VATICAN CITY, JUN 23, 2005 (VIS) - This morning the Holy Father received 70 participants in the annual meeting of ROACO (Reunion of Organizations for Aid to the Oriental Churches), which has spent the last few days examining the situation of the Greek-Catholic Church in Ukraine and the formation of students from the Oriental Catholic Churches.
Benedict XVI affirmed that in the face of the prevailing culture of individualism "it is more than ever necessary that Christians offer a testimony of a solidarity that crosses all frontiers, in order to build a world in which everyone feels welcomed and respected. Those who accomplish this mission, either individually or as a community, propagate authentic love, the love that liberates the heart and everywhere spreads the joy 'that no one can take away' because it comes from the Lord."
The Holy Father thanked ROACO for its help "to our needy brethren, and especially for your efforts aimed at giving tangible form to the charity that binds Christians of the Latin tradition and those of the Oriental tradition. To intensify such ties is to render a precious service to the universal Church. Continue, then, in this most worthy commitment."
Referring to the Ukrainian Catholic Church, "whose continuous evolution following the sad winter of the Communist regime is a cause for joy and hope," the Holy Father said: "Support her ecclesial journey and favor everything that promotes reconciliation and fraternity among Christians of the beloved Ukraine."
The Pope pointed out how the presence of 500 students from the Oriental Catholic Churches "represents a valuable opportunity." At the same time care must be taken to protect "the formative institutions in the Oriental Churches themselves. Alongside material assistance, encouragement must be given to formative activities which, on the one hand, intensify genuine local tradition while giving due consideration to the organic progress of the Oriental Churches and, on the other, lead to the authentic 'aggiornamento' proposed by Vatican Council II."
After highlighting the fact that "all Christians have an unforgettable debt with Jerusalem and the Holy Land," Benedict XVI concluded by affirming that "certain positive signs we have received over the last few months strengthen our hope that the day of reconciliation between the various communities that work in the Holy Land will not be long in coming, and to this end we do not cease to pray with faith."
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