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Saturday, 11 October 2003 


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

1. I am delighted to offer you my cordial greeting on the occasion of your pilgrimage to the See of Peter during the second centenary of the creation of the Diocese of Ozieri, heir to the age-old history of the ancient ecclesiastical circumscriptions of Castrum and Bisarcium.

I would like first of all to greet your dear Pastor, Bishop Sebastiano Sanguinetti, whom I thank for his courteous words to me on behalf of those present. With him, I greet Cardinal Mario Francesco Pompedda, Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, who comes from your Diocese, too. I also express my greeting to the Mayors and the other civil Authorities, as well as to the priests, Religious and lay people who have spoken. My thoughts take in the whole of your diocesan community and I remember in particular the sick, the elderly, the lonely and all who are in difficulty.

2. I know that you have been preparing for the Jubilee you are celebrating with an intense programme of prayer and reflection over the last five years. I congratulate you! Among the many initiatives you have organized, the great Popular Mission stands out, during which God's word was proclaimed to young people, to families, to the world of work and to every milieu in the Diocese.

At the end of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, in the Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio Ineunte, I pointed out to the entire People of God that holiness is the goal to strive for with fresh zeal. I renew this exhortation to you, dear brothers and sisters, as I invite you to look ahead with confidence and hope. Holiness is nourished by ceaseless prayer, listening to the Word, and an intense sacramental life (cf. nn. 30-41).

3. To face the challenges to the Christian community posed by this age of immense, rapid social and cultural changes, it is necessary to be true to the perennial values of the faith and to present them anew in a language suited to the contemporary world. Only a coherent proclamation of the Gospel can make an impact on the men and women of the third millennium who are growing weary of words and are often tempted to despair.

It is vital to start afresh from Christ, who died and rose for us. He is the source to draw from in order to respond to the problems and aspirations of youth, the worries of families, the sufferings of the sick and of so many lonely elderly people. From Christ comes the courage to fight the sad phenomena of illegal activities and violent homicide. With his help it is possible to build a society of solidarity with respect for the dignity of every person.

4. Jesus needs you too, dear Diocese of Ozieri, to make his Gospel better known and understood. Conscious of his mandate to the Apostles - "Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to the whole creation" (Mk 16: 15) - may your action be impressed with ever stronger missionary enthusiasm. Spare no effort, neglect no initiative, overlook no means, in order to bring the men and women of Sardinia to encounter the Lord.

I accompany you with prayer, as I express the hope that today too, as in the past, you will know how to interpret your evangelizing mission so as to be witnesses of God's presence among the people who live in Goceano and Logudoro.

With these sentiments, I invoke the motherly protection of the Virgin Mary, and with affection I impart to you who are present here, your families and your communities, a special Apostolic Blessing, which I gladly extend to your loved ones and to all the faithful of the Diocese of Ozieri.


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