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Monday, November 17, 2003


VATICAN CITY, NOV 15, 2003 (VIS) - This morning in the Paul VI Hall, the Holy Father received 8,500 participants in a pilgrimage organized by UNITALSI, which is commemorating 100 years of activity. The Italian ecclesiastical association of volunteers assists the sick during pilgrimages to international Marian shrines.

John Paul urged all the members of UNITALSI, the sick and handicapped, as well as volunteers, doctors and priests to 'keep alive the charism of your ecclesiastical association. Nourish your personal experience and work in UNITALSI by listening to the Word and prayer, with an intense sacramental life and an incessant search for the divine will. This is how one offers 'spiritual worship' pleasing to God.'

After recalling that the beginnings of the association are linked to the Marian shrine at Lourdes, the Pope affirmed: 'In an attempt to imitate Our Lady, who after accepting the 'Word made flesh' in her womb went to visit Elizabeth, make yourselves available for humble and simple service. She will always help you and in every situation she will be your sustenance.'

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