John Paul II’s Messages


ON JULY 30th 2003


  1. On the occasion of the European jamboree of the International Union of Guides and Scouts of Europe, taking place in Poland, I am glad to send you, dear Guides and Scouts of Europe, a warm greeting and to assure you of my deep union in prayer. The theme of this “Eurojam”, “Duc in altum!”, comes from the words of Jesus to Peter: “Put out into deep water » (Lk 5, 4). It invites you to deepen the spiritual itinerary which was offered to all Christians in the world at the end of the great jubilee of 2000 and to young people, in Toronto, last year.
  2. Dear young people, answer generously to Jesus Christ’s call who invites you to « put out into deep water » and to become his witnesses. You will discover the trust that Christ puts in you to invent a future with him. In order to be accomplished, this mission entrusted to you by the Church first requires cultivating an authentic life of prayer, nourished by the sacraments, especially by Eucharist and Reconciliation. As I have underlined it in the recent Encyclical Letter Ecclesia de Eucharistia, “every commitment to holiness […] must draw the strength it needs from the Eucharistic mystery and in turn be directed to that mystery as its culmination” (nr. 60). So it is important that the Holy Mass should constitute the centre and the culmination of this meeting, as well as of all your meetings, and most particularly of your weeks in the celebration of the Lord’s Day.The scout experience is a privileged itinerary of spiritual growth, a way of great value to facilitate the integral education of the person. It helps to overcome the temptation of indifference and selfishness in order to open oneself to one’s neighbour and to society. It may favour efficiently the welcome of requirements of the Christian vocation: to be “salt of the earth and light of the world” (see Mt 5, 13-16). I invite you to be faithful to the rich tradition of the scout movement, committed into the formation to dialogue, the sense of justice, loyalty, brotherhood in social relationships. Such a style of life may be your original contribution to the realisation of a greater and more authentic fraternity between the European peoples, a precious contribution to the life of the societies in which you live 
  3. Dear Guides and Scouts of Europe, you are a precious gift not only for the Church but also for the new Europe that is being built under your eyes. You are called « to take part, with all the ardour of your youth, to the construction of the Europe of peoples, so that every person may be recognised in his dignity of beloved son of God and so that a society founded on solidarity and fraternal charity may occur » (Audience with the Guides and Scouts of Europe, August 3rd 1994).
  4. At the Marial sanctuary of Jasna Góra, which is so dear to me, you are going to renew in front of the Virgin of Częstochowa the commitments of your Baptism, your scout promise and your will to be real apostles of the Lord’s love. You are going to repeat the act of consecration to Our Lady of the Annunciation, already pronounced almost twenty years ago in Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral, on the occasion of your first European meeting. Since then, the fiat by which Mary has answered to God’s will has become a central element of the spirituality of the Guides and Scouts of Europe, especially in the prayer of the Angelus and the Rosary. May these moments of Marial prayer, in this year consecrated to Our Lady of the Rosary, go on impregnating your days, reviving in your hearts the memory of the marvel of the work of Redemption accomplished for us by Christ!When you go back home, in your families, in your communities, enriched by the experience of these days, let Jesus’ words re-echo in you: « I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Mt, 28, 20). Supported by his grace, try to fulfil your commitment with a renewed enthusiasm; thus scouting will be for you « a means of sanctification within the Church » that will favour and encourage « a more intimate union between concrete life and your faith » (Statutes, art. 1.2.7.).Such is the wish that I formulate for you in prayer. Invoking upon your European meeting, upon the responsible leaders of the International Union of Guides and Scouts of Europe and upon each one of you the intercession of the Blessed Virgin of Częstochowa, with all my heart, I give you all an affectionate apostolic Blessing.

From Castel Gandolfo, July 30th 2003.




Most dear Guides and Scouts of Europe,
I am happy to welcome you to this Wednesday general Audience. During your international meeting in Viterbo, you are reflecting upon the theme: « In Christ, each man is my brother ». You have wished to make a pilgrimage on the places which became sacred thanks to the Apostles Peter and Paul’s martyrdom, in order to strengthen your faith and to go on with a renewed vigour with the mission that is entrusted to you. As a matter of fact, you are called to take part, with all the ardour of your youth, in the construction of the Europe of peoples, so that every person should be recognised in his dignity of beloved child of God and to build a society founded on solidarity and fraternal brotherhood.

Consequently, your daily duty is to testify of arisen Christ towards your fellows who need to give a true meaning to life, by becoming aware that thanks to the infinite love of Christ Saviour a future rich of hope opens in front of them. To be Christian means to work unceasingly to build peace and unity in the Church and in the world. For you in particular, this means to work within the wide family of Scouts, whose brothers and sisters you are, with your specific method. If you apply the commandment of love, Jesus says that “everyone will know that you are my disciples” (Jn 13, 35).

The scout law is your ideal. It calls you to develop the fundamental human values: honesty, loyalty, the sense of well done duty, the love of nature and the service to your neighbour. The scout method offers you precious instruments to build your personality. Beside you, you have some chefs and adults who, by guiding you firmly, delicately and patiently, wish to help you give the best of yourselves.

In order to respect this law, programme of a righteous and attractive life, become aware of the importance of life in the Church and of the frequentation of sacraments.

In the Eucharist, the community is gathered by the Lord, its Chief. It receives its food in order to progress coherently. Be able to recognise Christ’s extraordinary gift: he comes to inhabit your whole being, making of your body and of your heart a temple that is agreeable to him (see 1 Co 3, 16)! By the sacrament of Reconciliation, frequently received, you will discover that Jesus trusts you and loves you infinitely, that the past may be overcome because forgiveness opens a new future. Thus you will become always purer and more self-controlled. In a world that offers easy pleasures and deceitful illusions, it is necessary to be able to walk against the stream, taking inspiration in the essential moral values, the only ones that are able to realise a harmonious, prosperous and calm life.

You are called every day, in your family, at school and in your leisure, to live according to the sacraments of baptism and confirmation, by which you ask the Holy Spirit to send you the light for the choices that you have to make.

Dear young people, I invite you, within your movement, in the chaplaincies, in the parishes or in other Christian places, to reflect upon the sense that you want to give to your life. God has put some talents into your hands. Some of you have heard or will hear the call to become priests, religious or nuns, or even lay people committed in the world. Let Christ guide you and never be afraid of answering like the young Samuel to serve in the Church! Christ wants you to succeed in your life, so that his light may shine and that you may reach the happiness which he wants to give you. The Church relies on you and on the wide scout family.

Dear young people, at the end of this general Audience, I greet you most warmly, you who come from Germany, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Spain, France, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Poland, Portugal, Rumania, Russia and Switzerland. May the wish of following Christ in the Church never disappear! I entrust you to the intercession of the Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church and our Mother and grant you with all my heart my apostolic Blessing.

All gathered here, in union with all your colleagues throughout the world, we are going to pray in order to thank the Lord for all the good that your movement has made for several generations to the youth, in Europe and in the world, imploring for the future the same fruit, the same vivacity, the same dynamism that the scout movement has shown for generations.

We are also going to pray for your families, for your countries. You represent here the various countries, the various nations.

I also greet the Bishop of Viterbo, who welcomes you in Italy, as well at the other bishops who do the same in the various parts of this beautiful country.

And now, let us pray in Latin: I think that you, the scouts, still know Latin.

Joannes Paulus pp. II