Text of Pope Francis’ Video Message to the Poles on Occasion of Canonization of John Paul II:
Dear Fellow Countrymen of Blessed John Paul II!
The canonization is now close of the great man and great Pope, who has passed into history with the name John Paul II. I am happy to have been called to proclaim his sanctity on next Sunday of the Divine Mercy, at the end of the Easter Octave. I am grateful to John Paul II, as are all the members of the People of God, for his tireless service, his spiritual leadership, for having introduced the Church in the third millennium of the faith and for his extraordinary witness of holiness.
Three years ago, on the day of the Beatification of his Predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI noted rightly that what John Paul II asked all was not to be afraid to open wide the doors to Christ. He, himself, did so first: “He opened to Christ the society, the culture, the political and economic systems, intervening with the strength of a giant — strength that came to him from God — a tendency which could seem irreversible. With his witness of faith, of love and of apostolic courage, accompanied by a great human drive, this exemplary son of the Polish nation helped Christians worldwide not to be afraid to call themselves Christians, to belong to the Church, to speak of the Gospel. In a word, he helped us not to be afraid of the truth, because the truth is the guarantee of freedom” (Homily, May 1, 2011). I identify fully with these words of Pope Benedict XVI.
We all know that, before going on the roads of the world, Karol Wojtyla grew up to the service of Christ and of the Church in his homeland, Poland. His heart was formed there, a heart which then was dilated to the universal dimension, first by participating in Vatican Council II and, above all, after October 16 of 1978, so that in it all nations, languages and cultures could find a place. John Paul II made himself everything to everyone.
I thank the Polish people and the Church in Poland for the gift of John Paul II. We have all been enriched by this gift. John Paul II continues to inspire us. We are inspired by his words, his writings, his gestures, his style of service. We are inspired by his suffering lived with heroic hope. We are inspired by his total entrustment to Christ, Redeemer of man, and to the Mother of God.
During the recent visit ad limina Apostolorum of the Polish Bishops, I stressed that the Church in Poland continues to have great capacity of faith, of prayer, of charity and of Christian practice. I also highlighted the pastoral challenges, such as the family, young people, the poor and vocations to the priesthood and to consecrated life. I hope that John Paul II’s canonization, and also John XXIII’s, will give a new impulse to the daily and perseverant work of the Church in your homeland. I am delighted by the fact that, God willing, in two years’ time I will visit your country for the first time, on the occasion of the World Youth Day.
I invite all to live profoundly the canonization of Blessed John Paul II and of Blessed John XXIII. Some of you will come to Rome but, thanks to the mass media, very many of you will be able to participate in this great event. Therefore, I wish already today to thank all the journalists of the press, radio and television for their service to the canonization of next Sunday.
I greet all of John Paul II’s fellow countrymen, also those who do not belong to the Catholic Church. I carry all in my heart. May God bless you all![Original text: Italian] [Translation by ZENIT]
* * *
Following is a translation of the Message that Pope Francis sent to the people of Bergamo, on the occasion of the Canonization of their fellow countryman, Blessed John XXIII.
Dear Friends of Bergamo,
As the day of the canonization of Blessed John XXIII draws closer, I felt the desire to send this greeting to your Bishop Francesco, to the priests, the men and women religious, the lay faithful of the Diocese of Bergamo, but also to those who do not belong to the Church and to the entire community of Bergamo.
I know how much you love Pope John, and how much he loved his land. Since the day of his election to the Pontificate, the name of Bergamo and of Sotto il Monte have become familiar throughout the world and still today, more than fifty years later, they are associated to his smiling face and his father’s tenderness.
I invite you to thank the Lord for the great gift that his sanctity was for the universal Church and I encourage you to keep the memory of the land in which it germinated: a land made of profound faith lived in the day-to-day of poor but united families by the love of the Lord, of a community able to share in simplicity.
Certainly, since then the world has changed, and new also are the challenges for the mission of the Christian community. However, that inheritance can still inspire today a Church called to live the sweet and comforting joy of evangelizing, of being a companion on the path of every man, “fountain of the village” from which all can draw the fresh water of the Gospel. The renewal desired by the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council has opened the way, and it is a special joy that Pope Roncalli’s canonization takes place together with that of Blessed John Paul II, who carried this renewal forward in his long pontificate.
I am certain that the civil society also will always be able to find inspiration in the life of the Pope of Bergamo and in the environment that generated him, seeking new ways, adapted to the times, to build a coexistence based on the everlasting values of fraternity and solidarity.
Dear brothers and sisters, I entrust this message of mine to the “Echo of Bergamo,” of which the young priest Don Angelo Roncalli was an esteemed collaborator. When his ministry then took him far away, he always received the pages of the “Echo,” the voice and the call of his land. I ask you to pray for me, while assuring you of my remembrance and prayer for you all, in particular for those who are suffering, for the sick – recalling the citizen Hospital that you dedicated to Pope John – and for the diocesan Seminary, so dear to his heart. On the imminence of the Easter celebrations, I send all the Apostolic Blessing.
FRANCISCUS[Original text: Italian] [Translation by ZENIT]