The papal message was given to officials of the 31st Division of the Italian Air Force, who accompany the Pope on his trips outside Rome, and who were welcomed to the Vatican this morning by the Holy Father who wished them a happy new year.
“In recent days the liturgy has invited us to contemplate Jesus who became man and came among us,” the Pope said. “He is the light that illuminates and gives meaning to our existence. He is the redeemer who brings peace to the world.”
“Let us welcome him with trust and joy!” the Holy Father added. “The Blessed Virgin Mary who, as a thoughtful mother, presents him to us, also watches over us. I invite you to turn to her at every moment and to entrust the just-begun year of 2004 to her.”
John Paul II thanked the officials for “the dedication and commitment with which you have for years facilitated the ministry of the Successor of Peter.”