PLOVDIV, Bulgaria, MAY 26, 2002 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address John Paul II delivered in Plovdiv prior to the recitation of the Angelus, at the conclusion of the Mass for the beatification of three Bulgarian martyrs of Communism — Kamen Vitchev, Pavel Djidjov and Josaphat Chichkov.
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Dear Brothers and Sisters!
1. At the conclusion of our celebration, we turn to the Mother of the Lord, the All-Holy, present in our midst in the beloved figure of the Holy Icon of Backovo.
Together with you I make a spiritual pilgrimage to that Monastery and to the other Shrines dedicated to Mary throughout your land, and I repeat the greeting of the Angel: “Hail, full of grace!” (Lk 1:28).
2. The humble handmaid of the Father, the faithful bride of the Spirit, the most pure Mother of the Son made man, Mary shines forth before us as a model of Christian life. At her school we learn silence, listening, and service, the fundamental marks of the life of a disciple.
Today too, in our restless and often confused world, silence helps us to make space for the word which saves, listening teaches us attention and tenderness, while free and generous service enlivens fraternal and community life.
3. By her powerful intercession, may the Virgin Mary help you daily to discover anew your dignity as children of God. May she obtain for you a spirit of readiness to carry out the will of the Father and to receive the gifts of the Spirit. May she keep within you a pure and generous heart capable of openness to the needs of our brothers and sisters.
I beseech her, Mother of immense charity, the precious gift of Christ Crucified, to pray for you and your families, so that your faith may remain complete, your hope firm, and your charity convincing and effective.
May Mary watch over the Christian people of Bulgaria, that they may be able to follow her Son Jesus with courage and commitment, and bear witness to him before the world by the integrity of their lives and their works!
[Original text: Bulgarian. Translation distributed by the Vatican Press Office]