VATICAN CITY, JUN 24, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father this morning blessed a marble bust of his predecessor, Servant of God Paul VI, in the atrium of the Paul VI Hall, in the presence of members of the Roman Curia, the sculptor Floriano Bodini, Paul VI's secretary, Archbishop Pasquale Macchi, and members of the late Pope's family. He underscored that Paul VI wished the hall bearing his name to be "the seat of the Pope's catechesis."
Pope John Paul noted that today is the feast of St. John the Baptist, the name the former Pope received at baptism. He also recalled that "forty years have passed since he was elected to the Chair of Peter, on June 21, 1963, and 25 years since his death which occurred at Castelgandolfo on August 6, the feast of the Transfiguration."
"On June 29, 1978," said the Holy Father, "in the last public celebration for the 15th anniversary of his election as Supreme Pontiff, (Paul VI) gave a talk that had the solemn and heartfelt tone of a last will and testament. I would like to re-read a meaningful passage: 'We look in a comprehensive way - he said -on what has been the period during which the Lord has entrusted us with His Church. ... Even if we consider ourselves as the least and most unworthy Successor of Peter, we feel on this threshold comforted and supported by the awareness of having tirelessly repeated, before the Church and the world: 'You are Christ, the Son of the Living God!' We too, like Paul, feel able to say: 'I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith...'.
"Let us pray," said John Paul II in closing, "that we too, like him, will be able to work tirelessly for the Kingdom of God."
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