Parting Words — Day 34

Thursday, Sept. 28, 1978

Today John Paul addressed a group of ten bishops visiting from the Philippines for their ad limina visit.

Just recently at a general audience, we spoke to the faithful about eternal life. We are convinced that it is necessary for us to emphasize this element, in order to complete our message and to model our teaching on that of Jesus.

More than ever before, we must help our people to realize just how much they need Jesus Christ, the Son of God and the Son of Mary. He is their Savior, the key to their destiny and to the destiny of all humanity.

Leaving the event, the pope privately apologized to Msgr. Justin Rigali, who had served as a translator at the event, for keeping him from his office work at the Vatican. Rigali replied that it was an honor to be summoned by the pope. John Paul replied with a smile and said: “Thank you, thank you, disturbed Monsignor.”

Today the pope also wrote a letter to mark the 700 anniversary of the Church of St. Severus in Erfurt, Germany:

Finally this church instills into one’s mind the desire for that heavenly home, where one may enjoy for all eternity the gifts, which the eye cannot see, about which the ear cannot hear, nor can they be adequately represented by any thought; indeed, “the building we have from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” (2nd Corinthians 5:1) This certainly gives true meaning and real importance to this short and often arduous life on earth. In times of adversity, let us long for that blessed life which will never fail, and let us not forget it in times of prosperity.

This evening, around 10 p.m., the Holy Father was informed that some neo-Fascist youths had fired upon a group of young people reading L’Unita, a Communist newspaper, outside one of the party’s offices in Rome. One boy was killed and another was seriously wounded. John Paul lamented, “Even the young are killing each other.” He then retired to his room to read Thomas à Kempis’ The Imitation of Christ in bed.

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