Vatican City (Fides Service ) – Pope John Paul II sent a Message to Bishop Friends of the Focolare Movement on the occasion of the 22nd Ecumenical Meeting due to take place in Istanbul but because of tragic recent events in that city was held at Rocca di Papa (Rome).
“The programme of this annual meeting focuses on the passage of Holy Scripture: "You are all one in Christ Jesus" (Gal 3,28) – the Holy Father writes -. This theme is today more important than ever: it can offer a valid response to the serious lacerations afflicting the world today. May your meeting strengthen your ecumenical commitment and accelerate the journey towards that full unity for which Christ prayed the Father and for which he gave his life! You know that the unity of Christians is dear to my heart and that since the beginning of my Pontificate I have given it constant attention.”
The Pope recalled something he said recently to the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for the promotion of Christian Unity: "The power of love pushes us towards each other and makes ready for listening, dialogue, conversion and renewal (cfr Unitatis redintegratio, 1)". And again: "Only intense ecumenical spirituality, lived in docility to Christ and full openness to the prompting of the Spirit will help us live with the necessary zeal this intermediate period during which we must take stock of our progress and our failures with the lights and the shadows of our journey to reconciliation." (Message del 3 November 2003). Lastly he encouraged the Bishops to “persevere in the apostolic journey undertaken”.(S.L.) (Fides Service 27/11/2003 – lines 21; words 294)