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Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity 1979

Saint John Paul II was on the last day of his apostolic pilgrimage in Poland, his first trip to his homeland as Bishop of Rome.

Saint John Paul II's Homily at Mass in honour of St Stanislaw
Krakow, Trinity Sunday, 10 June 1979 - in English, French, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

"Praised be Jesus Christ!

1. Today all of us gathered here together find ourselves before a great mystery in the history of the human race: Christ, after his Resurrection met the Apostles in Galilee and spoke to them the words which we have just now heard from the lips of the deacon who proclaimed the Gospel: "Full authority has been given to me both in heaven and on earth; go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations. Baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Teach them to carry out everything I have commanded you. And know that I am with you always, until the end of the world" (Mt 28, 18-20).

These words contain a great mystery in the history of humanity and in the history of man.

Every man goes forward. He goes forward towards the future. Nations also go forward. So does all humanity. To go forward, however, does not only mean to endure the exigencies of time, continuously leaving behind the past: yesterday, the years, the centuries. To go forward also means being aware of the goal.

Perhaps man and humanity on their pathway pass only through this earth and then disappear? For man perhaps everything consists only in what is built, conquered, and enjoyed in this world? Beyond the conquests and the totality of life here (culture, civilization, technology) is there nothing else awaiting him? "The form of this world is passing away." Is man passing totally away with it?

The words that Christ spoke in his farewell to the Apostles express the mystery of the history of man, the history of each person and of every one, the mystery of the history of humanity.

Baptism in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit is an immersion into the living God, into "Him who is" as the Book of Genesis puts it; into "Him who was, who is, and who will be" according to the Book of Revelation (1, 4). Baptism is the beginning of an encounter, of a unity, of a communion for which earthly life is merely a preface, an introduction. The fulfilment and completion belong to eternity. "The form of this world is passing away". Therefore we must find the "world of God" to arrive at our destination, to find fulfilment in life and in the vocation of man.

Christ has shown us this way and, in his farewell to his Apostles, he has reconfirmed this once more. He told them and the whole Church to teach and carry out all that he commanded: "And know that I am with you always, until the end of the world".

2. We always listen to these words with the greatest emotion. They were spoken by the risen Redeemer to delineate the history of humanity and at the same time the history of each man. When he says "make disciples of all nations", we see before our mind's eye the moment when the Gospel was first brought to our nation; the beginnings of its history when the first Poles were baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. The spiritual profile of the history of our motherland is traced out by these very words of Christ spoken to the Apostles. The spiritual profile of the history of each one of us is also traced out in the same way.

Man is a rational and free being, is a knowing and responsible subject. He can and must with the strength of personal thought, arrive at the truth. He can and must choose and decide. The Baptism, received at the beginning of Poland's history, makes us more conscious of the authentic greatness of man; "immersion in water" is the sign of being called to participate in the life of the Most Holy Trinity, and at the same time is an irreplaceable affirmation of the dignity of every man. The very fact of the call itself already testifies to this: man must have an extraordinary dignity, is he is called to such a participation, to participation in the life of God himself.

Likewise, the whole historical process of man's knowledge and choices is closely bound up with the living tradition of his own nation, in which, through all the generations, the words of Christ echo and resound along with the witness of the Gospel, Christian culture, the customs that are born from faith, hope and charity. Man makes his choices knowingly, with interior freedom. Here tradition is not limitation: it is treasure, it is a spiritual wealth, it is a great common good, which is confirmed by every choice, by every noble act, by every life authentically lived by a Christian.

Can one cast all this off? Can one say no? Can one refuse Christ and all that he has brought into the history of man?

Certainly one can. Man is free. Man can say to God: no. Man can say to Christ: no.

But the fundamental question remains: is it licit to do this? And in whose name is this licit? By virtue of what rational argument, what value close to one's will and heart would it be possible to stand before yourself, your neighbour, your fellow-citizens and your nation, to reject it, to say no to all that we have lived for one thousand years? To all that has created and always constituted the basis of our identity?

One time Christ asked the Apostles (this took place after the promise of the institution of the Eucharist and many left him): "Do you too wish to go away?" (Jn 6, 67). Allow the Successor of Peter, before all of you gathered here together, before all of our history, before modern society, to repeat today the words of Peter which constituted his reply to the question of Christ. "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life!" (Jn 6, 68.)

3. Saint Stanislaus was, as historical sources confirm, the Bishop of Krakow for seven years. This Bishop, a fellow-citizen of ours, born in Szeczepanow not far away from here, assumed the See of Krakow in 1072. He left it in 1079, suffering death at the hands of Boleslaus the Bold. The day of his death, the sources say, was 11 April and this is the day on which the liturgical calendar of the universal Church commemorates St Stanislaus. In Poland the solemnity of this Bishop Martyr has been celebrated for centuries on 8 May and it continues thus also today.

When I, as the Metropolitan of Krakow, began with you the preparations for the ninth centenary of the death of St Stanislaus, which occurs this year, we all were still under the influence of the one thousandth anniversary of the Baptism of Poland, celebrated in the year of our Lord 1966. Under the influence of this event and remembering the figure of St Adalbert, who also was a bishop and a martyr, whose life was connected in our history with the epoch of our Baptism, the figure of St Stanislaus seems to point (by analogy) to another sacrament, which is part of the Christian's initiation into the faith and into the life of the Church. This is the sacrament, as is well known, of the anointing or Confirmation. All of the jubilee studies of the mission of St Stanislaus in our 1000 years of Christian history and all the spiritual preparation for this year's celebrations have reference to this sacrament of Confirmation.

This analogy has many aspects. Above all it parallels the normal development of a Christian life. Just as a baptized person comes to Christian maturity by means of this sacrament of Confirmation, so Divine Providence gave to our nation, after its Baptism, the historical moment of Confirmation. St Stanislaus, who was separated by almost a whole century from the period of the Baptism and from the mission of St Adalbert, especially symbolizes this moment by the fact that he rendered witness to Christ by his own blood. In the life of each Christian, usually a young Christian because it is in youth that one receives this sacrament — and Poland too was then a young nation, a young country — the sacrament of Confirmation must make him become a "witness to Christ" according to the measure of one's own life and one's own vocation. This is a sacrament which is associated in a particular way with the mission of the Apostles inasmuch as it introduces every baptized person into the apostolate of the Church (especially into the so-called apostolate of the laity).

It is the sacrament which brings to birth within us a sharp sense of responsibility for the Church, for the Gospel, for the cause of Christ in human souls, for the salvation of the world.

The sacrament of Confirmation is received by us only once in our lifetime (just as Baptism is received only once). All of life which opens up in view of this sacrament assumes the aspect of a great and fundamental test: a test of faith and of character. St Stanislaus has become, in the spiritual history of the Polish people, the patron of this great and fundamental test of faith and of character. In this sense we honour him also as patron of the Christian moral order. In the final analysis the moral order is built up through people. This order consists of a large number of tests, each one a test of faith and of character. From every victorious test the moral order is built up, from every failed test moral disorder grows.

We also know very well, from all of our history, that we absolutely, at whatever cost, cannot permit this disorder, that we have already paid bitterly for many times..

This is therefore our meditation on the seven years of St Stanislaus, on his pastoral ministry in the See of Krakow, on the new examination of his relics, that is to say his skull, which still shows the marks of his mortal wounds — all of this leads us today to a great and ardent prayer for the victory of the moral order in this difficult epoch of our history.

This is the essential conclusion of all the hard work for this centennial, the principal condition and purpose of conciliar renewal for which the Synod of the Archdiocese of Krakow has so patiently worked, and also it is the main prerequisite for all pastoral work, for all the activity of the Church, for all tasks, for all duties and programmes which are being or will be undertaken in the land of Poland.

That this year of St Stanislaus would be the year of special historical maturity in our nation and in the Church in Poland, the year of a new, knowing responsibility for the future of our country and of the Church in Poland — this is the vow that today, here with you my venerable and dear brothers and sisters, I desire, as the first Pope of Polish stock, to offer to the Immortal King of the ages, the Eternal Shepherd of our souls and of our history, the Good Shepherd!

4. Allow me now to sum up by embracing spiritually the whole of my pilgrimage to Poland, from its beginning on the eve of Pentecost at Warsaw to its conclusion today at Krakow on the solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. I wish to thank you, dear fellow-countrymen, for everything. For having invited me and for having accompanied me along the whole course of the pilgrimage, through Gniezno of the Primates and through Jasna Gora. I thank again the State authorities for their kind invitation and their welcome. I thank the Authorities of the Provinces of Poznan, Czestochowa, Nowy Sacz and Bielsko, as well as the Municipal Authorities of Warsaw and — for this final stage — the Municipal Authorities of the ancient royal City of Krakow, for all that they have done to make possible my stay and pilgrimage in Poland. I thank the Church in my homeland: the Episcopate, with the Cardinal Primate at its head, the Metropolitan of Krakow and my beloved brother Bishops, Julian, Jan Stanislaw and Albin, with whom it was granted to me to work for many years in preparing the Jubilee of St Stanislaus. I thank the whole of the clergy. I thank the religious orders of men and women. I thank you all and each one in particular. It is our duty and salvation, always and everywhere to give thanks.

I also, on this last day of my pilgrimage through Poland, desire to open my heart wide and to speak aloud my thanks in the magnificent form of a Preface. How great is my desire that my thanksgiving will reach the Divine Majesty, the heart of the Most Holy Trinity: the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit!

My fellow-countrymen, with the greatest warmth I again give thanks, together with you, for the gift of having been - more than a thousand years ago - baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, the gift of having been immersed in the water which, through grace, perfects in us the image of the living God, in the water that is a ripple of eternity: "a spring of water welling up to eternal life" (Jn 4, 14). I give thanks because we men and women, we Poles, each of whom was born as man of the flesh and blood
(cf Jn 3, 6) of his parents, have been conceived and born of the Spirit (cf Jn 3, 5). Of the Holy Spirit.

Today, then, as I stand here in these broad meadows of Krakow and turn my gaze towards Wawel and Skalka, where 900 years ago "the renowned Bishop Stanislaus underwent death", I wish to fulfil again what is done in the sacrament of Confirmation, the sacrament that he symbolizes in our history. I wish what has been conceived and born of the Holy Spirit to be confirmed anew through the Cross and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, in which our fellow-countryman St Stanislaus shared in a special way.

Allow me, therefore, like the Bishops at Confirmation, to repeat today the apostolic gesture of the laying on of hands. For it expresses the acceptation and transmission of the Holy Spirit, whom the Apostles received from Christ himself after his Resurrection, when, "the doors being shut" (Jn 20, 19), he came and said to them: "Receive the Holy Spirit" (Jn 20, 22).

This Spirit, the Spirit of salvation, of redemption, of conversion and holiness, the Spirit of truth, of love and of fortitude, the Spirit inherited from the Apostles as a living power, was time after time transmitted by the hands of the bishops to entire generations in the land of Poland. This Spirit, whom the Bishop that came from Szczepanow transmitted to the people of his time, I today wish to transmit to you, as I embrace with all my heart yet with deep humility the great "Confirmation of history" that you are living.

I repeat therefore the words of Christ himself: "Receive the Holy Spirit" (Jn 20, 22).
I repeat the words of the Apostle: "Do not quench the Spirit" (1 Thess 5, 19).
I repeat the words of the Apostle: "Do not grieve the Holy Spirit" (Eph 4, 30).

You must be strong, dearest brothers and sisters! You must be strong with the strength that flows from faith. You must be strong with the strength of faith. You must be faithful. Today more than in any other age you need this strength. You must be strong with the strength of hope, hope that brings the perfect joy of life and does not allow us to grieve the Holy Spirit.

You must be strong with love, which is stronger than death. You must be strong with the love that: "is patient and kind; ... is not jealous or boastful; ... is not arrogant or rude ... does not insist on its own way;. .. is not irritable or resentful; ... does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right... bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends (1 Cor 13, 4-8).

You must be strong with the strength of faith, hope and charity, a charity that is aware, mature and responsible and helps us to set up the great dialogue with man and the world rooted in the dialogue with God himself, with the Father through the Son in the Holy Spirit, the dialogue of salvation.

That dialogue continues to be what we are called to by all "the signs of the times". John XXIII and Paul VI, together with the Second Vatican Council, accepted this call to dialogue. John Paul II confirms this same readiness from the first day of his pontificate. Yes, we must work for peace and reconciliation between the people and the nations of the whole world. We must try to come closer to one another. We must open the frontiers. When we are strong with the Spirit of God, we are also strong with faith in man, strong with faith, hope and charity which are inseparable, and ready to give witness to the cause of man before the person who really has this cause at heart. The person to whom this cause is sacred. The person who wishes to serve this cause with his best will. There is therefore no need for fear. We must open the frontiers. There is no imperialism in the Church, only service. There is only the death of Christ on Calvary. There is the activity of the Holy Spirit, the fruit of that death, the Holy Spirit who is always with all of us, with the whole of mankind, "until the end of the world" (Mt 28, 20).

5. Again, there is in Warsaw, on Victory Square, the tomb of the Unknown Soldier, where I began my pilgrim ministry in the land of Poland; and here in Krakow on the Vistula, between Wawel and Skalka, there is the tomb of "the Unknown Bishop" of whom a marvellous "relic" is preserved in the treasure house of our history.

And so, before I leave you, I wish to give one more look at Krakow, this Krakow in which every stone and every brick is dear to me. And I look once more on my Poland.

So, before going away, I beg you once again to accept the whole of the spiritual legacy which goes by the name of "Poland", with the faith, hope and charity that Christ poured into us at our holy Baptism.

I beg you
— never lose your trust, do not be defeated, do not be discouraged;
— do not on your own cut yourselves off from the roots from which we had our origins.

I beg you
— have trust, and notwithstanding all your weakness, always seek spiritual power from him from whom countless generations of our fathers and mothers have found it.
— never detach ourselves from him.
— never lose your spiritual freedom, with which "he makes man free".

Never disdain charity, which is "the greatest of these" and which shows itself through the Cross. Without it human life has no roots and no meaning.

All this I beg of you
— recalling the powerful intercession of the Mother of God at Jasna Gora and at all her other shrines in Polish territory;
— in memory of St Adalbert who underwent death for Christ near the Baltic Sea;
— in memory of St Stanislaus who fell beneath the royal sword at Skalka.
All this I beg of you. Amen."

Saint John Paul II's words to representatives of the mass media
Krakow, Trinity Sunday, 10 June 1979 - in English, French, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

"Dear Friends,
We have already met in other places far from here, but even though the successor of Peter is at home in any part of the world — since his commission is to "all nations" (Mt 28, 19) — it gives me very special satisfaction and pleasure to meet you and open my arms to you here on the soil of the beloved land of my birth. I pray that great new enrichment of the spirit and a profound inner peace may have been granted to you in the shrines and holy places where the faith of the Polish people finds intense expression.

Pilgrimage is a practice of ancient tradition among us Christians. Certain places are considered particularly sacred through the holiness and virtue acquired by some people, who lived there; their sacredness increases with the passage of time, through the prayers and sacrifices of the pilgrim multitudes who visit them.

Thus virtue generates further virtue, grace attracts grace; and the goodness of a saintly man or woman, held in permanent remembrance by a whole people, continues to transmit itself down through the centuries, bringing refreshment, inspiration and healing to the spirit of succeeding generations. And thus we are helped and encouraged in the difficult ascent to virtue.

You may perhaps recall that one of my first desires on becoming Pope was to make a pilgrimage to the shrines of the national Patrons of Italy, St Francis of Assisi and St Catherine of Siena. I felt the need to enlist the help of these great saints and to seek at their shrines the resolution and guidance which my formidable new task demanded. But I felt a deep need also to have my spirit fortified by a pilgrimage to the holy places of my homeland; and I thank God for his goodness in allowing me to make it, especially for making it possible in this particular year when Poland celebrates the ninth centenary of its chief Patron, Saint Stanislaus.

And now, at the moment of my departure, I thank you, my friends of the media, for having been with me on my pilgrimage. I thank you and the various agencies of communication which you represent for having — I think I can say — brought the whole world to Poland, to be by my side and share with me these precious days of prayer — and homecoming. And as I express to you my deep debt of gratitude, I would ask you to tell the world, tell the peoples of all your countries, that John Paul II remembered them, held them in his heart, prayed for them, at every step of this pilgrimage: at the shrines of the Blessed Mother of God in Warsaw, Czestochowa, Nowy Targ and Makow; at the tombs of St Wojciech and St Stanislaus in Gniezno and Krakow; at the sanctuary of the Holy Cross in Mogila, and in the cell at Oswiecim where Blessed Maximilian Kolbe spent his last heroic hours. Tell them — for it is true — that the Pope prays for them every day, many times every day, wherever he is; and that he trusts they pray for him.

A word now, specially for you, professionals of the press and the photo agencies, of the radio and television and cinema. More and more, as I observe you going about your work, I am struck by the nobility of the task with which you are charged by your vocation and profession. I said to you on another occasion (Mexico, January 1979) that when you provide information that is "full, consistent, accurate and true" you enable every man and woman to be "a partner in the business of the human race" (Commuio et Progressio, 39, 14). Ideally, your lives are dedicated to the service of the truth. As long as you are faithful to that ideal, you are deserving of the respect and gratitude of every person. I would remind you of something Jesus Christ said when he was on trial for his life — it was the only plea he offered in his own defence: "for this was I born and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth" (Jn 18, 37). Apply this, each of you to your own life, and you will find it softens the pain and strengthens your courage in most of life's trials and frustrations.

This is the thought I leave with you until we meet again. Take my greetings and my thanks to your families, and my special love to the children. As I say goodbye to you — and to Poland — I bless you with all my heart.

Święty Jan Paweł II's words at the Farewell Ceremony
Balice Airport, Trinity Sunday, 10 June 1979 - in English, French, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

"1. At this moment, I desire to express my most cordial thanks for the hospitality given to me.

I realize how the word "hospitality" is full of fine feelings and at the same time how much, in this case, it includes hard work, how many hidden problems, how much work of preparation, how many decisions, and finally how much effort for its realization.

So, with the ancient Polish expression, I say: "Bog zaplac"— May God reward you — and "Thank you". I keep in the depths of my heart all the visits I have made and all the people who have contributed to them, and I address, above all, my sentiments of gratitude to the State authorities and to the regional authorities of the city of Krakow.

"May God reward" the venerable Polish Episcopal Conference, headed by the Cardinal Primate, the Metropolitan of Krakow, and the Bishop Secretary.

"May God reward" everyone.

2. The visit of the Pope to Poland is certainly an unprecedented event, not only for this century but also for the entire millennium of Christian life in Poland — especially as it is the visit of a Polish Pope, who has the sacrosanct right to share the sentiments of his own nation. Such a sharing, in fact, is an integral part of his ministry to the whole Church as the Successor of Peter.

This unprecedented event is undoubtedly an act of courage, both on the part of those who gave the invitation and on the part of the person who was invited. However, in our times, such an act of courage is necessary. It is necessary to have the courage to walk in the direction in which no one has walked before, just as once Simon needed the courage to journey from the lake of Gennesaret in Galilee towards Rome, a place unknown to him.

Our times have great need of an act of witness openly expressing the desire to bring nations and regimes closer together, as an indispensable condition for peace in the world. Our times demand that we should not lock ourselves into the rigid boundaries of systems, but seek all that is necessary for the good of man, who must find everywhere the awareness and certainty of his authentic citizenship. I would have liked to say the awareness and certainty of his pre-eminence in whatever system of relations and powers.

Thank you, then, for this visit, and I hope that it will prove useful and that in the future it will serve the aims and values that it had intended to accomplish.

I take my leave of Krakow! I wish it a new youth! I express the wish that it may remain for the Polish people, for Europe and for the world that magnificent witness of the history of the nation and of the Church that it is now; I express the wish that the cultural heritage enclosed within its walls may continue to speak with its unique contents.

I take leave of Poland! I take leave of my native land! As I depart I kiss the ground, from which my heart can never be detached.

May Almighty God bless you: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit..

Papa San Giovanni Paolo II's address on arrival back in Rome
Ciampino Airport, Trinity Sunday, 10 June 1979 - in English, French, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

"Mr. President of the Council of Ministers,
Please accept my grateful appreciation of the noble words with which in your own name and on behalf of the Government and the whole nation you have welcomed me on my return to Italy.

The Pope has visited his native land, the place in which he came to the light of day and the light of faith, where he consecrated himself to Christ and the Church, and now he returns to his See, where the Lord has placed him to guide and confirm his brethren; to Rome the city chosen by Providence to be the dwelling-place of the vicar of Christ himself. I thank God for having been able to see Poland again, that blessed and fertile land in which I put down my roots as man, as a priest and as a bishop, drawing from it rich and life-giving nourishment. I thank him with great fervour for having brought me back here, where my spirit wishes to make its home and become daily more identified with the universal mission entrusted to me. One motherland, my native one, has prepared me and sent me back to the other one, the larger one, the Catholic one, which embraces, as does my service, the whole world.

I am happy to be able to express at this moment the profound happiness in my heart at having been able to take part in the centenary celebrations of the martyrdom of Saint Stanislaus. Warsaw, Gniezno, Czestochowa and Krakow, the stopping-places of my pilgrimage, have been moments of joyous communion, friendship, constructive talks and especially of prayer. The deep and intimate emotions of the various meetings have blended together in my soul, and have enriched it with a new and gratifying experience that is a pure grace of the Most High.

Before my eyes I have the recollected, peaceful and praying crowds of brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, my fellow-countryman, who have wished to make their tribute of devoted affection to him who is a son of the same country, but above all the visible Head of the Church, the Successor of Peter. The faith of Poland is a living and vibrant reality, a reality in which I would like to enable you to share. Like all genuine expressions of faith, it contains a message of optimism and hope: "Christ... having I been raised from the dead will never die again. Death has no more power over him" (Rom 6, 9). This secure affirmation of St Paul, with which I ended my greeting to the Polish faithful in the Cathedral in Warsaw, I now pass on to you, and through you to beloved Rome and to Italy, as a message of salvation that finds ever new confirmation in ourselves, in society and in the fellowship of peoples, provided that faith in Christ inspires our responsible choices.

At the conclusion of my journey, I am glad to renew my good wishes and greetings to the whole Polish Nation, the Polish Episcopate, led by Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski, Primate of Poland, and to send a renewed expression of cordial thanks to Representatives of the Authorities of the State for the consideration and attentiveness with which they welcomed and surrounded me.

I would assure you that before the venerated picture of Our Lady of Czestochowa I said a very special prayer for the destiny of Italy, and for the well-being, peaceful co-existence and serene prosperity of her citizens. In telling you this I wish to extend to all here present a respectful and cordial greeting, and I also express my lively gratitude: to the Cardinals; to the Italian civil and military Authorities, who with their deferential and spontaneous welcome have made my hour of return even happier; to the distinguished members of the Diplomatic Corps, whose presence witnesses to the sharing of their various nations in the joy of my pilgrimage; to all of you who with your festive welcome have made me the gift of a genuine family atmosphere; to the personnel of the Aviation Company, and to all who have contributed to the excellent organization of the journey, making it both comfortable and attractive. For all of you the assurance of my affection and benevolence is signified by my Blessing, which I extend to the Eternal City and to the whole Catholic world.