Dear Cardinal Mahony,
Dear Brother Bishops,
1. With joy and affection I welcome you, the Bishops of the Church in California, Nevada and Hawaii, on the occasion of your visit ad Limina Apostolorum. Your pilgrimage to the tombs of the Apostles Peter and Paul is a celebration of the ecclesial bonds linking your particular Churches to the See of Peter. Mindful that the Church throughout the world is preparing to celebrate the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, I have chosen to devote this series of reflections with you and your Brother Bishops to the renewal of the Church's life envisaged by the Second Vatican Council. The Council was a gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church, and its full implementation is the best means of ensuring that the Catholic community in the United States enters the new millennium strengthened in faith and holiness, effectively contributing to a better society through its witness to the truth about man that is revealed in Jesus Christ (cf. Gaudium et Spes, 24). Indeed, the marvelous responsibility of the Church in your country is to spread this truth, which "enlightens man's intelligence and shapes his freedom, leading him to know and love the Lord" (Veritatis Splendor, Proem).