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Thursday, 1 February 1940



In this hour, beloved Sons and Daughters, when you are celebrating, with the Eucharistic Congress, the end of the first and the beginning of the second century of Catholic life in New Zealand, We, the Father of the great Catholic family, feel a need in Our heart of dwelling in spirit in your midst, of sharing your joy, and of raising Our voice with yours in thanksgiving to Almighty God. Grateful and joyful thanks to God must fill Our heart, as they fill yours, when We see before Us the edifice of your external Catholic life, your dioceses and parishes, churches and schools, religious houses, organizations and works of charity, which have unfolded since the day when the venerable Bishop Pompallier of the young Marist Society, which in the future was to deserve so well of you, landed 'with his companions on the banks of the Hokianga. And when We consider, further, how much faith and prayer, sacrifice and personal holiness, how much patience and love, how much social blessing and cultural work, how much temporal, and, above all, how much eternal happiness, how much honouring of God, is represented in that measurable Catholic growth, then We desire to proclaim with you the praise of God: and the glacial splendour of your mountain peaks, the beauty of your coast, and the loveliness of your forests and plains, all join together with Us in singing the praise of God: « Quoniam bonus, quoniam in saeculum misericordia eius »: «because He is good, because His mercy endureth forover» (II Par., VII, 3). Looking over the course of the past hundred years, with their heights and depths, their succes and unsuccess, We see the wonderful ways of divine Providence: and kneeling in adoration We confess with Saint Paul : « O altitudo divitiarum sapientiae, et scientiae Dei : quam incomprehensibilia sunt iudicia eius et investigabiles viae eius . . . Quoniam ex ipso, et per ipsum, et in ipso sunt omnia: ipsi gloria in saecula. Amen ». « O the depth of the riches of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God! How incomprehensible are His judgements, and how unsearchable His ways!... For of Him, and by Him, and in Him, are all things: to Him be glory for ever. Amen ».

We rejoice that you are celebrating the first century of the Catholic Church in New Zealand with a Eucharistic Congress. In so doing, you announce your longing and your hope that Christ may rule over the whole life of your nation, over the life of each one as over social life: that His Spirit, His Will, His Word, may fill those who guide your destiny and make your laws : that His Love may smooth out difficulties among you, and heal the wounds of the past: that His Peace may descend upon your common life, and mercifully protect you from the horrors of the war. By your public worship of the Eucharistic God, you announce, besides, that you yourselves, drawing from the fountains of grace in the Eucharistic mystery, desire to put on Christ, and to form yourselves in Christ (Rom., XIII, 14; Gal., IV, 19). And in fact: apart altogether from the eternal treasures which you thus draw into yourselves and into your nation, you could in no better way contribute to the social life of your people than as you have done. We say it with gratitude and with pride - in the past, and as you show you will do in the future, by living as Godfearing and earnest Catholics.

You have chosen the Blessed Virgin Mary to be Lady and Queen of your island realm. Today, consecrate yourselves afresh to her. Recommend to her Mother-love above all the faith and the purity of your youth, the holiness and the happiness of your family life. May her powerful intercession obtain for you all, that «your soul and your body may be preserved blameless for the coming of our Lord, Jesus Christ » (I Thess., V, 23).

If there be any among you to whom the love of your common Father goes out in a special way, they are Our Sons and Daughters of the Maori people. We beseech Almighty God that, in the second century of the Catholic Church in New Zealand, He will make them grow into a great family of God, and will cause the richest fruit to spring from the young and yet tender blossoms of their following of Christ in the priesthood and the religious life. Upon the whole Maori people, We call down the blessing of God. May they increase in numbers; may they enjoy a quiet well-being; may they attain to full knowledge of the true faith, and, with that faith, draw happiness, love, and true peace, into their hearts and homes.

We end with the greeting of Saint Paul : « The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the charity of God, and the communication of the Holy Ghost, be with you all» (II Cor., XIII, 13). As a pledge of the love, the grace and the friendship of God, We bless you. To your good and worthy bishops, to your priests and religious, to all who labour for the salvation of souls, to your youth, to the sick and to those in want, and to all of you, beloved Sons and Daughters, We give, from the fulness of Our heart, the Apostolic Blessing.

Benedictio Dei omnipotentis Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti descendat super vos et maneat semper. Amen.

*Discorsi e Radiomessaggi di Sua Santità Pio XII, I,
  Primo anno di Pontificato, 2 marzo 1939 - 1° marzo 1940, pp. 511-513
  Tipografia Poliglotta Vaticana


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