Great Jubilee News
Invitation To Become Promoters of International Solidarity

VATICAN CITY, ( Never before in history had so many dentists gathered in the Vatican. The majority of the 6,000 pilgrims were Italians. Tuesday was the Dentists Jubilee, which was scheduled to tie in with an annual professional meeting, which will end on April 1.

When he was with them, John Paul II not only referred to their "technical" work, but especially their "human" service, in support of those who suffer and experience a time of need. Therefore, he encouraged them to become "promoters of solidarity," even at the international level.

This was the Holy Father's first public audience after his historic pilgrimage to the Holy Land. At
the beginning of the morning, the dentists, very singular Jubilee pilgrims indeed, crossed the
threshold of the Holy Door and attended a Mass concelebrated by Archbishop Javier Lozano
Barragan, president of the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Assistance to Health Care Workers,
and Cardinal Virgilio Noe, archpriest of the Vatican Basilica.

The Mass was followed by a meeting with the Pontiff. John Paul II said to the dentists, "Your
activity is not only the technical dimension; it is also a mission that requires placing your
professional capacities at the service of your neighbor in whom, as believers, you must see, in a
transparent way, the face of Christ."

Given their responsibility, the Holy Father said that the dental profession today requires
"constant updating both at the technical as well as the human levels, paying special attention to
ethical and moral questions that come up in daily activity."

Here the Pope pointed out the need to find ideal methods and techniques to "prevent infections,"
as well as "timely forms of international solidarity and cooperation in support of the needy,"
especially "handicapped patients and the elderly." For the Catholic dentist, there is only one
model, Jesus, the Good Samaritan par excellence.

Therefore, John Paul II invited them to give "scientific and technical help to countries that do not
have access to current dental care. With the creativity of love, you must find answers that
respond to the needs of the needy neighbor, respecting the very dignity of the human being."

Christ's call to dentists worldwide during this Jubilee Year is that "in face of the mystery of
suffering, which closely touches so many of our brothers and sisters, you become instruments
and witnesses of his divine goodness." More than one patient with a tooth ache will be most
grateful for the Pope's exhortation.