To the President of Ireland :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)
To the President of Ireland
By Pope Paul VI

Mister President,

AS WE GREET you today with a heartfelt welcome, We recall with the happiest of memories Our own visit to Our beloved Ireland, and Our meeting there with Your Excellency. The vision of your Island of Saints and Scholars glows brightly in Our heart, illuminated above all by the unflinching fidelity of its people to this Apostolic See, in spite of dungeon, fire and sword.

Indeed, the high winds raised by these and other difficulties merely fanned into more brilliant flame the fire of Faith enkindled by Saint Patrick, giving rise to a most fervent spiritual and religious life in your own land, and a burning zeal for the conversion of souls, and the spreading of the Kingdom of Our Lord Jesus Christ to every corner of the earth.

So ardent is the faith of the Irish that they not only provide their own dear Island with sufficient vocations, but also give of their choicest and best to leave home and country, and to work as priests, as Brothers and Sisters, in the most difficult fields of apostolic endeavour. Innumerable are the missionaries who left your shores to bring the light and warmth of the Gospel to those sitting in darkness and in the shadow of death; incalculable the harvest of souls they gathered in the white fields of the missions.

Our knowledge of your marvellous history, and Our personal experience of the warm, friendly, generous heart of the Irish, combine to strengthen Our paternal affection and special benevolence towards the Emerald Isle and its people. Through your good offices, Mister President, We send them a most loving blessing, and We pray that God and Mary love them, and ever prosper and protect the Irish nation. To Your Excellency and your family, to the Government and citizens of Ireland, We impart from Our heart Our particular affectionate Apostolic Benediction.


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