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Marist Calendar

4 December

Saint John Damascene and John Calabria
1889, opening of the first Marist school in Colombia

Marist Calendar - December

Do not be afraid!

 

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The slogan the most lived and most repeated

07/04/2005: Vatican

Information technology tells us that the expression “Do not be afraid” was repeated nearly 400 times in the speeches given by John Paul II. But more than the number of times, it is the circumstances in which this invitation, given for the first time in Saint Peter’s Square on the 22nd October 1978, was applied that really strike you. The Latin-American bishops heard it during their meeting at Puebla; John Paul II shouted it during that difficult journey in Poland in 1983; he repeated it forcefully to two million young people at the World Youth Day celebrations in 2000. But it is also the title given the volume of conversations he had with André Frossard (1983) and the subtitle of the manuscript sent to Vittorio Messori with his answers to the interview questions, contained in the book “Crossing the Threshold of Hope” (1994).

It is an invitation that John Paul II repeated everywhere: in Europe confronted by secularisation and to the young Churches battling the drama of poverty; from the stages of the huge stadiums I the United States of America to the beaches of the islands of Seychelles. But these words were addressed more often to the people who had suffered greatly throughout their history: in April 1977 at Sarajevo and in 1998 as soon as he set foot on Cuban soil.
It is an invitation that John Paul II had put into the hands and hearts of all with whom he spoke: from the Cardinals in the first consistory to every baptised person through his Apostolic Exhortation Christifideles Laici; it is present in the letter to families and addressed to all people of good will since the first message for the World Day of Peace.
But above all, it is the call that he never ceased to direct strongly to young people. In his message for the World Day of Peace in 1985 we find it repeated seven times.
But he was speaking about himself when he asserted: “I told myself that I should not be afraid…”. And this is exactly how it was! With the authority of one who lived the Gospel without compromise, he demonstrated until his final moment that he was not afraid because he had given himself totally to Christ.

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