. Lk 24:49). Like them, we gather with all our fears and frailties, but we gather in prayer and praise. We pray because we know that unless the Holy Spirit comes then our fears and frailties will triumph, and darkness and death will have the last word. But we gather in praise because we know that the ever faithful God who has promised the Holy Spirit will not fail to give this greatest of gifts, “the Spirit of truth” who leads us into all freedom (cf. Jn 8:32; 14:17).

You wait in hope, and your waiting is alive with works of charity. Your charity in supporting me in my ministry is part of a self-giving which opens you more and more to receiving the gifts of the Holy Spirit. It is my fervent prayer that you will know a new depth of the peace which only the Holy Spirit can give, and that you will shine in the world more brightly as witnesses to the Risen Christ, who gave himself completely that we might be filled with the goodness of God.

In the midst of the disciples gathered in the Upper Room to await the coming of the Holy Spirit was Mary, Mother of the Lord. May her prayer strengthen you always, and may her love lead you ever more deeply into the mystery of evangelical charity. With renewed thanks for all the good that The Papal Foundation makes possible, I cordially impart to you, your families and all who share in your work my Apostolic Blessing.


    © Copyright 1998 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Copyright © Dicastero per la Comunicazione - Libreria Editrice Vaticana