Welcome To His Holiness Pope John Paul II By Archbishop Justin Rigali

WELCOME TO HIS HOLINESS POPE JOHN PAUL II
By Archbishop Justin Rigali
Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis
January 27, 1999

Holy Father,

Your visit to St. Louis and to our metropolitan community is moving
toward its end here in this Cathedral Basilica.

Here are assembled representatives of our local Church, asking to be
confirmed in their faith: bishops, priests, deacons, seminarians, religious
and laity, including people who have worked so hard to prepare your
visit. The American Cardinals and the Bishops of the Province share
our joy. We are grateful that national, State and local civic authorities
are with us in rendering honor to Your Holiness.

This Cathedral Basilica speaks about the history of the faith in our
region. It bears witness to those who have planted the Church on the
banks of the Mississippi. This mother church of St. Louis is the center
of our worship and a great sign of God’s presence in our community.
With special satisfaction, therefor, we welcome you here to lead us
in the praise of God.

This hour of your visit is special also for many people outside the
Catholic community. With willingness and graciousness, our brothers
and sisters of the ecumenical and interreligious have accepted the invitation
to come together this evening with Your Holiness. At the end of Evening
Prayer, representatives wish to present to you an expression of common
efforts in united service to our community. We are blessed by this spirit
of collaboration and are pleased that Your Holiness should meet our
friends.

Present also are other friends in the metropolitan area, many of whom
are zealous servants of the well-being of the City of St. Louis and
the larger communities. Many have collaborated in facilitating and supporting
your visit.

We thank you, Holy Father, for coming to us, for the honor you pay
our Archdiocese, our metropolitan area, our State and our nation. We
thank you for raising our hearts to God, and for the example you give
us of serving one another.