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Friday, 1 October 2004  


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

1. I am pleased to address a cordial welcome to all of you who have come on pilgrimage to Rome on the occasion of the 17th centenary of the martyrdom of St Domnius, Patron of your Diocesan Community and of the city of Split.

I greet Archbishop Marin Barisic with affection and thank him for his words on behalf of all. With him, I greet your Archbishops emeritus, Archbishop Ante Juric and Archbishop Frane Franic, who is present in spirit. In addition, a special greeting goes to the priests. I likewise address a respectful thought to the Mayor of Split, to the President of the County of Split-Dalmatia and to the other Authorities gathered here.

Your presence gives me the opportunity to remember with pleasure the warm welcome you gave me during my Pastoral Visit to your Archdiocese on 4 October 1998.

2. From the places where St Domnius and the other Martyrs of your regions have borne witness to Christ from the early centuries to our day, you have come to the tombs of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul and of the other Martyrs of Rome. By so doing, you wished to show your attachment to the faith that they themselves confessed.

This attachment demands a commitment of constant fidelity to Christ and to the Church through a courageous and consistent witness in the family, in places of learning and work and in other social milieus. Strive, therefore, to further a coherent Christian humanism in every sphere of your life, both in private and in public. Let the heroic example of St Domnius and the other Martyrs guide and sustain you; impelled by steadfast faith in Christ, they gave their lives for the good of their brothers and sisters.

3. May the Blessed Virgin, Queen of the Martyrs, assist you with her maternal protection and the intercession of your heavenly Patron always guide you.

May an abundance of divine graces be poured out upon each one of you, upon your families, your Archdioceses and your beloved Homeland, as a pledge of the Apostolic Blessing which I wholeheartedly impart to you all.

Praised be Jesus and Mary!    

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