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John Paul II's Apostolic Pilgrimage to Sweden

8th - 10th June 1989

Pope Saint John Paul II was a pilgrim to Sweden at the end of his 42nd apostolic journey, on which he had also visited Norway, Iceland, Finland & Denmark.

After being welcomed to Sweden, Papa San Giovanni Paolo II visited the Catholic Cathedral of Saint Erik before celebrating Mass in Stockholm. On Friday 9th June, St John Paul II journeyed to Uppsala where he joined in an ecumenical prayer service at the Lutheran Cathedral, met with the Swedish University Community and spoke with the Religious Superiors of Sweden at the Church of Saint Lawrence. JPII then celebrated Holy Mass near the ancient Lutheran church of Uppsala before returning to Stockholm where he met with representatives of the German Assistance Associations. On his third and final day, Pope Saint John Paul II celebrated Holy Mass at Vadstena Castle before bidding a fond farewell to Sweden and returning to Rome.

Pope Saint John Paul II's Address at the Welcome Ceremony
Arlanda International Airport, Stockholm, Thursday 8th June- in English & Italian

"Your Royal Highnesses Prince Bertil and Princess Liliane,
Archbishop Werkström, Bishop Brandenburg and Bishop Kenney.
Distinguished Members of the Government, Members of the Diplomatic Corps, Dear People of Sweden,

Gud välsigna Sverige! With this prayer, I greet all the people of your country and ask God to bless you with his peace.

1. It is with great joy that I set foot upon Swedish soil this morning and begin my visit to this noble land. I am grateful to your Royal Highnesses for the warm welcome that you have extended to me on behalf of His Majesty the King. I likewise express my gratitude to Your Excellency, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and to the Swedish Government which, together with the Catholic community and the Swedish Church, has graciously invited me here today.

I come today to a people whose past has been marked by a deep Christian faith and a commitment to the goals of peace, tolerance and the advancement of genuine human dignity. It is my prayer that this heritage and these values may continue to flourish among you and serve as a beacon of hope to illuminate the future of your society and all its members.

2. I have come to Sweden as minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and as the Bishop of Rome. As a preacher of the Gospel, I rely on God’s grace to proclaim to all who dwell within these borders the grace and peace which come from God, the “Father of mercies” (2Cor. 1, 3). As the Bishop of Rome, I wish to visit the members of the Catholic Church in this country. Dear brothers and sisters in the Catholic faith: during these days I will have the joy of sharing in your ecclesial life, listening to your concerns and hopes for the Church in Sweden, praying with you and celebrating the Eucharist, the mystery of our faith!

In Bishop Brandenburg and Bishop Kenney, I greet the Catholic people of Sweden with love and great affection. The Diocese of Stockholm reflects the richness and diversity of people which mark the entire Catholic Church. It can thus, by God’s grace, bear eloquent witness to the unity and charity which should characterize the lives of all Christ’s followers. In the Church of God, “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3, 28).

3. It is also my ardent hope that this pastoral visit will contribute to the growth of understanding and fraternal love among all who profess the name of Christ. The Church of Rome in our own day continues to venerate the memory of Saint Birgitta of Sweden, whose intrepid Christian faith contributed greatly to the Church’s spiritual renewal some six hundred years ago. As I visit the homeland of Saint Birgitta. I cannot but recall the long and rich Christian heritage which is shared by all Swedish Christians in spite of the divisions which have arisen. That heritage has the power to inspire us all in our search to obey the Lord’s will and to restore the bonds of unity in faith among Christians. With this conviction, I extend my heartfelt greeting in the Lord to Archbishop Werkström and to all the faithful of the Swedish Lutheran Church.

In the name of Jesus Christ, I greet all the people of this country and assure you of my prayers for your continued peace and prosperity. The Gospel which I preach is a message of hope, and it is directed to all men and women, to people of every race and tongue (Cfr. Apoc. 5, 9). I am grateful for the opportunity to carry this message to these shores, and I thank all of you for the friendly interest which has surrounded the news of my coming.

4. Throughout the world, Sweden is known and respected for her efforts to secure the well-being of all her people. Indeed, Sweden enjoys a “quality of life” which, even when measured in material terms alone, represents an impressive achievement. Your interest in international cooperation and disarmament is also well known. These initiatives, together with your generosity in foreign aid, serve as an encouragement to other nations as they too seek to provide the best for their people, according to their own abilities and in the light of their own history. Sweden’s attainments in areas such as health care, education and concern for the welfare of immigrants must be seen as a sign of hope on the horizon of the world’s genuine development and progress.

Your record in all of these areas is a source of gratification to the Holy See, which seeks to advance the cause of true development, justice and peace within the community of nations. In this context, I am pleased to recall that in 1982 Sweden and the Holy See established formal diplomatic relations, thus resuming traditional contacts which date back to the sixteenth century. I pray that your continuing efforts to promote understanding among people will bear much fruit and will merit for you the blessing which has been reserved for those who are peacemakers and shall therefore be called children of God (Cfr. Matth. 5, 9). 

5. True peace, the peace which is the work of justice (Cfr. Is. 32, 17), requires a continual sensitivity to the ethical and religious values underlying all of human activity. Among these values, respect for the gift of life in all its forms, accompanied by unselfish service of others – especially those in need and those less fortunate than ourselves – constitute the essential foundation of a truly just and humane society. The pursuit of these goals has deep spiritual roots, and represents the fruit of that yearning of the human heart for the profound fulfilment which the Bible calls shalom, peace (Cfr. Ps. 121, 6-9).

Dear friends: may that peace of God, the peace which surpasses all understanding (Phil. 4, 7), dwell in your hearts and in your homes. May God continue to bless Sweden and all her people!"

Papa St John Paul II's Address in the Catholic Cathedral of Saint Erik
Stockholm, Thursday 8th June- in English & Italian

"Dear Bishops Brandenburg and Kenney, Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
1. It is very fitting that we should profess our faith on this joyful occasion using the words of the Creed. In doing so we recall the great doctrinal truths which are the object of our Christian faith. This ancient Creed confirms our living communion with those who have gone before us and with all those who in every time and place have professed the faith entrusted by Christ to the “One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church”.

The preaching of the Gospel and the profession of faith which constitute the Church’s living tradition are a light shining in the darkness, “until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts” (2Petr. 1, 29). The faith which we have received as a gift is a sacred trust which must be handed on to others. There is an urgency about the truths of Christianity, a missionary dimension to its saving message. The faith is meant to be Good News for others, as well as for ourselves.

Just as once the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul filled the known world with the name of Jesus, so too do I, the Successor of Peter, consider it my primary duty to preach Christ to those both near and far and to encourage you, my brethren in “the household of faith” (Gal. 6, 10), to “run with perseverance the race that is set before us” (Hebr. 12, 1). In this cathedral, the centre of ecclesial life in the Diocese of Stockholm, I join you in giving thanks to God for the gift of faith that you have received, and I ask him to strengthen you in your love for Christ and his Church, and in your commitment to preaching the Good News to others.

2. Today Christ is calling each of us, through the vocation we have received as bishops, priests, religious or laity, to speak to the heart of Sweden. For a thousand years Sweden’s history and culture have been formed by the Gospel. In every generation, the Church must proclaim the Gospel anew. She must repeat, in season and out of season (Cfr. 2Tim. 4, 2), the imperatives that stand at the heart of all Christian preaching: “Be reconciled to God” (2Cor. 5, 20) and “put on a new nature, one created after the likeness of God in the holiness of truth” (Eph. 4, 23). This insistent call is one which needs to be heard in the Sweden of today, and it is you whom God has chosen and sent to be its heralds.

In order to bring the message of conversion and reconciliation in Christ to others, we must first live it ourselves. It is not enough for us to point to Christ; in a certain sense we have become Christ through Baptism. In the words of Saint Augustine: “Let us rejoice and give thanks: we have not only become Christians, but Christ himself... Stand in awe and rejoice; we have become Christ” (S. Augustini In Ioann. Evang. Tract., 21, 8). From our baptismal union with Christ in the mystery of his Death and Resurrection, we have received a vocation to holiness (Rom. 6, 9-12), a call to be perfect, as our heavenly Father is perfect (Cfr. Matth. 5, 48).

Dear brothers and sisters: Sweden needs living signs of Christ, who hold fast to God’s word in their hearts, who abide in him through the sacraments, who put the Beatitudes into practice and who love all, especially the least of their brothers and sisters. This is what it means to be consecrated in truth (Cfr. Io. 17, 19) and live the faith that we profess in the Creed.

3. To my dear brothers priests here today I wish to say that this is your vocation in a very special sense: that you yourselves be sanctified (1Thess. 4, 3) and then, acting in the person of Christ, that you sanctify others. Never forget that you are, in the words of Saint Paul, “servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God” (1Cor. 4, 1). As ministers of the sacraments, you bring the gift of salvation to God’s people and nourish the divine life that they have received from Christ. As trusted shepherds, you are also their spiritual physicians and guides. You must strengthen the weak, encourage the doubting, and bring back those who stray.

In order to fulfil this special vocation, you need to be conformed ever more closely to the image of Christ the High Priest, the obedient Son of the Father and the Victor of the Cross. Only by becoming another Christ, alter Christus, in every fibre of your being, will you find fulfilment in your calling and be faithful to the grace which God poured out upon you at your ordination. The challenge to put on Christ requires a constant conversion. As I said in my first Holy Thursday letter to priests, “we must rediscover every day the gift given us by Christ himself in the Sacrament of Orders, learning to appreciate the importance of the salvific mission of the Church, reflecting on our own vocation in the context of that mission” (Ioannis Pauli PP. II Epistula ad universos Ecclesiae Sacerdotes adveniente feria V in Cena Domini, anno MCMLXXIX, 10, die 8 apr. 1979: Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, II [1979] 857 ss.).

Dear brothers: this is what the People of God expect of us. This is what the People of God in Sweden expect of you. They want to see Christ in you. They want to hear his message from you, even when that message speaks of the Cross, of dying to our old life, and to a human way of thinking, in order to rise to new life in God. They want to be inspired by your words and your example, so that they can fulfil the duties of their state in life in accordance with God’s will. And though they may not admit it, many of those who claim to be unbelievers have a secret desire to be found by God. As priests you have a special responsibility to seek out those who are lost. I pray that you will be sustained by God’s never-failing grace in all that you undertake in his name.

4. Dear brothers and sisters in religious life: I also wish to encourage you in your service to Christ and his Church in Sweden. This service is very evident in your various apostolates, particularly in the education of the young and the care of the sick, the elderly and the poor. But even more important than what you do is what you are: persons consecrated to God in Jesus Christ as his exclusive possession (Cfr. Eiusdem. Redemptionis Donum, 15).

You are special signs of God’s kingdom in Sweden today – a kingdom that is “not of this world” (Cfr. Io. 18, 36) yet transforms this world from within. By living a life of service in chastity, poverty and obedience, you remind people that there is more to this world than meets the eye. There is a transcendent, spiritual vocation and destiny to which every person is called by God. This is a message that Sweden needs to hear from you, in keeping with the long tradition of religious life in this country that goes back to Saint Ansgar and Saint Birgitta.

In order to challenge the world with a message of conversion and reconciliation, you too must first hear and accept it within yourselves, and within your own religious institutes. By prayer, reflection and an ever more generous gift of self, you will find the love you need in order to live in community and to carry out the duties of your apostolate “not reluctantly or under compulsion, but cheerfully” (Cfr. 2Cor. 9, 7). Although the way may sometimes be “narrow and hard” (Matth. 7, 14), you will come to recognize ever more clearly that the Lord is “in your midst” (Cfr. ibid. 18, 20). I urge you to grow in Christian maturity every day, to deepen your understanding of what it means to follow Christ as religious, so that you may then bring him to others, and others to him.

5. Dear members of the Pastoral Council and other lay men and women of the Diocese of Stockholm: You too are called to seek holiness and to share fully in the Church’s mission, no less than the priests and religious who are your brothers and sisters in the Lord. As I stated last year in my Apostolic Exhortation “Christifideles Laici”: “The lay faithful must see their daily activities as an occasion to join themselves to God, fulfil his will, serve other people and lead them to communion with God in Christ” (Ioannis Pauli PP. II Christifideles Laici, 17).

Although as Catholics you constitute a religious minority in Sweden, religious freedom enables you to share fully in the life of your country. All the greater then is the challenge to make a contribution to Swedish society worthy of Catholic faith and morals, in ecumenical collaboration with Christians of other Churches and Ecclesial Communities. Among your neighbours, friends and relatives – at home, in school and at your place of employment – you are Christ, inviting people to “put on the new nature”, “to be reconciled with God”.

I wish to recall in particular the two great tasks mentioned in my Apostolic Exhortation as being particularly entrusted to lay women in furthering the Church’s saving mission today. The first is “the task of bringing full dignity to the conjugal life and to motherhood... as a result of the intelligent, loving and decisive intervention of women” (Ioannis Pauli PP. II Christifideles Laici, 51). The second is “the task of assuring the moral dimension of culture, the dimension, namely, of a culture worthy of the person” (Ibid.). This is especially important at a time in history when developments in science and technology are not always inspired and measured by true wisdom, but rather offer the odious prospect of making life increasingly “dehumanized”. By virtue of their specific sensitivity, women can offer an immense contribution towards promoting the true welfare of the person, beginning with the fundamental value of life itself (Cfr. ibid.).

These tasks, dear brothers and sisters, are only two examples of the many ways in which the lay faithful are challenged to bear witness to the Gospel by transforming humanity with the light of Christ. It is also an encouraging sign for the Church in Sweden that so many of you are serving as catechists, members of advisory bodies, or involved in charitable activities, youth work, and other endeavours.

6. Finally, to all of you present here – clergy, religious and laity – I say: Do not be afraid! Many of you have come to Sweden from other countries in order to escape political or economic hardship, or as clergy and religious in order to serve the Catholics of this land. This involves many hardships, sacrifices and challenges, but with Saint Paul we can “rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, endurance produces character, character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts” (rom. 5, 3-5). Yes, dear brothers and sisters, with God’s love within our hearts we need not fear.

Never shrink from the task of preaching the Gospel and professing your faith among those who are indifferent or unbelieving. Never lose confidence in the fundamental goodness of man, formed in God’s image and redeemed in Christ. Through the grace of God even the most indifferent and unbelieving of hearts can be opened to the Truth, Beauty and Goodness for which they were created. Above all, never lose confidence in the power of God which accompanies our proclamation of the word, a power that is able “to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think” (Eph. 3, 20).

Dear friends in Christ: so that we may be worthy of God’s blessing let us now pray together in the words that Jesus himself has taught us."

Papa San Giovanni Paolo II's Homily at Holy Mass in Stockholm
Globe Stadium, Thursday 8th June - in English & Italian

"We hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God (Act. 2, 11).

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
1. On Pentecost day, the apostles who had gathered together in the Upper Room in Jerusalem “were all filled with the Holy Spirit” (Ibid. 2, 4). A sound was heard “like the rush of a mighty wind” (Ibid. 2, 2), and over the heads of those present there appeared “tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them” (Ibid. 2, 3). Among these miraculous signs, however, one is especially striking. We are told that nearby there were many people from different lands of the Mediterranean world and the Near East, each of whom heard the apostles speaking in his own tongue. What united these various languages was the truth spoken by the apostles under the influence of the Spirit, the Paraclete. It was the truth of “the mighty works of God”.

This event is the most important sign of “the miracle of Pentecost”. It shows the Church in her unity: a unity that embraces diversity and that is verified in diversity. The variety of languages represents “every nation under heaven” (Act. 2, 5) to which the apostles were sent by Christ when he ascended from this world to the Father. Arising from the foundation of the apostolic witness to the Crucified and Risen Christ, the Church will always be a unity in diversity.

2. [Text in Swedish] Mina kära bröder och systrar!

Det är en stor glädje för mig att fa vara här i Globen. Fran hela Sverige och fran manga delar av världen har ni kommit för att närvara idag. Ni har samlats som Guds folk, som bröder och systrar i Kristus för att inspirerade av den helige Ande fira mässen tillsammans. Ma Herren vara med oss i detta firande och ma vi genom hans moderns förböner komma närmare den ende sanne Guden.

Jag vill vända mig till det svenska folket som sa varmt har tagit emot manga människor fran olika delar av världen och till de svenska katolikerna, som är grundstenarna i den katolska kyrkan i Sverige. Jag hälsar ocksa representanterna för den Kungliga Familjen, för regeringen, Svenska kyrkan, de olika fria samfunden, Svenska Ekumeniska Nämnden och den diplomatiska karen.

To the many of you who are immigrants I offer a special greeting in the Lord: Peace be with you.

La paz esté con vosotros
La pace sia con voi
A Paz esteja convosco
Mir s vama
Béke veletek!
Bình an o cùng anh chi em
Pokój Wam!

[Text in Spanish] Quiero dirigir un saludo especial a los españoles y a los latinoamericanos aquí presentes que han encontrado en Suecia su nuevo país. Os animo a mantener vuestra fe y a compartir con vuestros amigos los valores cristianos permanentes que vosotros vivís en vuestra vida familiar.

[Text in Croatian] Mir s vama! Dragim mojim Hrvatima srdačan pozdrav i vama izseljenicima! Našli u Švedsko j svoj dom i ostanite vjerni vjeri otaca i Crkve, što je časni dio vaše stoljetne kulture i krščanstva.

[Text in Polish] Pokój wam!
Zwracam się do moich rodaków z tym pozdrowieniem Chrystusa Zmartwychwstałego: Pokój wam! Jest to pozdrowienie liturgii Kościoła. Zwracam się w tych słowach do was tu obecnych, do wszystkich, którzy znajdują się na szlaku moich odwiedzin i do wszystkich, którzy żyją w Szwecji, a także w innych krajach skandynawskich.

Moi drodzy Bracia i Siostry! Obraliście ten kraj jako drugą ojczyznę dla was, dla waszych dzieci i wouków. Stanowicie już część tego społeczeństwa, w które stopniowo wchodzicie, i stanowicie część Kościoła na tych ziemiach. Jesteście – razem z innymi braćmi i siostrami – tym Kościolem! Jest toKościół mały, jak owo ewangeliczne ziarno gorczyczne.  Składa się przeważnie z przybyszów.

Losy tego Kościoła w bliskim już trzecim tysiącleciu, zależą także od was. Nosicie w sobie milenijne dziedzictwo ochrzczonego narodu. Owoc łaski, ofiary, modlitwy, cierpienia oraz zwycięstw naszych przodków, a także naszego pokolenia. Pamiętajcie o tych, którzy żyją w Polsce – pamiętajcie i tę świadomość przekazujcie młodemu pokoleniu.

Nie czujcie się opuszczeni. Odbudowujcie i budujcie wasze życie w oparciu o to, co wam tu ofiarowują. Współpracujcie w tworzeniu i pomnażaniu wspólnego dobra tego kraju. W ten sposób także przysłużycie się naszej Ojcźyznie nad Wisła.

Budujcie jedność Kościoła, budujcie jego przyszłość. Pokój Chrystusa Zmartwychwstałego niech będzie z wami: w waszych sercach i myślach, w waszych rodzinach i środowiskach, w całym społeczeństwie.

To kładę na wasze serca i sumienia, jako ludzkie i chrześcijańiskie powołanie oraz odpowiedzialność.

Takie też jest moje najlepsze życzenie dla was wszystkich, tu zgromadzonych, i dla wszystkich Polaków w Szwecji i w Skandynawii. Serdecznie was błogosławię.

All of you who are immigrants can be grateful that your Swedishborn brothers and sisters have welcomed you in a true spirit of Christian fellowship and love. What is needed now is for all Catholics in Sweden to work together for the common good of the Church. The one Body of Christ must be built up out of the rich diversity of Swedish culture and the new contributions of the various ethnic groups. The diversity of the Church is that of nations, peoples, cultures and social groups in different periods of history; our unity is a “mighty work of God”, the work of truth, which is also the source of new life for man.

3. The readings of today’s liturgy contrast two events: Pentecost in Jerusalem, which marks the birth of the Church, and the biblical Tower of Babel, which is described in the Book of Genesis. The Tower of Babel symbolizes the disintegration of unity, humanity’s loss of a common language. Unity had given way to division. Pentecost, on the other hand, symbolizes a new search for unity in diversity and through diversity. We see that differences of language need not lead to the scattering of humanity. Amid the variety of tongues we can attain unity when people are united in the truth, and above all when they are united in an awareness of “ the mighty works of God ”.

These “mighty works” reveal to us the great mystery of communion within God, a communion which is the ultimate source of our unity with one another. Through Christ we come to know that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are a Trinity of divine persons, united in one nature from all eternity. It is precisely this communion of persons which is the primary source and model for the Church.

Quoting Saint Cyprian, the Second Vatican Council says that the universal Church is “a people brought into unity from the unity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit” (Lumen Gentium, 4). We see this in Christ’s prayer in the Upper Room on the eve of his Passion: “That they may all be one; even as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me” (Io. 17, 21). Communion with God and with one another is therefore the ultimate vocation of the Church. It is an invitation addressed to Christians in every age in the midst of their historical divisions.

This call to unity also extends to the whole human family. The division and antagonisms symbolized by the Tower of Babel must be overcome within the temporal order too. Unity must be built out of the rich diversity of the human race so that the invitation of Pentecost may triumph in history. For the “mighty works of God” not only give rise to the Church; they are also inscribed deep within man and in all of his work.

4. Today’s liturgy shows how each of us and indeed every Christian must respond to the invitation of Pentecost and act upon it. In the Gospel Christ speaks of this through the images of “salt” and “light”. His words to his followers are also addressed to us, the disciples of today: “You are the salt of the earth... You are the light of the world” (Matth. 5, 13-14). Light is needed so that “the mighty works of God” can be seen. We need the “enlightened eyes of faith” (Cfr. Eph. 1, 18) to see these works within the depths of our personal “I”. The light of apostolic testimony is also necessary, so that “the things of God” can be seen. We need the these things can speak to people, enter their minds and hearts and “give light to all” (Cfr. Matth. 5, 15). The “salt of the earth” is also needed. Salt signifies consistency between faith and works. It signifies an inner Christian unity. It signifies the spiritual maturity of those born from an awareness of “the mighty works of God”.

The images of salt and light apply to each of us as individuals. They refer to the fundamental diversity of the Church and of the human family, which embraces a variety of persons. In the end, diversity is determined by the fact that every individual’s life is unique and unrepeatable. At the same time each of us is called to be salt and light “for others” and “with others” so that unity will be built out of diversity, so that people will join together, so that the life of the Church and of the human community will take on a likeness to the unity which is God himself: the unity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

5. The “mighty works of God” not only call us to faith in God and obedience to his law; they also reveal the greatness of man, the dignity and transcendent vocation of every human person. Love of God and neighbour is what makes us “salt” and “light”. This love is the true measure of all human development for the individual and for society.

Dear brothers and sisters: we must never allow material things to take precedence over God or other human beings. No human theory, project or purpose can ever be pursued at the cost of the loving obedience we owe to God and the loving respect we owe to others.

No economic or technological consideration should be the decisive norm for the way that we treat others. This applies to every human person: to the unborn child, to the elderly, to the sick and dying, to the poor, to those who are different from us because of race or culture.

Those of you who have come to Sweden from other countries may have experienced material poverty before settling here. The abundance of goods in your new homeland may dazzle you. Always remember that these things are valuable only to the extent that they serve the true good of the human person, both spiritually and materially. Once they become an end in themselves, or their true worth is lost sight of, you can easily be tempted to act as though people were only “things”. Keep Christ’s words before you always: “What will it profit a man, if he gain the whole world and then lose his own life?” (Matth. 16, 26).

6. The “invitation of Pentecost” and the vocation to be “salt” and “light” for the world also commit us to solidarity with others. Sweden has a well-deserved reputation for assisting developing countries and for promoting greater justice and peace in the human family. The Tower of Babel must give way to a common search for world solutions to poverty, hunger, disease, to intolerance, injustice and persecution, to violence and war, and to environmental problems. The fact that so many nationalities are represented here today – native Swedes as well as refugees and workers who have been welcomed here – shows that it is possible to live and work together.

Solidarity also calls you to promote the common good of the country and local community in which you live. Catholics and Christians of other Churches and Ecclesial Communities should be active in transforming society from within through love of God and neighbour. This requires their full participation in the social, political and cultural life of Sweden, as well as in the economic sphere, in particular the trade unions and employers’ organizations. Not only native-born Swedes but also immigrants need to take their proper place in society so that they too can make a positive contribution to the country to which they now belong.

We cannot speak of solidarity in the modern community without also mentioning family life. This is so because “it is within the family that citizens find the first school of the social virtues that are the animating principle of the existence and development of society itself” (JPII Familiaris Consortio, 42). It is not always easy today for married couples to live in a lifelong covenant marked by mutual fidelity, respect and love. Nor is it always easy for Christian parents to bring up their children in the faith, teaching them – in a word – to love God above all things and to love others as themselves.

We must be ever more deeply convinced that the future of humanity comes by way of the family. Everyone should feel the need to preserve and foster the values and requirements of the family. This is especially important for the sons and daughters of the Church. Faith gives us full knowledge of God’s wonderful plan. We therefore have an extra reason to promote family life in this time of grace and challenge (FC, 86).

7. Dear brothers and sisters, in order to accept the “invitation of Pentecost”, in order to be “salt” and “light” in bearing witness to the unity of the human race, we must live the “mighty works of God”. We do this through prayer and our reception of the sacraments, especially Penance and the Eucharist, through the example of a holy life, through self-sacrifice and active charity (Cfr. Lumen Gentium, 10).

In this way “the miracle of Pentecost” abides and grows here among you, the beloved sons and daughters of Sweden:

The “mighty works of God” draw near.
They touch the human heart.
They form the Church.
They serve the good of the human community.

And the prayer of Christ is thus fulfilled: Father, may they all be one, so that the world may believe (Cfr. Io. 17, 21). Amen."

St JPII's words at a Prayer Service in the Lutheran Cathedral of Uppsala
Friday 9th June - in English & Italian

"“May all be one... so that the world may believe that you have sent me” (Io. 17, 21).

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
1. With these words of the Gospel before us, I wish to give thanks to Almighty God who in his loving Providence has made it possible for me to be with you today. My cordial greeting goes to Their Majesties King Carl Gustav and Queen Silvia, whose presence I gladly acknowledge with fervent prayers for the peace and well-being of the nation. I also wish to express my thanks to Archbishop Werkström, who has opened wide the door of friendship for this ecumenical service. To all of you who have come here this morning to pray with the Bishop of Rome I extend the hand of brotherhood and peace in our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Scripture readings which we have just heard from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah and from the Gospel of John respond to the deepest longings of the human heart for unity and peace. In the Book of Genesis we read how these gifts were lost because of sin. The murder of Abel by his brother Cain (Cfr. Gen. 4) and in particular the building of the Tower of Babel (Cfr. ibid. 11) show how the reality of sin spread and multiplied. Forgetting God, men sought to raise up a tower through their own efforts, only to end in incomprehension and division. The Tower of Babel is the first of many episodes in the Old Testament which show the consequences of man’s misguided attempts to succeed on his own, without reference to the God who created him.

But in today’s first reading the Prophet Isaiah announces the promise of a restoration of unity and peace with God and among men which the Lord himself will bring about on Mount Sion. He proclaims this vision of hope: “the mountain of the house of the Lord... shall be raised above the hills; and all the nations shall flow to it,... many peoples shall come, and say: ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord... that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths’... nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more” (Is. 2, 2-4). Unlike the builders of Babel, Isaiah recognizes that unity and peace are not guaranteed by any human programme, but will come through knowledge of God, through obedience to the divine law, through learning God’s ways and “walking in his paths”. Isaiah recognizes the spiritual nature of the “temple” in which unity and peace with God and among men will be restored.

This vision of Isaiah is fulfilled in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. He is the Eternal Priest, who on the eve of his death begins a prayer for unity and peace which he will continue to offer until its perfect fulfilment at the end of time: “I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word, that they may all be one; even as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us” (Io. 17, 20-21). By his Death and Resurrection, Christ became that spiritual temple to which “all the nations flow”. By his revelation of the truth about God and man, Christ shows that the human longing for unity and peace has its beginning and end in a transcendent mystery: the union of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

2. Dear brothers and sisters: this Gospel touches each of us personally. Christ’s priestly prayer includes us, inasmuch as we too have become believers through the apostles’ word. The gift of salvation, which restores man to communion with God and with others, is directed to all. “It has pleased God to make men holy and to save them not merely as individuals without any mutual bonds, but by making them into a single people, a people which acknowledges him in truth and serves him in holiness” (Lumen Gentium, 9). Into the unity of the one Church of Christ, then, God calls all who believe that Jesus is “the author of salvation and the source of unity and peace” (Ibid.). He, in fact, has established this Church, “that for each and all she may be the visible sacrament of this saving unity” (Ibid.).

Unity is an essential mark of the Church. Far from being a merely human organization with a message, the Church is the Body and Bride of her Lord, born from his wounded side on the Cross. Her unity flows from her very nature and is essential to her mission. It is part of God’s plan of salvation. It is the will and prayer of Christ. We recognize too that for the Church to be a credible sign of redemption and communion with God, she must live in conformity with what she is and with what she proclaims. Indeed, all who look upon Jesus as “the author of salvation and the source of unity and peace” (Ibid., 9) will want to do everything possible to be effective signs and instruments of that unity and peace, “so that the world may believe” (Io. 17, 21). For this reason, the concern for Christian unity with which we have gathered in prayer this morning is no small or superficial matter.

3. We must acknowledge with sorrow that Christians are not united. At the same time we can be confident that the Lord of history has not abandoned us to our divisions. He wisely and patiently draws us by his grace to an ever greater remorse for them and an ever greater desire for unity (Cfr. Unitatis Redintegratio, 1).

Despite all the dissension and division over the centuries, belief in our one Lord and Saviour and incorporation into him by Baptism ensures a kind of communion, however imperfect. Baptism, which is a sacramental bond among all those who have been reborn, is at the same time a dynamic point of departure. Once baptized, we must strive for fullness of life in Christ, a fullness that is expressed in the complete profession of faith and in the sacramental unity and fellowship of the Church as Christ willed it to be (Cfr. ibid. 22). As I stated last year to a Delegation from the Lutheran World Federation: “Because we already share bonds of unity in Christ through Baptism, we can never be satisfied with anything less than full communion” (Ioannis Pauli PP. II Ad quosdam seiunctos Fratres coram admissos, 3, die 4 mar. 1988: Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, XI, 1 [1988] 552).

Protestants and Catholics in Sweden also share an impressive historical heritage, of which this great cathedral of Uppsala is a striking reminder. It was built as a national shrine at a time when all the people of Sweden were joined in the same faith. Even today the tomb of Saint Erik is preserved here. The faith which inspired the construction of this cathedral once brought Cistercians, Dominicans and Franciscans to your country. It inspired Saint Birgitta, whose revelations were read throughout Europe. Even after the Reformation, much of the Catholic heritage was preserved here, more than in other countries.

4. Reference to this history and acknowledgment of this shared heritage make our divisions all the more painful. They instil in us a spirit of repentance. The Decree on Ecumenism of the Second Vatican Council recalls the injunction of the First Letter of John: “If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us” (1Io. 1, 10). It extends this warning to sins against unity, and so it urges us to “beg pardon of God and of our separated brethren, just as we forgive those who trespass against us” (Unitatis Redintegratio, 7).

Dear brothers and sisters: it is a challenge for us to forgive each other, but the Lord has commanded us to do so. After four hundred years of separation, time is needed for the process of reconciliation and healing to take place. Not everything can be done at once, but we must do what we can today with hope for what may be possible tomorrow.

In seeking greater understanding, much can be gained through patient dialogue. Let us ask: What can we learn from one another? How can we enrich one another? Dialogue makes it possible for us to examine anew the profound questions raised at the time of the Reformation, free from polemics and mistrust. But one thing is clear: we will never find unity by searching for some least common denominator that may be acceptable to all. Our efforts will only be fruitful to the extent that we discover and accept together the full authentic heritage of faith given by Christ through his apostles. Let us all try more and more to find in that faith our strength to live a truly Christian life (Cfr. ibid. 8).

Living in Christ provides an indispensable spiritual foundation for our quest for Christian unity. It is very important, therefore, that there should be a spiritual commitment to unity on the part of each and every Christian. Ecumenism challenges us to intensify our private and public prayer, to be converted anew, to grow in holiness of life. Only in this way will we be able to discern God’s will and open ourselves to he whole truth about Christ and his Church. When we consider the greatness of the ecumenical task, we must acknowledge our inadequacy. But the Lord assures us: “I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Counsellor, to be with you for ever, ...the Spirit of truth” (Io. 14, 16-17). This Spirit of truth will bear witness to Christ and guide the believer to the complete truth since “he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak”  (Ibid. 16, 13). However much we strive for unity, it remains ever a gift of the Holy Spirit. We will be well disposed to receive this gift only to the extent that we have opened our minds and hearts to him through Christian living, and especially through prayer.

5. I join you in giving thanks for the many ways in which the Holy Spirit has accompanied the ecumenical movement in Sweden over the years and has drawn Christians closer together. One has only to think of the life and work of individuals like the great Archbishop of Uppsala, Nathan Söderblom, who is buried in this cathedral and whose efforts on behalf of Christian unity and world peace are well known. I recall with great pleasure how he conversed and corresponded with my compatriot Ursula Ledochowoska, that remarkable woman who lived for several years in Sweden during the First World War, and whose name has now been inscribed among the “Blessed”.

It is also gratifying to see the extent of Christian cooperation in Sweden today. Special mention must be made of the call to ecumenical dialogue which Archbishop Werkström issued in 1987 on behalf of the Bishops of the Swedish Lutheran Church to all Church leaders in Sweden. In addition to the important dialogues taking place between Lutherans and Catholics internationally, there have also been theological discussions in a truly fraternal spirit between the Catholic Church and the Swedish Lutheran Church. These discussions have led to significant reports on Christian marriage and the family, and on the office of bishop.

In Sweden we must gratefully acknowledge a new spirit of good will between Catholics, Lutherans, and members of the Free Churches. In many places where Catholics are without a church building, their Protestant neighbours have made available the facilities needed for worship. There is also the cordial relationship that exists between Catholics and their Orthodox brothers and sisters in Sweden. I am reminded of the words of Saint Paul: “All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation” (2Cor. 5, 18).

6. Dear friends: I have come to your country in a spirit of love as your brother in Christ, as the Bishop of Rome, the Successor of Peter, to whom the Lord said: “I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren” (Luc. 22, 32). I have come as Christ’s servant and witness, as Shepherd of his flock. I greet you in the name of the Catholic Church and I bring greetings and prayers from all those in full communion with the Church of Rome, which from ancient times was said “to hold the primacy of love” (S. Ignatii Antiocheni Ad Romanos).

Here in Uppsala, in this great cathedral, as a brother I urge both Protestants and Catholics to “fight the good fight of the faith” (1Tim. 6, 12), to grow closer to Jesus Christ, who died “to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad” (Io. 11, 52). In this way we will also grow closer to one another.

Brothers and sisters, let us never cease to seek unity. Let us climb together “the mountain of the house of the Lord”. Let us love one another, “so that the world may believe”. Amen."

Santo Juan Pablo II's Speech to the Swedish University Community
Univesrity of Uppsala, Friday 9th June - in English, Italian & Spanish

"Your Majesties, Your Royal Highnesses,
Rector Magnificus of the University of Uppsala and Rectores Magnifici of the Swedish Universities and Institutes of Higher Learning, Your Grace, Archbishop Werkström, Distinguished Guests and Dear Students,

1. It is not without a deep sense of history that I participate, as your guest, in this august assembly. I thank you, Honourable Rector, far your kind words of welcome. Allow me to express to all of you my profound gratitude.

As Bishop of Rome, I cannot but rejoice in the fact that this University of Uppsala owes its birth to an official act of my predecessor, Pope Sixtus IV, in the year 1477. At the request of the then Archbishop of Uppsala, Jakob Ulfsson, the University was founded with the aim of strengthening the intellectual and spiritual relations between the Nordic Countries and the whole of Europe. The fact that, more than five centuries later, the successor of Sixtus IV is privileged to visit this prestigious University, once created by the Holy See, moves me deeply.

Times indeed have changed immensely since the foundation of the University of Uppsala. The very modest institution which started in the late fifteenth century with a small group of lecturers and students was an heir to the highest intellectual ideals of the Christian Middle Ages. The University soon became identified with the history of Sweden and closely linked with the destiny of its kings, its nobility, its people. The Studium Generale of Uppsala took its place very honourably in the family of great European universities that spread in time over the Continent. Famous masters from Uppsala became household names in the intellectual history of Europe and the world: just to mention a few, we may recall Celsius, Swedenborg and Linnaeus. The University pursued a tradition of excellence in the disciplines of the liberal arts, jurisprudence, science, philosophy, medicine and theology. Although it experienced the unfortunate events which caused European Christians to part company at the Reformation, the University has also witnessed in recent years the growing aspiration of many Christians for a restoration of unity in Jesus Christ, an aspiration which has found expression in the ecumenical commitment of many Lutheran personalities of Uppsala, including Nathan Söderblom, former Lutheran Archbishop of this city.

2. Ladies and Gentlemen: it is in the name of our common Christian heritage that I propose to reflect with you today on the mission of a university in the service of the human person within the historical and cultural circumstances of our day. We must work out together, for our own times, a form of higher education that will bring to the younger generations the lasting values of an intellectual tradition enriched by two millennia of humanistic and Christian experience.

In the past, the ideal of the Universitas was to strive for the unification of knowledge by seeking to reconcile all the elements of truth attainable from the natural and sacred sciences. What was revealed through human study was understood in the light of the Revelation found in the Gospel. The truth of grace is also the truth of nature, as was once beautifully expressed in the University of Uppsala’s motto: “Gratiae veritas naturae”. Of course, today’s scientific development and the prodigious scale of modern research render unthinkable any simple synthesis of present-day knowledge. There exist no modern versions of the ancient Summa, Compendium or Tractatus. But many among the best minds in the university world today insist on redefining for our time an original concept of Universitas and Humanitas, which should still pursue in new ways a necessary integration of knowledge, if we are to avoid the pitfalls of a too pragmatic professionalization and unrelated overspecialization in university programmes. The future of a truly human culture, open to ethical and spiritual values, is at stake.

3. A new Christian humanism and a new version of liberal arts education is clearly called for, and the Catholic Church follows with the greatest interest the research and experiments that are taking place in relation to this question. In the first place, we have to accept realistically the development and transformation of modern universities, which have grown immensely in number and complexity. Modern countries are proud of their universities, which are key institutions for the progress of advanced societies. This makes it all the more urgent therefore to reflect on the European universities’ specific vocation to keep alive the ideal of a liberal education and the universal values that a cultural tradition, marked by Christianity, brings to higher learning.

The days are now past when the European universities unanimously referred themselves to one central authority in Christianity. Our societies have to live in a pluralistic context, which calls for dialogue between many spiritual traditions in a new quest for harmony and collaboration. But it is still essential for the university, as an institution, to refer constantly to the intellectual and spiritual heritage that has shaped our European identity over the centuries.

4. What is that heritage? Let us think for a moment of the following fundamental values of our civilization: the dignity of the person, the sacred character of life, the central role of the family, the importance of education, the freedom to think, to speak and to profess one’s own convictions or religion, the lawful protection of individuals and groups, the cooperation of all for the common good, the concept of work as a sharing in the Creator’s own work, the authority of the State, itself governed by law and reason. These values belong to the cultural treasure of Europe, a treasure which is the result of much thought, debate and suffering. They represent a spiritual achievement of reason and justice which honours the peoples of Europe as they strive to implement in the temporal order the spirit of Christian brotherhood taught by the Gospel.

Universities should be the special place for giving light and warmth to these beliefs, which are rooted in the Greco-Roman world and which have been enriched and uplifted by the Judeo-Christian tradition. It was this tradition which developed the higher concept of the human person, seen as an image of God, redeemed by Christ and called to an eternal destiny, endowed with inalienable rights, and responsible for the common good of society. The theological discussion about the two natures of Jesus Christ permitted the development of the concept of person, which is the cornerstone of Western civilization.

The individual was thus situated in a natural order of creation with objective conditions and requirements. Man’s position no longer rested on the whim of statesmen or ideologies, but upon an objective, universal natural law. This basic principle was stated expressly in the Bull of Foundation of the University of Uppsala: The human race is governed and ordered by the natural and moral order – “Humanum genus naturali iuri et morali regitur et gubernatur” (Bolla Si iuxta sanctorum, ed. di J. Liedgren, in Acta Universitatis Upsalensis, c. 44, Uppsala 1983).

5. Today there is a growing moral consciousness of the truth of this principle, shared by peoples every-where. An individual’s worth and dignity does not depend on political or ideological systems but is grounded on the natural order, an objective order of values. Such a conviction led to the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, a milestone in the history of humanity, which the Catholic Church has defended and expanded in several official documents. The tragic events of this century have shown how human beings can be threatened and destroyed when governments deny the fundamental dignity of the person. We have seen great nations forgetting their cultural traditions and decreeing laws for the extermination of entire populations, and for tragic discrimination against ethnic or religious groups. We have also witnessed the moral integrity of men and women who have heroically opposed such aberrations through courageous acts of resistance and compassion. I cannot fail to mention your compatriot Raoul Wallenberg, who in praiseworthy fashion rescued so many members of the Jewish people from Nazi concentration camps. His example inspires a dedicated fight for human rights.

The dignity of the person can be protected only if the person is considered as inviolable from the moment of conception until natural death. A person cannot be reduced to the status of a means or a tool of others. Society exists to promote the security and dignity of the person. Therefore, the primary right which society must defend is the right to life. Whether in the womb or in the final phase of life, a person may never be disposed of in order to make life easier for others. Every person must be treated as an end in himself or herself. This is a fundamental principle for all human activity: in health care, in the upbringing of children, in education, in the media. The attitudes of individuals or societies in this regard can be measured by the treatment given to those who for various reasons cannot compete in society – the handicapped, the sick, the aged and the dying. Unless a society treats the human person as inviolable, the formulation of consistent ethical principles becomes impossible, as does the creation of a moral climate which fosters the protection of the weakest members of the human family.

6. As I had the occasion to state last year, on the ninth centenary of the University of Bologna, one of the richest legacies of the Western university tradition is precisely the concept that a civilized society rests on the primacy of reason and law. As Bishop of Rome, a son of Poland and once a member of the Polish academic community, I whole-heartedly encourage all the representatives of intellectual and cultural life who are engaged in revitalizing the classical and Christian heritage of the university institution. Not all teachers, not all students are equally involved in the study of theology and the liberal arts, but all can benefit from the transmission of a culture enriched by that great common tradition.

Your university system has kept alive the teaching of theology, and this offers an open forum for studying the word of God and its meaning for the men and women of today. Our times are in great need of interdisciplinary research in meeting the complex challenges brought by progress. These problems bear on the meaning of life and death, the threats involved in genetic manipulation, the scope of education and the transmission of knowledge and wisdom to the younger generation. We certainly have to admire the marvellous discoveries of science, but we are also aware of the devastating power of modern technology, capable of destroying the earth and all it contains. A mobilization of minds and consciences therefore is urgently needed.

It is vital for the future of our civilization that questions such as these should be jointly examined by scientific experts as well as by expert theologians, so that all aspects of technical and moral issues may be carefully considered. Speaking to UNESCO in Paris on 2 June 1980, I made a special appeal to the moral potential of all men and women of culture. I said then and repeat before this distinguished assembly today: “All together you are an enormous power: the power of intelligences and consciences! Show yourselves to be more powerful than the most powerful in our modern world! Make up your mind to give proof to the most noble solidarity with mankind: the solidarity founded on the dignity of the human person”. In this great task you will find an ally in the Catholic Church, an ally willing to cooperate fully with her Christian brothers and sisters and with all people of good will.

7. We Christians openly proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but we do not impose our faith or convictions on anyone. We acknowledge the lack of unanimity in the way in which human rights are grounded philosophically. Nevertheless, we are all called to defend every human being, who is the subject of inalienable human rights, and work towards achieving among our contemporaries a consensus about the existence and substance of these human rights. This attitude of realistic dialogue has been decisive in the emergence of international organizations such as the United Nations, charged with the task of building peace and encouraging collaboration in the world. Sweden has been deeply committed to the spirit and achievements of the United Nations, not least through the dedication of Dag Hammarskjöld, a noble son of this land.

Our times call for a generous commitment of the best minds in universities, in intellectual circles, in research centres, in the media, in the creative arts, to exploring the shape of a new worldwide solidarity linked to the search for dignity and justice for every individual and every people. Nordic scholars and students have a specific contribution to make. Your cultural tradition gives you a vantage point which brings together all the living traditions of the Continent: the Scandinavian, German, Celtic, Slav and Latin. You are at the crossroads, at a junction point between East and West, and you can encourage a dialogue aimed at bringing the universities of Eastern and Western Europe into closer collaboration, an enterprise that would be intellectually decisive in the construction of tomorrow’s greater Europe.

Europe still bears a great responsibility in the world. Because of its Christian history, Europe’s vocation is one of openness and service to the whole human family. But today Europe has a very special obligation towards developing nations. A major challenge of our time is precisely the development of all peoples in full respect for their cultures and spiritual identity. Our generation has still much to do, if it is to avoid the historical reproach of not having fought with all its heart and mind to defeat the misery of so many millions of our brothers and sisters.

This is the message I have presented in my Encyclical Letter “Sollicitudo Rei Socialis”, on the development of peoples. We have to fight against all forms of poverty, physical as well as cultural and spiritual. Development certainly has an economic dimension, but it would not be true human development if it were limited to material needs. “Development which is not only economic must be measured and oriented according to the reality and vocation of man seen in his totality, namely, according to his interior dimension” (Ioannis Pauli PP. II Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, 29). We rightly speak today of the cultural dimension of development, and I am sure that in promoting such a model of development, intellectuals and university scholars have an indispensable contribution to make.

8. In conclusion, I would repeat the sentiments expressed in the Second Vatican Council’s Closing Message to Men and Women of Thought and Science: “Happy are those who, while possessing the truth, search more earnestly for it in order to renew it, deepen it, and transmit it to others. Happy also are those who, not having found it, are working towards it with a sincere heart... Never has there been so clear a possibility as today of a deep understanding between true science and true faith, mutual servants of one another in the one truth... Have confidence in faith, this great friend of intelligence!”.

Ladies and Gentlemen: I leave you with these thoughts, expressed with esteem and in friendship. May God sustain you, men and women of learning, in your service of the Truth, your dedication to Goodness and your love of Beauty. May our host University, the great University of Uppsala, thrive for centuries to come. God bless you all! Thank you."

Pope Saint John Paul II's Address to the Religious Superiors of Sweden
Church of Saint Lawrence, Uppsala, Friday 9th June- in English & Italian

"Dear Sisters, Religious Superiors of Sweden, Dear Friends in Christ,
Peace be with you!

1. I am very happy to have this opportunity la be here, albeit briefly, to share with you the joy of following Christ of serving him and of leading others to him. The presence of women religious is a great blessing to the Church in Sweden. You live the evangelical counsels in a spirit of charity and self-denial, and exercise apostolates that include teaching in schools and kindergartens, caring far the sick, publishing, as well as other forms of service. You work in a true ecumenical spirit, respecting the faith of others while giving an eloquent Catholic witness to Christ among people who are often unfamiliar with the Church and her teaching.

Fidelity to Christ challenges you to grow in your witness of chastity, poverty and obedience. In today’s world the witness of poverty in particular strikes a chord in many hearts. Vowed poverty speaks a language of trust in Divine Providence which is contrary to the trends in society towards excessive consumerism and purely material progress. By following in the footsteps of Christ who was poor, my dear Sisters, you inspire many others in their search for a simpler and more authentic way of life. You can become true teachers in the ways of giving, following the example of Christ who, “though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich” (2Cor. 8, 9).

You are no doubt concerned about the future of religious life in Sweden, considering that the number of those choosing the religious life is not as great as you would wish. Always remember, however, that the Lord’s call can never be understood in merely human terms; it is a mystery, the work of the Holy Spirit. A vocation “does not always emerge in an atmosphere favourable to it; sometimes the grace of vocation passes through an unfavourable environment and even through occasional resistance by parents or families” (Ioannis Pauli PP. II Epistula universis Presbyteris, Feria V in Cena Domini, anni MCMLXXXIX missa, 7, die 12 mar. 1989: Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, XII, 1 [1989]). For this reason, we must continue to pray that the voice of God will not be stifled or go unheeded among young people.

2. I wish to thank you, the Members of the Parish Council, for your work in the service of the Church and for the gift of your time and talents in building up the parish which, as the Second Vatican Council said, “offers an outstanding example of community apostolate” (Apostolicam Actuositatem, 10). I thank you too for your generous cooperation with your priests in meeting the pastoral challenges that face the Church. As members of the Parish of Saint Lars, you can draw upon the prayers and example of your holy patron. Inspired by Saint Laurence’s example of service and martyrdom as a deacon in ancient Rome, may you and your fellow parishioners bring Christ to modern-day Sweden – to your families, neighbours and friends.

3. To all who are here today I wish to offer encouragement in the Lord. May you continue with joy and confidence along the path to which God has called you. May your love for God and neighbour be ever more visible in Sweden, as you proclaim the Gospel to those both far away and near (Cfr. Is. 58, 19). As a pledge of our faith in the constant help and protection of Mary, the Mother of God, let us commend our lives and actions to her in prayer."

Pope Saint John Paul II's Homily at Mass in Uppsala
in the vicinity of the ancient Lutheran  Church of Uppsala, Friday 9th June - in English & Italian

"Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, Dear Parents and Children,

[Text in Swedish]  1. Mini Kära barn, mina systrar och bröder!

Vi befinner oss idag pa en av de platser där kristendomen tog sin, början i detta land, en plats som ansags helig redan innan kristendomen kom till Sverige. Och det är pa denna historiska mark som jag gläder mig at att möta Sveriges katolska barn och deras föräldrar. Vi är alla Guds barn och i den andan kommer vi tillsammans att fira denna mässa.

Jag vänder mig ocksa speciellt till representanterna för Svenska kyrkan och för frikyrkorna / och även till representanterna för kommunen, som har hjälpt till sa att vi kan fira denna mässa i Gamla Uppsala.

Det är med extra stor glädje som jag välkomnar alla de manga flyktingfamiljer som har kommit till denna mässa fran olika flyktingläger i landet. Det finns i Sverige manga människor som varit tvungna att lämna sina hemländer för att finna ett nytt hem här. För dem av er som nyligen tvingats lämna era länder för att i Sverige finna ett nytt hemn för er själva och era barn känns mahända smärtan särskilt stor. Lat oss tillsammans be att Gud skänker er sin frid i det land som välkomnat er.

2. As we come together to celebrate the mystery of Christ present in word and sacrament, let us reflect on the promise which is referred to in the First Reading of today’s Mass where we read that “the promise is to you and to your children” (Act. 2, 39). What is this promise?

It is the message of salvation for all people. It was preached by Christ and is still being preached by the Church through the power of the Holy Spirit. Before he ascended into heaven, Christ had assured his apostles that he would not abandon them. He promised them the gift of the Spirit, and he kept this promise! On the day of Pentecost, when the apostles had come together, “there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit” (Ibid. 2, 3-4).

My dear friends: the promise of salvation, handed on by the apostles, is truly meant for you and your children. You too have received the gift of the Holy Spirit as a pledge of salvation in Christ. But this gift also brings a responsibility. You are called to make promises and to keep them: the promises of your Baptism, especially as they are lived in lifelong commitments to God in marriage, the priesthood, and the religious life. Today I wish to speak to you on the vocation of marriage in particular, on parenthood and the mission of the family according to the plan of salvation.

3. As boys and girls grow into young adulthood, they are attracted to one another. They begin to share their experiences of life, their family backgrounds, their interests and their hopes for the future. Little by little a relationship of love develops and deepens, until it reaches a stage when it must be lived in the union of marriage.

In marriage, a man and a woman pledge themselves to each other in an unbreakable covenant of total mutual self-giving, and they promise to remain faithful to one another to the end, in spite of whatever difficulties may come. In this sacramental bond, a man and a woman form a union of love, a love that is not a passing emotion or infatuation, but a responsible and free decision to unite themselves completely “in good times and in bad”. It is a love to be proclaimed before the world – Good News to be shared. The marriage contract is an unconditional and enduring covenant. The love which is pledged before the altar and which is blessed in the Rite of Marriage has a stability which is not subject to change. Christian marriage is a sacrament established as such by Christ. It has the elements of the mystery of Christ’s love for his Church, the Bride of Christ (Cfr. Eph. 5, 32). The word “love” has a sacred meaning and in the context of Christian marriage should be used with special reverence and respect.

Love of this kind and the commitment to lifelong fidelity call for careful preparation from early childhood to wedding day. And after the wedding day, after the exchange of vows, love continues to grow and deepen; it does not diminish with the passing years. True love lasts and will not be overturned by the storms of change. The grace of God helps sustain the sacramental bonds and strengthens the couple to meet the challenges of life.

4. In God’s plan the love of husband and wife points beyond itself; new life is generated, a family is born. A family is a community of love and of life. Children express in a concrete way the love pledged at the altar. A “family” and a “home”: these are beautiful words, which evoke a sense of security and intimacy. They are words with a deep meaning which must be cherished and protected.

Being a parent brings worries and difficulties, as well as joy and fulfilment. I would remind you who are parents: your children are your great treasure. They love you very much, even if they find it hard at times to express that love. It is a sad reality that due to the pressures of work and the quickening pace of life, many parents find it increasingly difficult to give enough time to their children. I urge you today: find opportunities for talking and sharing at a deep level with your children. Do not let them become strangers living under the same roof. The years spent in the home pass so quickly. They are precious years. Every moment spent with your children will enrich them, and you in turn will find your own lives immeasurably enriched. The future of the Church, the future of humanity itself, depends in great part on the quality of family life and the closeness of family ties nurtured in the home. The greatness of this nation, and any nation, can be measured by the greatness of its families.

5. I also wish to say some words to a special group present here: to the children.

[Text in Swedish]  Kära barn!

Inte kunde väl paven komma hit ände fran Rom utan att tala om för er hur ofta han tänker pa er och pa alla andra barn i Sverige. När jag är ute och reser i olika delar av världen sa blir jag särskilt glad när jag far möta barnen. Var och en av er är Guds gava till era föräldrer. Men ert liv är pa samma gang en gava fran Gud. Ni är ocksa en gava för ert land och det är ni som är dess framtid. Ni är även en gava och en tilgang för Kyrkan, bade i er forsamling, i skolan och i era andra sselsättningar.

Jag vet att ni förstar att ni har fatt sa mycket. Det har finte alla andra barn fatt. Inte alla barn är lyckliga. Inte alla är friska, välnärda och välskötta. Jag hoppas att ni växer upp med en stark längtan att kunna fa göra nagot för dem som är mindre lyckligt lottade än ni och att ni försöker skapa en värld där det finns en varm hand för alla som behöver hjälp. Det vill Jesus att ni skall göra.

Och ni skall alltid, även när ni är ledsna, komma ihag att Jesus är er vän. Han bad att barnen skulle komma till honom och han visade all omsorg för dem. Eftersom han är er vän vill han att ni skall tala med honom i bön. Tänker ni pa att be för era föräldrar, era syskon och far och morföräldrar?

Tackar ni honom för all hans gavor? Vill ni be för mig ocksa?

Tack för det, och ni kan vara säkra pa att ni alltid har en plats i mitt hjärta och mina böner.

A todos los hispano-hablantes, todos los españoles, todos los latino-americanos, especialmente los chilenos aquí presentes, mis mejores deseos para ustedes, para vuestras familias. Que Dios bendiga las familias, los padres, como también los niños en todas las familias.

A teraz pragnię to samo życzenie powtórzyć wszystkim przybyszom z Polski, zarówno tym, którzy tu już zapuścili korzenie od dawna, jak i świeżo przybyłym. Drodzy bracia i siostry, starajcie się ze wszystkich sił zachować, utrzymać tę najświętszą, sakramentalną więż małżeństwa i rodziny – dla was samych, dla was, mężów i żon, dla was, ojców i matek, dla waszych dzieci, dla waszych wnuków, dla przyszłości narodu, także i tego szwedzkiego narodu i Kościoła. Tego wam z całego serca życzę i o to się wraz z wami i wszystkimi tu zgromadzonymi dzisiaj modlę, a Msza św. jest za rodziny. Niech będzie pochwalony Jezus Chrystus.

6. Dear friends in Christ: As Christian families, parents and children together, you are sent out to bear prophetic witness, to discover with others the presence of the Holy Spirit in your lives. Your joy in receiving the Good News is great but it can be made greater by sharing it with others. Swedish Saints like Saint Birgitta and Saint Eric realized this: the Good News is meant to be shared. They took to heart this command of our Lord, and today I ask all Swedish families to do the same.

With Christ, I say first of all – “Go”! Go into the world with confidence in God’s love. For some people the world can be an empty place because they are afraid to believe in the light, love and goodness which flow from God’s grace. Go to those who are confused or who have lost their way in life, to those in despair, to those whose hearts are so filled with life’s cares or material things that there is little or no room left for God.

With Christ I also say to you: “Make disciples”. It is our privilege to point out Christ to those who are searching for him and to invite them to follow him. We should not be afraid to answer those who ask basic questions about our faith and to proclaim the Gospel by word and deed. Do not be afraid to make disciples of those who are completely indifferent to Christ and his message.

“Baptize”. Jesus has called us to membership in the Church, and he wishes us in turn to lead others to the Church. He wants all people to immerse themselves in his love, to purify themselves of their sins, to wash and become clean. He wants all to be converted and to live.

“Teach”, said Jesus. Teach one another the love that God has for each one of you. Teach by faith and example. Parents: teach your children the importance of a personal relationship with Jesus, our loving Saviour and Friend. Teach them the importance of prayer. Teach them how to pray. You are the first teachers of your children in the ways of faith and holiness. Nobody can take your place in this work.

Go make disciples, baptize and teach! This can be the basis of a vigorous family apostolate in Sweden.

7. On the day of Pentecost, the people were so struck with Peter’s words that they asked the apostles: “Brethren what shall we do?” (Act. 2, 37). You can ask yourselves the same question. What shall you do? You have received the Holy Spirit in the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation. His gifts are not meant to be hidden but to be used to further God’s Kingdom on earth. What shall you do? You have the freedom to decide. The world is waiting for your response. This can be the moment of your decision!

“The promise is for you and your children”.

The Lord has been faithful to his promises. You must be faithful to him. Go forward together in faith, hope and love, alive in the Spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen."

Papst Johannes Paul II an die Vertreter der Deutschen Hilfswerke
Stockholm, Schweden, Freitag 9 Juni 1989 - in German & Italian

"Liebe Brüder und Schwestern!
Während meines Besuches in den fünf Ländern der Nordischen Bischofskonferenz habe ich vielerorts beobachten können, wie Kirchen, Kapellen und Pfarrhäuser gebaut oder renoviert wurden. Dies alles stellt eine wichtige Voraussetzung dafür dar, daß die Kirche ihren Auftrag in einer Art und Weise erfüllen kann, die heutigen Lebensformen und Erwartungen entspricht.

Ohne die außerordentliche Hilfe, die die nordische Kirche in der Diaspora immer wieder von ihren Freunden und Wohltätern – besonders aus der Bundesrepublik Deutschland – erfährt, wäre dieser beträchtliche äußere Aufbau nicht möglich. Das Bonifatiuswerk, das Sankt-Ansgarius-Werk und die anderen Hilfswerke haben Großes geleistet.

Außerdem bin ich auch davon unterrichtet, daß Eure Unterstützung sich nicht nur auf Bauprojekte beschränkt. Mit großem und immer neuem Eifer entdeckt Ihr ständig weiter Möglichkeiten für die Förderung und Ermutigung des Lebens und Wirkens der Kirche in der nordischen Diaspora sowie ihrer Priester und der pastoralen Mitarbeiter.

Eure Hilfen beziehen sich unter anderem auf die Finanzierung liturgischer Gewänder und Geräte für die heilige Messe, so daß die liturgischen Dienste in angemessener Weise wahrgenommen werden können; ferner stellen diese katechetisches Lehrmaterial und Fahrzeuge zur Verfügung. Genannt werden müssen auch die vielen Zuwendungen, die zur finanziellen Unterstützung der Priester und konkreter pastoraler Initiativen aufgebracht werden.

Für diese bedeutenden Hilfeleistungen möchte ich Euch, Euren Mitarbeitern und den vielen Spenden aufrichtig danken. Ihr könnt versichert sein, daß Ihr dadurch eine Aufgabe erfüllt, die von großer Bedeutung für das Wachstum der Kirche in diesen Ländern ist. Mein Dank gilt Euch auch für die Hilfe, die Ihr den Einwanderern gewährt, damit sie hier wirklich eine neue Heimat finden, aber auch für den ökumenischen Dialog mit den nichtkatholischen Christen offen sind.

Ich hoffe, daß Ihr selbst – vielleicht durch die Erfahrungen bei den jährlichen Studienwochen für Priester, Laien und Ordensleute – der Überzeugung seid, daß diese Hilfe nicht einseitig als rein materielle Unterstützung betrachtet werden darf. Es handelt sich vielmehr um eine echte Partnerschaft zwischen Ortskirchen, die sich in christlicher Solidarität und gegenseitiger Hilfsbereitschaft zu einer wahren Freundschaft entwickelt hat.

Die pastoralen Erfahrungen in der nordischen Diaspora können ihrerseits Euch dabei helfen, die Schwierigkeiten, mit denen Ihr in ähnlicher Weise in Euren Ortskirchen konfrontiert werdet, besser zu meistern. Die Herausforderung einer wachsenden Säkularisierung stellt uns alle vor neue Probleme, für deren Lösung wir gemeinsam neue Erfahrungen sammeln müssen. Wenn wir uns nur mit unseren eigenen Problemen beschäftigen wollten, würden wir aufhören, ”katholische“, daß heißt weltweite Kirche zu sein. Wir bleiben nur ”katholisch“, wenn wir uns allen Teilkirchen auf der Erde verbunden und solidarisch wissen, und dies sowohl im materiellen wie im geistlichen Bereich. Allen Christen gilt gleichermaßen das Wort des Apostels Paulus:”... es soll ein Ausgleich sein; euer Überfluß soll bei diesem Anlaß den Mangel anderer ausgleichen...“.

Liebe Brüder und Schwestern! Eure weitere Arbeit empfehle ich der Fürbitte Eurer großen Schutzpatrone, des heiligen Bonifatius, des Apostels der Deutschen, sowie des heiligen Ansgar, des ersten christlichen Missionars dieser nordischen Länder. Mögen diese Heiligen für Euch und Euer Werk auch in Zukunft Vorbilder und hilfreich Begleiter sein!

Euch gilt noch einmal mein herzlicher Dank für Eure treue Arbeit. Damit verbinde ich zugleich die Bitte um Gottes reichsten Segen für Euch und alle Eure unermüdlichen Mitarbeiter.

Es segne Euch des allmächtige Gott, der Vater und der Sohn und der Heilige Geist. Amen."

Pope Saint John Paul II's Homily at Holy Mass at Vadstena Castle
Vadstena, Saturday 10th June - in English & Italian

"Dear Brothers and Sisters, 

[Text in Swedish]  1. Kära unga vänner!

Idag befinner vi oss i den heliga Birgittas stad. Birgitta, Sveriges skyddshelgon, är en kvinna som i sitt liv förenade giftermäl, karriär och grundandet av en ny orden inom kyrkan. Birgittas systrar finns fortfarande i denna stad och i detta land.

Här i Vadstena har ni samlats, representanter för ungdomen i Norden. Det är till ungdomen jag vill rikta mig nu när jag kommit till slutet av min nordiska resa, jag vill vända mig speciellt till er som är den katolska kyrkans och andra kristna kyrkors framtid i dessa länder.

Jag vänder mig ocksä speciellt till representanterna för Linköpings stift och framför allt till dess ungdomsgrupp. Er närvaro är ett bevis för den goda ekumeniska anda som räder bland er och som vi tackar Gud för. Jag vill ocksä vända mig till representanterna för Vadstena och landshövdingen i länet.

2. The theme of your preparation for our meeting today has been “From the Margin to the Centre”. Like young people everywhere, you are looking for what is central and important in life. Though you may be far from a geographical centre, and some of you may even be distant as regards faith and commitment to God, you have come here because you are sincerely searching for something worthwhile on which to base your lives. You want to establish firm roots and you realize that religious faith is an important part of the fuller life you yearn for.

Let me say straight away that I understand your problems and your hopes, even though your situation differs in many ways from what your parents and I myself experienced when we were young. When I was nineteen years old, World War II broke out, and there began a period of violence and senseless killing which profoundly affected my country. At times I worried about my own safety and that of my family and friends. Some of you have yourselves experienced hardship, persecution or threats to your lives before you came to your new homes. But the majority of you have lived in the peace, freedom and security that your countries offer. Still, you know that a high standard of living does not automatically bring happiness and inner peace.

Today, young friends, I want to speak to you about the joy and peace that can be found, not in having but in being, in knowing a person and in living according to his teaching. This person is Jesus Christ, our Lord and Friend. He is the Centre, the focal point, the one who draws us together in love.

3. In the Gospel of today’s Mass, Jesus says the following words in the house of Zaccheus: “Today salvation has come to this house” (Luc. 19, 9). I wish to repeat these words of Jesus in this house, in the courtyard of Vadstena Castle. For all of us – both in Sweden and in Rome – this Castle is associated with the memory of Saint Birgitta. In her lifetime Sweden was a Catholic country.

Christianity was still new to the region. Living on the far edge of the Christian world of that time she felt called by God to renew the Church, which she saw was turning away from the centre, away from Christ. She went to Rome and there she worked bravely for the unity of the Church. She was a woman strong in character, and heroic in faith, hope and love.

Together with Saint Birgitta, I wish to mention some of the first apostles and missionaries in Scandinavia and elsewhere in Northern Europe, holy men and women who were living witnesses of Christ:

[Text in Swedish] Ni ungdomar här i Sverige, ni kommer väl ihag den heliga Birgitta, denna framstaende kvinna, och hennes förebildliga dotter Katarina. Bada tva gjorde en stor insats här i livet, ledda av sin kristna övertygelse. Även Sankt Ansgar tog sig till dessa trakter och sadde här trons första frön. Hans modiga missionsarbete har gett honom titeln "Nordens apostel". Kung Erik den nionde är er skyddspatron och en symbol för nationens enhet. Dessa män och kvinnor är en del av det arv ni fatt ta emot. Det var i Evangelierna som de upptäckte det stora äventyret, och de lät det styra hela deras liv. Ma ni ga och göra likaledes, styrkta av deras förböner.

[Text in Finnish] Tervehdin suomalaisia nuoria, jotka ovat tulleet tänne viettämään juhlahetkeä paavin kanssa. Pyhä Henrik, teidän suojeluspyhimyksenne, muistuttaa teitä siitä, että Kristuksen seuraaminen vaatii rohkeutta ja syvää luottamusta Jumalan rakastavaan läsnäoloon teidän elämässänne. Kun palaatte takaisin kotimaahanne, kertokaa perheillenne ja ystävillenne, että paavi tervehtii heitä ja rukoilee heidän puolestaan.

[Text in Danish] Kere unge danskerev: Jeres traditionelle Skytshelgen er den elskede Kong Knud, men Danmark har ogsa givet mange andre hellige maend og kvinder. For mindre end et ar siden havde jeg den store gglaede at Saligkare den store danske firsker og Biskop Niels Steensen. Matte hans eksempel laere jer at leve i fuld fred i jeres katolske tro.

[Text in Norwegian] Norske ungdommer, i deres land er minnet om den hellige Olav stadig levende, dere ma forvandle det eksempel pa tro og hengivenhet som han gav til en aktuell kristen innsats. Elsk Gud av hele deres hjerte pg forsøk a se ham i hver av deres brødre og søstre som trenger deres hjelp og solidaritet.

[Text in Icelandic]  Kaeru ungu íslensku vinir,
bekkid bid aevisögu heilags Porláks Pórhallssonar
biskuрs í Skálholti?
Hann var samlandi ykkar, bekktur fyrir laerdóm, gudraekni og kostgaefni.
Hann lagdi mikid af mörkum til ad baeta kristni medal pjódar sinnar.
Pad er sannf aering mín ad bid munud ávallt finna
styrk í kaerleikanum til Jesú Krists og
og í kynnum ykkar af honum.

These holy men and women and many others recognized Christ as the centre of their lives even if at times they felt isolated or weighed down by burdens and problems. Dear young people: Christ is the centre of your lives too. He is your hope, your model and your joy, the joy of your youth!

“Today salvation has come to this house”. The “today” that witnessed the first stirrings of Christianity in these lands belongs to history, and subsequent events have distanced us from that time. However, in God’s plan of salvation, that distant “today” of centuries ago has not passed into oblivion; it lives on in God. It survives also in the Church, in the liturgy, in the word and in the Eucharist which is a “memorial” – a remembrance and at the same time a making present. When the Body and the Blood of Christ are made present we experience communion with all the Saints.

4. Truly “salvation has come to this house”. The word “salvation” means God’s saving gift of himself it is a divine self-giving which has to be accepted in the spiritual depths of each person and of all humanity. The saints are a special proof of God’s action in the world: in the world of the human spirit. Today, as always, we are invited to accept his divine action of love. By responding to God’s invitation with love, the saving and sanctifying work of his Spirit fills the human heart and from there extends to others. Is not the life of Saint Birgitta and so many other saints eloquent proof of this?

Dear young people of the North: you come here from different countries and from different backgrounds, but you all hear a common call to be united in Christ, who has given each of you some special gift or talent. In spite of differences, you are united in his name; you are members of a living body (Cfr. 1Cor. 12, 27).

Today at Vadstena we are celebrating our unity. It is unity in diversity. It is authentically Nordic and it is authentically Catholic! With different talents and different hopes you are one in Jesus, one in the ideal of Christian service, one in pursuing justice, one in proclaiming the equal human dignity of all people.

5. A special characteristic of the young people of our time is openness – openness to the great cultural diversity of our world. But you must also be open to Christ. Just as he did in the case of the rich young man in the Gospel (Cfr. Marc. 10, 17ss). Jesus looks on you who are rich in talents and material things and he looks on you with love. He asks you to be completely open to him. He will never disappoint you!

At this Mass I will present a cross to a representative from each of your countries as an expression of my hope in you – in all of you – who truly want to follow Christ. In doing this, I say with all the affection I hold for young people: keep close to Christ; walk in the footsteps of your Saint. You know that you will never find true happiness by being closed in on yourselves.

There is no room for selfishness or apathy in your lives. The Cross speaks a language of giving, and you young people have so much to offer, so much to give! By opening yourselves to Christ you will learn the meaning of the Cross. On Calvary, Christ gave himself as the complete and perfect gift and he asks you to give likewise of yourselves. The road to Calvary is the road that leads to the Centre, that will lead you to holiness. It is a road which everyone is called to travel because the vocation to holiness is universal. It excludes no one (Cfr. 1Cor. 12, 11).

6. What does it mean to be holy? In order to answer the question, we must return for a moment to the house of Zaccheus in today’s Gospel. Zaccheus was a tax collector, a person who did not enjoy a good reputation in the society of his day. He knew what it meant to live on the margin, so to speak. But when he received Christ into his house he understood the gift being offered to him and he rejoiced saying: “Behold Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold” (Luc. 19, 8). If Zaccheus was previously a sinner, then these words are proof of a real conversion on his part. At the same time, they express to us what is important for the Christian life: they help us to understand what it means “to be” in Christ, “to live in grace”.

Sometimes the Christian life is presented mainly in terms of keeping the commandments of God and the laws of the Church, and of observing our obligations towards the State. All this is true, but when we consider the matter more deeply, another dimension opens up before us: the Christian life consists in accepting the Gift of God, the Holy Spirit, and in responding to the Gift with a gift of our own. We are talking here of an “exchange of gifts”. Yet, these gifts are not equal in value. What we receive from God in Christ is infinitely greater than anything we can give him in return. We have received everything from God, and there is only one language in which to thank him, the language of giving.

7. My dear young friends: today I am returning to Rome, to the centre of the Church, the same Church of which you are the beloved sons and daughters, here in the North! As I say good-bye to you, I wish to leave you a gift – not merely a pleasant memory of this meeting but something more. I wish to give you my love, to leave you my heart! And, if I may, I wish to take back to Rome your gift to the Church, your gift to the world – which is your love for Christ and your fidelity to his Gospel.

Young people of the North: remember that the richest meaning of life lies in giving. Remember that we are willing to give in proportion as we love, and when love is perfect, the gift is complete.

Yes, dear young people, remember the Gift! Amen."

Papa Saint John Paul II's Farewell Address from Sweden
Airport of Linköping, Saturday 10th June - in English & Italian

"Mr Prime Minister, Dear People of Sweden, Dear Friends,
1. As I prepare to board the plane that will take me back to Rome, I wish to express my gratitude to each and every one of you for the warm welcome and generous hospitality which you have shown me. In these three days, I have seen something of the magnificent natural beauty with which God has blessed Sweden. But more importantly. I have been impressed by a people who are proud of their country, steadfast in their commitment to build a better world for their children, and open-hearted in their welcome to those who come from afar. I will treasure these impressions, and I encourage you to persevere in the great religious traditions and values which are at the source of your national identity.

My visit to Sweden concludes my pastoral journey to the Nordic Countries. I came as the Successor of Saint Peter to proclaim the saving truth that Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living God (Cfr. Matth. 16, 16). I came as a brother in Christ to bear witness to the truth which unites all of us Christians in spite of our divisions.

In taking my leave, I wish to express my deep thanks to His Majesty the King, to the Prime Minister, and to the Ambassador of Sweden to the Holy See. Your efforts on my behalf and your concern for the success of my visit have exemplified the good will of the Swedish people. I would also thank the Landshövding, together with the representatives of the municipal bodies and all who have contributed to the success of this pilgrimage. God bless you all, and may your dedicated work bear rich fruit for the future of Sweden and her people.

2. Before I leave Sweden, I will bless the first stone of the new Catholic church which is to be built here in Linköping. As a foundation stone, it symbolizes the solidity and growth of the Catholic community – made up of living stones – which is called to be built up into a spiritual house founded on Christ himself (Cfr. 1Petr. 2, 5). It serves as an encouragement to all of Sweden’s Catholics to hold fast to the faith which they have received and to pass it on to the next generation; it is a sign of hope to all who long to know Christ as the sure foundation which gives meaning to the whole of life. Like Saint Paul, who desired to forget what lay behind and to strain forward to what lay ahead (Phil. 3, 13), may this community persevere in its efforts to build up Christ’s Church in faith, hope and love. To Bishop Brandenburg and Bishop Kenney, I express my gratitude for their zeal on behalf of the Gospel and the spiritual life of the people entrusted to their pastoral care.

In this stone, I also see symbolized the strength and the promise of the Church’s young people. At Vadstena, I was filled with confidence in the future as I saw so many young hearts alive with the love of Christ. To you, the Catholic youth of Sweden and of all the Nordic Countries, I make a fervent appeal: Make Christ Jesus the foundation of your lives and the source of your joy. The future of the Church in the north of Europe is already in your hands. Do not be afraid of the effort, sacrifice and discipline that are necessary in order to love Christ with all your heart. Do not hesitate to spend your energies for the service of others, especially of those in need and those less fortunate than yourselves.

3. This stone is very precious for another reason, for it comes from the medieval Cathedral of Linköping, and has been presented to the Catholic community by Bishop Lönnebo and the entire Lutheran Diocese of Linköping. This noble gesture recalls our common heritage, and impels us towards an ever closer unity in Christ. It stands as a sign of great hope for all God’s people. In spite of our historical divisions, we are sincerely striving to respond to God’s grace and to build up together what once was torn apart. I count it a great blessing that yesterday I was able to meet and pray with the leaders of other Christian Churches and Ecclesial Communities in Uppsala. May this stone always remind us that Christ alone is the foundation of our unity and the perfecter of our faith (Cfr. Hebr. 12, 2). He is that “cornerstone, in whom the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord” (Eph. 2, 20-21).

To Archbishop Werkström and Bishop Lönnebo, I renew my thanks for all the assistance I have received from the Swedish Church, and for your dedicated witness of ecumenical openness and cooperation. My gratitude extends as well to the representatives of the various Free Churches, for their presence and participation at these events. I would also like to say a word of thanks to the Cathedral Choir of Linköping for their music, which has helped us to lift up our hearts to the Lord in prayer.

4. Dear people of Sweden: I thank you once again, from my heart, for your kindness to me and your openness to the Gospel of Christ which I preach. That Gospel has been heard in Sweden for over a thousand years, and it has shaped the noblest aspirations of your society. Even now, it continues to be reflected in the lives and the faith of so many Swedes. May il continue to challenge you as individuals and shape your life as a people that recognizes and honours God as the Father of humanity and that works to build a world of true peace and universal solidarity, based on the brotherhood of all God’s children.

Gud välsigna Sverige. Gud välsigna er alla."



© Copyright 1989 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana