LOURDES, France, AUG. 16, 2004 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address John Paul II delivered Sunday before praying the Angelus in the Field of Lourdes, after presiding at the Mass on the solemnity of the Assumption of Mary.
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1. At the conclusion of this solemn Liturgy, I wish to offer a special greeting to those taking part in the French National Pilgrimage led by the “Famille de l’Assomption.”
I greet in particular all the young people, who are so much at home in Lourdes and have placed themselves so generously at the service of their sick brothers and sisters as hospitaliers. I recall with fondness my meetings with young people in France: our first meeting in Paris, then those in Lyons, Strasbourg and once again in Paris for World Youth Day. Dear young friends: these meetings have given me a great hope which I wish to share with you today. Let Mary be your teacher, and you will bring a fresh breath of optimism to the world, as you proclaim to all the “good news” of Christ’s Kingdom.
2. From the rock of Massabielle, the Blessed Virgin appeared to Bernadette. Revealing herself as the one who is full of God’s grace, she called for penance and prayer. She indicated to Bernadette a spring of water and asked her to drink of it. That spring of fresh water has become one of the symbols of Lourdes: a symbol of the new life which Christ gives to all who turn to him.
Christianity is truly a fountain of life, and Mary is the first guardian of this fountain. She points it out to all people, inviting them to renounce their pride and to learn humility, so that they can draw from the mercy of her Son and thus work together for the dawn of the civilization of love.
3. As we meditate on the mystery of the Incarnation of Jesus, let us now turn to Mary Most Holy, imploring her protection upon each of us, upon the Church and upon the world.
[Translation of French original issued by the Vatican press office]
[At the end of the Angelus, the Pope greeted pilgrims in several languages. In English, he said:]
My dear English-speaking brothers and sisters, may the Assumption into heaven of our Blessed Lady remind us of the eternal home to which we are all destined. God bless you all!