VATICAN CITY, OCT. 21, 2001 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of John Paul II´s address at the conclusion of a beatification Mass and before the midday Angelus today.
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Dearest Brothers and Sisters,
1. World Missions Day is being celebrated today, which was instituted some 75 years ago by Pope Pius XI. It reminds all the People of God about the perennial timeliness of the mission entrusted by Christ to his Church to proclaim the Gospel to all nations (see Matthew 28:19). This mandate acquires particular urgency at the beginning of the third millennium, if we think of that enormous part of humanity that still does not know or recognize Christ. Therefore, today the “ad gentes” mission to all peoples is more valid than ever.
Unfortunately, at this time there is no lack of menacing situations, which make the whole of humanity anxious. With great sadness I received the painful and worrying news of Bethlehem, as also that of the city of Beit Jala and Beit Sahour. War and death even reached the square of the Basilica of the Nativity of Our Lord. In the name of God I repeat once again: For all, violence is only a way of death and destruction, which dishonors the holiness of God and the dignity of man.
To the families that are victims of violence, I express my closeness in sorrow, prayer and hope. They have the gift of living in the land that is holy for Jews, Christians and Muslims. All must be determined to make it, finally, a land of peace and fraternity.
2. The Church responds to the negative manifestations in the world by reinforcing the commitment to proclaim Christ, hope of man and of the world!
In this mission of hope, a primary role is entrusted to families. Indeed, the family proclaims the Gospel of hope by its very constitution, because it is founded on mutual trust and faith in Providence. The family proclaims hope, because it is the place where life springs and grows, in the generous and responsible exercise of paternity and maternity. An authentic family, founded on marriage, is in itself “good news” for the world.
Moreover, in our time the families that collaborate actively in evangelization are ever more numerous, either in their own parish or diocese, or by participating in the “ad gentes” mission itself. Yes, dear families, the hour of the family has arrived in the Church, which is also the hour of the missionary family. It is confirmed by today´s beatification of the spouses Luigi Beltrame Quattrocchi and Maria Corsini. We especially entrust the missionary commitment of Christian families to their intercession, united to that of Mary Most Holy.
3. We do this before the image of Our Lady of Loreto, who yesterday and today has been among us, helping us to perceive more concretely the maternal presence of the Virgin and to relive the spirit of the Holy Family of Nazareth. In this same spirit, we now recite the Angelus prayer.
<br> [Translation by ZENIT]