In this moment we are crossing the threshold of 2001, and we enter the third Christian millennium. At the stroke of midnight, which marks this historic passage, we pause with hearts full of gratitude to consider the various events of the century and millennium that have passed.

Tragedies and hopes, joys and sufferings, victories and challenges: Over all this comes the knowledge that God guides the events of humanity. He walks with men and women and does not cease to do great things. How can we not thank him on this night? How can we not repeat to him, “In te, Domine, speravi, non confundar in aeternum”? Yes, “In you, O Lord, I trust, let me never be put to shame!”

At the end of the usual prayer meeting that marks each day of the Jubilee Year, and which today is being held at night to close the year 2000, our gaze is fixed on Christ, the Savior of mankind. Without him, life cannot reach its final destiny. It is he who helps us face the challenges of the new millennium with his wisdom and the power of his Spirit. It is he who makes us able to spend our existence for the glory of God and the good of humanity. We must share with him and be his witnesses in the future that awaits us.

It is Christ who makes us able to spend our existence for the glory of God and the good of humanity.

Let us be drawn by his love and the path of our lives will know the joy that comes from faithful service every day. This is my heartfelt wish that I make for all the faithful and for every man and woman of good will. In this moment, I send a special thought, accompanied by prayer, to those who are in difficulty, who live moments of pain. For each of them, I invoke the providential help of the Lord.

Now my gaze expands to the whole world. I hope the new millennium will bring peace, justice, fraternity and prosperity to all the nations! In particular, my thoughts go to the youth, hope of the future: May the light of Christ the Savior give meaning to their existence, guide them on the path of life, and make them strong in their witness to truth and service of good.

I entrust all these hopes to the inter-cession of the Madonna. Most Blessed Virgin, Dawn of new times, help us to look with faith on the history of the past and the year that is beginning. Star of the third millennium, guide our steps toward Christ, who live “yesterday, today, and forever,” and grant humanity, which advances with trembling into the new millennium, more and more fraternity and solidarity.

Happy New Year to all! (Zenit translation)