Why I travelled so much? ... Pope tells
Pope John Paul yesterday met with 200 people involved in planning his world trips. In his address he provided an insight into why he has undertaken these trips: "Right from the day I was elected as Bishop of Rome I heard the echo of Jesus' command: 'Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to all of creation'. I thus felt the duty to imitate the Apostle Peter...".
Pope John Paul yesterday met with 200 people involved in planning his world trips. In his address to them he provided an insight into why he has undertaken these trips: "Right from the day I was elected as Bishop of Rome, October 16, 1978, with special intensity and urgency I heard the echo of Jesus' command: 'Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to all of creation'. I thus felt the duty to imitate the Apostle Peter who 'went here and there among them all' to confirm and consolidate the vitality of the Church in fidelity to the Word and in service to the truth; to tell everyone that the Church loves them, that the Pope loves them and likewise to receive from them the encouragement and example of their goodness, of their faith."
Referring to his recent trip to Croatia, His Holiness said: "My just-concluded 100th trip offers me the occasion to renew my heartfelt thanks to Divine Providence that allowed me to realize this important pastoral project."
He pointed out that his trips also allow him to manifest "a specific exercise of the ministry proper to the Successor of Peter, that is, 'the perpetual and visible principle and foundation of unity in faith and in communion."
"In all of my trips, I have felt like a pilgrim visiting that special shrine known as (God's) people. In these shrines I have been able to contemplate the face of Christ, both disfigured as on the Cross or resplendent in light like on Easter morning". The Holy Father highlighted the importance of sharing with the bishops their problems and joys, of meeting the faithful, especially young people, "and knowing more closely the life of Christian communities on diverse continents". He also spoke of his meetings with the faithful of other Churches and ecclesial communities and the followers of Judaism, Islam and other religions.
"The great multi-color assemblies of the People of God, gathered for Eucharistic celebrations," the Pope concluded, "remain impressed in my memory and on my heart as the most meaningful and most moving memories of my visits."
The meeting in the Clementine Hall was held in the wake of his just concluded 100th pilgrimage to publicly thank those who have helped make the apostolic trips possible. They included officials from the Secretariat of State to Alitalia, Italy's national airline, from the Vatican's gendarmes and Pontifical Swiss Guard to members of all the media who cover his travels.
13 Jun 2003