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Tuesday, December 6, 2016
Pope says his ministry is that of an intinerant missionary
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 Pope John Paul II explained yesterday why he has travelled so much during his pontificate. Speaking to a gathering of about 200 people involved in organising his trip - from Vatican staff to airline officials and press, he thanked them for helping him in his ministry "as an itinerant missionary, anxious to proclaim to everyone the word of salvation." The Holy Father said: "Right from the day I was elected as Bishop of Rome, October 16, 1978, with special intensity and urgency I heard the echo of Jesus' command: 'Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to all of creation'. "I felt the duty to imitate the Apostle Peter who 'went here and there among them all' to confirm and consolidate the vitality of the Church in fidelity to the Word and in service to the truth; to tell everyone that the Church loves them, that the Pope loves them and likewise to receive from them the encouragement and example of their goodness, of their faith." He pointed out that his trips also allow him to manifest "a specific exercise of the ministry proper to the Successor of Peter, that is, 'the perpetual and visible principle and foundation of unity in faith and in communion." "In all of my trips, I have felt like a pilgrim visiting that special shrine known as God's people. In these shrines I have been able to contemplate the face of Christ, both disfigured as on the Cross or resplendent in light like on Easter morning." The Holy Father highlighted the importance of sharing with the bishops their problems and joys, of meeting the faithful, especially young people, "and knowing more closely the life of Christian communities on diverse continents." He also spoke of his meetings with the faithful of other Churches and ecclesial communities and the followers of Judaism, Islam and other religions. "The great assemblies of the People of God, gathered for Eucharistic celebrations," the Pope concluded, "remain impressed in my memory and on my heart as the most meaningful and most moving memories of my visits." Source: VIS
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