On the 9th of March we received the joyful news that Pope Francis will visit Estonia on the 25th of September 2018. This is certainly a very great joy for all of us, which raises our hearts to be full of gratitude. We will soon see the Successor of St. Peter, the Roman Pontiff, in our country, the land of Mary! We do not yet have the precise plan for the visit, but we will certainly share this information, as soon as it comes to us. At the moment we can already be sure that the Pope will meet with his children, and celebrate Holy Mass on the 25th of September in Tallinn in a public place. The Holy Father also desires to meet with young people, with the representatives of the other churches, and with the various representatives of Estonian society, culture, etc.
As with the visit of St. John Paul II to Estonia 25 years ago, it is also now important that we prepare ourselves for this event. Of course, this visit requires a very careful and thorough material preparation. I am very grateful to all the people who will contribute in one way or another to the Papal visit. However, most important will be our spiritual preparation. For the motto of the Pope’s visit, we have chosen the famous Estonian song lyrics: “wake up, my heart.” These words do not only mean that we like singing, they emphasize the primary objective of every Papal visit: to encourage internal renewal, that our interior spirit would be renewed. The Pope is a pilgrim in the world who constantly and incessantly proclaims; “be prepared in season and out of season” (2 Tim 4:2), reminding us what must be our priorities in this world and within every person’s life. I remember what Pope John Paul II once said after two weeks of exhausting travel: if after the whole trip even just one person goes to confession thanks to the Pope’s visit, then the trip and the fatigue was well worth it. Pope Francis also stresses the importance of frequent confession and provides himself a good example in this. If even one person in Estonia turns to Christ, learns to know and to love God, and changes his life due to the visit of Pope Francis, then I consider the visit a success. I am sure that, with God’s help, we will see a lot more fruit for the Estonian Catholic Church! As the saying goes, “Watch Peter, listen to Christ”. Communion with the Pope encourages us to follow Christ.
Dear brothers and sisters, I invite you to participate as actively as possible in Pope Francis’ visit, as well as the preparation for the spiritual and practical needs. In the near future we will have a dedicated website available www.paavsteestis.ee, through which anyone can quickly glean much information about the Pope’s visit and the required preparation. I invite you to spread the information about this visit. Of course, many of the people around us are not Catholics, and do not see the Pope as we see him. However, there is no doubt that the Pope is for everyone – whether they are baptized or not – a great moral and spiritual authority whose words are of crucial importance for each person. When talking about the Pope’s visit, we will give people the opportunity to receive something important for their souls and their lives.
This year, we go to Easter with excitement which comes with the knowledge that the whole of the Universal Church is praying in a special way for the Catholic Church of Estonia and for Estonia as a nation.
+ Bishop Philippe Jourdan
Tallinn, Estonia, 13.03.2018
On the fifth Pontefix anniversary of Pope Francis’s