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John Paul II's Apostolic Visit to New Zealand

22nd - 24th November 1986

Blessed Pope John Paul II was a pilgrim to New Zealand during his 32nd apostolic journey, on which he also visited Bangladesh, Singapore, Fiji Islands, Australia & the Seychelles.

Pope John Paul II's Address at the Welcome Ceremony in Auckland
22 November 1986 - in English & Italian

"I am grateful for your presence. This is the greatest gift on your part. I thank you for your presence, for all that you have sung, for your introduction to the past, to the history of New Zealand and its people. I appreciate deeply the Maori tradition, this tradition which finds today a new expression and proves by this expression that it is still alive.

I thank you very much for your words, for your allocutions, for your songs, for your gifts, and now I want to offer you also a gift. Being the Bishop of Rome, the Successor of Peter, I am also a son of my people, and the Image of Our Lady of Czestochowa I offer you today expresses this fundamental attitude of myself and yourselves. God our Father created all of us and situated everyone of us in a family, in a human family, in a small family of our own, and in a large family of our people, of our nations; and through the family, the small and the large, everyone of us is also introduced into the family of God, the Church, the People of God. Through our family, the small and the large, everyone of you, of us, is introduced to humanity, to be a human person, and to be as a human person, and to be as a human person a child of God.

I thank you from my heart for this first meeting of welcome. I greet the Maori people and also the guests of Thaiti, and I greet also all the people of Auckland and of New Zealand, gathered here largely in different groups, of different origins, altogether one people, citizens of the same State, of the same homeland. I greet everyone of you and all of you. I greet the whole New Zealand people and I thank you for your cordial welcome to me. Thank you very much."

Blessed John Paul II's Homily at Mass in Auckland
22 November 1986 - in English & Italian

"I rejoiced when I heard them say: Let us go to God's house."

"Dear Brothers and Sisters in Jesus Christ,
1. I rejoice to be in your midst. Indeed I rejoice that it has been possible for me to come to God’s house here, that is, to the People of God, the Church in Auckland, the Church in New Zealand. The Church here is young. It is less than two centuries since the Good News of Jesus was first preached on these islands. Yet the Catholic faith has been quick to take root and flourish, enriched as it is by a variety of cultures from many parts of the world. Each of those traditions has brought its special gifts; none has come empty handed.

A rich culture already existed in your country before the arrival of the Church or the many immigrants: the culture of the Maori people. This culture has in turn been strengthened and enriched by the uplifting and purifying power of the Gospel.

I wish to extend special greetings to you, the Maori people of Aotearoa, and to thank you for your cordial ceremonial welcome. The strengths of Maori culture are often the very values which modern society is in danger of losing: an acknowledgment of the spiritual dimension in every aspect of life: a profound reverence for nature and the environment; a sense of community, assuring every individual that he or she belongs; loyalty to family and a great willingness to share; an acceptance of death as part of life and a capacity to grieve and mourn the dead in a human way.

As you rightly treasure your culture, let the Gospel of Christ continue to penetrate and permeate it, confirming your sense of identity as a unique part of God’s household. It is as Maoris that the Lord calls you; it is as Maoris that you belong to the Church, the one Body of Christ.

I wish also to offer very cordial greetings to our brothers and sisters in Christ belonging to other Christian communions. It is my hope that this pastoral visit to the Church in New Zealand will further the cause of ecumenism and draw us all closer to our one Lord and Saviour.

2. "And now our feet are standing within your gates, O Jerusalem . . . For Israel’s law it is, There to praise the Lord’s name". As the Bishop of Rome and the Successor of Saint Peter, I wish to praise the Lord’s name with the whole Church that lives here in these islands of the Pacific. The psalm of praise that we have sung in today’s liturgy is a song of pilgrims. And all of us – as the Church of the living God – are a pilgrim people on our way to the "heavenly Jerusalem". Like all pilgrims, we are a people of hope, fully aware of evil and suffering in the world, ourselves tested by temptation and trial, and yet firmly believing that "what we suffer in this life can never be compared to the glory, as yet unravelled, which is waiting for us" (Rm 8,18).

St Augustine described the Church as being "like a stranger in a foreign land", which "presses forward amid the persecutions of the world and the consolations of God". As she presses forward, seeking always to be faithful to Christ and the Gospel, she rejoices to experience God’s grace, which gives her strength to embrace the Cross as the way to the triumph of the Resurrection. And she finds continued reason to give thanks and praise to God: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Let us then, as pilgrims full of hope, join our hearts and voices in praise of the Most Holy Trinity.

3. In fact, we have great reason to rejoice continually, for we are the people to whom the Father has sent his beloved Son. And today we hear the Son’s words to us in the Gospel, just as his contemporaries once heard him as he travelled through Galilee, Judea and Samaria.

Jesus teaches us about God as our loving Father and about Divine Providence. He draws attention to the beauty of creation and to God’s care for it. In this way, he gives his audience a greater awareness of God’s goodness: "Think of the flowers; they never have to spin or weave; yet, I assure you, not even Solomon in all his glory was robed like one of these. At the same time, Jesus points out creation’s corruptible and transitory nature, saying: "Now if that is how God clothes the grass in the field which is there today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, how much more will he look after you." Thus he encourages his listeners to look beyond created things, however good or beautiful they may be, and to focus on that which does not pass away, on eternity.

Christ then invites his hearers to place their trust in the Father’s loving care: "You must not set your hearts on things to eat and things to drink; nor must you worry.. Your Father well knows you need them. No; set your hearts on his Kingdom." Peace comes when we learn to rest in God’s loving providence, knowing that this world will pass away, and that only his Kingdom will endure. To set our hearts on the things that endure is to be at peace in ourselves.

4. We are followers of Christ just as much as those men and women who first heard these words. We are today’s generation of the people whom He redeemed through his own blood. We too have believed that the Father wishes to give us his Kingdom. And we wish to respond to that gift.

Christ says: "There is no need to be afraid, little flock." We must take courage, then, and seek to overcome our fear through the interior power of faith, by setting our hearts first of all on the Kingdom of God. It is precisely in this way that we show ourselves to be the Church. For the Church is the community of people who place their trust in God’s promises, promises like those we have heard in today’s heard reading from the Prophet Ezekiel.

5. Ezekiel is speaking to a people in exile, separated from their land and their roots. They know that they have strayed from the right path; they have become strangers to God and to one another. But now the Lord promises to bring them home. He will give them a new heart and a new spirit. They will learn to keep his law, not from outward constraint but from inner conviction. They will discover true peace, for the Lord’s own Spirit will be in them "You shall be my people and I will be your God" (Ez 36, 38).

How modern this Old Testament writer sounds! His words seem to fit so many people today, alienated from God and estranged from one another. All around us we can see what happens when the Prophet’s words go unheeded: if the Spirit of the Lord does not breathe in our hearts, they quickly turn to stone. But the Church is that place where the Holy Spirit breathes, that community of people who are cleansed of their sins in Baptism, and who, though scattered all over the earth, enjoy true communion with one another.

6. What an amazing mystery the Church is! While her members belong to every nation on earth, she remains undivided, always one. The Church is both universal and particular, since her members, though belonging to different cultures and peoples, have received the same Baptism and share in the same Holy Spirit. We are like that group of first believers described in the Acts of the Apostles; we too seek to remain "faithful to the teaching of the Apostles, to the brotherhood, to the breaking of bread and to the prayers". In these last four days, I have celebrated the Eucharist with the Church in Bangladesh, the Church in Singapore, the Church in Fiji, and now the Church in New Zealand. In each of these countries the Church has different traditions and customs, different needs and gifts. The Christian faith does not destroy culture, but purifies and uplifts it. It takes away nothing of genuine value from a society or nation, but strengthens whatever is good for the betterment of all. No particular Church is the same as another, yet the one, holy Catholic and Apostolic Church is present and active in each one. It is not as if the People of God were a loosely-linked international society or even a federation of particular Churches. No, the Holy Spirit himself unites the particular Churches with one another in a communion of life under the headship of Christ our Redeemer. Thus they are called to live together in peace and unity. And by Christ’s design, the Successor of Peter is called to serve all the local Churches through a ministry of faith and charity.

7. Such unity and catholicity in the one Body of Christ must never be taken for granted; it is a gift to be received with gratitude and a gift that requires a response. As the Second Vatican Council stated: " In virtue of this catholicity each individual part of the Church contributes through its special gifts to the good of the other parts and of the whole Church. Thus through the common sharing of gifts and through the common effort to attain fullness in unity, the whole and each of the parts receive increase" (Lumen Gentium, 13).

In view of the gift of catholicity, do not the words of St Peter apply, not only to individual persons, but also to the particular Churches? "Each one of you", he writes, "has received a special grace, so, like good stewards responsible for all these different graces of God, put yourselves at the service of others." It has always been necessary for local Churches to assist and support one another, especially to assist those who are near and those with the greatest needs. Such actions foster communion among these Churches and show the fruitful nature of the catholicity of the Church.

The gifts of unity and universality also urge us on to greater progress in ecumenism. The desire for complete communion among all Christians has grown remarkably throughout the Catholic Church since the Second Vatican Council. For this we rejoice and give thanks to God. But our prayers for full unity must increase even more. Spiritual and theological dialogue must continue at all levels. And we must, in all appropriate ways, collaborate in endeavours of service and common witness to Christ, so that the Church may be seen by all as the Sacrament of Unity and Reconciliation, and so that she may more effectively further the cause of peace.

8. The Gospel acclamation of today’s Mass recalls the words of St Paul: "May the peace of Christ reign in your hearts, because it is for this that you were called together as parts of one body". The Apostle’s prayer becomes ours today, for we also deeply desire the peace of Christ to reign in every heart.

The Church is very conscious of people’s longing for peace and has taken numerous initiatives to further it. Every year since 1968 she has invited all people of good will to join her on New Year’s Day in celebrating the World Day of Peace. And, in addition, Christians in every country, as individuals and together with others, are praying and working for peace.

Jesus said: "Peace I bequeath to you, my own peace I give you, a peace the world cannot give, this is my gift to you". And to all of you today I say: Peace be with you.
[In Maori:] Kia tau iho te rangimarie o te Ariki ki a koutou. In Samoan: Ia faatasi le Filemu ma outou.
[In Tongan:] Ke iate Kimoutolu ‘a e melino ‘a e ‘eiki. In Cook Island Maori: Ei a kotou te ‘au.
[In Polish:] Pokoj Wam.
[In Croatian:] tvIir Stobom.
[In Dutch:] Vrede zij met u.
[In Gaelic:] Síochán Dé libh go léir. In Latin: Pax Vobis!

9. Together in peace as members of a pilgrim Church, we wish once again to stand in spirit at the gates of Jerusalem, singing the words of the Psalm: "For the peace of Jerusalem pray: ‘Peace be to your homes! May peace reign in our walls, in your palaces, peace!’ For love of my brethren and friends I say: ‘Peace upon you!’ For love of the house of the Lord I will ask for your good."

Peace for Jerusalem! Peace for the community of the Church! Peace for the world! Peace which is the fruit of love. And love flourishes where the faithful are united with the Pastors of the Church, where priests work in harmony with the bishop, where the bishops are united in collegial communion among themselves and with the Bishop of Rome.

There is an essential and dynamic link between unity and peace. As St Paul tells us: "In Christ Jesus, you that used to be so far apart from us have been brought very close, by the blood of Christ. For he is the peace between us." Christ’s love breaks down the hostility and barriers that keep people divided from one another. And through his Holy Spirit, he plants in our hearts the seeds of ecclesial communion. From this interior action of the Holy Spirit, the whole Body of Christ is built up "into one holy temple in the Lord", "into a house where God lives, in the Spirit", into a communion of love and peace.

As brothers and sisters in Christ, as those "whom Christ calls his friends, we proclaim to the world that Jesus "came to bring the good news of peace". The Church carries on the work of Christ in the world, rejoicing in his blessings: especially the blessing of peace. "Blessed are the peacemakers, They shall be called children of God". Amen.

Je suis heureux de saluer tous les pèlerins de langue française venus de leurs îles lointaines pour prier avec le successeur de Pierre qui ne peut malheureusement pas se rendre chez eux cette fois-ci.

Chers Frères et Sœurs de Tahiti, des Iles Marquises, de Vanuatu, de Wallis et Futuna, de la Nouvelle-Calédonie, soyez les bienvenus. Vous souffrez parfois de votre dispersion, et de bien d’autres épreuves que je porte avec vous dans ma prière. Mais vous demeurez attachés massivement à la foi catholique, à votre culture française qui s’épanouit en symbiose avec vos cultures locales, à votre patrie, à la communion autour de votre Evêque et autour de l’Evêque de Rome. Je pense notamment au groupe nombreux de Tahiti, dont le diocèse a fêté le cent cinquatième anniversaire de l’évangélisation. Approfondissez la foi qui vous a été transmise par de courageux missionaires; exprimez-la dans la prière qui vous est si spontanée et dans toutes les actions de charité, de justice et de paix, pour qu’elle imprègne vos mœurs, anciennes ou nouvelles. Rayonnez-la, dans le respect des personnes et des cultures. Que chacun, prêtre, religieux, laïc, jeune ou adulte, prenne sa part dans la vie de l’Eglise et dans son témoignage! Et que vos familles brillent par leur fidélité et leur générosité! L’Eglise universelle, loin de vous oublier, vous aime, vous soutient, compte sur vous pour que Dieu soit glorifié dans vos îles et que tous vos frères parviennent à la plénitude de la foi et du salut qui est en Jésus-Christ.

De tout cœur, je vous bénis, et je bénis tous ceux qui vous sont chers ou qui sont dans l’épreuve. Que le Seigneur vous garde dans sa paix!"

Blessed Pope John Paul II's Address to the Young People
Domain Park, Auckland, 22 November 1986 - in English & Italian

"Dear Young People,
1. Thank you for your warm welcome. After the great joy of celebrating the Eucharist for the first time in New Zealand I am grateful to have this opportunity of being with you, the youth of Aotearoa.

This period in your life, the time of youth, is a period of special importance. The decisions you make now, the friendships you form, the values you choose to live by, the goals you set for yourselves – these will shape your personal future and have an impact on the future of society. I am always happy to be with young people because I enjoy your enthusiasm and hope. As you face the challenges of youth, I am eager to assure you of the love of Christ and to remind you of the Gospel He preached, the Good News of truth, freedom and salvation.

2. The Gospel passage which we have heard describes a turning point in the life of Saint Peter. It was very shortly after the death of Jesus. Peter and the other disciples were still stunned by the experience of the Cross. How aware they were of their own shortcomings! In the hour of their Master’s Passion, when He needed them most, Judas betrayed him, Peter denied him, the rest of them fled in fear. Confused and saddened, the disciples seemed to think that the future was hopeless; they were uncertain what to do. So, they returned to what was familiar to them. Peter spontaneously says: "I’m going fishing". And the others say: "We’ll come with you". However, this plan of theirs also seems to end in failure. For the Gospel tells us: "They went out and got into the boat but caught nothing that night" (Jn 21,3).

But then, at this low point in their lives, in their discouragement and failure, the dawn of hope begins to break. "It was light by now", we are told, "and there stood Jesus on the shore" (Jn 21, 4). Precisely at the moment when Peter and the others would have felt uncomfortable in approaching Jesus – because of how they had behaved – he draws near to them in a simple gesture of friendship. "Jesus called out, ‘Have you caught anything, friends?’ And when they answered ‘No’, he said ‘Throw the net out to starboard and you’ll find something’. So they dropped their net, and there were so many fish that they could not haul it in" (Jn 21, 5-6). They did indeed "find something", and it was much more than a big catch of fish. They found renewed hope and joy in the presence of the risen Lord.

3. This turning point in the life of Peter came about at the initiative of Jesus, not at the initiative of Peter. Peter’s attempt ends in failure; but when he fishes at Jesus’ command, the nets are filled to breaking point. The same thing happens in the life of each of us. While it is true that we ourselves decide what paths we will take, our decisions will lead us to true joy and fulfilment only if they are in accordance with God’s will. As St Paul says: "It is God, for his own loving purpose, who puts both the will and the action into you" (Phil 2, 13).

The secret of the successful catch of fish is the obedience of Peter and his companions. As soon as Jesus spoke – even though they had been fishing all night and had caught nothing – they dropped the nets and tried again. Their obedience produced an amazing catch of fish. More importantly, it opened their eyes; it enabled them to recognize Jesus by faith. "The disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord’ (Jn 21, 7)". And Peter immediately responds in joy; he jumps out of the boat and makes his way to the shore, eager to be with Jesus.

4. But the desire of Jesus to be with Peter is even greater than Peter’s desire to be with Jesus. Jesus not only acknowledges Peter but also invites him and his friends to share a meal that he has prepared. "Come and eat", he says (Jn 21, 12). The warmth of Jesus’ friendship has overcome the Apostles’ fears. The weight of guilt and sadness has given way to the light and peace of the risen Lord. At this point, Jesus looks directly at Peter and asks him: "Simon son of John, do you love me more than these others do?" Peter answers: "Yes, Lord, you know I love you" (Jn 21, 15).

Jesus clearly wants Peter to love him; and he wants Peter to express his love in words, and to prove it by deeds. Jesus desires it so much that he repeats his question twice more. And each time he tells Peter to look after his lambs and sheep – to look after the Church which is being left in Peter’s care. And, as we know, the rest of Peter’s life was spent in providing food for God’s people, food for the soul, the food of eternal life, that food which is both the word of God – the Good News of salvation – and the Body and Blood of Christ.

5. Dearest friends: you too are at a turning point in your lives, and by Christ’s grace and his love it may happen today. Some of you may have known doubt and confusion; you may have experienced sadness and failure and serious sin. For all of you, however, this is an important time in your lives. It is a time of decision. It is a time to accept Christ: to accept his friendship and love, to accept the truth of his word and to believe in his promises; to acknowledge that his teaching will lead you to happiness and finally to eternal life. It is a time to accept Christ as he lives in his Body, the Church.

You have already been united with Christ in Baptism and in the Eucharist, and now he is seeking you out in a particular way in these years of your youth. However great your love for Jesus may be, his love for you is far greater. He knows each of you by name. He knows when you need forgiveness and he knows your desire to forgive. He knows you better than you know yourself. Jesus loves you immensely, for he laid down his life for you (cf Jn 15, 13).

All of us can get lost at times, lost within ourselves or lost in the world about us. Allow Christ to find you, to speak to you, to ask of you whatever he wants. Be sure of this: obedience to God’s will is the way to a fruitful life, the way to loving union with Christ.

6. On one occasion in the Gospel, a rich young man approached Jesus with the question: "Good Master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" (Mk 10, 17). Jesus told him to keep the commandments, for there can be no genuine love of God or neighbour without obedience to God’s will. That is why Jesus says: "If you love me you will keep my commandments" (Jn 14, 15). And again he says: "You are my friends if you do what I command you" (Jn 15, 14).

If you want to attain the fullness of joy, your obedience must be the full obedience of love. For although the rich young man in the Gospel had kept all the commandments, "Jesus looked steadily at him and loved him, and he said, ‘There is one thing you lack. Go and sell everything you own and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me’" (Mk 10, 21).

Dearest young people of New Zealand: Is Jesus perhaps repeating to some of you today: "There is one thing you lack"? Is he perhaps asking for even more love, more generosity, more sacrifice? Yes, the love of Christ involves generosity and sacrifice. It takes personal discipline to obey the commandments of God; it takes effort to reach out in loving service to a brother or sister in need. To follow Christ and to serve the world in his name requires courage and strength. There is no place for selfishness – and no place for fear!

I noted your questions concerning the different evils of our contemporary world. It is good that you have this preoccupation, but the answers that can be given, you will find in the Gospel. And the Gospel, the whole Gospel, is waiting for you. You must realize that you must make real the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Only in this way is it possible to change the world. Your aspiration is that the world should be changed. I say: you should change the world!

Perhaps some of you are meant to follow Christ in the chastity, poverty and obedience of the religious life, or to serve in the priesthood. These special vocations are a gift of the Lord to his Church. They are also a gift of Christ to the person he calls. If Christ is speaking to you in this way, be ready for service, ready for sacrifice, ready for love.

And to those of you whom Christ is calling to the vocation of married life I say this: be assured of the Church’s love for you and for your vital role in the Church. Christian family life and lifelong fidelity in marriage are so needed in the world today, where the sacredness of human life is often ignored and even opposed, where the mystery of human sexuality is easily distorted and confused, where the beauty of human love is forgotten in a mad rush to satisfy selfish desires. Do not let yourselves be misled or discouraged. In Christ and in his Church, you will find the light and grace you need to live in fidelity and joy.

7. Dearest young people of New Zealand: Jesus looks with love on each of you, as he did on Peter, on the faithful Apostles, and on the rich young man. Only one of these went away sad: the one who was afraid of sacrifice, the one who said no. Since the Cross of Christ is the sign of love and salvation, we should not be surprised that all true love requires sacrifice. Do not be afraid, then, when love makes demands. Do not be afraid when love requires sacrifice. Do not be afraid of the Cross of Christ. The Cross is the Tree of Life. It is the source of all joy and peace. It was the only way for Jesus to reach resurrection and triumph. It is the only way for us to share in his life, now and for ever.

Young people of New Zealand: Jesus is with you. Do not be afraid!"

Pope John Paul II's Address to the Sick, Elderly and Handicapped
Wellington, 23 November 1986 - in English & Italian

The Kingdom of God is very near to you" (Lk 10, 9)

"Dear Brothers and Sisters,
1. On the feast of Christ the King, I am pleased to be with you who in a special way share in the sufferings of our Saviour. I greet you in the name of Jesus, who is our strength and hope. And I offer cordial greetings, too, to those of you who have accompanied our suffering brothers and sisters in Christ. It is a great joy to be with all of you here in Wellington.

As I prayed and prepared for my pastoral visit to New Zealand, I looked forward particularly to being with the sick, the elderly, the handicapped and disabled. I looked forward to this occasion when we would join in prayer and celebrate this Liturgy of the Anointing of the Sick. Now that I am with you, I can assure you of the special place you have in my own heart and in the life of the Church. Your prayers and sacrifices have great power, because they contribute so much to the Church’s mission of salvation.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ: "The Kingdom of God is very near to you!"

The only time Jesus was asked: "Are you a king?" (Jn 18, 28)was during his Passion, at the time of his greatest suffering. Indeed, it was by his suffering and death that he won for us the gift of the redemption and definitively established his kingdom. Perhaps this helps us to understand better why Jesus gave the following instructions to his disciples when he first sent them forth: "Whenever you go into a town where they make you welcome, eat what is set before you. Cure those in it who are sick, and say, ‘The Kingdom of God is very near to you’" (Lk 10, 8-9). God wishes to draw near to every human person, but with particular tenderness to the sick.

2. Human suffering, however, tempts us to doubt the words of Jesus that the kingdom of God is near. When pain dulls the mind and weighs down body and soul, God can seem far away, life can become a heavy burden. We are tempted not to believe the Good News. "For" as the Book of Wisdom says, "a perishable body presses down the soul, and this tent of clay weighs down the teeming mind" (Wis 9, 15). The mystery of human suffering overwhelms the sick person and poses disturbing new questions: Why is God allowing me to suffer? What purpose does it serve? How can God who is good permit something which is so evil? There are no easy answers to these questions asked by the burdened mind and heart. Certainly, no satisfying answer can be found without the light of faith. We must cry out to God, our Father and Creator, as did the author of the Book of Wisdom: "With you is wisdom, she who knows your words... Despatch her from the holy heavens... to help me and to toil with me and teach me what is pleasing to you" (Wis 9, 9-10).

3. Our Saviour knows well the many special needs of those who suffer. From the beginning of his public ministry, together with his preaching of the good news of the kingdom, "he went about doing good and healing" (Acts 10, 38). When he sent forth his own disciples on their mission, he gave them a special power and clear instructions to follow his example.

In his preaching, Jesus makes it clear that, although illness is linked to the sinful condition of humanity, in individual cases it is certainly not a punishment from God for personal sins. When asked whose sin had caused a man to be born blind, Jesus replied: "Neither he nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that the works of God might be displayed in him" (Jn 9, 3). What unexpected good news this was for his followers! This suffering is not divine retribution. On the contrary, it is intended for a good purpose: "so that the works of God might be manifested"!

And in truth, it was the suffering and death of Christ that displayed the works of God most eloquently. By his Paschal Mystery, Jesus won for us our salvation. Suffering and death, when accepted with love and offered with trust to God, become the key to eternal victory, the triumph of life over death, the triumph of life through death.

4. By means of a special Sacrament, the Church continues Jesus’ ministry of caring for the sick. Thus, the Liturgy of the Anointing of the Sick which we are celebrating today faithfully continues the example of our loving Saviour.

This Sacrament is best understood within the context of the Church’s overall concern for the sick. For it is the culminating point of the many and varied pastoral efforts made for the sick in their homes, in hospitals and in other places. It is the climax of an entire programme of loving service in which all the members of the Church are involved.

What we are doing today is faithful to the example of Jesus and to the instructions of St James, who wrote: "If one of you is ill, he should send for the elders of the Church, and they must anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord and pray over him. The prayer of faith will save the sick man and the Lord will raise him up again; and if he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven". Today in New Zealand, the Successor of Peter continues this tradition of the anointing of the sick, which the Church teaches to be one of the Seven Sacraments of the New Testament instituted by Christ.

It is good for all of us, even the elderly and sick, to remember that good health is not something to be taken for granted but a blessing from the Lord. Nor is it something we should endanger through the misuse of alcohol or drugs or in any other way. For, as St Paul says, "Your body, you know, is the temple of the Holy Spirit... That is why you should use your body for the glory of God". Doing what we can to maintain our own good health makes it possible for us to serve others and fulfil our responsibilities in the world. However, when illness does come, we have this special Sacrament to assist us in our weakness and to bring the strengthening and healing presence of Christ.

5. Those who are seriously ill feel deeply their need for the assistance of Christ and the Church. Besides the physical pain and weakness, illness brings powerful anxieties and fears. The sick are vulnerable to temptations which they may never have faced before; they may even be led to the verge of despair. The Anointing of the Sick responds to these precise needs, for it is a sacrament of faith, a sacrament for the whole person, body and soul.

Through the laying on of hands by the priest, the anointing with oil and the prayers, new grace is given: "The sacrament provides the sick person with the grace of the Holy Spirit by which the whole individual is brought to health, trust in God is encouraged, and strength is given to resist the temptations of the evil one and anxiety about death. Thus the sick person is able not only to bear his or her suffering bravely, but also to fight against it. A return to physical health may even follow the reception of this sacrament if it will be beneficial to the sick person’s salvation".

The Anointing of the Sick brings particular consolation and grace to those who are near death. It prepares them to face this final moment of earthly life with lively faith in the risen Saviour and firm hope in the resurrection. At the same time, we must remember that the Sacrament is meant not only for those about to die but for anyone who is in danger of death through sickness or old age. Its purpose is not only to prepare us for death, which will inevitably come to all of us, but also to strengthen us in our time of illness. For this reason, the Church encourages the sick and elderly not to wait until the point of death to ask for the Sacrament and to seek its grace.

6. Today’s Liturgy says that the Lord is the Good Shepherd who leads us beside restful waters to refresh our drooping spirits. The Psalmist says to God: "You have prepared a banquet for me in the sight of my foes. My head you have anointed with oil; my cup is overflowing" (Ps 22, 5).

Anointing with oil has been used to signify healing, but at the same to signify a particular mission among God’s people. In the Scriptures we often find that people whom God has chosen for a special mission receive a special anointing. So it is with you who are sick or elderly. You have an important role in the Church.

First of all, the very weakness which you feel, and particularly the love and faith with which you accept that weakness, remind the world of the higher values in life, of the things that really matter. Moreover, your sufferings take on a special value, a creative character, when you offer them in union with Christ. They become redemptive, since they share in the mystery of the Redemption. That is why St Paul could say: "Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s affections for the sake of his body, that is, the Church" (Col 1, 24). Through the pain and the disabilities that restrict your life, you can proclaim the Gospel in a very powerful way. Your joy and patience are themselves silent witnesses to God’s liberating power at work in your lives.

7. I would like to address a word of gratitude to those of you who devote yourselves to helping others. The Feast of Christ the King which we are celebrating today is a feast of service, for it is the feast of the one who "came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many". In his earthly life, Jesus taught us the meaning of service, the kind of love in action that brings closer the Kingdom of God. I encourage you in your generous dedication to those who suffer. Through your daily efforts, you bear witness to the value of all human life, particularly that life which is most fragile and most dependent on others. Your service to the sick, the elderly, the handicapped and the disabled is part of the Church’s proclamation of the beauty of all life, even when it is weak. Your service is in complete contrast to every effort to suppress life by evils such as euthanasia and abortion. You have aligned yourselves with all those in society who are determined to take a prophetic stand on behalf of the innocent and most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters.

I am particularly grateful to you because you have so faithfully listened to the command of Jesus to his disciples: "Cure those who are sick, and say ‘The Kingdom of God is very near to you’".

Yes, the Kingdom of God is near: the Kingdom of the One who came to serve, the Kingdom of the Good Shepherd, the Kingdom where the last shall be first and the first shall be last, the Kingdom of Christ our Lord. Praise be to him!

Praised be Jesus Christ our King! Amen."

Blessed John Paul II's Homily on the Feast of Christ the King
Wellington, 23 November 1986 - in English & Italian

"Dear Brothers and Sisters,
1. Give thanks to the Father who has made it possible for you to join the saints and with them to inherit the light. Because that is what he has done: he has taken us out of the power of darkness and created a place for us in the Kingdom of the Son that he loves" (Col 1, 12-13).

Today on the Solemnity of Christ the King it is my honour and privilege to proclaim the unity of the universal Church in this land in the Pacific: here at Wellington, the Capital of New Zealand. It is with great joy that I celebrate the Eucharist with you today. My heart is filled with a deep sense of gratitude to be able to join my voice with yours in praising and glorifying the Most Blessed Trinity.

I greet with fraternal affection the Archbishop of this See, Cardinal Thomas Williams, Bishop Cullinane, and my other brother bishops. Together with them, I greet most cordially all my brother priests, the men and women religious, and all the faithful, particularly those from the Archdiocese of Wellington and the Diocese of Palmerston North. To all of you I say: Let us give thanks to the Father! "He has taken us out of the power of darkness!". "He has created a place for us in the Kingdom of the Son that he loves!" Yes, the Son that he loves! This is the same Jesus of Nazareth, about whom there was heard a voice from on high saying: "This is my Son, the Chosen One. Listen to him" (Lk 9, 35).

2. The Liturgy brings us today to the place where the words of Saint Paul are confirmed in a definitive way, the place where the truth of the redemption is most fully revealed. We are on Calvary at the moment of the Crucifixion. Together with Jesus, two criminals are also being crucified. One of these insults him, saying: "Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us as well". But the second instead says: "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." This second man believed in the Kingdom of the Crucified One. He believed in that kingdom which draws near to each human person through Christ Crucified.

In truth, it was not flesh and blood that had revealed this truth to him, but the Father - this Father who frees us from "the power of darkness and creates a place for us in the kingdom of the Son that he loves" (Col 1, 13). The Son Jesus, in agony on the Cross, says to his crucified companion: "Indeed, I promise you, today you will be with me in paradise" (Lk 23, 43).

3. The main theme of today’s liturgy is expressed in the phrase: "Peace of heart is the heart of peace". These words on the Solemnity of Christ the King are confirmed by what St Paul proclaims in the second reading. Christ, the image of the invisible God, is at the same time "the firstborn of all creations" (Col 1, 15). Moreover, "God wanted all perfection to be found in him and all things to be reconciled through him and for him, everything in heaven and everything on earth, when he made peace by his death on the Cross" (Col 1, 19-20). Peace of heart, peace of the human conscience, is precisely the fruit of this reconciliation through the Cross.

4. The picture of Jesus in agony on the Cross, hanging between two criminals, is a striking symbol of the mystery of reconciliation. In the first place, it shows us vividly the horrifying effects of sin, the stark and terrible reality of evil, the awful consequences of disobedience and alienation from God. Who could gaze on the Cross of Christ and not acknowledge the reality of sin? And not only the reality of sin but also its destructive consequences?

Sin is a personal act which disrupts one’s relationship with God and weakens the intellect and will. Sin also has an impact on others. "There is no sin, not even the most intimate and secret one, that exclusively concerns the persons committing it. With greater or lesser violence, with greater or lesser harm, every sin has repercussions on the entire ecclesial body and the whole human family" (Reconciliatio et Paenitentia, 16).

Today’s Gospel scene reminds us of an even greater reality than sin, a higher and more important truth: namely the redeeming love of Christ, a love which is stronger than evil, stronger than death. It was at this precise point in human history, when he was offering his life for us on the Cross, that "God in Christ was reconciling the world to himself" (2 Cor 5, 19). As St Paul says regarding this event of loving mercy, "through his blood, we gain our freedom, the forgiveness of our sins" (Eph 1, 7).

Yes, Christ on the Cross "was reconciling the whole world to himself" (2 Cor 5, 19), the whole of humanity of every time and place, "everything in heaven and everything on earth" (Col 1, 20). This is why the Son of God came into the world: "God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not be lost but may have eternal life" (Jn 3, 16).

And yet, reconciliation is offered to each person individually. Each one must freely decide to accept or reject it. We must remember the two criminals crucified with Jesus. Each of them acting by his own free choice responded to Jesus, but in opposite ways. God respects our human freedom. He generously offers us the gift of reconciliation, but he does not force us to accept. He gives us the freedom to reject it. We must freely choose it if we are to belong to the kingdom of God.

5. And if we do desire to belong to the kingdom of God, what are the ways in which this kingdom of God begins to take root in the human heart? How do reconciliation and peace come about in our innermost self?

First of all through prayer. I am referring both to liturgical prayer, in which we join ourselves to Christ, the High Priest, in the official worship of the Church, and individual prayer in which we meet the Lord alone in the depth of our soul. Prayer opens the mind and heart to God. It deepens our longing for his kingdom. Prayer consciously links us to the communion of the saints who support us by their continual intercession.

A second way of gaining peace of heart is by accepting the Gospel message. Jesus began his public preaching with a call to conversion: "Repent, and believe in the Good News" (Mk 1, 15). The Church continues Christ’s mission by condemning sin, calling people to conversion, and inviting them to be reconciled to God. And in every age, the Church proclaims the goodness and mercy of the Lord. She invites us all to "lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely" and to "run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith" (Eph 12, 1-2).

Dialogue is yet another way towards reconciliation and peace, that dialogue of faith which proceeds from a deep respect for others and a confidence in the ultimate victory of truth. In order that genuine dialogue may take place, "we must all apply to ourselves the word of God; we must relinquish our own subjective views and seek the truth where it is to be found, namely in the divine Word itself and in authentic interpretation, provided by the Magisterium of the Church" (Reconciliatio et Paenitentia, 25). In this regard, I am pleased to know that in New Zealand you are striving to bring about a greater knowledge of the word of God and to deepen your love for Christ.

The ways of conversion imply penance, almsgiving, fasting and whatever truly helps us pass from sin to spiritual freedom, from selfishness to justice and love, from hatred to a desire for peace. Through all the sacraments of the Church, Christ himself establishes the kingdom of God in our hearts. In the Eucharist, we receive the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world and grants us peace. In the sacrament of Penance, the Lord reconciles us to himself and sends us forth to be servants of reconciliation in the world. Each of the sacraments, in its own way, joins us with our risen Saviour and renews in us the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

6. Peace, as well as love, is born from a new heart, a heart made new by God’s gift of reconciliation. A new heart is the foundation of peace in the world. All truly human actions proceed from the heart, the innermost centre of the human person, the dwelling-place of our conscience and of our deepest convictions. This is why peace of heart is the heart of peace - peace inside families, peace within villages, towns and cities, peace between nations and in international life. Peace throughout the world is only possible if it reigns first of all in our hearts.

But this inner peace is continually threatened in our modern world. It is disturbed by human passions: by hatred, envy, lust for power, pride, prejudice and an uncontrolled desire for wealth. Violence and war come from our blindness of spirit and the disorder in our hearts. These lead to injustice, which in turn causes tension and conflict. In addition, people’s consciences are often confused today by an ideological manipulation of information.

Clearly it takes great courage to open ourselves to conversion of heart and to maintain this conversion in humility and freedom. The obstacles to peace are many. "They are grave, they present serious threats. But since they depend on the spirit, the will, the human ‘heart’, with the help of God, people can overcome them. They must refuse to give in to fatalism and discouragement. Positive signs are already piercing the darkness" (IOANNIS PAULI PP. II Nuntius ob diem ad pacem fovendam Calendis Ianuariis a. 1984 celebrandam, 5, die 8 dec. 1983: Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, VI 2 [1983] 1288). And let us never forget that the final triumph over darkness has already been won by Jesus Christ, the Light of the world.

7. Our hope for the victory of peace is rooted in our faith in God, creator of heaven and earth. From the very beginning, in the act of creation itself, God’s goodness and providence are revealed. As the Book of Genesis says: "God saw all he had made, and indeed it was very good" (Gen 1, 31). The created world is not the result of mere chance. It springs from God’s love; it is sustained by God’s love, and all the events of human history are subject to loving divine Providence.

In the great event of the Incarnation - the mystery of God becoming man - we understand much more of the mystery of creation. For Christ is, as St Paul says, "the firstborn of all creation, for in him were created all things in heaven and on earth, everything visible and everything invisible" (Col 1, 15-16). God loved the world so much that, from the beginning, he intended through the human nature of Jesus his beloved Son to enter into union with all humanity. Being both God and Man, Jesus could restore what sin had destroyed; he could bring creation back to its original destiny. Thus, in the words of St Paul, "God wanted all perfection to be found in him and all things to be reconciled through him and for him, everything in heaven and everything on earth" (Col 1, 19-20).

The mystery of creation, then, is part of our celebration today on this feast of Christ the King, for Christ is also the Lord of heaven and earth, the one who reconciled all creation to himself and "made peace by his death on the Cross". With grateful hearts, we praise the Lord with the words of the Psalm: "Know that he, the Lord, is God./ He made us, we belong to him, we are his people... / Give thanks to him and bless his name. / Indeed, how good is the Lord, eternal his merciful love. / He is faithful from age to age" (Ps 99, 3-5).

8. God created us. Not only did God create us, but he "has made it possible for us to join the Saints and with them to inherit the light . . . He has taken us out of the power of darkness and created a place for us in the Kingdom of the Son that he loves . . . In him were created all things in heaven and on earth . . . all things were created through him and for him. Before anything was created, he existed, and he holds all things in unity" (Col 1, 12-17).

Christ the King is the beginning. He is the firstborn from the dead. Christ the King is the head of his body which is the Church. In him we have redemption, the forgiveness of our sins. In Christ the King all fullness dwells! Amen."

At the end of the celebration:
"Ringrazio l’arcivescovo di Wellington e il vescovo di Palmerston North per le parole che mi hanno rivolto. Il card. Williams ha ricordato la mia precedente visita a Wellington nel 1973. Venni in quella occasione per visitare i miei fratelli e le mie sorelle polacchi. Venni anche in missione speciale presso il Governo e la popolazione neozelandese per dare atto della solidarietà dimostrata dopo la seconda guerra mondiale allorché furono invitati spontaneamente in questo Paese numerosi orfani di soldati polacchi caduti durante la guerra. Questi orfani, oggi presenti tra noi, erano allora dei bambini. Oggi sono padri e madri, genitori di famiglie che hanno propri figli. Vorrei rivolgere loro qualche parola nella nostra lingua madre.

Cari connazionali, mi rallegro di potervi visitare nuovamente. Questa visita non è rivolta unicamente a voi, ma all’intera Chiesa. So però che ci siete, che costituite una parte viva di questo società - della Nuova Zelanda, lontana dalla Polonia - e nello stesso tempo della stessa Chiesa cattolica. Così, come in Polonia, anche qui vi riunite davanti all’immagine di Nostra Signora di Jasna Gora, con i vostri pastori e con i vescovi di qui. Desidero ripetervi tutto ciò che già vi ho detto tredici anni fa: Dio vi benedica in questa nuova terra, che è divenuta la vostra nuova patria, almeno per i vostri bambini.

Ricordatevi però che le vostre radici sono là, che di là siete nati e questo legame con la patria, il cui cammino storico non è facile, richiede una particolare solidarietà. Che Dio vi benedica, che sostenga tutte le vostre comunità, che benedica la vostra unione con la gente di qui e il legame con la vostra vecchia benemerita patria sulla Vistola, con la Polonia.

Sono molto felice di trovarmi tra voi in questa particolare ricorrenza domenicale, la solennità di Cristo Re. Stiamo celebrando il regno di Cristo. Stiamo vivendo in questo regno. L’intera umanità sta vivendo in questo regno. È questa la nostra fede. Noi celebriamo questa nostra fede ogni giorno, ma particolarmente oggi. Rendiamo grazie a Dio.

Dio vi benedica tutti, voi tutti, ogni comunità con la sua differente storia, con le sue differenti radici, sia in Nuova Zelanda che al di fuori di essa. Grazie a voi tutti, a ognuno di voi, per la vostra partecipazione. Ringrazio i miei confratelli vescovi e i miei confratelli sacerdoti, per la loro concelebrazione. E dico: sia lodato Dio! Sia lode al Nostro Signore Gesù Cristo, Re dell’universo."

Blessed John Paul II's Words at the Angelus
Wellington, Sunday 23 November 1986 - in English & Italian

"1. At the end of this Mass in honour of Christ the King, we turn our thoughts for a moment to his Blessed Mother, and we join together in the prayer of the Angelus. This beautiful prayer begins with the words: “The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary”.

God the Father takes the initiative and sends his messenger to invite Mary to be the Mother of his beloved Son. St Luke tells us: “The Angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph . . . and the virgin’s name was Mary” (Lk 1, 26-27).

2. The greatest moment in Mary’s life began at God’s initiative. Through the Angel Gabriel, God invites; and in humble willingness Mary responds. God proposes and Mary accepts. “Fiat”, she says: “Let it be to me according to your word” (Lk 1, 38). This is the moment when Mary became the Mother of God. This is the turning point of the whole history of the human race, the moment when God became man. This is the way that the Virgin Mary accepted to the mystery of the Incarnation, the way she accepted to become the Mother of God.

3. In the history of salvation and in the life of each one of us, God unceasingly continues to take the initiative, asking us to respond in faith, inviting us to give our assent. It is God who takes the initiative because it is God who directs the course of history. As the Lord says through the Prophet Jeremiah: “I know the plans I have in mind for you... plans for peace, not disaster, reserving a future full of hope for you” (Jer 29, 11).

We pray the Angelus with a desire to become more like Mary, to have a deep trust in God’s plans for us, a great confidence in his loving providence. And we wish to say with her: “Let it be to me according to your word”. We must respond with faith and hope to the great revelation of God’s love for the world.

4. In saying this prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary, I wish to place under her loving protection the whole Church in New Zealand. I offer to her care all the beloved faithful of this land, together with their bishops, priests and religious. I pray, Holy Mother of God, that you will help the poor and the suffering, obtain pardon for the sinners, bring joy to the afflicted and lead all your sons and daughters in New Zealand to the happiness of eternal life, with the angels and the saints, in the Kingdom of Jesus, your Son. Amen."

Pope John Paul II's Address to the Diplomatic Corps
Wellington, 23 November 1986 - in English & Italian

"Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
1. It is a pleasure for me to have this opportunity to greet you, the members of the Diplomatic Corps during my visit to New Zealand. As you know, New Zealand is a land of great variety, a land of different races and cultures. Your presence here as representatives of many countries brings to mind the vastly greater diversity of the nations which make up the human family. This diversity, whether within a society like New Zealand or between nations, comes from the different historical, cultural, linguistic and religious heritages of peoples. It enables each group to make its own unique contribution to the common good, but it can also be an excuse for separation and division. It can add to the richness and depth of our humanity or, as we all know too well, it can be used to promote hatred, violence and war.

At the same time we also recognize that there is an even more fundamental unity which transcends all differences. It is the unity which springs from the fact that we are all children of God. Our common humanity is a gift of God. It finds expression in the universal longing of all people for life and freedom, and for spiritual and material well-being for themselves and their loved ones. All people, moreover, share a desire for peace.

2. In my message for the last World Day of Peace, I said that "Peace is a value with no frontiers. It is a value that responds to the hopes and aspirations of all people and all nations, of young and old, and of all men and women of good will."

In a world in which distance is overcome by modern means of transport and communication, in a world which is increasingly interdependent despite its diversity, there can only be one peace if there is to be any peace at all. To the extent that any one people or nation closes itself against all others or against the legitimate aims of another people or nation, there can be no peace in the world. Excessive self-interest leads only to strategies of injustice, repression and violence, whether within a nation or between nations.

3. Ladies and gentlemen; as one who serves as a religious shepherd for people of many races, cultures and nations, I appeal to you and to the Governments that you represent to promote peace by focusing on the things which unite the human family, rather than on the things which divide it. I appeal to you to help the world to see diversity as a source of blessing and peace rather than a source of discord. We would be naive to think that all conflicts and disagreements will be abolished. But may we not hope for wise and human leaders who have the courage to transcend ideologies, narrow interests, and purely political ends, and who are willing to bear witness to the unity of men?

May we not hope, ladies and gentlemen, that the different peoples and nations of the world will grow in their humanity by seeking a deeper understanding of the diversity of others, a greater appreciation of the point of view of others, and a more generous respect for the legitimate hopes and aspirations of people who are different from themselves? May we not hope that we ourselves, people of different lands and beliefs, will help to foster one peace for all by greater understanding, appreciation and respect for one another in our daily lives? This is possible only if we are willing to take the path of dialogue. In the Day of Peace message to which I referred a moment ago I spoke in this way: "Dialogue brings human beings into contact with one another as members of one human family, with all the richness of their various cultures and histories... The path of dialogue is a path of discoveries, and the more we discover one another, the more we can replace the tensions of the past with bonds of peace."

4. It is my conviction that the hopes I have expressed are not vain hopes. They are the goals towards which every person and nation must work with courage and perseverance. I am confident that you who devote yourselves to diplomatic service also share these hopes for a more peaceful world, for yourselves and your children, your families and friends, your neighbours and fellow citizens.

In conclusion, ladies and gentlemen, I thank you for your presence here today and for this opportunity to share with you some of the thoughts which are of particular importance to me in fulfilling my ministry. I assure you of my very best wishes as you fulfil your own important duties, and I pray for God’s blessings on you and your loved ones."

Blessed Pope John Paul II's Address to the Bishops
Wellington, Sunday 23 November 1986 - in English & Italian

"Your Eminence! Dear brothers in the episcopate!
1. My meeting with you, the bishops of the Church in New Zealand, represents a very significant moment of my visit to your country. This time of fraternal exchange gives us the opportunity to experience anew, with joy and gratitude, the bonds that unite us in Christ and in his Church: the bond of full ecclesial communion, the bond of episcopal consecration, the bond of hierarchical and collegial responsibility for the Church entrusted to our respective ministries. We are together in “the bonds of unity, charity and peace”, which have characterized the relationship of the bishops of the world among themselves and with the Bishop of Rome since apostolic times (cf Lumen Gentium, 22). I wish to assure you of my deep sentiments of esteem and respect in the Lord for each one of you, and I know that I can count on your prayerful support and "your cooperation in the diffusion of the Gospel" (Phil 1, 5).

Through the grace of Christ we have been called to mirror in our own ministry that harmony of life and ministry to which the Apostles gave expression together with Peter and under his guidance (cf Jn 21, 3; Acts 1, 15; Gal 2, 7). This they did as we also do, in response to the Lord himself, "the chief Shepherd" (1 Pet 5, 4) of the Church.

2. My first thought in relation to the Church in New Zealand is to "give thanks to God for you... remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labour of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Ts 1, 2). The Church in your country goes back 150 years. We rejoice in the fact that in each generation dedicated lay men and women, and generous priests and religious, have borne witness, together with their bishops to the saving mystery of redemption in Jesus Christ and to the evangelical law of love. They nurtured the seed of God’s word and cared for its growth. Now you have "entered into their labour" (Jn 4, 38). You have received the light of the Gospel, which you are called to hand on in all its brightness to the present and future generations of New Zealanders. I know with what love and care, with what compassion and pastoral concern you are ministering to your people. In the name of the whole Church I thank you and offer you my fraternal encouragement.

3. Each generation has had to face its own challenges. Today the Church in New Zealand, as in the rest of the world, is living a particularly intense moment of its earthly pilgrimage. I am fully convinced, as I have said before, that the Second Vatican Council remains "the fundamental fact in the life of the modern Church" (IOANNIS PAULI PP. II Allocutio in basilica S. Pauli habita, die 25 ian. 1986: Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, IX, 1 [1986] 193 ss.). In complete accord with the Church’s bimillenary tradition, the Council called for a genuine renewal of the Christian community in ever greater fidelity to the Gospel of grace and peace. In the Message to the World which the Council Fathers issued at the beginning of the first session they declared their intention to renew themselves, so that they might be found increasingly faithful to the Gospel of Christ and "to present to the people of this age God’s truth in its integrity and purity, so that they may understand it and gladly assent to it" (Nuntius ad universos homines Summo Pontifice assentiente a Patribus missus ineunte Concilio Oecumenico Vaticano II, die 20 oct. 1962). We all recognize that the Council made available to the entire ecclesial body the teachings, guidelines and motivations needed for just such a renewal. Therein lies the special challenge that has fallen to the Church in New Zealand in these decades leading to the beginning of the third millennium of Christian history.

4. Your particular Churches in New Zealand are deeply involved in the work of implementing the Council. You are rightly proud of the increased awareness of belonging to the Church which has taken root in the minds and hearts of many Catholics. You have worked diligently to make the Liturgy a living experience of prayer and worship for the whole community, providing for a wider participation of the laity in its preparation and celebration. You have sought to convey more clearly to the consciences of the faithful and to public opinion the teaching of the Church regarding life in society: the family, culture, questions regarding social justice, the problems of youth. I encourage you to continue, with respect for all persons and with great love for the whole of the People of God entrusted to your care, to incorporate into the life of your communities the Council’s directives and the subsequent guidelines issued by the Magisterium in the light of new needs. We cannot doubt but that the Holy Spirit is eager to bring forth in your people, in you the bishops, in the priests, religious and laity of New Zealand, the full potential of holiness and discipleship which the Council called for.

5. All this is taking place against the background of increasing secularization in the world. The sense of God and of his loving Providence has diminished for many individuals and even for whole sectors of society. Practical indifferentism to religious truth and values clouds the face of Divine Love. Christians are sometimes less fervent in faith and less zealous in practice than before. You are rightly concerned about the decline of participation at Sunday Mass and in the other Sacraments. The Christian experience can sometimes be reduced to a too inward-looking attitude of personal well-being and to the assimilation of a set of vague principles which are insufficiently clear or strong in the face of the present challenge to faith.

A secularized society needs to be confronted again by the entire Gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ. As shepherds of God’s people we are sent to the contemporary world, to the men and women of our time, "to preach the gospel... lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. For the word of the cross... is the power of God" (1 Cor 1, 17-18). And this, in turn, is the challenge that stands before all the pastors of the Church. The loss of a truly religious perspective in society is a serious challenge to the faith and zeal of the entire ecclesial community, but especially of the shepherds of the Church.

In spite of the enormity of the task, we are filled with hope and trust. We count on Christ who "has given us of his own Spirit" (1 Jn 4, 13). And you can count on God’s holy people in New Zealand who believe in the word, nourish their Christian life in the Sacraments and enjoy special gifts for the renewal and upbuilding of the Church and of the world. One of the principal aspects of the response to the spiritual condition of our time is in fact the Council’s prophetic call of the whole Church to holiness. Genuine holiness is not a turning away from the world and the needs of the human family. Rather, as the Council states: "By this holiness a more human way of life is promoted even in this earthly society" (Lumen Gentium, 40). An important aspect of life and commitment to the well-being and progress of the human family are not mutually exclusive. They are both necessary parts of the one Christian discipleship.

6. The renewal envisioned by the Council, and the return to authentic religious values of which modern society has need, are a work of the whole community of Christ’s followers. In this task the bishops have their specific part to play. Yours is the teaching office, the governing responsibility and the priestly ministry of the Christian community – in a word, the fullness of Christ’s pastoral service to his people. In a specific way each one of you is the source and foundation of the unity of the local Church entrusted to you, just as you are the promoter of the unity of the local Churches among themselves and with the universal Church.

In practice your mission requires you to work wisely and untiringly for a unity of purpose and collaboration among all the members of the community, always with respect for the different vocations and gifts received. By word and example you seek to encourage each one to take part actively and effectively in the building up of Christ’s Kingdom of truth and life, of holiness and grace, of justice, love and peace.

7. Diocesan and religious priests, as sharers with you in the one priesthood of Jesus Christ, are not only your closest collaborators but also the privileged recipients of your pastoral care. In New Zealand there is a tradition of harmony and fraternity among all the members of the clergy. Thus you and your priests sustain each other and share each other’s joys and sorrows.

How important for the Church in New Zealand is the attention and love you have for candidates to the priesthood and to the religious life! In particular, my thoughts go to the seminarians of Mosgiel and Greenmeadows. They are a special gift of God to your country. May they find in you the example and inspiring leadership that will help them to be worthy ministers of Christ, men of prayer formed in the word of God and the full teaching of the Church.

The past and present life of the Church in New Zealand cannot be described without abundant reference to the apostolate of the various congregations of religious sisters and brothers. The entire national community has benefited from their exemplary dedication. I know that your pastoral service in their regard will be directed to strengthening them in their specific ecclesial charism with respect for their diverse ministry, in the unity of the mission which is the common task of all in each local Church.

Religious consecration presents the Church and society with a decisive testimony to God’s love working through the redemptive death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It speaks to the world of the eschatological kingdom towards which we journey in faith and hope. Thus, the witness of religious life constitutes a much needed and effective defence of the spiritual and human values which are essential for man’s integral well-being. Through you I offer to the men and women religious of New Zealand the assurance of the Church’s gratitude and profound esteem. They are never alone or forgotten, no matter how silent and unassuming their contribution to the welfare of God’s people.

8. The theme of the forthcoming Synod of Bishops – "The vocation and mission of the laity in the Church and the world 20 years after the Second Vatican Council" – has already stimulated reflection and study on how the faithful can take an ever more active and responsible part in the Church’s mission of service. With a deepened sense of discipleship, lay men and women in New Zealand are increasingly present in liturgical roles, in programmes of Christian formation, education and service, in reaching the unchurched or those in difficult situations. In response to their distinctive lay condition, they are engaged in bringing the Gospel to the market-place, that is, to the world of social, economic, cultural and political activity.

The laity are endowed with God’s gifts for this mission. Their charisms however become fully operative after they have listened to the word of God and accepted it in their hearts. The Council has insisted that the success of the lay apostolate depends on the laity’s living union with Christ. And because this union with Christ cannot be sustained without prayer, the very apostolate of the laity must be built on prayer. Indeed, their call to action and service in the Church is also a call to prayer.

The laity likewise need a profound sense of "belonging" in the Church – the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic community of Christ’s followers. The role of the bishop as the source and foundation of unity who leads his people to the wider unity around Peter is therefore essential for the authenticity and vitality of the role of the laity. Every mission and pastoral service in the Church is rooted in Baptism, which is itself the object of the original mission received by the Apostles: "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (Mt 28, 19).

9. The teaching office of bishops is not exclusively directed to the service of the Catholic community. In many societies, as in New Zealand, it also constitutes an important factor in the formation of public opinion. The bishops, individually and through the episcopal conference, are called upon to communicate the teaching of the Church to the wider audience of general public opinion. You are called upon to present the word of God with its many applications to life in society. It is an act of justice towards society to speak the Church’s teaching with sureness and clarity. As humble servants of the Gospel we must follow the example of Paul and Barnabas at Iconium, "speaking boldly for the Lord" (Acts 14, 3).

Social and moral values are not irrelevant to public policy, nor can public policy prescind from these values. Hence when you teach the Church’s doctrine regarding marriage and the family, and when you sustain and strengthen these institutions through your pastoral care, you are strengthening the whole fabric of social life. When you speak about issues of peace and human rights, and when you work for justice, you are contributing to the well-being of all society.

When you speak about reconciliation you are touching one of humanity’s deepest needs. What is at stake is true reconciliation with God, with one’s fellow human beings and with oneself. In the Catholic view reconciliation and peace ultimately are God’s gifts, and they come through repentance and conversion. Here it is important for us to reflect on the fact that Christ wills the Sacrament of Penance to be the source and sign of radical mercy, reconciliation and peace. The Church serves the world best when she is precisely what she is meant to be: a reconciled and reconciling community of Christ’s disciples. To fulfil this role she must be conscious of being entrusted with "the ministry of reconciliation" (2 Cor 5, 19).

The Church is never more herself than when she mediates and reconciles, in the love and power of Jesus Christ, through the Sacrament of Penance. As bishops of the Church of God we have a very serious responsibility in this moment of history to be sure that we do everything possible – and omit nothing – so that the People of God will truly understand the value of this Sacrament and its place in their lives. It is important that we encourage our brother priests to give great priority to this sacramental ministry of reconciliation and to present it to the faithful as a great gift of Christ’s love and mercy.

10. I wish to express my joy at the fact that in New Zealand the various Christian Churches and Ecclesial Communities are solidly committed to the ecumenical task. True ecumenism is not afraid to acknowledge the differences and divisions that still exist among Christians. The pain present in this situation is a constant reminder of the urgency of Christ’s will regarding the unity of his followers (cf Jn 17, 21). From the point of view of the bishops’ responsibility, ecumenical initiative and activities have to be judged not only in the light of their immediate results but also in the light of their goal, which is full ecclesial communion. It is also essential that in ecumenical association and collaboration the bishops preserve the fullness of their apostolic freedom and responsibility with regard to the faith and life of the Catholic community. The ecumenical task truly makes great demands on your love and hope: "And hope does not disappoint, because the charity of God is poured forth in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who has been given to us" (Rom 5, 5).

11. Dear brother bishops: the Lord has called you to a weighty task. But that task is a burden of love, to be exercised in a spirit of service. "Ready for every good work" (2 Tm 2, 21), you take courage from your daily prayer and the celebration of the Liturgy, especially the Eucharist, the bread of life and the cup of eternal salvation.

You are supported by the communion of love of the whole Christian community, especially the priests, religious and laity of your own dioceses! You are supported by the intercession of the Queen of Heaven, Mary, Mother of the Church, who is Mother also of the Church in New Zealand!

Dear brothers: "The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen"."

Blessed John Paul II's Homily at an Ecumenical Celebration
in the Cathedral of Christchurch, Monday 24 November 1986 - in English & Italian

"The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brethren. Amen."

Dear Brothers and Sisters, dear Friends,
1. My thanks to you for coming to take part in this act of prayer; how fitting that it should be my first encounter with the Christian people in Christchurch. With great pleasure I join with leaders of the Catholic Church and other Christian Communions in New Zealand, with the Mayor and Mayoress of Christchurch, with representatives from Samoa, and especially with the Maori people, who have already welcomed me here so warmly. With Bishop Hanrahan and with Bishop Ashby, who have done so much for good relations among Christians, I rejoice at this occasion which speaks so vividly of the desire of New Zealand Christians, especially of you who are present here today, for that unity which our Lord wills for his followers.

2. New Zealand has always been a place of new beginnings. Your ancestors came here to make a better life in a land of opportunity. You yourselves have faced problems with vigour and have tried to find solutions. In this spirit you have faced the divisions among Christians. You have entered into dialogue, collaborated in projects for justice, peace and human well-being, and you have sought to devise suitable means to enable the Christian Churches and ecclesial communities to work and pray together for full unity. Jesus Christ came to "gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad" (Jn 11, 52). This is the design of God - that the human family should be one.

It was Christ’s work on the Cross to bring together the broken fragments of humanity. The Church was founded by Christ as an instrument for this purpose. It is precisely in the Church that, through the Holy Spirit, the recomposition of broken humanity is to be carried on. The Church herself is the beginning of the incorporation of all peoples into Jesus Christ as one Lord, and she is the sign of God’s whole purpose. She is united in herself in order to bring about the unity, peace, and reconciliation which are a foretaste of the kingdom of God.

3. Such unity can only be the gift of God. It is much more than a federation, a working arrangement, a means of enabling the followers of Jesus Christ to do certain things together. "The promise we have from God is the promise of the unity which is the essence of himself" (St Ignatius of Antioch, Ad Trallianos). It is a unity which is nothing less than a sharing in that communion which is the inner life of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. It is a unity in the profession of the apostolic faith. It is a unity in that sacramental life whereby Jesus Christ touches human lives with his salvation and maintains the communion of believers in one visible body. It is also a unity with the visible teaching authority of the Church, which in God’s design necessarily expresses her inner communion. Only a deeply interior yet fully visible unity such as this could be adequate for Christ’s mission to knit together the connective tissue of humanity torn apart by sin.

4. As we meet here today we can rejoice that despite the still serious divisions between us, a real communion, limited though it is, does bind us together. We can call one another brothers and sisters, for we call on Jesus Christ as our one Lord, are baptized in his name, and already share many of his saving gifts. Yet in honesty we also have to acknowledge that real differences between us make our communion incomplete. It is a communion that still falls short of "that unity which Jesus Christ wanted to bestow on all those to whom he has given new birth in one body" (Unitatis Redintegratio, 3). This is the measure of our ecumenical task. It is this which calls forth our persevering efforts of theological dialogue. Since the unity which Christ wills for his Church is a unity in faith, we cannot settle for less. We must work for it by the process of honest dialogue sustained by prayer, without compromising the truth; by facing up to the demands of the teachings of Jesus Christ; and by refusing to settle for a minimal form of Christianity, always living the truth in love (cf Eph 4, 15).

5. Here in New Zealand you have experienced the strength of the commitment which the Catholic Church brings to the ecumenical movement, a commitment which I assure you is irreversible. At the same time I am aware that the Catholic participation makes new demands of the other Churches and ecclesial communities taking part in the ecumenical movement. For we come to it with those Catholic principles of ecumenism formulated in the Second Vatican Council’s Decree on Ecumenism. We are convinced that the goal is not simply partnership; it is nothing less than the fullness of communion in a visible, organic unity. The ecumenical way cannot be one of reduction. It is rather a journey of growth into the fullness of Christ, the fullness of unity. It is a journey in which the Churches and ecclesial communities taking part must have a genuine respect for one another and for their gifts and traditions, helping each other towards that unity in faith which alone can enable us to be one Church and to share in one Eucharist.

This is the goal of our dialogue and theological reflection, our common study of the Scripture, our collaboration in upholding justice and peace and serving human needs, our common witness, and our prayer together.

It is a goal which cannot be reached without fervent prayer, penance, and conversion of heart. For in the end it is not we who will bring about the unity of all Christians; we can only prepare ourselves to cooperate with what God is doing in order to bring it about.

Because so much has been done here in New Zealand to bring Christians together, and because there is such a strong desire for closer communion, I have taken the occasion of our prayer, and the dedication of the Chapel of Unity in this Cathedral, to speak to you about some central issues of the ecumenical task. Be strong and faithful in giving your best energies to it. knowing that he who has begun this good work can "bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ". Amen."

Blessed John Paul II's Homily at Mass in Christchurch
Lancaster Park, Monday 24 November 1986 - in English & Italian

"Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever." (Ps 71, 7)

"My dear Brothers and Sisters in Jesus Christ,
1. We are here today to praise the King of heaven, the God of grace, the everlasting King. I give thanks to God the Father that we gather here the day after the feast of Christ the King to praise him "who gently bears us", "who is swift to bless".

Today I have the great joy of celebrating this liturgy with you - the clergy, religious and laity of the Diocese of Christchurch and the Diocese of Dunedin, together with representatives from the southern half of the Archdiocese of Wellington. I offer warm greetings to my brother bishops, particularly Bishop Hanrahan of Christchurch and his predecessor Bishop Ashby, and Bishop Boyle of Dunedin. And I greet most cordially all my brothers and sisters in the peace and love of Christ.

I know that next year the Diocese of Christchurch will celebrate its first centenary and that the Diocese of Dunedin is already into its second century. Everywhere there are clear signs of how God’s loving providence has blessed you so richly, and I join you in giving praise to the Triune God for his great goodness to you here in southern New Zealand. Today during this Eucharist we keep before our eyes and in our hearts the French, Irish and English missionaries, especially of the Society of Mary, who evangelized these lands. We give thanks for them and for the fruits of their labours in the Church: the parishes, schools, hospitals; and even more the priests and religious who offer their lives to Christ; and the Christian families and zealous faithful who build up the Church in daily living.

2. The praise we offer God is always made through our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Way to the Father. He is the One who teaches us how are to live so that we may be pleasing to the Father. He teaches us to conduct ourselves as "children of our Father in Heaven" (Mt 5, 45). We do this by following the command of Jesus: "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you . . . Be perfect just as your heavenly Father is perfect"(Mt 5, 44, 48).

Today in Christchurch, Jesus puts these words, this challenge to you and to me. The standard that is set before us is not merely to give to each one his due. The standard for the followers of Jesus Christ is "to be perfect" as God himself is perfect.

In ancient times, in the Middle East, codes of retaliation were developed to protect people against injustice by guaranteeing retribution to those who had been wronged. The Jewish law refined these norms in order to protect against excessive vindictiveness in redressing injustices. But Christ takes these very laws and goes beyond them. He challenges his hearers and all of us to seek a deeper and richer justice by becoming perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect, by making his justice, his mercy, his righteousness the measure and the standard of our own (cf Dives in Misericordia, 12). To us and to all the world a new justice is given, the justice of God, the justice that is to be born in the hearts of all God’s children who follow the example and the call of Christ.

In the psalm which we have just sung, we find a veiled reference to Jesus who establishes God’s reign of righteousness for us. Even as the Psalmist prayed for a king who would embody all the righteousness that God alone would give, so we today pray that the righteousness that Christ established may reign on this earth. Yes, it is God’s justice that we seek, his rule that we seek because "He will defend the poorest, he will save the children of those in need" (Ps 71, 4). Today we turn to him and ask for his justice, that he "may rule us rightly" and that this may be for us "the message of peace" (cf Ps 71, 2-3).

3. Dear people of New Zealand: you are living in a part of the world which seems to be a kind of paradise, a region which cannot be surpassed for its natural beauty. Throughout the whole area, you have two main cultures existing together in your society. On the one hand, there is the Polynesian culture - a culture which is often described as oral, land-based and communal. On the other hand, there is the culture which has come with European settlers, with the science and technology, the commerce and enterprise that marks Western Europe. The presence of these two roots of your civilization gives you a great, even a unique, opportunity. For you can show in this land how these two cultures can work together with other cultures. And all of this can be done in the spirit of harmony and justice, with love and with the righteousness which the Psalmist prayed for and which our Lord taught us.

Yours is the noble task of understanding and evaluating all the many elements of your civilization. Yours is the opportunity of fostering the best in your traditions, and of refining and purifying those aspects which require it. You face the challenge of ensuring that your separate cultures continue to exist together and that they complement each other. The Maori people have maintained their identity in this land.

The peoples coming from Europe, and more recently from Asia, have not come to a desert. They have come to a land already marked by a rich and ancient heritage, as a unique and essential element of the identity of this country. The Maori people in turn are challenged to welcome new settlers and to learn to live in harmony with those who have come from far away to make here a new home for themselves.

All of you are invited to share this land in peace and in mutual respect. You do this by recognizing the common bond of being members of one human family, created in the image of God and called to see one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. In this way, each culture is given the chance to contribute its talents and resources for the good of all. When you build a just society upon the foundation of mutual respect and fraternal love, then justice is shown to be the path to peace.

4. This is not, however, easily achieved. It requires that you be open to the Holy Spirit "poured on you from above" (cf Is 32, 15). It means that you "give to anyone who asks" and "do not turn away" from those in need (Mt 5, 42).

What a wonderful perspective this is! How blessed is your nation if it makes justice and compassion the way for its future! If, however, there are attitudes among you of racial and cultural superiority, exploitation or discrimination, such attitudes will obstruct justice. They will destroy harmony and peace. For true peace begins in the human heart, and it takes root when the heart has been cleansed and renewed by the mercy of God. The Sacrament of Penance is the privileged means for this cleansing and renewal to take place. It is truly the Sacrament of peace. In our contemporary world, we can easily be deceived by an illusion of sinlessness, by the loss of a sense of sin which runs directly contrary to the Gospel. Saint John counters this error very openly when he says: "If we say we have no sin in us, we are deceiving ourselves and refusing to admit the truth" (1 Jn 1, 8).

As followers of Christ, we can never forget that fundamental truth which Saint Paul insisted upon when he wrote: "Here is a saying that you can rely on and nobody should doubt: that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners" (1 Tim 1, 15). Jesus is the Prince of peace precisely because he conquered sin, that sin of the world which turns brother against brother, sister against sister, and which is the great destroyer of harmony and peace.

When we go to confession, when we bring our sins to Christ in the Sacrament of Penance, we meet our Saviour in one of the most personal encounters available to us on earth. He receives us with gentleness and mercy and grants us the pardon we seek. He grants us the grace of conversion and renews our minds and hearts with his light and peace. In this way, he prepares us to be peacemakers in the world.

He who "reconciled all to the Father" is brother and Lord of all. He calls us to replace hostilities with friendship. He calls us to have sensitive respect for each other’s customs and practices. Instead of misunderstanding, mistrust and even hatred - which in the past may have divided peoples and poisoned societies - he asks us to forgive as our heavenly Father has forgiven us. With strong faith in the Lord, and through the practice of God’s justice towards one another, we can travel together along the path that leads to peace.

5. With a sense of God’s mercy, and in a spirit of fraternal love and mutual respect, New Zealand will grow in strength and harmony. Thus you will be able to face up to the problems that beset modern societies and communities in transition: the problems of unemployment and shifts in the labour market, the question of new markets for New Zealand’s products, the models of education and the social needs of the people, especially the poor. All these and other questions can be resolved because you have within you the harmony that is born of reconciliation with God, which bears fruit in justice and truth.

Justice between individuals, and in all the interlocking relationships of modern society, is an indispensable requirement for achieving such peaceful harmony. Accordingly, as I said in the Message for the World Day of Peace this year: "If social justice is the means to move towards a peace for all peoples, then it means that we see peace as the indivisible fruit of just and honest relations on every level - social, economic, cultural and ethical - of human life on this earth."

This social justice, this sense of human solidarity, must be experienced in the home, in the families of this country. It must be expressed in the lives of your communities, your towns and cities, and thus become the way of life for your nation. In this way you travel together, eager to promote true justice for everyone. In this eagerness for justice you will find the path of peace.

6. You will also discover the role New Zealand can play in the Pacific and in the world. Today we are becoming increasingly aware of the interdependence of all peoples and nations. The social and economic problems of one country have an impact far beyond that country’s borders. The fruits and achievements of more advanced nations give rise to a greater responsibility towards citizens of poorer and needier nations.

My predecessor John XXIII, with truly prophetic vision, emphasized this point 25 years ago. In his famous Encyclical Mater et Magistra, he wrote: "The solidarity which binds all people together as members of a common family makes it impossible for wealthy nations to look with indifference upon the hunger, misery and poverty of other nations whose citizens are unable to enjoy even elementary human rights. The nations of the world are becoming more and more dependent on one another, and it will not be possible to preserve a lasting peace so long as glaring economic and social imbalances persist" (Mater et Magistra, 157).

Peace in the world can never be won so long as injustice controls the relationships among peoples, and social and economic imbalances are allowed to continue. The antidote to these problems consists in building a justice that incorporates the ideals of social solidarity and that patterns itself on the righteousness of God.

The Fathers at the Second Vatican Council expressed it this way: "Peace cannot be obtained on earth unless personal values are safeguarded and people freely and trustingly share with one another their spiritual riches and their talents. A firm determination to respect other individuals and peoples and their dignity, and the assiduous practice of human solidarity, are absolutely necessary for building peace. Hence peace is likewise the fruit of love, which goes beyond what justice can provide" (Gaudium et Spes, 78).

7. Dear friends gathered with me here today to praise the Lord: let us respond to Christ’s call to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect so that we may truly be "children of our Father in heaven". Let us help each other for we are fellow pilgrims on the path of justice. Let us walk that "extra mile" with one another and "give to anyone who asks", so that he or she may not be turned away, but may find in each of us a true brother or sister. So will it be that the justice we practise with one another will become the path to the peace we all yearn for.

Now we can see that the vision of Isaiah begins to come true. Righteousness and peace will spring forth in this land and in this whole area of the world. For here "justice will come to live, and integrity". This "integrity will bring peace" . . . and you "will live in a peaceful home, in safe houses, in quiet dwellings" (Is 32, 16-18). Your justice, born of the desire "to be perfect just as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Mt 5, 48), will "give lasting security" (Is 32, 17)to you and to all whose lives are touched by your love."

In the words of the psalmist, we pray: "God, give to the king your judgment, / to the son of the king your justice. . . / Let the mountains bring peace to the peoples / and the hills justice" (Ps 71, 1. 3). Peace to the people of this beloved land! Peace to the people of New Zealand! Peace to all peoples of the world! Amen."


© Copyright 1986 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana