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Friday, 17 May 2002


Reverend Father Abbot Gregor,
Father Dean,
Reverend Rectors of the Seminaries,
Dear Professors and Students,

1. With great joy I welcome you to the Apostolic Palace. You have chosen the season of the Novena of Pentecost to make this pilgrimage to Rome, to the tombs of the Apostles and the See of the Successor of Peter, on the occasion of the bicentenary of the Heiligenkreuz University Faculty of Theology and Philosophy. Your community pilgrimage, led by the Very Reverend Abbot, not only confirms the academic community of teachers and students, but also manifests the ultimate goal of your studies and your work:  a deep and indestructible communion with the Triune God in his holy Church, here on earth and in the glory of heaven.

2. In these days of Pentecost, we pray:  "Veni, Sancte Spiritus, reple tuorum corda fidelium; et tui amoris in eis ignem accende!" ("Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and enkindle in them the fire of your love").

Your Jubilee pilgrimage is intended to be an important milestone on your journey as a community of theological studies:  May the spirit of fidelity to the Magisterium and to the Tradition of the Church which Heiligenkreuz Abbey and your school have demonstrated since their foundation in 1802, through the work of the Holy Spirit, experience a vital renewal and give wings to your apostolate.

Your intimate desire, which was also that of the disciples gathered with Mary, to receive the "Spirit of truth" (Jn 16,13) opens you to the great mission that I eagerly entrust to you:  to be enthusiastic and inspiring partners in the new evangelization of Europe.

3. Firmly rooted in the spiritual tradition of the Cistercian Order, your school takes up the challenge of a serious formation for the priests and religious of our time. For this I sincerely thank the Abbot and monks of Heiligenkreuz Monastery. I warmly hope that the Heiligenkreuz Faculty of Theology and Philosophy and all its members may grow in faith, hope and charity. For that purpose I entrust to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Magna Mater Austriae, St Bernard, and all the saints of the Cistercian Order, you, your dear ones and your confreres in the monastery, and to you I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing.


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