Today, we bring you the brief words from His Holiness Pope John Paul II from last Wednesday - the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows - during his weekly Wednesday Papal Audience at St. Peter's Square where the Holy Father continued on his theme of reconciliation in preparation for the new millennium, emphasizing the role of priests in the Sacrament of Penance.
Papal Audience Address from Wednesday, September 15, 1999
On the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, the Holy Father addressed over 10,000 in St. Peter's Square, continuing his theme of reconciliation for the Jubilee Year 2000 with the charge to priests to carry out their responsibility of being the conduit in the confessional to help effect the conversion process from sin to sanctifying grace for all faithful Catholics. It must be pointed out that the English translation only highlights the Pope's main points and does not go into detail as does the Italian translation from the Vatican.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
In this final year of preparation for the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, we are invited to rediscover the Sacrament of
Penance as an encounter with our merciful and forgiving Father. Through the Death and Resurrection of his Son, God the
Father has established a Covenant relationship with us, in which we are called to be open to the message of the Gospel, to
be converted and to do works of penance.
Through the Sacrament, sinners are restored to the saving relationship of the Covenant; they are freed from sin, grow in
holiness, and rediscover the profound joy of being restored to the state of grace.
As we approach the Jubilee, the pastoral task of Bishops and priests is to ensure that the Christian communities entrusted
to them undertake the path of conversion and penance. In this regard, I would remind pastors that, to be good confessors,
they themselves must be authentic penitents. I pray that the entire People of God will experience conversion and
forgiveness through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, so that together we may enter the new Millennium with renewed
hearts and minds.