|HOME | NEWS | THE POPE'S VISIT|
November 7, 1999
Third millennium will witness harvest of faith in Asia: Pope
Josy Joseph in New Delhi
Pope John Paul II called for a fruitful dialogue leading to a "new relationship of understanding and solidarity among the followers of all religions", while hoping that the "third millennium will witness a great harvest of faith" in Asia. He was speaking at the high mass in New Delhi on Diwali on Sunday.
The Pope noted that "throughout this vast country many people are celebrating the festival of lights [Diwali]" and then went on to speak of Mother Teresa's contribution to humanity.
The homily, read by the Pontiff from his seat on a grand altar in the stadium, paid homage to "Asia's time-honoured cultures, religions and spiritual traditions", a call for peace and an assertion of the importance of the Asian continent in the coming "Third Christian millennium".
He opened his statement, read out by him from a text prepared in English, with a statement from the Bible: "Walk as children of light, for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true (Eph 5:8-9)".
The Pope said, "we rejoice with" those celebrating Diwali, and "in this Eucharist here in New Delhi, in India, on the continent of Asia, we too exult in the light and bear witness to the One who is the true light that enlightens every man".
He then officially announced the promulgation of the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Asia, the result of the labours of the Special Assembly for Asia of the Synod of Bishops held last year in Rome. He told the gathering that the document is "a guide for the spiritual and pastoral life of the Church on this continent as we enter a new century and a new Christian millennium."
The Pope paid glowing tributes to Asian history and culture saying, "These ancient Asian civilisations have shaped the lives of the peoples of this continent and have left an indelible mark on the history of the human race."
Greeting with "esteem and friendship" the representatives of "various Christian communities and of the great religions of India", he placed before them his "hope and dream that the next century will be a time of fruitful dialogue, leading to a new relationship of understanding and solidarity."
He said that in a "special way" he entrusted the "fruits of the Synod to the members of the laity", for it is "you above all who are called to transform society, infusing the mind of Christ into the mentality, customs, laws and structures of the world in which you live".
He stressed on the need to defend human life and dignity, an indirect reference to the church's pro-life stand and belief that free conversion is part of one's human rights.
"The church looks to the laymen and women of Asia to reflect the light of Christ wherever the darkness of sin, division and discrimination distorts the image of god in his children," he said.
He said the synod "rejoiced at the thought of Jesus's birth on Asian soil. The Eternal Word took flesh as an Asian! And it was on this continent, through the preaching of the Gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit, that the Church went forth to spread the Good News."
"Just as the first millennium saw the cross firmly planted in the soil of Europe, and the second in that of America and Africa, so may the third Christian millennium witness a great harvest of faith on this vast and vital continent," he said.
He asserted that the sign that the church is truly celebrating next year as 2,000 years of the Christ's birth will be "our conversion to the light and our efforts to restore equity and to advance justice at every level of society".
The Pontiff said the "legacy of so many wise teachers in India and in other lands of Asia point in a similar direction" as that of the Christian saints who had the "inexhaustible capacity of the human heart to love god and man, even when this involves great suffering." He said the world would only be transformed if men and women of goodwill, and whole nations, accept that the only path worthy of humanity is that "of peace, of mutual respect, understanding and love, and solidarity with those in need."
ELECTION 99 |
SINGLES | BOOK SHOP | MUSIC SHOP | HOTEL RESERVATIONS | MONEY
EDUCATION | PERSONAL HOMEPAGES | FREE EMAIL | FEEDBACK