Pope´s Address Before Praying "Regina Caeli"

As Consistory Nears, «the Church Listens to the Spirit»

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 20, 2001 (Zenit.org).- Here is the text of John Paul II´s address to the faithful in St. Peter´s Square before he led the «Regina Caeli» at midday.

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Dearest Brothers and Sisters!

1. Today, the sixth Sunday of Eastertide, the Liturgy proposes to us a passage from the Acts of the Apostles, which refers to the so-called Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15:11-29). That first assembly of the Apostles and the elders was convoked to resolve a problem that was crucial at the time. In the face of some believers of the Pharisees´ group, who were convinced that pagans converted to Christianity should be circumcised and observe the Mosaic law, Paul and Barnabas forcefully maintained that salvation does not come from the works of the law, but from faith in Christ.

Thanks to the inspired intervention of Peter and James, Paul´s and Barnabas´ definition prevailed, and from that day on the Church «took to the road,» ready to carry the Gospel to all peoples and cultures. The apostolic thrust imprinted by the Spirit at the beginning has not been exhausted and continues even now, while we take the first steps of the third millennium. The only desire and duty of believers is that of proclaiming to all men, Jesus, Redeemer of man and of every man.

2. The extraordinary Consistory of the College of Cardinals, which begins precisely tomorrow, is also placed on this road. It will end with a solemn eucharistic celebration, which I will preside over on Thursday morning in the Vatican basilica. During the next few days, we will together consider the prospects for the life of the Church and her mission in the world. Our fundamental point of reference will be the apostolic letter «Novo Millennio Ineunte,» in which I have indicated, in light of the Jubilee experience, the urgent priorities for the entire People of God: to contemplate the face of Christ the Lord; to begin again on a renewed path to holiness; to be witnesses of his Love.

3. The Church listens to the Spirit in every moment, but especially in those that are decisive. It was like this in the Cenacle of Jerusalem, and in the first «council» that opened the doors to the pagans, and it will also be so in this Consistory. Next to Peter´s Successor and his closest collaborators in guiding the universal Church, the support of the prayers of the People of God should not be lacking. Because of this, dearest Brothers and Sisters, I invite you to accompany us with your prayers, invoking in the first place the maternal help of the Most Holy Virgin, Mother of the Church. We now turn to her with great confidence, singing the Regina Caeli together.

[Translation by ZENIT]

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