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Paul VI's Apostolic Pilgrimage to the USA

4th October 1965

Blessed Pope Paul VI travelled to New York for the 20th anniversary of the United Nations. After arriving at Kennedy Airport and visiting Saint Patrick's Cathedral, Paul VI spoke at the United Nations Organisation. He then met with ... at the Church of the Sacred Family before celebrating Mass at the Yankee Stadium of New York. Next he spoke at the World Fair and to the students of the Rice High School in Harlem, before the Farewell ceremony on the same day. He gave an exhortation at the conclusion of his visit in New York, there was a pontifical brief on his trip to the United Nations and he spoke on his arrival back in Rome.

Pope Paul VI's address at the Welcome Ceremony
Kennedy Airport, New York, Monday 4 October 1965 - in English

"I reply without delay to the greetings presented to me by the distinguished Representatives of the United Nations, and I express my sincere thanks for the invitation extended to me to address that great Assembly. I am thus given the honour and the good fortune of meeting that greatest of all international organizations. It gives me particular pleasure to mark in this way the twentieth anniversary of the founding of the United Nations, and to express my best wishes for its permanency and its development.

My encouragement and support have, I believe, a special meaning. This is because I come from Rome, that city which, first of all in the history of our civilization, promoted and represented the political union of peoples under the rule of law, and consequently in liberty, in culture and in peace.

I come from Rome, where there is located the central seat of that religious society, not founded on temporal power, which is the Catholic Church. I am happy to note the natural sympathy existing between these two universalities, and to bear to your terrestrial city of peace the greetings and good wishes of our spiritual city of peace. One is a peace which rises from the earth, the other a peace which descends from heaven; and their meeting is most marvelous: Justice and peace have kissed one another. May God grant that this be for mankind’s greater good.

We also wish to reply without delay to the greetings offered me by this great country in the person of the President’s representative, a country so free, so strong, so industrious, so full of wonders, this country of America, the America of the States, where We have so very many brothers, sons and friends in the faith, and where a populous nation founds its very modern civilization upon the brotherhood of its citizens.

Greetings to you, America! The first Pope to set foot upon your land blesses you with all His heart. He renews, as it were, the gesture of your discoverer, Christopher Columbus, when he planted the Cross of Christ in this blessed soil. May the cross of blessing which We now trace over your skies and your land preserve those gifts which Christ gave you and guarantees to you: Peace, concord, freedom, justice - and above all the vision of life in the hope of immortality. God bless this land of yours!"

Papa Paolo VI's address at St Patrick Cathedral
New York, Monday 4 October 1965 - in English  

"I thank my beloved Son, Cardinal Spellman, your esteemed Archbishop, for this warm welcome. I come to you from Rome with the blessings of those great Saints Peter and Paul, whose blood sanctified it, and the blessings of Christ whose Vicar on earth I am.

To you, dear Brother, pastor of this magnificent and glorious edifice, to the Bishops, clergy, religious and faithful gathered around you, I extend a word of special greeting. Today I feel a common citizenship with you because I am here in your city and your country and because you are citizens of the Church of Rome. We truly are one in sentiment! The patron of this great cathedral, Saint Patrick, once said, "As you are Christians, so be you Romans." This I feel in a special manner because we are all citizens of Rome.

Asking you for your prayerful support of my message for peace, I extend to all of you and to your dear ones at home, the aged, the sick and the children in a special manner, my paternal Apostolic Blessing."

Paul VI's homily at Mass      
Yankee Stadium, New York
Feast of St Francis Assisi, Monday 4 October 1965 - in English  

"Brothers and sons of New York, Brothers and sons of the United States and of all America,
All of you who have assembled here from every part of the World, We greet you and We bless you!

This is this day which the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad today! This is the day which We have desired for centuries! The day which, for the first time, sees the Pope setting foot on this young and glorious continent! An historic day, for it recalls and crowns the long years of the evangelization of America, and the magnificent development of the Church in the United States! All honour to you, Brothers and sons! Peace and joy in Christ to you, whom We wish We could individually receive and embrace! A paternal and brotherly greeting to you, Bishops and Pastors, to you, Priests, Men and Women Religious of America! To the Shepherd of this most flourishing Archdiocese, Francis Cardinal Spellman, Archbishop of New York, who is, here beside Us, Our greeting and blessing,. as a token of Our veneration and Our affection, of Our gratitude to him and Our esteem; especially today, on the feast of Saint Francis of Assisi. Our best wishes on his name day; and together with him We greet and salute the entire Catholic community of New York and of all the United States of America. We know your pastoral work and your faithfulness; We know the splendid organization and spiritual vitality of your parishes, of your seminaries, of your universities, of your schools, of your hospitals, of your works of charity! We know too your love for Christ and His Church. We affirm of you what Saint Paul wrote to the Romans: «Your faith is proclaimed all over, the world» (Rom. 1, 8). And it is from Rome that We bring you that message of faith and love which unites us all in Christ; together with the blessing of Saints Peter and Paul.

We are most happy to greet at the same time, with all reverence and sincerity, those Christian brothers here present, separated from us, yet united with us by baptism and by belief in the Lord Jesus. We keep them all in Our heart and in Our prayers. We also greet those here present who follow other religious beliefs, and who in good conscience intend to seek and honour Almighty God, the Lord of heaven and earth; among whom the descendants of Abraham have Our particular consideration.

We feel, too, that the entire American people is here present, with its noblest and most characteristic traits: a people basing its conception of life on spiritual values, on a religious sense, on the rule of law, on freedom, on loyalty, on work, on the respect of duty, on family affection, on generosity and courage. We pay honour to the human and civil virtues of this great people, and in these virtues We recognize valuable derivations from Christian values, which We hope will ever remain living and active, safeguarding the American spirit from those dangers which prosperity itself can entail, and which the materialism of our day can make even more menacing. From its brief but heroic history, this young and flourishing country can derive lofty and convincing examples to encourage it in its future progress.

So, too, We turn Our thoughts cordially to all those who belong to other nations and are present at this great religious assembly; they show forth the hospitality of this country, and also the fact that men of different origins can live together, work together and prosper together in freedom and in concord. To all of them and to their respective countries We send Our greetings and good wishes.

What are We to say to you, that can correspond to the duties of Our apostolic ministry and be adequate to the spirit of this unique occasion? Our words can only be the words to the Gospel, which has just been read to you; the words of the risen Jesus, which He repeated three times: Peace be to you!

Truly, verily, Peace be to you!

How rich in meaning, how abundant in good things, is this divine and human greeting of Peace! Repeated thousands of times, we all recognize it, we all desire it. And that is good. But allow Us to exhort you to consider it once again, to preserve it as the Gospel message of the Pope as He lands on this soil and proclaims to all those He meets: Peace be to this house, to this continent, and to all those who inhabit it!

We have, then, three things to say to you.

First of all, you must love peace. Here We can use the words of Christ: «Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the son of God» (Matth. 5, 9). If we truly wish to be Christians, we must love peace, we must make our own the cause of peace, we must meditate on the real meaning of peace, we must conform our minds to the thought of peace. In the past, it was not always so in the education of minds and the training of citizens; but today it must be so; we must love peace, because its dwelling is first in men’s hearts, and only afterwards in the external condition of society. Peace must live and reign in men’s consciences, as Holy Scripture teaches us: «May the peace of Christ reign in your hearts» (Col. 3, 15). Peace is order, in relation to God and in relation to men; it is wisdom, it is justice, it is civilization. Whoever loves peace loves mankind, without distinction of race or of colour.

Second thought: You must serve the cause of peace. Serve it, and not make use of it for aims other than the true aims of peace. Serve it, and not use this noble standard as a cover for cowardice or selfishness, which refuses to make sacrifices for the common good; not debilitate and pervert the spirit, by evading the call of duty and seeking one’s own interests and pleasure. Peace is not a state which can be acquired and made permanent. Peace must be built; it must be built up every day by works of peace. These works of peace are, first of all, social order; then, aid to the poor, who still make up an immense multitude of the world population, aid to the needy, the weak, the sick, the ignorant. Peace must be like a garden, in which public and private beneficence cultivates the choicest flowers of friendship, of solidarity, of charity and love.

Third thought: Peace must be based on moral and religious principles, which will make it sincere and stable. Politics do not suffice to sustain a durable peace. The absence of conflict does not suffice to make of peace a source of happiness and of true human progress. Peace must have its roots anchored in wisdom, and this wisdom must draw nourishment from the true concept of life, that is the Christian concept. Remember the words of the Lord Jesus: «Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you» (Io. 14, 27). Jesus, the Prince of Peace (Is. 9, 6), has His own original and characteristic peace, which can regulate every human relationship because, in the very first place, it regulates the relationship with God.

Coming among you at a moment, so beautiful, so brief but so important, as this, We have no better greeting, no better remembrance for you than to repeat that holy salutation of Christ: Peace, His peace!

Finally, one more word.

At the end of this Mass, We shall bless a stone, which We had removed from Saint Peter’s Basilica and which We Ourself brought here from Rome. This blessed stone will be placed in the foundations of a great new edifice, the Seminary of the Archdiocese of New York. Cardinal Spellman, with that courage and farsightedness which are characteristic of him, is preparing to build this Seminary for the new and future generations of students for the Priesthood in the service of Holy Mother Church. This is indeed a monument worthy of perpetuating the memory of Our visit to you. You can see in this corner stone an eloquent symbol of the faith and love which unite the Catholics of New York to the Church of Rome. You can see in this ceremony the proof of Our confidence in the Seminarians of New York, those of today and those of tomorrow; the pledge of Our good wishes that they may always be sustained by Christ, and always be the gloria Christi, the glory of Christ (2 Cor. 8, 23)."

Paul VI's address at the World Fair in New York
Monday 4th October 1965 - in English

"We have come to see the beautiful setting for the masterpiece of Michelangelo, the Pietà. It is easy to understand how so many millions of visitors have been attracted by this precious sculpture intended to honour the Blessed Lady and her crucified Son. We are confident that it has moved countless souls and has given inspiration to artists to imitate the genius of this great artist.

We congratulate Our Brother, Cardinal Spellman, and all those who have collaborated to produce this wonderful and prayerful result. No expense and sacrifice has been spared to prepare a setting worthy for such a subject.

We have offered Our prayers to Christ, the Good Shepherd, Whose message of peace and concord We have come to proclaim, and We are confident that through the intercession of Our Blessed Lady Our prayers will bear fruit.

As We gazed on this moving masterpiece, We could not but think of the religious convictions which moved the young Michelangelo to such heights and to such a magnificent result. We feel that these same religious convictions can move men in a similar way to seek peace and harmony among the peoples of this world.

We bless all of you, invoking upon you an abundance of heavenly blessings and graces."

Paul VI's message to the Students of Rice High School
Harlem, New York, Monday 4th October 1965 - in English

"To the Students of Rice high School:
We received your kind invitation, and, during Our mission of World peace to the United Nations, We are very happy to see you and to bless you. You are very dear to Our heart, and We pray for you that God may give you all the graces you need to be good students, loyal companions, obedient children and, later on, exemplary citizens of your great country.

We ask you to pray for Us, for Holy Mother Church, for the Vatican Council, and for peace and justice between all the races of mankind. In return, We lovingly bless you, your parents and families, your teachers and your friends."

Pope Paul VI's words at the Farewell Ceremony
New York, Monday 4th October 1965 - in English

"We are sincerely grateful to you all, for the greetings which you express to Us by your presence here.

We thank the President, the Secretary General and all the members of the United Nations; the President of the United States of America and the federal authorities; the Governor of the State of New York and the state officials; the Mayor of the City of New York and municipal officials. Our gratitude goes also to the Cardinal Archbishop of the City, and to his priests, religious and faithful people. And We are grateful to all the citizens of this great metropolis and of all the United States of America, for their enthusiastic and affectionate welcome.

Our very brief visit has given Us a great honour; that of proclaiming to the whole world, from the Headquarters of the United Nations, Peace! We shall never forget this extraordinary hour. Nor can We bring it to a more fitting conclusion than by expressing the wish that this central seat of human relationships for the civil peace of the world may ever be conscious and worthy of this high privilege.

To America, Our prayerful wishes for prosperity and peace, under the rule of law, in concord with the other nations of the world; and Our heartfelt blessings upon its people, their families, their government, their homes and schools and churches, one Nation, under God, free and indivisible. God bless America! God bless you all!

*  *  *

To the representatives of the Press, Radio, Television and Cinema: 

"Gentlemen of the Press, Radio, Television and Cinema,
Our crowded schedule did not permit Us the time to meet with you, but We cannot depart without expressing a word of admiration and respect for your profession and vocation. Communications have experienced a remarkable advance since our first contact many years ago. As a result the world has become much smaller. Behind each one of you is a vast network working to bring the latest news to everyone. Responsibility is in proportion to knowledge and you are in possession of much weighty knowledge. You can lead men to be aware of the complex problems, and you can encourage them to make their own personal contribution, without which true peace and harmony cannot ever become a reality.

Your labours are often hidden and go unheralded, but be sure that We appreciate them and value them highly. We are confident that you will not falter in bringing the message of peace to all men of good will, that you will continue to teach men that all are brothers of one human family, and that you will help them understand one another and to cooperate in an atmosphere of mutual respect and affection. Our good wishes and Our heartfelt thanks go to you for your most important work. May God bless you!"

Saluto del Papa Pablo VI alla Partenza dall'Urbe
Visita all'Organizzazione delle Nazioni Unite
Lunedì, 4 ottobre 1965 - in italiano

"Sull'atto di intraprendere il Nostro viaggio verso la sede delle Nazioni Unite, nel ventesimo anniversario di fondazione di quella Organizzazione internazionale, mentre Ci affidiamo alla Provvidenza del Signore per l’esito della Nostra Missione di Pace e di buona volontà, inviamo un saluto aperto, franco, augurale a tutti i popoli del mondo.

Sappiamo che essi guardano con speranza a questa iniziativa, e ne abbiamo avuto nei giorni scorsi testimonianze numerose e assai gradite: tutti li ringraziamo di cuore, unitamente ai loro Governanti. Ci incontreremo con gli esperti e valorosi rappresentanti dei singoli Stati, radunati a costruttivo dialogo nell’ambito della sede delle Nazioni Unite. E mentre a tutti attestiamo la Nostra stima e benevolenza, Ci è caro formulare, in questo particolare momento, un’assicurazione e una speranza.

L’assicurazione: che cioè la Nostra intrapresa, come ogni Nostra parola che pronunceremo nei prossimi incontri altra ambizione non hanno, altro scopo non avranno che incoraggiare, confortare, benedire gli sforzi degli uomini di buona volontà, intesi alla tutela, alla garanzia, all’incremento della pace universale. Questo è il fine, che Ci siamo proposti nell’accettare l’invito tanto cortese quanto pressante, rivoltoci nel ventennale di istituzione dell’O.N.U.

La speranza, o, diciamo meglio, la certezza: che cioè il Nostro passo, fatto nella sincera coscienza della Nostra pochezza quanto nella confidenza nell’aiuto divino, come è stato accolto con risonanza unanime e consolante, così trovi nei cuori degli uomini, specialmente di coloro che reggono le sorti dei popoli, rispondenza volonterosa. Il mondo aspetta e chiede pace; il mondo ha bisogno di pace; il mondo esige pace, vera, stabile, duratura, dopo le sofferenze delle guerre, che hanno sconvolto il nostro secolo, dopo i lutti immani che hanno devastato l’umanità. Debbono cadere le ostilità reciproche: debbono comporsi con eque e coraggiose trattative le divergenze immancabili; debbono assicurarsi l’ordinato progresso del vivere civile e il fiorire delle libere attività del pensiero e dell’arte.

Solo la pace può garantire questo. E pace Noi chiediamo con voce inerme ma invigorita dalla forza stessa del Principe della Pace, di Cui siamo ministro e rappresentante in terra: pace chiediamo ai Capi di Stato come agli uomini politici, ai diplomatici come agli esperti di economia e di finanza, agli scienziati e ai filosofi, ai letterati e ai pubblicisti. Tutti sono chiamati a portare il loro contributo alla grande opera della pace, che di tutti ha bisogno per mettere radici profonde e inestinguibili nel tempo presente.

Con questa promessa e in questa certezza, iniziamo il Nostro viaggio in nomine Domini, fidenti altresì nella protezione di Colei, che Regina della pace è invocata. E tutti benediciamo, invocando sulle singole Nazioni del mondo l’onnipotente protezione del Signore. Pace a voi tutti! (Lunedì 4 ottobre: ore 4.30)"

*  *  *


"Durante la Nostra visita all’organizzazione delle Nazioni Unite, ove Ci rechiamo per rivolgere le Nostre parole di pace ai suoi membri ed al mondo intero, Noi saremo ospiti dell’illustre Arcivescovo di New York, il Signor Cardinale Spellman.

Pertanto, a tutti i popoli dell’America del Nord inviamo il Nostro cordiale saluto, augurando loro un costante e fecondo progresso, mentre facciamo voti che i mirabili rapporti che regnano tra loro, e la loro salda amicizia possano servire d’esempio a tutte le nazioni del mondo.

Confidando nell’ausilio delle loro preghiere per il buon esito dei Nostri sforzi, di cuore invochiamo su di loro da Dio abbondanti grazie di luce, di protezione e di pace.

Nel momento in cui intraprendiamo, in favore della pace, un solenne viaggio che Ci è dettato dal Nostro Ministero Apostolico, Noi rivolgiamo un commosso saluto ai popoli dell’Europa, che sarà rappresentata, durante questo viaggio, dal Signor Cardinale Eugenio Tisserant, Decano del Sacro Collegio.

Possa questo continente, così spesso tormentato nel corso della sua storia millenaria dalle guerre e dal loro seguito di miserie, trovare finalmente le vie di una intesa stabile, che gli permetterà di esercitare, nel novero delle nazioni, l’influsso cui lo designa il suo grandioso passato, così ricco di valori di civiltà e di cultura!

Nell’intraprendere la Nostra Missione di Pace alle Nazioni Unite, Ci compiacciamo di volgere il Nostro affettuoso saluto a tutti i popoli del Centro e del Sud America, i quali sono rappresentati nel Nostro viaggio dal Signor Cardinale Antonio Caggiano, Arcivescovo di Buenos Aires.

Facciamo voti e domandiamo ardentemente al Signore che tutti questi Paesi, uniti in comunanza di fede e affratellati con vincoli di gloriose tradizioni cristiane, vivano sempre in continuo progresso fondato sulla giustizia e sulla concordia degli spiriti. Ad essi chiediamo che Ci aiutino, soprattutto con le loro preghiere, perché siano realizzate le Notre speranze di pacifica e prospera convivenza internazionale.

L’Africa, terra diletta di cui conserviamo i più felici ricordi, con la varietà dei suoi popoli e delle sue tradizioni, è rappresentata nel Nostro viaggio alle Nazioni Unite per perorare la pace, dal Signor Cardinale Rugambwa, Vescovo di Bukoba.

Su quel grande continente e su tutti i suoi abitanti Noi invochiamo di cuore le più ricche grazie celesti di prosperità, progresso, benessere, ed ogni bene di ordine materiale e spirituale, specialmente il divino dono della pace tra loro e con il mondo intero. Per il conseguimento di tali alte finalità Noi domandiamo l’appoggio delle loro preghiere e del loro interessamento.

A tutti i popoli dell’Asia, così degnamente rappresentati nella Nostra Missione di Pace alle Nazioni Unite dal Signor Cardinale Tatsuo Doi, Arcivescovo di Tokyo, Noi inviamo un cordiale saluto, invocando su di essi tutti quella tranquillità dell’ordine nella giustizia e nella carità, in cui è la vera pace.

Possa l’impero della legge, basato sopra il fraterno rispetto ed amore, con l’aiuto di Dio, assicurare la pace a spiriti e cuori travagliati, e ristabilire una cordiale amicizia tra uomini e nazioni. Per questo scopo Noi chiediamo la cooperazione delle loro preghiere e del loro buon volere.

La presenza tra gli illustri Presuli che Ci accompagnano nel viaggio alle Nazioni Unite, dove Noi indirizzeremo al mondo la Nostra perorazione per la pace, del Signor Cardinale Gilroy, Arcivescovo di Sydney, Ci spinge a volgere il Nostro affettuoso pensiero all’Australia ed Oceania, e alle loro diverse razze e popoli.

Che l’universale concordia e progresso rechino ad essi felicità e prosperità, e specialmente conceda ad essi Iddio, Creatore di tutte le cose, tutti quei doni spirituali cui la vita umana aspira per il suo appagamento nell’eterna gioia. Ad essi Noi chiediamo di pregare per una giusta e durevole pace sulla terra.

Salutiamo i numerosi fedeli, ovunque si trovino, che appartengono alle venerabili Chiese Orientali. Nell’associare a Noi in questa solenne visita che Ci accingiamo a compiere alle Nazioni Unite il Signor Cardinale Agagianian, Noi abbiamo voluto significare che tutti i cristiani orientali sono in qualche modo presenti accanto a Noi in questo viaggio, il cui carattere pacifico vuole abbracciare in un medesimo amore l’Oriente e l’Occidente. A tutti inviamo con affetto la Nostra Benedizione Apostolica."