Pope John Paul II exchanged traditional Christmas greetings with the Cardinals, members of the Papal Household and the Curia yesterday. In his address he thanked them for their support, adding that: "As the years pass the need for the help of God and of others makes itself ever more keenly felt." He said: "Let us be ever more aware that communion with God and unity among men, beginning with believers, is our first committment." Speaking of the need to rebuild full communion among Christians, he said: "The celebration of the Year of the Eucharist aims, among other things, to increase this thirst for unity indicating the only and inexhaustible source: Christ himself. We must continue along the path of unity without hesitation." Pope John Paul II mentioned progress made in the ecumenical journey in the past year, including the visit by the Ecumenical Delegation of Finland and visits by the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. He said:" I sincerely hope the return to Russia of the icon of the Mother of God of Kazan will help to accelerate the unity of all Christ's disciples." John Paul II then spoke of the responsibility Christians have to pass on the faith to new generations. "This is why on various occasions... I have not failed to encourage Europe's Catholics to remain faithful to Christ. It is in fact in the heart that the Christian roots from which no small part of a future of justice and solidarity for the Continent and the whole world are nourished." Lastly, the Pope said: "Our hearts do not fear difficulties because we have confidence in You, Child of Bethlehem who come amongst us out of love. May people everywhere recognise you and welcome you as the Redeemer of mankind and the Prince of peace!" Source: Fides
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