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Tuesday, October 7, 2003


VATICAN CITY, OCT 7, 2003 (VIS) - The ancient city of Pompeii was destroyed on August 24, 79 A.D. when nearby Mt. Vesuvius erupted and covered the flourishing city in molten lava. The "New Pompeii" would arise only after 1,796 years, the result of a promise made in 1872 by Bartolo Longo, a lawyer and devout layman, to build a church dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary in Pompeii.

The monumental complex which arose from this promise and today houses the basilica, administrative offices and the charitable works associated with it, eventually led to the birth of a city, the New Pompeii, just a short distance away from the ruins of the ancient city.

Bartolo Longo was born in 1841 near Brindisi, on Italy's Adriatic coast. A cordial, easy going, intelligent man, devoted to the Church, he went through a crisis of faith in his university years, underwent a conversion and then devoted himself to works of charity and religious studies.

When he arrived in Pompeii in 1872 to administer the property of a wealthy widow, the Countess Marianna De Fusco, he was struck by the human and religious poverty of the peasants of the area. He dedicated himself to teaching the catechism and spreading devotion to the rosary and he organized yearly festivals in the fall to bring people together for catechesis and to pray the rosary. This could be best achieved, he felt, if the people had a proper church and, most especially, an image of Our Lady of the Rosary as the focal point. In 1875 Bartolo began searching the stores of Naples, and found and restored a painting, considered to be of dubious beauty and quality, in time for that year's concluding ceremonies on November 13.

That painting today hangs over the main altar of the basilica and depicts Our Lady with the Child Jesus on her knees, as they hand rosaries to St. Dominic and St. Catherine of Siena.
The neo-classical Pontifical Shrine and Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary of Pompeii, in all its frescoed, marble splendor, was dedicated in 1891, sixteen years after Bartolo Longo began to collect pennies from the peasants to build this temple to Mary.

Millions of pilgrims visit this shrine every year and, since its founding, thousands of cures and miracles have been attributed to Our Lady of the Rosary of Pompeii. Every year on May 8 and on the first Sunday of October, thousands of faithful gather at the shrine for the Feast of the Supplication, to petition favors and to offer thanksgiving for favors received.

Pope John Paul's visit today, the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, is his second to Pompeii. He first visited the shrine on October 21, 1979. On October 26, 1980 he beatified its founder, Bartolo Longo, who died October 5, 1926. His feast day is October 6. Blessed Bartolo, a Third Order Dominican, founded the Sisters of the Holy Rosary of Pompeii and he also established homes for the poor, for orphans and for the children of people in prison.



VATICAN CITY, OCT 7, 2003 (VIS) - Today, memory of Our Lady of the Rosary, the Pope left the Vatican at 9:15 by helicopter for the shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary of Pompeii, near Naples, for his 143rd trip within Italy. He was here previously, on October 21, 1979, a year after the start of his pontificate.

After landing in the archeological area of the ancient city of Pompeii, he went by car to Bartolo Longo Square, in front of the shrine, where tens of thousands of faithful welcomed him.

After greeting Archbishop Domenico Sorrentino, prelate of Pompeii, the Pope read a prayer in which he implored peace: "Christ is our peace. We look to Him at the start of this millennium that is already so tried by tensions and conflicts in every region of the world. ... May the Holy Virgin, from this famous marian temple on these ancient hills of Pompeii, that Bartolo Longo wished as a sign of peace for peoples, show herself to everyone as Mother and Queen of Peace." Following this was a meditation and recitation of the luminous mysteries of the rosary for peace in the world, and a homily by the Holy Father.

"Today's visit," he said, "in a certain sense crowns the Year of the Rosary. I thank the Lord for the fruits of this year which has produced such a meaningful reawakening of this prayer, simple and yet profound, that goes to the heart of the Christian faith and appears very current in the face of the challenges of the Third Millennium and the urgent commitment to the new evangelization."

Referring to the ruins of the ancient city of Pompeii, the Pope said "they ask the decisive question about man's destiny. They are witnesses to a great culture about which they reveal both luminous answers, and also disquieting questions. This marian city arose in the heart of these questions, proposing the Risen Christ as an answer, as the 'gospel' that saves."

"Today," he continued, "as in the times of ancient Pompeii, we must announce Christ to a society that is distancing itself from Christian values and is even losing its memory (of them). ... With ancient Pompeii in the background, the proposal of the rosary acquires a symbolic value of a renewed impetus of the Christian proclamation in our days."

John Paul II underscored that he "wished this pilgrimage to be seen as a plea for peace. We have meditated on the mysteries of light, almost in order to project the light of Christ upon conflicts, tensions and the dramas of the five continents. ... With the tranquil rhythm of repeating the Hail Mary, the rosary calms our soul and opens it to saving grace. Blessed Bartolo Longo had a prophetic intuition when, in dedicating this church to Our Lady of the Rosary, he wished to add to the church this facade as a monument to peace. The cause of peace thus entered into the Rosary itself. It is an intuition whose current meaning we can welcome, at the start of this millennium, so lacerated by winds of war and streaked with blood in so many regions of the world."

"The invitation to pray the rosary that rises from Pompeii, a crossroads of people of every culture drawn by both the shrine and the archeological site, also evokes the duty of Christians, in collaboration with all people of good will, to be builders of and witnesses to peace."

After the Pope's homily, everyone prayed the Supplication to Our Lady, a prayer composed by Blessed Bartolo Longo. Following this they sang "Salve Regina" while representatives from each of the continents placed flowers in front of the image of Our Lady of the Rosary. Before imparting the apostolic blessing, the Pope said: "Pray today and always in this shrine for me."

After bidding farewell to civil and religious authorities, Pope John Paul returned to the Vatican by helicopter.



VATICAN CITY, OCT 7, 2003 (VIS) - We continue our look at Pope John Paul's pontificate, with an overview of the highlights of 1984-1988:


Jan. 10 Full diplomatic relations at the level of apostolic nunciature and embassy between the Holy See and the United States of America.

Feb. 11 Pastoral Letter "Salvific Doloris" (On the Christian Meaning of Suffering).

Feb. 18 Agreement between the Holy See and the Italian Republic on the revision of the Lateran Concordat: new Concordat signed.

Feb. 22 John Paul II erects the Foundation for the Sahel.

Mar. 25 In spiritual union with all the bishops of the world John Paul II repeats the act of entrustment of mankind and all peoples to Mary Most Holy, made at Fatima on May 13, 1982.

Mar. 25 Apostolic Exhortation "Redemptionis Donum," to all men and women religious, published on March 29.

Apr. 9 Additional appointments to the Roman Curia: broad restructuring of responsibilities of dicasteries and commissions.

Apr. 20 Apostolic Letter "Redemptionis Anno" (on the City of Jerusalem, sacred patrimony of all believers and crossroads of peace for the peoples of the Middle East).

Apr. 22 Conclusion of the Holy Year of Redemption 1983/84.

May 2 21st pastoral visit outside Italy: Korea, Papua-New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Thailand (May 2-12).

May 5 Apostolic Letter "Les Grands Mysteres," on the problem of Lebanon.

May 21 Official visit of Italian President Sandro Pertini to John Paul II.

June 2 Official visit of John Paul II to the president of Italy.

June 12 22nd pastoral visit outside Italy: Switzerland (June 12-17).

July 7 John Paul II denounces apartheid in South Africa.

July 16 Visit of John Paul II to the massif of Adamello and meeting with Italian President Pertini (July 16-17).

Sep. 3 Publication of the Instruction of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on Certain Aspects of Liberation Theology.

Sep. 9 23rd foreign pastoral visit: Canada (September 9-2).

Oct. 2 John Paul II tells the Pontifical Academy of Sciences that space belongs to all humanity and that satellites and other space vehicles should be regulated by just international agreements.

Oct. 11 24th pastoral visit outside Italy: Zaragoza, Spain; Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and San Juan, Puerto Rico (October 10-13).

Nov. 2 46th Italian trip: northern Italy (Milan, Varese, Pavia, Varallo, Arona) for the 4th centenary of the death of St. Charles Borromeo (November 2-4).

Dec. 11 Publication of the Post-Synodal Pastoral Exhortation "Reconciliatio and Poenitentia."


Jan. 26 25th pastoral visit outside Italy: Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Trinidad-Tobago (January 26-February).

Feb. 11 John Paul II establishes Pontifical Commission for the Apostolate of Health Care Workers.

Feb 19 Special audience with Israeli Prime Minister Simon Peres.

Feb. 27 Second official visit of USSR Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko.

Mar. 26 Apostolic Letter "To the Youth of the World" on the occasion of the United Nation's International Year of Youth.

Mar. 30 First International Youth Meeting in Rome (March 30-31).

Apr. 11 Pastoral visit of John Paul II to Loreto and meeting with Italian Bishops.

May 9 John Paul II declares venerable Fr. Junipero Serra (1713-1784), Franciscan missionary in California.

May 11 26th pastoral visit outside Italy: Netherlands, Luxembourg, and Belgium (May 11-21).

May 25 Third consistory of John Paul II for the creation of 28 new cardinals.

June 2 Fourth papal Encyclical "Slavorum Apostoli," published on July 2.

July 7 Mass in the Pauline Chapel of the Vatican for the people of Czechoslovakia, in remembrance of Sts. Cyril and Methodius.

Aug. 8 27th pastoral visit outside Italy: Togo, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Republic of Central Africa, Zaire, Kenya, Morocco (August 8-19).

Aug. 29 John Paul II announces the opening to historians of the secret archives of the papacies of St. Pius X (1903-14) and Benedict XV (1914-22).

Sept. 9 28th pastoral visit outside Italy: Kloten, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein.

Oct. 4 Official visit of President Francesco Cossiga of Italy.

Nov. 17 Personal message of the Pope to Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbaciov for the Geneva summit.
Nov. 21 Third Plenary Meeting of the College of Cardinals on the reform of the Roman Curia (November 21-23).

Nov. 25 Second Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on: "The Twentieth Anniversary of the Conclusion of the Second Vatican Council" (November 25-December 8).


Jan. 18 Official visit of Italian President Francesco Cossiga.

Jan. 31 29th pastoral visit outside Italy: India (January 31- February 10).

Feb. 19 Private audience with President Amin Gemayel of Lebanon.

Mar. 6 Official visit of Governor General Jeanne Sauve of Canada.

Apr. 5 Publication of the Instruction "Libertatis conscientia" of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, on Christian freedom and liberation.

Apr. 13 John Paul II makes an unprecedented visit to Rome's main synagogue, the oldest Jewish group in the Diaspora; prays with Rabbi Elio Toaff and Giacomo Saban, president of Rome's Jewish community.

May 18 Fifth Papal Encyclical "Dominum et Vivificantem" (On the Holy Spirit), published on May 30.

June 3 The international "John XXIII Award for Peace" is given by John Paul II to the Catholic Office for Emergency Relief and Refugees of Thailand.

July 1 30th pastoral visit outside Italy: Colombia and Santa Lucia (July 1-8).

July 15 Publication of the new "Enchiridion Indulgentiarum" (manual of indulgences).

Aug. 4 John Paul II presides over funeral for Cardinal Carlo Confalonieri, dean of the College of Cardinals, who died on August 1.

Aug. 26 Apostolic Letter "Augustinum Hipponensem" for the 16th centenary of the conversion of St. Augustine.

Oct. 4 31st pastoral visit outside Italy: France (East-Central region, October 4-7).

Oct. 27 John Paul II attends the First World Day of Prayer for Peace which he convened in Assisi with some 60 representatives of the main Christian and non-Christian religions.

Oct. 31 Official visit of President Paul Biya of the Republic of Cameroon.
Nov. 18 32nd pastoral visit outside Italy: Bangladesh, Singapore, Fiji Islands, New Zealand, Australia and Seychelles (November 18-December 1).


Jan. 13 Special audience with President of the Council of the People's Republic of Poland, General Wojciech Jaruzelski.

Jan. 19 Private meeting with Jordan's King Hussein about the situation in the Middle East.

Feb. 22 Instruction of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith on respect for human life.

Mar. 25 Sixth Papal Encyclical "Redemptoris Mater," (Mother of the Redeemer), describing the Virgin Mary's life as an image of obedience and a model of "femininity with dignity."

Mar. 31 33rd pastoral visit outside Italy: Uruguay, Chile, and Argentina: celebration in Buenos Aires of the Second World Youth Day (March 31- April 13).

Apr. 30 34th pastoral visit outside Italy: Federal Republic of Germany (April 30-May 4).

June 6 Official visit of U.S. President Ronald Reagan.

June 6 On the vigil of Pentecost: Solemn opening of the Marian Year (June 7- August 15).

June 8 35th pastoral visit outside Italy: Poland (June 8-14).

June 25 Official visit of President Kurt Waldheim of the Federal Republic of Austria.

June 28 Celebration of the 7th centenary of the evangelization of Lithuania.

July 8 First visit of John Paul II to the Dolomites (Lorenzago di Cadore), in northern Italy, for a rest (July 8-14).

Sep. 10 36th pastoral visit outside Italy: U.S.A. and Canada (Fort Simpson) (September 10-21).

Oct. 1 Seventh Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on: "The Vocation and Mission of the Lay Faithful in the Church and in the World".

Dec. 3 His Holiness Dimitrios, Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, visits John Paul II (December 3-7).

Dec. 11 Official visit with President Raul Ricardo Alfonsin of the Republic of Argentina.

Dec. 30 Seventh Papal Encyclical "Sollicitudo Rei Socialis" (On Social Concerns), published February 19, 1988. It criticized economic and political ideologies of the West and the East.


Jan. 25 John Paul II's Apostolic Letter "Euntes in Mundum," for the millennium of the Baptism of Kievan Ru'', published March 22.

Mar. 3 First publication of the financial report of the Holy See (for the year 1986) and the estimated budget for the year 1988.

May 7 37th pastoral visit of John Paul II outside Italy: Uruguay, Bolivia, Paraguay and Peru (May 7-19).

May 21 Inauguration of the "Dono di Maria" shelter in the Vatican, entrusted to Mother Teresa's Missionary Sisters of Charity.

June 13 Delegation to Moscow led by Secretary of State Cardinal Casaroli for the celebrations of the Millennium of Kievan Ru''.

June 18 Official visit of President Corazon Aquino of the Republic of the Philippines.

June 23 38th foreign trip: Austria (June 23-27).

June 28 Apostolic Constitution "Pastor Bonus" for the reform of the Roman Curia.

June 28 Fourth consistory of John Paul II for the creation of 25 new cardinals.

July 2 Motu Proprio "Ecclesia Dei," establishing a commission "to be instituted ... to collaborate with the bishops, with the Departments of the Roman Curia, ... for the purpose of facilitating full ecclesial communion of priests, seminarians, religious communities or individuals until now linked to the Fraternity founded by Msgr. Lefevbre, who may wish to remain united to the Successor of Peter in the Catholic Church."

July 4 Special audience with the prince and grand master of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, H.H. Fra Andrew W.N. Bertie.

July 10 Solemn liturgy in the Byzantine-Ukrainian Rite in St. Peter's Basilica for the Millennium of the Baptism of Kievan Rus'.

Aug. 15 Solemn conclusion of Marian Year in St. Peter's Basilica.

Sep. 10 39th pastoral visit outside Italy: Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Swaziland (September 10-20).

Sep. 30 Publication of the Apostolic Letter "Mulieris Dignitatem" (On the Dignity and Vocation of Women).

Oct. 8 40th pastoral visit outside Italy: to the European Institutions in Strasbourg and to the dioceses of Strasbourg, Metz and Nancy, France (October 8-11).
Nov. 19 Visit with President Ciriaco De Mita of the Council of Ministers of the Italian Republic.

Dec. 30 Apostolic Exhortation "Christifideles Laici."

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VATICAN CITY, OCT 7, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Appointed Bishop Jose Roberto Lopez Londono of Armenia, Colombia, as bishop of Jerico (area 3,000, population 215,000, Catholics 213,500, priests 79, permanent deacons, 1, religious 165), Colombia. He succeeds Bishop Augusto Aristizabal Ospina whose resignation the Pope accepted upon having reached the age limit.

- Appointed Bishop Leonard Paul Blair, auxiliary of the archdiocese of Detroit, U.S.A. as bishop of Toledo (area 21,294, population 1,489,769, Catholics 315,788, priests 265, permanent deacons 238, religious 767), U.S.A.

- Appointed Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, apostolic nuncio in Germany, as secretary of the Section for Relations with States of the Secretariat of State.

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