MODEL OF FAITH
John Paul II
March 18, 2001
Dear Brothers and Sisters!
1. Tomorrow, 19 March, we will celebrate the feast of St
Joseph. In the midst of Lent the liturgy points out this
saint to us as an example to follow and a protector to call
For us, St Joseph is first of all a model of faith.
Like Abraham, he always lived with an attitude of total
abandonment to divine Providence and thus offers us an
encouraging example, especially when we are asked to take
God "at his word", that is, without clearly seeing his
We are also called to imitate him in the humble practice of
obedience, a virtue which shines in his silence and
hidden life of hard work. How valuable is the "school" of
Nazareth for contemporary man, who is beset by a culture
that so often exalts appearances and success, autonomy and a
false idea of individual freedom! How necessary it is, on
the contrary, to rediscover the value of simplicity and
obedience, of respect and the loving search for God's will!
2. St Joseph lived at the service of his Wife and
Divine Son; for believers, he thus became an eloquent
example of how "to reign" is "to serve". He can be seen as a
helpful lesson in life especially by those who have the task
of being "fathers" and "guides" in the family, at school and
in the Church. I am particularly thinking of fathers, who
are celebrating their feast on the day dedicated to St
Joseph. I am also thinking of those whom God has appointed
in the Church to exercise spiritual fatherhood. Allow me to
mention, among these, the nine Bishops whom I will have the
joy of ordaining tomorrow in St Peter's Basilica. I ask you
to pray for them and for all the Church's Pastors.
May St Joseph, whom the Christian people invoke with trust,
always guide the steps of God's family; may he especially
help those who carry out the role of physical or spiritual
fatherhood. May Mary, Joseph's virginal Wife and Mother of
the Redeemer, accompany our prayer and intercede for us.
After leading the recitation of the Angelus and giving
his Blessing, the Holy Father greeted the pilgrims in their
I extend a special greeting to all the fathers and am
delighted to encourage the "Adopt a Father" campaign
organized by the Catholic Liaison Committee for a
Civilization of Love. This is a new form of long-distance
adoption which, through the direct agency of missionaries,
guarantees dignified work for the heads of families in very
poor countries. I cordially bless this initiative, which
helps to keep families together and contributes to building
a world of greater brotherhood and solidarity.
I cordially greet the Spanish-speaking pilgrims,
particularly the group from Sts Michael and Sebastian Parish
in Valencia. I encourage you to continue the journey of
radical conversion to the Gospel so that you can bear
abundant fruits at Easter. God bless you.
I also greet a group of men and women religious, priests and
lay people from Brazil who are visiting several Roman
basilicas in a spirit of penance and solidarity with the
"Campaign for Fraternity", whose theme this year is
"Life, yes; drugs, no". I ask God that this Lenten
pilgrimage will be joined with that of all Brazilians who
aspire to a better future of peace and goodness for their
whole country. Praised be Our Lord Jesus Christ!
I greet the parish priest and pilgrims from the parish in
Breznica, Slovenia. May your visit to the Eternal City
strengthen your faith and increase your apostolic zeal. For
this I give you my Apostolic Blessing.
Lastly, I greet the Italian-speaking pilgrims, with a
special thought for the parish groups from Castel San Pietro,
from the Diocese of Lugano, Switzerland, and from Albosaggia
near Sondrio in the Diocese of Como; I also greet the
14-year-olds from the St John Bosco Oratory in Villasanta
(Milan), who are preparing to make their "profession of
faith", and the pupils of Our Lady of Victories Nursery
School in Ripa Teatina, Province of Chieti.
I wish everyone a pleasant Sunday.