to Trinidad & Tobago
Tuesday, February 5th, 1985
On Tuesday, 5th February, 1985, His Holiness Pope John Paul II visited Trinidad and Tobago for about seven hours. Despite rain which persisted throughout the day, the Apostolic Visit turned out to be a truly unforgettable experience.
Everyone in Trinidad and Tobago was profoundly touched by the extraordinary charisma of Pope John Paul II. The enthusiasm of the population - Catholics, non-Catholic and non-Christian - knew no bounds and yet there was an unusual sense of discipline all round. (Late Anthony Pantin, Archbishop of Port of Spain)
Papal Address at Piarco Airport
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
With profound gratitude to God for being able to set foot on the soil of this nation, Trinidad and Tobago, I offer warmest greetings of love and peace to you all. And I thank you for your most cordial welcome.
I want to tell you of my admiration for the way in which people of difference races, religions and traditions live together in harmony in your country. While so many places in the world suffer tragic conflicts due to bigotry and prejudice, you are a sign of hope. Your fraternal understanding makes possible fruitful co-operation between greatly diverse groups, and this co-operation is mutually enriching. I commend you highly for insisting on the recognition of the equal human dignity of each man, woman and child.
Permit me to say a few words to the youth of Trinidad and Tobago. When I think of you and of all the other young people round the world, I feel a deep sense of gratitude and hope. I see in your eyes the bright promise of tomorrow, for the future of society belongs to you. And you begin to shape that future now, by the choices you make, by the attitudes you form, by the values you choose to live by - or to ignore.
As you step forward to assume responsibility, let your hearts be brave. Put your confidence in God who made you and who loves you. Dare to reach out to others in hope and in trust, and, joining hands and hearts in friendship, help to build a better world.
I also want to take this opportunity to extend a very special word of greeting to those living on the island of Tobago. While the limitations of time do not enable me to come to you as I would like, be assured that I am with you in spirit and in prayer.
Upon all the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago I invoke God's gifts of peace and joy. May the Lord bless you all.
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