JOHN PAUL II RECEIVES PAPAL LEGATES ON THEIR JUBILEE
| Pope's "Ambassadors" Should Be "Men of Peace"
VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 15, 2000 (ZENIT.org).- This morning, in portraying the Papal
legates, John Paul II said they should be "men in peace" and "men of peace." The
Holy Father received his "ambassadors" to local Churches, governments, and international institutions on the occasion of their special Jubilee.
During these days, 150 papal representatives have arrived in the Vatican. They
met this morning in the atrium of St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican, to sing the
"Laudes Regiae." Then, like all other penitents, the Papal "diplomats" crossed the
threshold of the Holy Door, as a sign of conversion. They arrived at the altar of the
Chair of St. Peter, where they concelebrated their Jubilee Mass, which was
presided over by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican Secretary of State.
Papal Legate's Cross
During the homily, Cardinal Sodano touched on the peculiar aspects of the papal
representative, in light of the feast celebrated today by Catholics: Our Lady of
Sorrows, which reminds us of the way of the Cross, "that road that every apostle of
Christ must travel if he wants to cooperate with the work of redemption."
"Our common experience teaches that the life of a Papal envoy entails great
difficulties: distance from his own environment, difficulty in adapting to another
cultural context, in some cases the test of loneliness or sickness, without taking into
account the thorns proper to the methodical and silent work typical of an Apostolic
Nuncio," explained Cardinal Sodano, who for years was himself an Apostolic
"Martyrdom of Patience"
In this connection, the head of Vatican diplomacy recalled the meaningful title that
his predecessor, Cardinal Agostino Casaroli, gave the book that gathers is
Memoirs: "The Martyrdom of Patience." However, Cardinal Sodano said that if the
Nuncio gives his contribution to the local Episcopates and governments with love,
he can find happiness even in the tribulations of his work.
Men of Peace
Following the Mass, all the Papal representatives, including those retired for
reasons of age, met with John Paul II in the Clementine Hall in the Vatican. The
Pope welcomed them with Christ's paschal greeting to his apostles: "Peace be with
you!" In fact, the Bishop of Rome explained, the man of peace must contribute, as
papal representative, in the mystery of communion that Christ entrusted to Peter
and his successors.
During his address, John Paul II recalled two illustrious personalities who carried
out tasks of papal representation and who radiated authentic sanctity of life: Pius IX
and John XXIII, whom he held up on September 3, on the occasion of their
beatification, as models of Christian virtue for the whole Church.
The Pontiff stressed the importance of the Nuncio's work in the service of peace,
both within the Church as well as in the society of the country where he has been
assigned. The Holy Father said that the Nuncios are "witnesses of their ministry of
unity before the local Churches." He told the Nuncios that they are "at the service
of the unity of all Christians." Moreover, the Pope said that in "the work of
intermediary carried out before political and social bodies in the countries in which
you act or in relations with international organizations, your constant objective is to
promote peace," he concluded.
Following the Papal audience, the Nuncios dined together in St. Martha's House,
and, in the afternoon, met with their superiors of the Secretariat of State in the
Synodal Hall to exchange ideas and directives on their mission in the world.