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

By Archbishop Justin Rigali
America's Center
January 27, 1999


The people of God of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, the dioceses of
the Province, and indeed representatives from many local Churches throughout
the United States greet your Holiness today and welcome you with immense
joy and deep affection
. So many of the Bishops of the United States
are here to testify personally to their communion with you in faith
and love.

As Successor of Saint Peter and Pastor of the universal Church, your
zeal for the Gospel
has brought you from Rome to America –
first to Mexico and now to the banks of the Mississippi, to St. Louis
– to proclaim Jesus Christ.

The history of evangelization in this Archdiocese and in this
region converges today to the Eucharistic celebration with Your
Holiness. The communion we experience embraces all who have gone before
us – the generous missionaries and pioneers who have planted the
Church here. In our communion with Your Holiness, we experience
the communion of the universal Church and the need to express
solidarity with all our brothers and sisters
. Generations of the
faithful have been living their faith here in this way.

anticipation of your coming has not only been deeply felt by our Catholic
people but shared by so many other fellow Christians and members of
different religions. So many people have worked together, generously
and selflessly, to prepare for your visit. They have been waiting to
pray with you, to listen to your words and to be uplifted by your blessing.

And now, Holy Father, the hour has come. Our hearts are filled with
gratitude to you and to the Lord who accompanies you here and sustains
you constantly.

Holy Father, once again, welcome to St. Louis!