Given by Pope John Paul II on June 13, 1982
Upon Returning to Rome…
Reflection About Argentina and Our Lady of Luján
Visit to Argentina rightly understood and welcomed

On Sunday, 13 June, just about three hours after returning from his brief visit to Argentina. Pope John Paul II addressed the following message to the faithful in St. Peter Square before the weekly recitation of the Angelus.

1. In the letter that I addressed on 25 May to the beloved sons and daughters of Argentina, I said to them. “My special love for your nation and for all of Latin America is well known. . . Deeply worried about the cause of peace and moved by love for you. . . it would be my wish even to come directly from Great Britain to Argentina, and there among you and with you to raise the same prayer for the victory of a just peace over war. I hope that soon you will he able to join the Pope in the sanctuary dedicated to the Mother of God in Lujan, consecrating “our families and your Catholic country to the motherly heart of the Mother of God” (n. 4).

2. Today in our Angelus prayer I wish, together with you present here in St. Peter’s Square in Rome. to thank Divine Providence. because It was granted me to fulfill the promise contained in that letter to the Argentine nation, written before my apostolic journey to England, Scotland and Wales.

I wish to thank also all the people who contributed to the realization of this important undertaking. The reasons that guided me were explained in the same letter of 25 May. I am deeply grateful that these reasons were well understood and cordially received.

The festive and yet profound participation in the liturgical celebrations demonstrated the Christian sensitivity with which the Argentine people were able to understand my intentions, just as was the case also during my pastoral visit to Great Britain.

3. The brief visit to Argentina was centered around the liturgy of Corpus Christi, which in this case was celebrated yesterday (Saturday) in Buenos Aires. One preparation for this Eucharistic Liturgy was the Mass celebrated in the afternoon of the preceding day in sanctuary of the Mother of God in Lujan.

God elevated man on the cross of his Son, and strengthens him on the paths of life, even when they are most difficult and full of suffering, the Sacrament of the New and Eternal Covenant. that is with the food of Body and Blood.

We meditated on this truth with brothers and sisters in Argentina the clergy and the episcopate of Argentina itself and of the various countries of Latin American of all at the Marian sanctuary In Lujan, and then in Buenos Aires In the very place where in 1934, the International Eucharistic Congress was held, presided over by the Papal Legate, Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli, who later became Pope Pius XII.

I express a heartfelt thanks to everyone in particular. I address my thanks to the President of the State, as well as to the other authorities who encouraged the realization of this important undertaking.

4. “The Church, while maintaining love toward every single nation, cannot do less than safeguard universal unity, peace and mutual understanding. . . The Church does not neglect to give witness of the unity of the great human family and to seek ways to emphasize this unity beyond every tragic division. They are the ways that lead to justice, love d peace” (Letter to the Argentine Nation, 5).

5. The Church must give witness of peace also for the other conflict that has newly erupted in Lebanon these past days.

Yesterday a truce was reached between the Israelis and the Palestinians. However, it is so fragile and precarious, after very hard encounters and bombardments that have caused death and injury in greatly increased numbers, thousands of new refugees and enormous destruction.

A deep sense of pity and sorrow arises from my soul for these events. I pray and I invite you to pray that God may enlighten the responsible parties In these crucial moments, that the truce may be strengthened, and that there be no more recourse to Irma.

People ate not called to fight and destroy each other, but to understand and agree with each other in order to live together peacefully. It Is an illusion to believe that war and violence lead to true solutions. Instead, they sow new hatred and greater mistrust. Only moderation and wisdom open the way to. negotiation. From negotiation there can spring lasting agreements in which each people particularly the Palestinian people that is now subjected to the hardest trials and see their proper identity preserved and can find their aspirations heard.

And Lebanon, which is weighed down by such a heavy burden of conflict, will finally have to obtain security and peace, in the guarantee of its sovereignty and integrity, in order to return to being a factor of balance and collaboration in the midst of the peoples of the Middle East, all of whom we would want reconciled with one another.

It is also necessary for the Church’s witness of peace to be expressed with a concrete solidarity in favor of the populations that have been hit by the destructive tornado of this new war. Vast assistance of every kind is needed for the wounded, for the families of the victims. for the refugees. I am confident that everyone will want to respond with generous charity to the appeal that I am making for those suffering brothers and sisters of ours.

(C) Harmony “The Teachings of Pope John Paul II” CD-ROM