On the Petrine Ministry

«A Service to the Unity of the Church»

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VATICAN CITY, FEB. 20, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of John Paul II’s address at midday today before praying the Angelus with several thousand pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

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1. The Spiritual Exercises in which I took part, together with many collaborators of the Roman Curia, concluded yesterday with a solemn Eucharistic celebration, followed by adoration.

The Eucharist is the source from which communion, among the members of the Mystical Body of Christ, always draws new vigor.

2. It is in this perspective that the peculiar task entrusted to Peter and his successors becomes fully evident: The Petrine ministry is essentially service to the unity of the Church: «you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church» (Matthew 16:18). This promise of the Lord is echoed in his other comforting words: «I have prayed that your own faith may not fail; and once you have turned back, you must strengthen your brothers» (Luke 22:32).

3. «Feed my lambs … Feed my sheep» (John 21:15-17). I feel this invitation of Jesus particularly alive in my spirit, when I contemplate the Eucharistic mystery. To him, Good Shepherd, I commend the whole People of God in this Lenten journey towards Easter.

Let us invoke the support of Mary, Mother of the Church, with the customary prayer of the Angelus.

[Translation by ZENIT]

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