VATICAN CITY, JUNE 15, 2001 ( In an age of the "culture of the void," John Paul II urged Trinitarian religious to proclaim "without compromise" the love of God, "who hears the cry of the oppressed and afflicted."

The Holy Father today addressed 53 members of the Order of the Most Holy Trinity, meeting in their 108th general chapter, in Rome, from June 4-17. "Only if you are saints will you comply with the service that the Church and Pope expect from you," he told them.

The Trinitarians, founded by Frenchman Jean of Mata in 1198 and reformed by Spaniard Juan Bautista de la Concepción in 1599, work in 20 countries.

They are dedicated primarily to the rescuing of new "slaves." They focus on pastoral service to prisoners, victims of persecution, the mentally ill, and drug addicts. They are also involved in mission territories, schools, parishes, as well as development among marginalized peoples.

"At a time characterized by a worrying ´culture of the void´ and ´meaningless´ lives," the Pope said, "you are called to proclaim the trinitarian God without compromise, the God who hears the cry of the oppressed and afflicted. May the most holy Trinity be at the center and root of your apostolic commitment."

In their general chapter, the Trinitarians are promoting the Trinitarian International Solidarity nongovernmental organization, and analyzing specific projects to extend their work in Korea, Sudan and the Congo.

"An important missionary perspective is opening up before you," John Paul II added. "Do not be afraid to direct all your energies to Christ, whom you must know, love and imitate in order to live the Trinitarian life with him and with him, transform history."

The "essential task" of the Trinitarian missionary is "holiness," the Holy Father said.

Holiness is the central topic of the general chapter, whose motto is "To Live What We Are." The assembly re-elected friar José Hernández Sánchez, 59, minister general for the period 2001-2007. Joseph Narlaly, born in Trichur, India, has become the order´s first vicar general of Indian origin.