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VISIT TO THE POLISH CEMETERY OF MONTE CASSINO HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS JOHN PAUL II

 Friday,  18 May 1979, Monte Cassino, Italy

Beloved Fellow-countrymen! This is a special moment in which I can take part with you in the present great anniversary. Thirty-five years ago the battle for Monte Cassino ended—one of the decisive battles of the last war…… At Monte Cassino the Polish soldier fought, here he fell, here he shed his blood, thinking of his country, of that country which is for us a beloved Mother precisely because love for her demands sacrifice and hardship….

And thus, for all that period from 1 September until Monte Cassino, the Polish soldier travelled by many roads, looking to Divine Providence and to the justice of the times with his eyes on the image of Our Lady of Jasna Gora. He went again to do battle like the previous generations for “our liberty and yours”.

Here, at Monte Cassino today, I wish to be the servant and the mouthpiece of this order of the social and international life of man which is constructed on justice and on love, according to the evangelical counsels of Christ….

Many times I have walked in this cemetery. I have read the inscriptions on the stones giving for each one the date and place of birth. These inscriptions brought before my mind’s eye the features of my Fatherland, of the country in which I was born. These inscriptions from so many places of the land of Poland, from all parts from the East to the West, from the South to the North, do not cease to cry out here in the heart of Europe, at the foot of the monastery which recalls the times of St Benedict, they do not cease to cry out as did the hearts of the soldiers who fought here.

We bow our heads before the heroes.

Let us recommend their souls to God.

Let us recommend to God the Fatherland, Poland, Europe, the World.