Sydney (Fides Service) - “The legacy of the late Pope John Paul II, a man who travelled to 126 countries during his papacy, will continue to inspire missionary work around the world” said Fr. Terry Bell, national director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in Australia. “The Pontifical Mission Societies are the Pope’s main missionary instrument across the globe. Working in three areas they - foster local church leadership (Society of St Peter Apostle), partner local churches and communities (Society for the Propagation of the); and encourage children to care for children (Society of Holy Childhood)”. Fr. Bell said “with his life the Holy Father showed us how to reach out to others and break down borders. Following the inauguration of his pontificate in 1978 Pope John Paul II travelled to the four corners of the earth to spread the message of Christ. The thing that most impressed me was his holiness, he had a aura of goodness about him. He had an ease of communication, both oral and written, and his clear and constant vision was an inspiration”.
Fr. Terry recalled that in 1986 on the occasion of his own 25th anniversary of priestly ordination, he had the opportunity to concelebrate Mass with the Pope in his private chapel in the Vatican: “It was a very special experience to be with the Pope in his time of personal prayer”.
National Directors of the Pontifical Mission Societies have a meeting with the Pope every year. In 2004 John Paul II told them: “in the stormy times in which humanity is living, the Pontifical Mission Societies that serve the Church across the world area sound reference for all who seek the truth that save”, reminding all to have special concern for the peoples of the developing world “whose suffering is the greatest and show needs are the most acute “When you feel distressed about other peoples’ suffering and strive to alleviate their great need for aid you are at the same time helping your own people to emerge from the grip of selfishness” the Pope said
P. Bell concluded: “And indeed thanks also to his example and his words, last year the PMS in Australia raised a record sum of more than US$ 8.1 million in net donations to help those in the developing world”.
(PA) (Agenzia Fides 13/04/2005 Righe: 26 Parole: 271)