TEXT FOR PRE-RECORDED TV GREETING TO BE
GIVEN BY THE HOLY FATHER BEFORE LEAVING ROME
(To be transmitted across Canada September 4-5)
My dear friends of Canada:
I know that you have been waiting for me for some time. Indeed, when I visited the United States in 1979, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops expressed its desire that I might stop in your country. I even received an invitation signed by several thousand of you.
Since that was impossible, the Catholic Bishops renewed their invitation in 1981, and again following my accident. I was happy when it was finally possible to announce that I would be going to your homeland from the 9th to the 20th of September 1984. Your country is so vast that I felt it necessary to add another day to my trip. This was simply to enable me to visit our Amerindian and Inuit brothers and sisters in their own territory.
Since the official announcement of my visit, I have received a great number of letters which have given me great pleasure. Your former Governor General, His Excellency Edward Schreyer, and the Right Honourable Pierre Trudeau, your recently retired Prime Minister, hastened to extend a welcome and to assure me of a warm reception on the part of Canadians. The young people of your country have also given expressions of their affection and of their desires for peace, justice and fraternity. A letter signed by the heads of several Christian Churches profoundly touched me. They manifested their availability for a meeting, and assured me of the prayers of their own faithful for the success of my trip. I have been advised, moreover, that the heads of other religions have similarly offered their collaboration on the occasion of my visit. Finally, I have especially appreciated how so many thousands of Canadians have worked with such diligence and enthusiasm in the preparations for my trip.
Your devotion and attention as you prepare to receive me can only be a humbling experience for me. Nevertheless, what prevails in my heart is the desire to be among you soon. I am sure that the Lord will repay you a hundred fold for your efforts on my behalf. As we celebrate together our common faith, it will be a moment of joy, of wonder and even of surprise.
So often in the course of my travels the Lord uses me to reveal His message in unexpected ways.
Those expecting to encounter one person discover an immense human community.
Those expecting a spiritual leader discover an assembly of believers.
Those expecting the Pope discover the Church.
By virtue of the marvels of television, you have seen immense crowds surrounding me. What is of importance for me when we gather together is our common experience of fraternity, our community of faith and our communion in the Good News of Jesus.
My dear friends of Canada, it has been said that my visit among you will be that of a pastor. A pastor is one who gathers people together. The bishops and other religious leaders effect that gathering of people together locally. The more we enable the pastor to play his role, the more we respond to his call to assemble around him, the more naturally does he become a part of the very assembly he sustains.
This is simply to say that while you may be anticipating my visit, I am anticipating even more being among you, since it will be through your own preparations that we shall truly be able to make my visit fruitful.
Let us then gather together as brothers and sisters united in our common humanity, to deepen our sense of sisterhood and brotherhood and our commitment to justice.
Let us gather together as believers in God, recognizing each other as sons and daughters of the same Father, and in this recognition discovering the foundations of true peace.
Let us gather together as believers in the Lord Jesus who reveals to us a definite hope and enables us to meet the legitimate aspirations of men and women of our time.
As you wait for me, know that I am also waiting for you so that together we may celebrate our faith in the Lord Jesus, in God, and in humanity.