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Blessed Paul VI's Apostolic Pilgrimage to India

2nd - 5th December 1964

Blessed Pope Paul VI was a pilgrim to India in 1964 for the Eucharist Congress being held in Bombay.

Blessed Pope Paul VI's address at the Welcome Ceremony
Airport of Bombay, Wednesday 2 December 1964 - in English & Spanish

"Mister Vice President, Mister Prime Minister,
I rejoice in the honour and pleasure of meeting you, I thank you for your great kindness in coming, at the cost of no little sacrifice, to bid me welcome to your land, and I salute you and the members of the Government of India with deference and respect.

Great indeed is my joy in finding myself among the Indian people, on the occasion of an important religious event, the International Eucharistic Congress in Bombay. At last, I can come to know this immense and populous land, and to manifest in person my friendship and admiration to the great and noble people of India, so untiring in its efforts for world peace, so industrious in seeking prosperity in harmony and concord with the other nations of the world.

I come as a pilgrim; a pilgrim of peace, of joy, of serenity and love. I greet all the Indian people, every man, woman and child; and I extend my greeting to all the nations of Asia, to every nation in the world. May they always remember that all men are brothers under the fatherhood of the Divinity; may they learn to love one another, to respect one another, to avoid violating the natural rights of others, may they ever strive to respect these rights in truth, in justice and in love.

For these holy desires, I shall offer my prayers during the days of the Congress; and I invoke upon all of you who hear my voice an abundance of divine blessings. Jai Hind!"

Paul VI at the first meeting with the International Eucharistic Congress
Wednesday 2 December 1964 - in English

"Venerable Brothers and beloved sons,
As the first purpose of my journey to India is to attend the International Eucharistic Congress, so my first visit after being welcomed to the soil of this immense country is to you, who here worship, exalt and celebrate the divine mystery of the Blessed Sacrament.

I come to assure you of my fatherly love and constant interest. Keeping you always in my prayers, I ask for remembrance of myself in yours, From a heart filled with paternal affection, I gladly bestow upon you all, and upon all your loved ones, my special Apostolic Blessing."

Blessed Paul VI at a meeting with Religious Women
Cathedral of Bombay, Wednesday 2 December 1964 - in English & Spanish

"Dear Daughters in Christ,
It gives me great happiness to visit you, and to assure you of my paternal interest and affection, to bring you my greeting and my blessing.

I must tell you today how much the Church esteems you and loves you. Hearing the call of Our Lord, you have generously left your homes and families to follow Him, to minister to His needs in the schools, in little children, in the sick, the aged and the infirm, and to dedicate lives of prayer to Him and His Church.

In the name of Jesus Christ and of the whole Catholic Church, I thank you for all that you do for Our blessed Saviour and for His Mystical Body. How great are your accomplishments, how high your merit! God will repay you, for His fidelity endures forever.

Be faithful to your vocation; be generous in every sacrifice necessary to protect and foster it. Be holy as your heavenly Father is holy; yet be also of good heart in your vocation; be cheerful and smiling, so that all may see the great happiness you feel in the unselfish imitation of Our Lord and His blessed Mother.

I pray for you, and for all those entrusted to your care, in schools, hospitals and other institutions of charity and mercy. We beg a remembrance in your prayers for me, in the fulfilment of my universal Fatherhood. And I lovingly impart to you, to your pupils, patients, helpers and benefactors, my special paternal Apostolic Blessing."

Paul VI to members of the provincial & municipal administration of Bombay
Thursday 3 December 1964 - in English & Spanish

"Mister Governor,
Be assured of my sincere gratitude for the honour Your Excellency renders Us by your visit, together with the high officials of the provincial and municipal administration of Bombay. I am highly appreciative of all that Your Excellency and your collaborators have done to facilitate the celebration of the Eucharistic Congress, and indeed of your numerous kind favours to the Catholic community of Bombay at all times. I thank you with all my heart in the name of my faithful people; and also, in my own name, for the countless services rendered on the occasion of my visit to your great City.

I intend to see as much as possible, during my brief sojourn, of this vast metropolis and its surroundings. What I have already viewed impresses me deeply, and I felicitate the authorities for their many achievements in the development of urban facilities and services. Every effort made to improve living conditions and enhance the dignity of the human person meets with my cordial approval and encouragement. It is the constant teaching of the Catholic Church that every individual human being possesses an immortal soul, of equal value in the sight of God, and that all men are brothers under the Divine Fatherhood. We pray that this fraternal relationship may be acknowledged by all, that brotherly love may induce men to love their neighbours as themselves, that all may do unto others as they would have others do unto them. With this prayer, I invoke upon you and your loved ones the choicest and richest graces of heaven."

Paul VI to representatives of Christian Churches & Communities of India
Thursday 3 December 1964 - in English & Spanish

"My dear friends in Christ,
Our meeting together today is an occasion of both joy and significance. I rejoice in the fact that my pilgrimage to Bombay has made it possible to greet the representatives of so many Christian Churches and communities of India. I rejoice too that our meeting takes place in an atmosphere of fraternal charity and mutual understanding which is a sign that the Holy Spirit has been working in a special way in the minds and hearts of all those who bear the glorious name of Jesus Christ. It is with joy that I express my gratitude to God for His pouring out of the gifts of His Spirit, especially in these days. For if the divisions which exist among Christians are a cause of pain to all who desire to serve their Lord faithfully, the fact that so many initiatives have already been taken to repair these divisions is a source of joy and consolation. The Catholic Church also is taking her own proper initiative towards the reconciliation of all Christians in the unity of the one and only Church of Christ. I have emphasized this in a number of my addresses and letters. Most recently I solemnly reaffirmed this in the decree on Ecumenism which I, together with the Fathers of the Catholic Church gathered in Council, promulgated at the session of the Second Vatican Council which has just ended. However, the initiatives which I am taking are not to be made in isolation. Rather it is my hope that my efforts can accompany yours, can mingle with yours so that together, in humility and charity and mutual understanding, we can seek out the ways by which Christ’s will "that all may be one" can one day be fully realized.

I am well aware that in my efforts to achieve renewal within the Catholic Church and sincere dialogue with those who are not in full communion with her, I must remain faithful to the truth which I have received from the Apostles and Fathers of the Church. The pastoral office to which God has called me particularly demands that. But I am also confident that fidelity to Christ and to His Gospel, which is the touchstone of all sincere ecumenical activity, will bring it about that God, Who will never be wanting to those who serve Him in love, will crown the efforts of all of us with blessings of true peace and reconciliation among Christians themselves, even as He has reconciled us to Himself in the Blood of His Son.

It is in the name of this divine Son that I have come as a pilgrim to the Eucharistic Congress in Bombay. It is in the name of the same Lord Jesus Christ that I thank you, the representatives of the Churches and communities of India, for coming to meet me here. I send my greetings to all your people and pray that God may bless you. May He bless also the efforts of all of you who are gathered here to study and work together in a spirit of fraternal understanding. I encourage these efforts and hope that they will be deepened and broadened in their outlook and results, confident that He who is the Lord of the Church will lead her to that fullness towards which, in the course of time, He wills His Body to grow and increase."

Blessed Pope Paul VI to members of non-Christian religions
Thursday 3 December 1964 - in English & Spanish

"This visit to India is the fulfilment of a long cherished desire. Yours is a land of ancient culture, the cradle of great religions, the home of a nation that has sought God with a relentless desire, in deep meditation and silence, and in hymns of fervent prayer. Rarely has this longing for God been expressed with words so full of the spirit of Advent as in the words written in your sacred books many centuries before Christ: "From the unreal lead me to the real; from darkness lead me to light; from death lead me to immortality" (Br. 1, 3, 28).

This is a prayer which belongs also to our time. Today more than ever, it should rise from every human heart. The human race is undergoing profound changes and is groping for the guiding principles and the new forces which will lead it into the world of the future. Your country also has entered into a new phase of her history and in this period of transition you too feel the insecurity of our age, when traditional orders and values are changed, and all efforts must be concentrated on building the future of the nation not only on a stable material basis, but on firm spiritual foundations. You, too, are engaged in the struggle against the ills that darken the lives of innumerable people all over the world: against poverty, hunger and illness; you too are fighting the relentless battle for more food, clothing, housing, for education, for a just distribution of the wealth of this world. Are we not all one in this struggle for a better world, in this effort to make available to all people those goods which are needed to fulfil their human destiny and to live lives worthy of the children of God?

Therefore we must come closer together, not only through the modern means of communication, through press and radio, through steamships and jet planes, - we must come together with our hearts, in mutual understanding, esteem and love. We must meet not merely as tourists, but as pilgrims who set out to find God - not in buildings of stone but in human hearts. Man must meet man, nation meet nation, as brothers and sisters, as children of God. In this mutual understanding and friendship, in this sacred communion, we must also begin to work together to build the common future of the human race. We must find the concrete and practical ways of organisation and cooperation, so that all resources be pooled, and all efforts united towards achieving a true communion among all nations. Such a union cannot be built on a universal terror or fear of mutual destruction; it must be built on the common love that embraces all and has its roots in God, who is love.

The occasion of my visit is the Eucharistic Congress. The Eucharist is the commemoration of Jesus Christ and his love for God the Father in heaven, and for all men, a love unto death. This love of Jesus is not a matter of the past; it is meant to remain present and to live in every human heart. Christ is dear also to this country, not only to those who are Christians - they are a minority - but to the millions of people who have come to know and love Him as an inspiration of love and self sacrifice. His words will always ring in the hearts of all men of good will: "The Son of man has come not to have service done to him, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Before he went to die he told his disciples: "I have a new command to give you, that you love one another" - and he gave them the sign by which they should be recognised by all: mutual love.

This is the meaning of the Congress: true love must be renewed in our midst and must become the inspiring force of all our efforts. We need peace and stability in our world, we need food, clothing and housing for millions, we need honesty and devotion and untiring work for bettering man’s condition, but all these efforts must be animated by true love.

I pray that the words of the motto of this Congress - "order your lives in love" - remain imprinted in your hearts, and become a living seed that will grow and bear fruit. May God awaken this love in all of us and unite us through that invisible yet unbreakable bond which should bind all those who are sheltered in the love of God. May He make of us the one family of His children."

Blessed Pope Paul VI's address to the Diplomatic Corps
jeudi 3 décembre 1964 - in French, Italian & Spanish

"Chers Messieurs, Membres du Corps Diplomatique,
Nous sentons en Notre cœur un sentiment de joie et de gratitude à voir rassemblées Vos Excellences autour de Notre Personne. Vous n’avez pas hésité, en effet, à vous déplacer de la Nouvelle Delhi jusqu’ici pour Nous faire la courtoisie de venir Nous saluer au nom des Pays que vous représentez. Ce geste déférent, soyez-en sûrs, Nous touche profondément, et c’est de tout cœur que Nous voulons y répondre, en vous exprimant Nos vœux sincères de prospérité et de bien-être pour vos peuples respectifs, dont plusieurs ont d’ailleurs, auprès du Saint-Siège, des Représentants avec lesquels Nous entretenons les relations les plus cordiales.

Cette rencontre d’aujourd’hui ne revêt - vous le savez comme Nous - aucun caractère politique. C’est en effet dans un but purement religieux que Nous avons entrepris ce voyage: Nous sommes venu au milieu de Nos fils de l’Extrême-Orient pour adorer Notre-Seigneur Jésus-Christ présent dans l’Eucharistie. Telle est bien la finalité de ce Congrès international si noblement accueilli par l’Inde. Et Nous avons voulu ainsi remercier ce Pays si prestigieux, dont Nous ne pouvons oublier qu’il s’est ouvert très tôt à la prédication de l’Evangile et qu’il compte des communautés chrétiennes qui sont parmi les plus anciennes et les plus vénérables. Nous sommes donc venu avant tout en pèlerin sur les traces de l’Apôtre Saint Thomas et du glorieux Saint François Xavier, que l’Eglise fête en ces jours. Mais Nous sommes venu aussi pour manifester l’estime, le respect et l’amour que l’Eglise catholique porte aux populations du continent asiatique, à leurs civilisations et à leur si profonde religiosité.

En ce Pays qui nourrit depuis longtemps une noble tradition de non-violence, il Nous plaît de penser que Notre pèlerinage revêtira aussi une valeur de signe en faveur de la paix. A la suite de Nos prédécesseurs, Nous ne Nous lasserons jamais de demander au Dieu Tout-Puissant d’accorder la paix au monde; Nous bénirons toujours les efforts sincères et loyaux accomplis pour établir la concorde parmi les hommes; Nous inviterons sans cesse les chefs responsables de la destinée des Peuples à n’épargner aucune initiative capable de procurer à l’humanité ce bienfait si désiré; Nous ne cesserons de rappeler que l’édifice de la Paix ne peut trouver de fondements solides que dans la vérité, la justice, la charité et la liberté, reprenant ainsi les affirmations de Jean XXIII dans son Encyclique Pacem in terris.

Quant à vous, chers Messieurs, qui êtes conscients plus que d’autres, en vertu de votre mission, de la grandeur et de la fragilité de cet édifice de la bonne entente entre les peuples, Nous vous disons: travaillez, vous aussi, pour la paix. L’humanité entière vous en saura gré et Dieu vous bénira. De grand cœur Nous invoquons sa divine assistance sur vos personnes, sur vos familles, sur vos Pays respectifs et sur vos efforts pacifiques, tandis que Nous vous redisons Notre vive reconnaissance pour l’honneur que vous avez bien voulu Nous faire et pour la joie que Nous a procurée votre visite."

Blessed Pope Paul VI to the Consular Corps in Bombay
Thursday 3 December 1964 - in English

"Gentlemen, Members of the Consular Corps Bombay,
I am most happy to meet you here in what might be considered my home in Bombay. The work that you are called to do produces benefits not only for your own countries but also contributes much to the development and progress of this noble nation of India. Mutual respect and cooperation such as yours cannot but produce beneficial results and serves as a further proof of the brotherhood of nations which is a guarantee for peace and prosperity. People everywhere are most desirous of creating an atmosphere in which they are able to grow, develop and progress. I wish you well in your task and I encourage you to find more securely the bonds that unite all men in the one family of God. Upon you and your work I invoke an abundance of heavenly blessings and graces."

Blessed Pope Paul VI to Members of the Government of India
Thursday 3rd December 1964 - in English & Spanish

"Mister President,
I come to repay Your Excellency’s exquisite kindness in welcoming me personally upon my arrival in India. I repeat my profound thankfulness for this thoughtful and generous gesture, as well as for all the gracious favours which Your Excellency, and the Government of India, have so considerately granted, both on the occasion of the International Eucharistic Congress, and of my pilgrimage to this great religious and spiritual assembly.

With respect and homage, I express my admiration of the Indian Nation. I salute it in the person of Your Excellency, Head of State and President of India. I salute it in the persons of the Right Honourable Prime Minister, and the Honourable Members of the Government of India. Under such wise guidance, India is advancing towards greater prosperity, and ever more cordial relations with the other nations of the world. We pray that true peace, founded on justice and love and so ardently desired and promoted by the Indian people, may reign between individuals, between families and communities, and between the peoples of the earth.

Permit me, finally, to express the wish that the moral and civic virtues, which the world has admired in the great modern Indians such as Gandhi and Nehru, may be those which ensure the prosperity, the concord and the honour of the Indian people, which will always nobly characterize its human countenance, and which will make it exemplary and celebrated throughout the whole world.

I ask God to recompense the countless kindnesses shown to me with His choicest favours and most abundant graces."

Blessed Pope Paul VI's address to the President & Head of State of India
Thursday 3 December 1964 - in English 

"Mister President,
I thank you from my heart for your very kind words of greeting. As President and Head of State, your are the personification of this great country, already so dear to me, and now dearer still by reason of my meeting with its people and their rulers.

My spiritual pilgrimage has had a most auspicious beginning, and I rejoice in this opportunity, both to participate personally in the important international assembly being celebrated in Bombay, and to move among the beloved people of India and manifest to them my deep affection and interest.

May Your Excellency ever enjoy divine assistance in the performance of your high duties, and every heavenly favour for yourself and your family. May India be blessed by God with His richest graces, with brotherly love and peace."

Blessed Paul VI's address at the conclusion of the Episcopal Ordination of new Bishops
Thursday 3 December 1964 - in English & Spanish

"Venerable Brothers and beloved sons,
Let us seriously contemplate the fact that Jesus Christ is present. Jesus Christ, alive.

Jesus Christ. He Who is the eternal and consubstantial Son of God; Who is also the Son of Mary, true man, our Brother.

He is here in the Eucharistic Mystery which this Congress celebrates. He is really present, not merely represented, not only invoked, remembered. He Himself is here, real and unique; only under the sacramental appearances is He multiplied. And He is multiplied in order to be communicated to each of us.

We cannot remain silent; We must exclaim: Glory to Thee, O Lord! Thanks to Thee, O Friend of men! O Master! O Bread of Life! O Saviour! We humbly acknowledge Thee! We believe in Thee! We love Thee!

Contemplating in Our heart the Blessed Eucharist considered as “a pledge of future glory“, that glory in which we shall see God as He is in His very essence, I recall the words of a great poet, son of this land which today, O Jesus, is your home:

“Day after day, O Lord of my life, shall I stand before thee, face to face?
With folded hands, O Lord of all worlds, shall I stand before thee, face to face?
Under thy great sky, in solitude and silence, with humble heart, shall I stand before thee, face to face?
In this laborious world of thine, tumultuous with toil and with struggle, among hurrying crowds, shall I stand before thee, face to face” (Rabindranath Tagore).

How is this possible?

It is possible because divine powers have been communicated to some among us. The Priesthood of Christ was transmitted to some of His disciples, who thus became instruments of His action, heirs of His mission, vicars of His work.

This other mystery of the presence of Christ among men is also celebrated here today. It is celebrated in my humble person as the Vicar of Christ; it is celebrated in the holy persons of you, O bishops and priests here present.

Priests of Christ! Bishops, successors of the Apostles! Let us together confess our humbleness and our greatness, just as Mary, the exquisite Mother of God, while proclaiming her humility as His handmaid, exalted the great things which God did to her and with her.

Let us take notice of the event which is now taking place here through Our hands, transformed into the instrument of the hand of God, namely: the event of transmission. I have transmitted the fulness of the Priesthood of Jesus Christ to these my Brothers, whom we shall from now on call Bishops, that is: the Pastors and Shepherds, of the believers, and for the people who do not yet believe.

I have transfused into them the Holy Spirit.
I have transmitted to them my episcopal powers.
I have associated them with myself in my awesome mission, the mission of evangelizing souls, the mission of sanctifying them, the mission of guiding them.

And I have chosen them from the five parts of the world, so that it may be clear that I am obedient to the love of Christ; that immense love, pouring forth upon all peoples, upon all the men of this earth. From this point on the globe, which has been the source and fountainhead of numberless streams of peoples and of civilizations, I greet India, I greet all of Asia, I greet the world. You, the new Bishops, are my greeting. Just as Christ, whose ministry I now personify, said to His disciples when He had made them Apostles, that is, messengers of His word and His grace, so I say to you, who are consecrated to that same mission: “Go, preach the message: the kingdom of heaven is at hand! ...” as you enter the house that welcomes you, salute it thus: “Peace be to this house!” (Mt 10, 7, 12).

You are bearers of peace: how humble and how human is your mission! It is not arms, nor riches, nor pride of conquest and glory that are your strength, but the Word of God, the Gospel!

Let your words echo the message of the divine truths, which as through a glass, darkly, are evoked by the words adopted by this great nation: "Truth alone triumphs, not falsehood. The divine path to liberation has been laid with truth, which the seers who have overcome desire tread, and wherein also is that supreme treasure to be gained by truth" (Mundaka Upanishad).

But even more, love is your strength.

Shepherds of souls, you have nothing to ask; but you have everything to give: your own selves.

Your authority derives from this, that you can call every man you meet your friend; and if he responds to you, you will call him brother and son.

Your wisdom will be twofold: divine and human. As your prophecy, you will have the doctrine which the divine Master taught us. You will have the ability to understand the heart of man, his greatness, his folly, his sufferings, his misery; your knowledge and science will be the science of life.

Go, then, Shepherds, on all the roads of the earth; go, reveal to the peoples their dignity, their freedom, their mission on this earth and in the next world. Your journey will not be an easy one, but do not fear, for the Lord is with you.

Wheresoever you go, there will be renewed the mystery of that Presence of God which we celebrate: here today. Thus, with the elect, the faithful who will come to surround you, you will mark off each hour of human history, until the end of time, with this supreme desire and this supreme certitude: “Come, Lord Jesus, come!” (Ap 22, 20).

Invoking this grace from the loving heart of Our Eucharistic Master, I bestow upon you all my affectionate Apostolic Blessing."

Blessed Paul VI's words to the Sick
Friday 4th December 1964 - in English & Spanish

"My dear sons and daughters,
The holy Father has come to visit you. Why have I come? I come because Our Lord Jesus Christ sends men to you. Because you are favourite children, of whom He has asked the greatest sacrifices, to whom He has entrusted the heaviest crosses. But also because you are those whom He consoles, with His love, His graces, His choicest blessings. I have to assure you of my sympathy for you in your sufferings, and my compassion for your sorrow. Above all, I exhort and encourage you to give full value to your pains. Accept them with patience, piety and resignation for God’s holy will. By your patience you will win your souls, and you will fill up in your flesh what is lacking of the sufferings of Christ for His body, which is the Church. Pray for this patience and resignation through the intercession of Our Mother, Mary, whom We have recently proclaimed Mother of the Church, She will not despise your petition, but in Her mercy will hear and answer you. To call down the comforting and consoling graces of God, to obtain the powerful assistance of the Mother of Jesus, and to show you once again my special love and paternal interest, I gladly impart to you and to all your loved ones, My special Apostolic Blessing."

Papa Paolo VI's words to the children in the orphanage Our Lady's home
Airport of Bombay, Wednesday 2 December 1964 - in English & Spanish

"My dear Children,
Thank You for your warm welcome. I have come all the way from Rome to see you, and to tell you how truly I love you as your Holy Father.

In this orphanage, you are cared for, protected, fed and sheltered. Thank God for these graces, and ask Him to reward all those who help you: your teachers, their assistants and all the good people who, by their offerings and prayers, give you this home and this chance to prepare yourselves for an active and happy life.

Be sure to work hard, and not to waste time: study and obey your superiors, because this is what God wishes you to do. Always remember that the Holy Father loves you and prays for you; that he does everything he can to help you; and in your prayers, ask God to help and strengthen him in carrying out his difficult tasks.

I call down God’s very best graces upon you all, and with a heart filled with fatherly love, I bless you, your families, your teachers and guardians, all those whom you love and who love you."

Beato Papa Paolo VI's words to Christian workers
Friday 4th December 1964 - in Italian

"Venerabili Fratelli e diletti Figli,
Come siamo felici di salutarvi, giovani lavoratori cristiani, uniti qui col Venerando Monsignor Cardijn, primo iniziatore della vostra meravigliosa organizzazione!

La gioventù è a Noi particolarmente cara. Voi siete le guide di domani, e Noi prendiamo viva parte nella vostra preparazione per i difficili compiti che vi attendono. Ricordate la promessa di Nostro Signore, che Egli è con noi, tutti i giorni, fino alla fine del mondo. Coraggio, siate di cuore buono, poiché Egli ha vinto il mondo.

Come ulteriore segno del Nostro paterno incoraggiamento ed affetto, Noi volentieri invochiamo su tutti voi, e i vostri cari la Nostra particolare Apostolica Benedizione."

Papa Paolo VI's words to School Children
Bombay, Friday 4th December 1964 - in English

"«Sinite parvulos ...»
My dear Children, I am happy to be able to stop for this brief visit with you because my affection for you is great. You are gathered here today to pay loving homage to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. This is for you a wonderful opportunity and I urge you not to waste this chance to strengthen your faith and deepen your love for the Church, for your schoolmates and all Catholics, and for the Peoples of the whole world. Catholic means universal, of the whole world, and you must learn to look further than your own family, or group, or City, to the entire Nation of India, to all Asia, to the great earth itself. I am happy to see you, and I thank you for the beautiful welcome you have given to me. May God reward you. May He bless your families and teachers and all those who are dear to you. In His name, I lovingly impart to you all, as a pledge of numerous divine graces, my fatherly Apostolic Blessing."

Blessed Pope Paul VI's homily at Holy Mass in St Paul Parish
Bombay, Friday 4th December 1964 - in English & Spanish

"Venerable Brothers, beloved sons and daughters,
Having come to this hospitable land as a pilgrim, to honour Our Lord in the Blessed Eucharist, I address my words of greeting and of friendly concern to you, to all the Catholics, bishops, priests and people; and indeed to the people of India.

If you ask: Who is this pilgrim? What are his motives and his intentions? I reply, I am a servant and messenger of Jesus Christ, placed by Divine Providence at the head of His Church as the successor of Saint Peter, Prince of the Apostles. Messenger of Jesus and Head of the Church are in reality one function only, since the Church’s reason for existing is to proclaim and spread the teaching of Jesus, and to continue His ministry on earth. This is my identity and my mission.

For a fruitful dialogue, both of us must know one another, I desire to know you better. Already I am aware of the long and glorious history of the Church in India, evangelized by the Apostle Saint Thomas, who sanctified its soil by his preaching and is acclaimed Apostle of India, and evangelized also, according to tradition, by St Bartholomew. I recall the fruitful apostolate of St Francis Xavier, and of the many other priests and religious who spread the Good News of the Gospel, and who today continue to show men the way to eternal happiness. In the secular history of your land, I know the natural goodness, the humility and the patience of the sons of this country, your unswerving devotion to spiritual ideals; I am not ignorant of the many trials and difficulties which you undergo with fortitude and longanimity. An outstanding example of these virtues was given by the life and works of Mahatma Gandhi, whose lofty character and love of peace are known to all. Such religious disposition and a deep attachment to family life characterizes India, and in general all the peoples of Asia. We respectfully greet the entire Asian continent, of which India is so typical a component, in variety of races and cultures, in efforts towards genuine progress, in heartfelt desire and promotion of peace among the nations of the world.

We come to you as a messenger of Jesus and his teaching. Many of you know His life and doctrine and, like Mahatma Gandhi, express reverence for Jesus and admiration for His teaching. "I am the light of the world", Jesus said; and today the world stands in great need of this Light, to overcome the strife and division, and the menace of unprecedented violence, which threaten to engulf mankind. The people of India and of Asia can draw light and strength from the teaching and spirit of Jesus, from His love and compassion, in their efforts to help the less fortunate, to practise brotherly love, to attain peace among themselves and with their neighbours.

This is the mission of the Church here, and I am deeply grateful for the freedom assured to the preachers of the Gospel in your country. They communicate the message of Jesus with highest respect for the convictions of others, in the language and cultural expressions of the people, and encourage Christians to express their faith and devotion in harmony with the civilization of India and in truly Indian forms. Thus the Church, having gathered the varied treasures of many cultures of East and West, will be further enriched by the contribution of her Indian sons, drawn from their country’s rich and ancient cultural tradition.

Beloved sons and daughters, and all the people of India! In this simple discourse, I have touched on many points of contact, on several sentiments which we have in common. Hence, I do not feel myself a stranger among you. The Pope is at home wherever the Church is at home. The Church everywhere is closely united to the people in all their efforts for the betterment of the nation.

With all my heart, I desire the prosperity and progress of the people of India; and, insofar as it is possible for me, I have helped and will continue to help them. I shall never cease to pray that God Almighty and Our Lord Jesus Christ may pour down upon the rulers and people of this noble nation an abundance of divine blessings, especially the high gift of peace, in justice and brotherly love."

Papa Paul VI's homily during the Syro-Malankaran Liturgy
Bombay, Friday 4th December 1964 - in English & Spanish

"Venerable Brothers, dear Sons and Daughters in Christ,
As I look out upon the vast multitude gathered here in adoration and as the prayers and hymns of the Divine Liturgy which has been celebrated still sound in my ears, the words of Our Lord come easily to my mind: "I tell you that many will come from the east and from the west, and will feast with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven" (Mt 8, 11). Though I have not yet arrived at that happy cosummation when the Lord’s words will be completely fulfilled, I rejoice in the fact that their promise is visibly manifested in this gathering today. Many have come from the east and from the west and are gathered around the table of the Lord. Many traditions and cultures are represented here, but the Eucharist which has been celebrated is one, and the unity which it signifies and builds up is the unity of all mankind with God in Jesus Christ.

The Liturgy which I have celebrated today comes from an ancient tradition in the Church. First of all, it reminds me forcibly of the fact that Christianity has been present in this great land from apostolic times through the venerable traditions brought from Palestine, the homeland of the Lord. If the name Syrian denotes their origins, the ceremonies and the language indicate clearly that they have become deeply rooted in the soil of India. Through centuries which were often difficult they have maintained their vitality and strength, so that today they are a living witness to the ever youthful vigour of the Gospel of Christ.

Succeding centuries brought new contributions to the Christian life of this country. The great saint Francis Xavier was followed by many other fervent apostles from various cultures who brought the message of Christ’s peace and our reconciliation with God. If these newer traditions have preserved many distinguishing characteristics of their own, they are also striving to draw deeply from the culture and life of this country.

The plurality of these traditions is a living witness to the Catholicity of the Church of Christ, which is at the same time for all men, embracing all cultures, and also can express in a particular way the truth and beauty which exist in each culture. In a special manner this Eucharistic Congress manifests this fact and testifies to the truth of what I so recently proclaimed, together with the Fathers congregated in the Second Vatican Council: "The Church fosters and takes to itself, in so far as they are good, the ability, riches and customs in which the genius of each people expresses itself. Taking them to itself, it purifies, strengthens, elevates and consecrates them".

In recognizing this truth, we acknowledge the obligations it places upon us. The first of these is the necessity for a deep, fraternal cooperation among those who share differing liturgical traditions.You are all one in steadfastly holding to the teaching of the Apostles and the Fathers and in the breaking of the Bread. You are one in your communion with each other and with the Successor of Peter, whom the Lord has established as the Chief Pastor of His Church. Perhaps in the past, the idea of legitimate plurality joined with mutual cooperation may have been obscured at times. But today there must be a new dedication to this idea. The Constitution on the Church clearly states: "In virtue of this catholicity, each individual part contributes through its special gifts to the good of the other parts and of the whole Church. Through the common sharing of gifts and through the common effort to attain fulness in unity, the whole and each of the parts receive increase". Oh, that these words may be engraved on your hearts and be realized in your individual and corporate life! What treasures of grace will be brought to yourselves, your country and the whole world, if these words become the animating force behind the witness you give to the mission with which Christ has charged you!
There is another obligation which stems from this realization of the catholicity of the Church. That is the obligation to remain faithful to your traditions, at the same time as you strive to adapt yourself to the needs of the present age, and to become more fully a part of the life and culture of your native land. Fidelity to your traditions will help maintain so many ties with what is good and genuine in the past, and also preserve or reestablish bonds with those who share these traditions, but who are not in full communion with the Catholic Church. In a spirit of fidelity and charity, through mutual cooperation devoid of any spirit of contention, you can contribute greatly to the building up of unity among Christians who live and work together, side by side.

But this fidelity is not to be a dead veneration of the past. It must be joined to a living adaptation to the needs of your people, as they continue to make a positive contribution to the spiritual and cultural life of their country. In this happy union of fidelity and adaptation, entered into by all the different hierarchies and their faithful together in a spirit of fraternal cooperation, lies the promise of a genuine witness to Christ and to His Gospel in this beloved land of India, so rich in religious life and spiritual striving.

It is in this spirit, that with joyful heart I invoke upon the celebrants of this Holy Liturgy, their clergy and faithful, and upon all the bishops, priests and people of every rite and tradition gathered here, the Apostolic Blessing."

Blessing of the Sick

Priest: Glory be to God on high, and on earth peace and salutary hope to men, always and for ever. Amen.

People: Our Father, who art in heaven ...

Deacon: Blessed are you, O Lord.

Priest: O Christ our God and our Saviour, hope of the sick and the afflicted, through the prayers of your Mother Mary ever virgin, of St. John the Baptist, of the Apostles and of our Father St. Thomas, of the Prophets, Martyrs and of all the Saints, have mercy on the sick and the afflicted, bless them and give them your grace that they may with patience and holy resignation bear all their pains and sorrows for the benefit of their body and soul. You, the resuscitator of our body and the benevolent Saviour of our soul, Lord of all for ever.

People: Amen."

Papa Paul VI's words to Students at Don Bosco High School
Friday 4th December 1964 - in English & Spanish

"My dear Students,
I have the greatest joy in being able to see you and meet you. As Holy Father, I love every human being, every adopted son of God; but above all I love young people. You are the hope of the future; you are young, strong, full of life and energy and ambition. Be sure that I follow your plans and your progress with fatherly interest, and that I wish you every happiness and success.

One thought I would leave with you today. Always try to know Jesus and to know Him better. Study His life, His deeds and His words, so that you may the better copy His example and follow Him, for He is "the Way, the Truth and the Life". Try to compare Our Lord’s teachings with your own experiences in life, and then make your actions and thoughts similar to His; have the same mind in you that was in Christ Jesus. Our purpose in life, as you know, is to know, love and serve God on earth, so as to be happy with Him forever in heaven. Work, then, ever to know Jesus better, and you will not fail to love and serve Him faithfully and well.

With this recommendation, I promise you that I will pray for you all; and I ask you also to say a prayer for me. As a mark of my love, I gladly bestow upon you all, upon your families, your teachers and all those you bear in your hearts, my affectionate Apostolic Blessing."

Blessed Paul VI's address to the staff of the General Hospital of Bombay
Friday 4th December 1964 - in English 

"Mister Dean,
Through you I wish to extend to all the members of this hospital my sincere gratitude for this opportunity of visiting with you: the many doctors without whose selfless dedication this grand work of assisting the sick could hardly be carried out, the nurses, whose generous sacrificing labour makes more effective the work of the doctor, and whose personal interest eases the suffering and demoralization of the patient, above all, the Government of India, which maintains this great institution for the assistance of its citizens. This is indeed a noble work. I have visited your blood bank, and in this I see an example of true brotherhood whereby men, regardless of race, caste or creed, give of their own life substance to succour the needs of those less fortunate. I cannot but encourage this wonderful work and invoke upon it the Blessing of Almighty God. With great interest and affection have I visited the children’s wards. It grieves me to see the young suffering, and my heart goes out to them and their familiar. In their name and in the name of all suffering children the world over, I express appreciative thanks for all the work being done on their behalf. And now that I am present here in the nurses quarters, I somehow sense that I am making contact with the heart of any hospital. The nursing profession is not an easy one. It requires complete dedication, patience, perseverance and an un-selfish love of neighbour. Jesus Christ, the great Healer, wept at the suffering of the sick, and He extended his healing hand to comfort them and make them whole. It is from him that I beg special graces and heavenly assistance on all doctors and nurses, whose help continues even now his consoling mission. To share with you in this wonderful task entrusted to you, Mr. Dean, I am making a gift to your hospital. I hope in some slight way such instruments will prove most effective as you fulfil your mission for the sick.

From my heart filled with love for all of you, in the name of Jesus, I now impart to you, your loved ones and in particular the aged and the sick entrusted to your care my paternal Blessing."

Paul VI's words to Members of the Eucharistic Congress Committee
Friday 4th December 1964 - in English & Spanish

"Eucharistic Congress committee and Civic Community.
Dear Members of the Eucharistic Congress committee,
I greet you with paternal joy, and I thank you for the cordial welcome you have offered me in my visit to the Eucharistic Congress of Bombay. My heart is filled with admiration and gratitude for your great achievement in preparing and organizing this great international religious event, I thank you most sincerely for the self-sacrificing generosity with which you have dedicated your talents, time and in many cases your personal contributions, to the success of this universal act of worship and veneration of Our most Blessed Saviour in the Sacrament of His love for men. Asking Our Eucharistic Master to reward you with His choicest favours and graces, I willingly bestow upon all of you here present, upon your families and loved ones, and upon all your collaborators and benefactors, my special paternal Apostolic Benediction. Honoured representatives of the Civic Community of this beautiful city of Bombay, to you I wish to extend a special word of greeting and thanks. The magnificent site of the Oval and the other Eucharistic Congress preparations could not have been possible without your generous support and collaboration. I thank you from the depths of my heart, and I invoke upon you and your city abundant blessings and favours of Almighty God. Jai Hind."

Blessed Pope Paul VI's address to the Municipal Authorities of Bombay
Friday 4th December 1964 - in English & Spanish

"I am grateful to you for this meeting, since it affords me an opportunity to express my admiration for this great city, the Gateway of India. In my memory, Bombay will remain as the symbol and epitome of the great Continent of Asia, with its ancient cultures and traditions, with its vast populations, with its earnest desire for peace.

This immense metropolis facing the sea has found its way into my heart, and I embrace its people with truly paternal affection. I wish them well in all their undertakings for greater prosperity in harmony with all the peoples of India and of the world. I encourage the efforts made by the municipal, civic and national authorities for the greater welfare and happiness of all citizens, in respect of the dignity of the human person and of its inalienable and sacred rights.

It is then through you that I salute with benevolence and good will the population of Bombay, as well as the entire Indian people; and upon you and them I invoke from the Most High an abundance of choicest graces and favours."

Blessed Pope Paul VI to Members of the Press
Bombay, Friday 4th December 1964 - in English & Spanish

"Gentlemen of the Press,
Although my pilgrimage to Bombay is brief and filled with appointments, I have desired to dedicate a short period to a meeting with you. I thank you for your intense work in regard to my visit, reminding you that the Press which you represent can be a most potent instrument for great good. Always be faithful to the truth, remembering your responsibility to the public and eventually to history.

I entrust to you my special message to the world. Would that the nations could cease the armaments race, and devote their resources and energies instead to the fraternal assistance of the developing countries! Would that every nation, thinking "thoughts of peace and not of affliction" and war, would contribute even a part of its expenditure for arms to a great world fund for the relief of the many problems of nutrition, clothing, shelter and medical care which affect so many peoples!

From the peaceful altar of the Eucharistic Congress, may this my anguished cry go forth to all the governments of the world, and may God inspire them to undertake this peaceful battle against the sufferings of their less fortunate brothers!"

Blessed Paul VI to Altar Boys & other children during Holy Mass
Cathedral of Bombay, Saturday 5 December 1964 - in English & Spanish

"My dear children,
I am very happy to meet you all, especially the altar boys, and to tell you how much I love you, how often I pray for you, and how proud I am to be your Holy Father.

I have come from Rome to join you in adoring and loving Our blessed Lord in the Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist, Always have a warm and deep devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. Visit Our Lord as often as you can. Receive Him frequently in Holy Communion. Ask Him to make you good, to make you holy, to make you ever more and more like Himself.

You altar boys are the closest ones to Jesus in the Tabernacle, when you serve the priest at Holy Mass. You must therefore be especially pure and good. I would ask you, and all the other boys and girls, to think seriously whether Our Lord is calling you to serve him by means of a vocation. Pray to Jesus to send many good workers into His harvest of souls, to bring men and women to know, love and serve Him here on earth, and to be happy with Him for ever in Heaven.

I am going to give you all my blessing. I will ask Our Lord to grant you His richest graces, and to bless also your dear parents, your brothers and sisters, your priests, teachers and all those you love."

Papa Paul VI during his visit to the Marian Shrine of Our Lady of Bandra
Saturday 5th December 1964 - in English & Spanish

"Beloved sons and daughters,
I cannot conclude my visit to India without paying special homage to Mary, the Mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Here at Mount Mary in Bandra I join you in hailing her as Queen and Mother of all India, To her loving maternal care I entrust this great continent with its people, praying her to show herself a mother, so that He Who became her Son and our Saviour may accept our prayers through her intercession.

Here, too, I hail Our Lady as Mother of the Church, the beautiful title which I had the honour of recognizing to her in the recent session of the Vatican Ecumenical Council. To her I entrust the entire Church in the world, begging her maternal protection and loving care.

Let us, then, all together raise our voices to salute her in this holy shrine: Hail, Mary! Full of grace; the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Confident of her prayers and intercession, I affectionately bestow upon you all, your families and loved ones, my paternal Apostolic Blessing."

Blessed Paul VI's address during his visit to the Seminary of Goregoon
Saturday 5th December 1964 - in English & Spanish

"Most dearly beloved sons,
My heart is filled with gladness and consolation as I greet you with special affection.

I salute you as associates in my ministry: "cooperatores ordinis nostri". Like Saint Paul writing to Timothy, I have longed to see you, that I might be filled with joy; and I remember you without ceasing in my prayers night and day.

Moreover, I greet you as workers, our future workers, of the Gospel; of that Good News which gives men eternal happiness. Like the Apostles, you leave all things and follow Jesus, Who said: "If anyone wishes to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me"; and you do this the more cheerfully and willingly, because that cross is the Cross of Jesus.

Understand your vocation; first, with regard to Christ, Who calls you to follow Him as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God, strive to be found trustworthy. Then, as regards the Church, "obey your superiors and be subject to them, for they keep watch as having to render an account of your souls; so that they may do this with joy". As far as the world is concerned, remember that you are lights set high on candlesticks, so that your light may shine before men and they may see your good works.

To strengthen you in your vocation, I invoke the assistance of Our Lady, Queen of Apostles, Mother of the Church; and in pledge of copious divine graces I impart to you all my Apostolic Blessing."

Blessed Pope Paul VI's Farewell address
Santa Cruz Airport, Bombay, Saturday 5th December 1964 - in English & Spanish

"My visit to the beloved land of India, though of short duration and limited scope, has filled my heart with joy and satisfaction. The Pope has been given the opportunity to meet the people of India, to admire their virtues and qualities, to appreciate their high talents and generous energies.

My thanks are due, and I offer them, to all those who have contributed to make my visit such a happy one. First, to His Excellency the President of India, who came to bid me a personal welcome; then, to the Right Honourable Prime Minister and Members of the Government, who have honoured me by their presence; to the civil authorities of Bombay; to the organizers of the Congress and all their collaborators; and to the Indian people, who have received me with such warm and affectionate hospitality. My particular gratitude goes to my Beloved Son the Cardinal Archbishop of Bombay for his innumerable kindnesses.

As for myself, I can only say: Here I leave my heart! I feel myself to share in a moral citizenship with this land, which I will ever love. With deepest interest I shall follow its future development, exhorting my Catholic sons to contribute generously in loyalty and obedience to the true progress of India.

I return to Rome, bearing with me an unforgettable memory of my pilgrimage and of all the kindnesses and favours showered upon me here; as well as a great human and religious confidence in the people of India. Most lovingly, then, do I invoke upon you all the richest and choicest of divine graces. God bless India; Jai Hind!"

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Blessed Pope Paul VI's message to the President of India & to the Archbishop of Bombay
before hie departure for Rome, Saturday 5 December 1964 - in English

"His Excellency Doctor Sarpavepalli Radhakrishnan,
President of the Republic of India
New Delhi.

As we leave the territory of India on Our happy return to A Rome, We cannot omit to reiterate to Your Excellency the profound and sincere gratitude We feel for the honour done to Us by Your Excellency and by the Government of India, and for the innumerable kindnesses which made Our visit a spiritual success. We beg Almighty God to reserve for Your Excellency and the beloved Indian people a rich recompense of favours and graces, particularly of harmonious peace in justice.


* * *

Having returned safely to Our home after the unforgettable celebration of the Eucharistic Congress in Bombay, We would ask Your Excellency kindly to accept this further assurance of Our pleasure and honour in meeting You personally, of Our thankfulness for the many acts of kindness shown us during Our visit, and for Our prayerful. good wishes for Your Excellency in the fulfilment of Your high Office, as well as for the Government and people of Our beloved India, invoking upon all the choicest favours of divine benevolence.


To His Eminence Valerian Cardinal Gracias,
Archbishops House, Bombay

With indelible remembrances of the incredible enthusiasm and touching sincerity of Our welcome by the Indian People, and from a heart filled with glorious memories of the International Eucharistic Congress in Bombay, which owes so much to Your indefatigable and generous labours, We send You, beloved son, the assurance of Our heartfelt and undying gratitude for Your exquisite hospitality, and for all the kindnesses You have shown Us during Our pilgrimage, asking God to reward You with his richest graces. We lovingly impart to You, and bestow upon Your great Archdiocese, and upon the Hierarchy, Clergy, Religious and faithful of beloved India, Our appreciative and most affectionate Apostolic Blessing.


Blessed Pope Paul VI's message to Governments & Chiefs of State
Saturday 5 December 1964 - in French & Spanish

"Au moment de quitter le sol de l’Inde où Nous avons vécu des journées fraternelles et pacifiques, comment ne pas penser à ces régions du monde où, en ces jours mêmes, la paix semble encore en péril, pour adjurer les gouvernants et toutes les personnes de qui dépend le maintien de ce bien si précieux pour toute l’humanité? Préoccupés par les graves tensions qui subsistent entre les peuples et au sein même des nations, Nous avons fait monter Nos supplications ardentes au Christ, Prince de la paix, pour qu’Il écarte les obstacles sans cesse suscités sur le chemin d’une véritable et durable réconciliation entre les hommes. Des ombres menaçantes continuent à peser sur le monde, à troubler les âmes de bonne volonté, à paralyser les énergies honnêtes et constructives. Tant que ces menaces ne seront pas écartées, la tranquillité ne règnera pas sur la terre. Nous adjurons donc tous ceux dont l’action peut être déterminante pour le maintien et la consolidation de la paix dans le monde, à mesurer la gravité de leurs responsabilités et à tout entreprendre pour empêcher le déclanchement d’un nouveau cataclysme, toujours susceptible de dégénérer en un conflit mondial, qui serait la ruine de l’humanité. Dieu veuille écarter les desseins d’orgueil, de violence, de vengeance et despotisme. Qu’Il veuille au contraire inspirer des pensées de paix à tous, aux hommes politiques, aux militaires, aux promoteurs de l’opinion publique, aux peuples et aux gouvernants. C’est l’objet de Notre instante prière et de Nos vœux les plus ardents."

Beato Papa Paolo VI on his arrival back in Rome
Rome Airport, Saturday 5 December 1964 - in Italian & Spanish

"Nel momento in cui, dopo le incancellabili emozioni del Nostro pellegrinaggio in terra indiana, rimettiamo piede sulla diletta Italia, un sentimento di profonda gratitudine, gioiosa e commossa insieme, sale del Nostro cuore verso il Signore, che Ci ha concesso questa incomparabile esperienza.

Nella luce irradiante, che promana dal Mistero Eucaristico, è avvenuto il Nostro incontro con l’India, una Nazione grande e nobilissima; incontro che ha voluto estendersi a tutte le immense distese dell’India, e, oltre ancora, a tutte le regioni dell’Oriente misterioso e lontano, alle sue genti sagge e pazienti, umili e generose, tuttora illuminate dai raggi delle loro antiche civiltà, e pur protese verso le conquiste del progresso e dell’ordine sociale.

I brevi giorni della Nostra permanenza a Bombay, porta aperta sull’India, e gli innumerevoli e stimolanti colloqui, avuti con le autorità e con i vari ceti di quella cittadinanza, e soprattutto con i diletti figli della Chiesa Cattolica, Ci hanno permesso di conoscere più da vicino quella Nazione, di apprezzare i suoi tesori di arte e di cultura, le sue testimonianze di profonda religiosità e distinzione, e il suo valore morale. Il Nostro cuore ha voluto pulsare all’unisono col cuore di un intero popolo, per condividerne le aspirazioni e le aspettative, le sofferenze e le speranze, i pensieri e i propositi; ha gioito e sofferto, ha trepidato e sperato con tutti quei Nostri figli e fratelli; e si è dilatato nella preghiera universale, abbracciando aneliti e palpiti di tutti i cuori, affinché secondo una reminiscenza biblica «come terra che produce la sua vegetazione, e come giardino, che fa spuntare i suoi semi, così il Signore faccia germogliare la giustizia e la gloria a vista di tutte le genti» (Is. 61, 11).

Amiamo pertanto ripetere il Nostro saluto memore e beneaugurante all’intera Nazione Indiana, nei suoi singoli Stati e popolazioni; alle Autorità civili, che tante dimostrazioni Ci hanno date della loro considerazione, del loro garbo, della loro premura, facendo tutto quanto era in loro potere per rendere indimenticabile e gradito il Nostro breve soggiorno nella loro terra ospitale: che il Signore assecondi i loro sforzi costanti per assicurare alle loro popolazioni i desiderati frutti della vera pace. Il ricordo affettuoso e commosso va inoltre ai Nostri venerabili Fratelli nell’Episcopato, ai sacerdoti e ai fedeli, alle fiorenti istituzioni di vita cattolica, lietamente impegnati in una generosa testimonianza di carità e di vita a Cristo e alla sua Chiesa. Ma non disgiunti dal Nostro pensiero e dalla Nostra preghiera abbracciamo altresì i fratelli delle varie e vetuste religioni non cristiane: anche ad essi va l’espressione della Nostra sincera benevolenza.

Ed ora esprimiamo anzitutto al Signor Presidente del Consiglio il Nostro vivo compiacimento per le nobili parole, con cui ha voluto porgerci il benvenuto al ritorno in terra d’Italia. Con profondo rispetto rivolgiamo altresì un doveroso ringraziamento alle distinte Autorità Governative Italiane, che con la loro presenza deferente e spontanea Ci rendono tanto più gradita quest’ora del ritorno presso le sacre memorie di Pietro, ov’è la Nostra dimora e il centro della cattolica unità; e non possiamo trattenere un augurio particolarmente sentito e commosso al Prof. Antonio Segni, Presidente della Repubblica Italiana, che pensiamo spiritualmente unito a codesta illustre corona di personalità della politica, della cultura e dell’arte. Salutiamo in special modo anche i distinti e benemeriti membri del Corpo Diplomatico accreditato nella Città Eterna, la cui presenza Ci attesta la deferente partecipazione delle loro singole Nazioni al Nostro pellegrinaggio. Sentiamo, poi, il gradito dovere di esprimere il Nostro compiacimento e ringraziamento ai dirigenti, ai piloti, agli equipaggi dei velivoli delle due Società aeree, che tanto rapida, confortevole e attraente hanno reso la Nostra lunga trasvolata attraverso due continenti.

E un grazie particolare va di gran cuore a quanti hanno cooperato, con generosa dedizione e con organizzazione perfetta, alla piena riuscita di questo Nostro viaggio missionario.

Mentre ancora una volta presentiamo a Cristo Signore, Re universale dei secoli, tutti i popoli incontrati, quelli che abbiamo sorvolati, e quelli che Ci hanno sostenuto con la loro preghiera e coi loro voti augurali, siamo lieti di impartire a voi qui presenti, ai Nostri dilettissimi figli dell’Urbe, e all’intera umanità la Nostra Apostolica Benedizione, pegno e riflesso delle divine effusioni di grazia e di misericordia."

Papa Paul VI's words to the faithful gathered in St Peter's Square
Airport of Bombay, Wednesday 2 December 1964 - in Italian & Spanish

"Figli carissimi,
Non sappiamo come ringraziarvi. Non è una accoglienza puramente d’onore che voi Ci tributate. Noi la riceviamo come una prova di fedeltà e di adesione al Nostro Ministero, che si è prodigato in questi giorni in proporzioni geografiche ed etniche così larghe e così nuove. Il sapere che voi vivete con Noi, pregate con Noi, pensate con Noi, desiderate con Noi, soffrite con Noi, Ci conforta assai perché dovete sapere che queste nuove, grandi avventure del Regno di Dio accrescono enormemente i Nostri doveri, le Nostre fatiche e certamente anche i sacrifici che sempre accompagnano il servizio di Cristo e della sua croce. Abbiamo bisogno di conforto, abbiamo bisogno di figli fedeli, abbiamo bisogno di sentire che Roma è veramente cristiana e cattolica e che voi, come stasera, sarete sempre Nostri figli. Che il Signore vi conforti. Siate lieti perché vi annunciamo che davvero la fratellanza umana ha confini sempre più grandi, che il Vangelo ha aperto vie nuove, che abbiamo incontrato sulle Nostre strade e sui Nostri passi milioni di anime buone, innocenti forse nel loro tributo di entusiasmo e di omaggio. Ebbene, pregate per questi fratelli, possibili o attuali che siano; pregate per il mondo; per essere Cristiani fedeli, oggi, bisogna avere il cuore grande, il cuore aperto, il cuore che prende le proporzioni del cuore di Cristo e cioè che ama tutti gli uomini perché tutti sono figli di Dio. Così voi con Noi e con la Nostra Benedizione."

Blessed Paul VI's discourse to the College of Cardinals
Rome, Saturday 5 December 1964 - in Italian

"Ad un attestato di così profondo ossequio e viva partecipazione agli intenti del Supremo Pastore, la risposta di Sua Santità è cordialissima.

Egli anzitutto desidera notare che le moltissime cose da dire, al ritorno da così importante e significativo viaggio, sono state già in gran parte enunciate dal Signor Cardinale Pizzarda, per il quale il Papa nutre il singolare affetto di Chi lo ebbe padre e maestro nel Suo primo servizio in Segreteria di Stato.

Non è certo questo il momento di svolgere con profondità le impressioni e gli argomenti che si affollano allo spirito: basterà tuttavia una parola del Vangelo che, anzitutto, rivela come l’insegnamento divino si estenda e si riverberi nella storia e arrivi sino a noi con segni di evidenza che commuove nel suo insieme meraviglioso, e quindi ci illumina per accogliere ogni particolare di quanto è avvenuto.

Nel racconto della pesca miracolosa degli Apostoli, S. Luca osserva, infatti, che «rumpebatur autem rete eorum».

Abbiamo assistito a fenomeni eccezionali, spontanei, si direbbe prodigiosi. Sono, dapprima, le fioriture della seminagione della Buona Novella, deposta nei solchi d’un terreno che, per vari motivi, poteva sembrare refrattario, e dà, invece, mercé l’azione missionaria metodica, costante, eroica, una testimonianza stupenda di quanto può la Redenzione e la fede in Cristo Signore.

A tale secolare attività va il tributo di lode e riconoscenza Nostra per tutta la tradizione missionaria testé incontrata, la quale altro non è se non una parte della grande attività missionaria nel mondo.

Accanto a ciò quanta amabile cortesia, e quali prove di stima e di venerazione da parte dell’intero nobile popolo della grande Nazione Indiana!

Occorre dare testimonianza di quel che, da secoli, hanno compiuto intrepidi apostoli. Questo popolo - folle sterminate accorse sul cammino dell’umile Successore di Pietro - ha tenuto a dare conferma di comprensione e rispetto. Specialmente merita risalto l’incontro con tanti giovani, che si commuovono per la presenza del Papa, quasi mossi da un istinto profetico di speranze e di attesa: fulgida caratteristica di memorabili giornate. Di ciò siamo lieti, ma pure pensosi per l’insieme dei nuovi doveri e responsabilità. Agli uni e alle altre dovremo proporzionare i nostri sforzi, sì da essere non impari alle opere che il Signore ci chiede lungo tali vie aperte per la fraternità di tutti gli uomini, figli di Dio.

La cattolicità della Chiesa ci si è presentata davanti con le sue dimensioni incommensurabili, con le sue proporzioni sconfinate, con le sue esigenze mai soddisfatte. Ci siamo domandati - prosegue Sua Santità -: Che cosa faremo? Lo stesso successo non è forse un aumento di doveri, di problemi, di responsabilità?

Riflettiamo veramente, rientrando nella Nostra dimora, su quanto adesso la voce così autorevole del Cardinale Pizzarda affermava: «avremo davanti nuovi problemi». Dovremo quindi adeguare i nostri sforzi, i nostri piani alle possibilità che il mondo moderno, che il Divino Maestro, anzi, ci dischiude. Sono cammini aperti in cui si attende solo il missionario zelante, il profeta che parli, il santo che predichi, il martire che si immoli.

Quale grandioso programma si presenta, dunque, alla Chiesa in questo momento!

Ad esso vogliamo avvicinarci con trepida umiltà ed esaltante fiducia: cercando, specialmente, di essere docili alla nostra vocazione con ogni impegno; e fedeli, se necessario, «usque ad sanguinis effusionem» - come è ricordato a chi entra nel Sacro Collegio -. Lo esige la causa di Cristo; lo meritano l’attesa del mondo e il cammino della storia.

Lavoriamo, dunque, con pieno fervore a divenire, nel modo più adeguato e degno, gli esecutori appassionati delle volontà del Signore nel momento presente, che ci si prospetta ricolmo di speranze e da Dio benedetto."