This week marks the 40th anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s apostolic journey to the United States of America (October 1-8, 1979).
In honor of the event, I’ll be posting short excerpts from the words he delivered during the journey.
From so many quarters—Catholics, Protestants and Jews—America has opened her heart to me. And on my part I come to you—America—with sentiments of friendship, reverence and esteem. I come as one who already knows you and loves you, as one who wishes you to fulfill completely your noble destiny of service to the world. Once again I can now admire firsthand the beauty of this vast land stretching between two oceans; once again I am experiencing the warm hospitality of the American people.
Although it is not possible for me to enter into every home, to greet personally every man and woman, to caress every child in whose eyes is reflected the innocence of love—still, I feel close to all of you, and you are all in my prayers.
Permit me to express my sentiments in the lyrics of your own song: “America ! America ! God shed his grace on thee, And crown thy good with brotherhood, From sea to shining sea.”
And may the peace of the Lord be with you always—America!