ADDRESS TO VARIOUS PILGRIM GROUPS
 
                     Offer witness of harmonious unity
 
   "One deposit of truth, unfailing hope, sincere love:  these are the
   characteristics that must mark the Church's presence in the world",
   the Holy Father said to various pilgrim groups from Aversa, Gorizia,
   Cesena, Ischia, Molfetta, Val d'Elsa, Siena, Naples, members of the
   Capitoline Camper Club and the Cooperative Credit Bank of Cascia di
   Regello, Italy, whom he met on Saturday, 8 April. Here is a
   translation of his address, which was given in Italian.
   1. Dear pilgrims, welcome! I receive you with great affection. I first
   greet you, dear faithful from the Diocese of Aversa and, in a special
   way, your Bishop Mario Milano, whom I thank for his kind words. I
   greet Archbishop Crescenzio Sepe, your fellow countryman and my close
   collaborator in all that concerns the Great Jubilee. I also greet the
   priests, the consecrated persons and all the lay faithful gathered
   here.
   Your pilgrimage is, in some way, a reciprocation of the visit that I
   had the joy of making to your land almost 10 years ago. I still
   cherish a vivid memory of that visit. Then, addressing the various
   ecclesial members, I asked the priests to be convinced and
   enthusiastic about the mission entrusted to them. I reminded
   consecrated persons how the People of God need to recognize in them
   their convinced fidelity to the radical evangelizing vocation. I
   invited the laity to assume courageously their particular
   responsibilities in the Church. I gladly take up these exhortations
   again today, almost as a continuation of a dialogue that has never
   been interrupted during these years.
   2. Dear brothers and sisters, continue on the path of Gospel fidelity,
   in the certainty that Christ, the Living One, is with you yesterday,
   today and for ever (cf. Heb 13: 8). It is he who is the solid rock on
   which the unshakeable faith of his every disciple must rest. It is he
   who is the door to salvation, which you must pass through during this
   pilgrimage. You will return to your homes strengthened in your faith
   and motivated by the desire to serve the Gospel cause even more
   generously, by walking with courage in the footsteps of your ancestors
   and enriching with your contribution the precious heritage received
   from them.
   May the example of St Paul, titular of your cathedral and a tireless
   apostle and missionary, be an effective example for you in this
   progress. Follow his example, dear friends, and make his sentiments
   and his apostolic strength your own. Always be united among yourselves
   and with your Bishop.
   3. I know of your intense pastoral activity in every field of
   evangelization. I also know of your praiseworthy efforts to be close
   to the weakest and most forgotten members of society, especially with
   regard to youth unemployment and the situation of less well-off
   families. Be witnesses to solidarity. The prophetic mission, typical
   of the Christian community, cannot fail to spur you to be effective
   heralds in your environment; the noble mission commits you therefore
   to prepare, as far as your capacity and means permit, initiatives that
   can alleviate the sufferings caused by phenomena such as
   marginalization, unequal wages and social hardship.
   In particular, look to young people. May "a Church for the young and
   with the young" be your community's goal. This involves an enlightened
   pastoral plan that looks to the future. It will also help you to
   strengthen your pastoral care of vocations, which has been taking
   place in the Diocese for some time. I would like to recall, in this
   regard, that even in times of crisis, your Diocese has never been
   without priests and religious, and that many of them are currently in
   the service of the Holy See. Thank you for your generosity.
   The family also rightly holds an important place in your pastoral
   programme because the first transmission of faith takes place in it;
   it is in the family that the values and noble traditions of your land
   are perpetuated, starting with the defence of life, that most precious
   gift of God, love and respect for the elderly, and peaceful
   collaboration between old and new generations.
   4. Dear faithful of Aversa, I entrust you all to the Mother of Christ,
   whom you love profoundly, as shown by the miniature "House of Loreto",
   enshrined in your cathedral; the Shrine of Casapesenna, whose
   foundation stone I blessed 15 years ago; the icon of Our Lady of
   Casaluce, co-patroness of the Diocese, before which princes, kings and
   emperors have prayed; the Shrine of Our Lady of the Annunciation
   visited by distinguished figures such as King Ludwig of Hungary and
   Queen Maria Casimira of Poland, and the Church of Our Lady of Briano.
   May it be she who guides your steps in your fidelity to Christ and his
   Gospel.
   5. I now extend a cordial greeting to the pilgrims from the Dioceses
   of Gorizia, Cesena and Ischia, here with their Bishops. Dear brothers
   and sisters, the image that your diocesan communities are called to
   offer is one of well-structured and harmonious unity. The Church's
   various members, in fact, form one body, united in the Holy Spirit to
   bear witness to the love of the Father, who revealed himself in
   Christ, Our Lord.
   One deposit of truth, unfailing hope, sincere love:  these are the
   characteristics that must mark the Church's presence in the world. May
   it be your constant concern to bear witness to your love for Christ
   and to proclaim his Gospel with your words and example. In this way,
   you will always be ready to account for the hope that is in you (cf. 1
   Pt 3: 15).
   6. I also greet the superiors and seminarians of the Pontifical
   Regional Seminary of Molfetta, the faithful of the parishes of the
   Deanery of Val d'Elsa, of the Diocese of Siena, and the members of the
   Archconfraternity of the Most Holy Trinity of Naples.
   Dear friends, let yourselves be formed by Christ, so that your lives,
   enriched by his grace, will be fervent testimonies of his love for all
   mankind. In passing through the Holy Door of the Jubilee, draw from
   him the strength necessary to be his faithful disciples. Dear
   seminarians, dear faithful, may you always be aware of the call to
   holiness which God asks of each of you. May you know how to respond to
   his grace, to give full meaning to your existence.
   7. Lastly, I greet you, dear members of the Capitoline Camper Club,
   and you, dear members of the Cooperative Credit Bank of Cascia di
   Regello in the province of Florence. May you always be filled with
   sentiments of charity, which is the fullness of Christian law. Moved
   by solidarity, you will be able to start beneficial initiatives for
   alleviating the many forms of poverty of today's society.
   May God help each one of you and render fruitful your every effort in
   the service of good.
   I cordially bless you all.
   (©L'Osservatore Romano - 26 April 2000)