SEPTEMBER 9, 1984
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I thank you for welcoming me here in your cathedral upon my arrival in Québec. I am pleased to see the Archbishop of Québec, his Grace Louis-Albert Vachon, accompanied by his auxiliary bishops, the members of the cathedral chapter, their colleagues and representatives of the communities which make up this living Church at the historical heart of your province. I extend to each and every one of you my warmest greetings.
I would also like to greet his Honor, the Mayor of Québec as well as the civil authorities present here today. I thank them for their courteous reception and for all the effort they have put into organizing, in co-operation with the bishops, this first stage of my pastoral visit to Canada.
In a moment, I will be visiting the tomb of your first bishop, Blessed François de Laval. How could I not here evoke the work of this founder of the Canadian Church? He came to Québec as an ardent witness of the spiritual renewal in which he had participated in France, as a missionary and as a pastor. As Vicar Apostolic, he was careful to link to the Apostolic See in Rome the fledgling Christian community whose influence later spread throughout most of North America. He experienced the joy of establishing a full-fledged diocese, and this further reinforced the bonds of trust that existed with the Pope. My presence here among you is a proof of their continuance.
At the beginning of my encounter with the community of this diocese it is good that I have been able to come here to the Basilica. Focus of episcopal ministry, centre from which the presbyterium reaches out into the parishes and other institutions, home of prayer, the cathedral is the mother Church which reminds us all of the unity of the body of Christ whose members are different but who share the same life. I would now like, with you, to give thanks for the word and the bread of life shared in this place, and carried afar. With you, I ask God to give you the strength to carry out your mission in hope and in joy.
We will entrust our prayer to Our Lady of Québec to whom this basilica is dedicated. May the mother of the Lord support the sons and daughters of Québec in the faith and pure generosity of which she is such an admirable exemplar! We pray to her in simplicity with the prayer of the angels' salutation.
(Recital of the Angelus)
From the bottom of my heart, I bless you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.