VATICAN CITY, NOV 30, 2003 (VIS) - Before praying the Angelus today at noon with the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square, the Pope indicated that today was the beginning of Advent, 'a journey of spiritual renovation in preparation for Christmas. The voices of the prophets in the liturgy, who announce the Messiah and invite all to conversion of heart and to prayer, resound.'
'Christ, the Prince of peace, is coming!' exclaimed the Holy Father. 'Preparing ourselves for His birth means reawakening the hope for peace in ourselves and in the entire world. Especially peace in our hearts which is built by putting down the weapons of rancor, vengeance and every form of selfishness.'
John Paul II emphasized that the 'world greatly needs peace. I am thinking especially, with profound sadness, of the latest episodes of violence in the Middle East and Africa, as well as in so many other parts of the world reported in the daily news. I renew my appeal to the leaders of the great religions: let us join forces in preaching non-violence, forgiveness and reconciliation!'
'On this journey of anticipation and hope that is Advent,' he added, 'the Church community identifies herself more than ever with Our Lady. May Our Lady of Hope help us so that we may open our hearts to Him who bestows the priceless gift of peace on all of humanity by coming among us.'
After the Angelus, the Pope recalled that tomorrow is World AIDS Day and that the 'disease ' is unfortunately still spreading, especially in the poorest countries. While I pray for those who are afflicted by this scourge, I encourage all those in the Church who offer the inestimable service of acceptance, healing and spiritual support to these brothers and sisters of ours.'
ANG;PEACE;...; ;VIS;20031201;Word: 310;