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Tuesday, 30 November 2004


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

1. I am pleased to met all of you in the atmosphere of joy and gratitude to the Lord for the 60th anniversary of the ordination to the priesthood of Fr Marcial Maciel Degollado, Founder and Superior General of your young and praiseworthy religious Family.

My affection greeting goes first to dear Fr Maciel, to whom I willingly offer my most cordial good wishes for a priestly ministry filled with the gifts of the Holy Spirit. I then greet the Superiors of the Institute, in particular the Vicar General whom I thank for his words on behalf of all. I also greet you, dear Priests and Seminarians, Legionaries of Christ, dear Members of the Regnum Christi Movement, and all of you who have been taking part in these days in the Jubilee celebrations.

2. While the happy event that has gathered you all around the Founder invites you to commemorate the gifts that he has received from the Lord during these 60 years of his priestly ministry, at the same time it affords the opportunity to reaffirm the commitments you have made as Legionaries of Christ to serve the Gospel. Today, in particular, meeting the Successor of Peter, you have desired to renew your commitment of total fidelity to the Church and to the person Providence has desired to be her Pastor.

At this important Meeting, I am eager to repeat to you what I said at the end of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000: "There is a need today more than ever for a confident proclamation of the Gospel which, casting aside all crippling fears, announces with intellectual depth and with courage the truth about God, about man, about the world" (Address to the Legionaries of Christ and the Members of the "Regnum Christi' Movement, n. 4, 4 January 2001; L'Osservatore Romano English edition, 17 January 2001, p. 5).

3. To bring this demanding mission to completion, it is indispensable to cultivate constant intimacy with Christ, seeking to follow him and imitate him with docility. This will make you ever ready to respond to the most authentic and profound expectations of the men and women of our time.

May the Year of the Eucharist that began in October be a favourable opportunity for you to grow in love for the Eucharist, the source and summit of all Christian life. For the Church, this supreme Mystery is a gift of Christ par excellence, because it is "the gift of himself, of his person in his sacred humanity, as well as the gift of his saving work" (Ecclesia de Eucharistia, n. 11).

4. Stay united round the Eucharist! Faithful to the charism that distinguishes you, pursue your evangelizing mission, drawing nourishment from Christ and making yourselves his undaunted witnesses.

May your holy Protectors go with you. In particular, may Mary Most Holy, Our Lady Help of Christians, guide and sustain you!

With these sentiments and wishes, I warmly impart to dear Fr Maciel and to all of you present here, a special Apostolic Blessing, which I willingly extend to the Members of your religious Family and to everyone you meet in your daily apostolate.

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