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Wednesday, October 8, 2003


VATICAN CITY, OCT 8, 2003 (VIS) - Monday October 13, at 11:30 a.m. in the Holy See Press Office, there will be a presentation of the book "Metafisica della persona. Tutte le opere filosofiche e saggi integrativi di Karol Wojtyla" (Metaphysics of the person. All the philosophical works and integrative essays of Karol Wojtyla), published by Bompiani. Presenters will include Giovanni Reale, Tadeusz Styczen and Rocco Buttiglione.

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VATICAN CITY, OCT 8, 2003 (VIS) - In Wednesday's general audience, celebrated in St. Peter's Square, the Pope began a new cycle of catecheses on the Liturgy of Vespers.

John Paul II explained to the 15,000 people present that "together with the celebration of Lauds at the beginning of the day, the celebration of Vespers has become more common in the Church in the evening."

"When darkness falls, Christians know that God illuminates even the dark night with the splendor of His presence and with the light of His teachings. ... Inspired by the symbolism of light, the prayer of vespers has become a vespertine sacrifice of praise and recognition for the gifts of creation and redemption."

The Holy Father indicated that "the night is a perfect time to reflect upon the day before God in prayer. ... Also it is a moment 'to give thanks for what we have been given or what we have accomplished with rectitude.' It is also a time to ask pardon for sins that we have committed, begging through divine mercy that Christ shine once again in our hearts."

"However," he continued, "nightfall also evokes the 'mysterium noctis.' The darkness is felt as an occasion of frequent temptations, in particular weakness, of giving in to the attacks of the devil. With its dangers, the night becomes a symbol of all the evils from which Christ came to free us."

John Paul II concluded by emphasizing that "the morning and evening are excellent times to dedicate to prayer, in the company of others or in private. United to important moments of living and working, the Hours of Lauds and Vespers are effective ways in order to guide our daily path and direct it to Christ, 'light of the world'."

After greeting pilgrims in different languages, the Pope gave thanks to Our Lady who, he said, "yesterday gave me the opportunity to make a visit to the Shrine of Pompeii which is dedicated to her. Having an enthusiastic memory of this Marian pilgrimage, I invite everyone to value ever more the prayer of the Holy Rosary, so beloved in the tradition of the Christian people. With it, the Church invokes the intercession of Mary, especially for families and for peace in the world in our times."

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VATICAN CITY, OCT 8, 2003 (VIS) - Continuing our overview of the 25-year pontificate of Pope John Paul II, today we present a synthesis of the important events of the years 1989-1993:


Mar. 8 Meeting of John Paul II and members of the Roman Curia with the metropolitan archbishops of the United States of America on the theme: "Evangelization in the Context of the Culture and Society of the United States with particular emphasis on the Role of the Bishop as Teacher of the Faith" (March 8-11).

Mar. 10 Reorganization of the pastoral government of the dioceses in Lithuania.
Apr. 20 Official visit of President Patrick J. Hillery of Ireland.

Apr. 28 41st pastoral visit outside Italy: Madagascar, La Reunion, Zambia and Malawi (April 28-May 6).

May 27 Official visit of U.S. President George Bush.

June 1 42nd pastoral trip outside Italy: Norway, Iceland, Finland, Denmark, Sweden (June 1-10).

July 17 Restoration of diplomatic relations between Poland and the Holy See.

Aug. 15 Angelus message in which the Pope reveals his wish to personally go to Lebanon as soon as possible and makes yet another heartfelt appeal for peace in that nation.

Aug. 19 43rd papal trip abroad: Santiago de Compostela, Spain for Fourth World Youth Day, and Asturias (August 19-21).

Aug. 27 Apostolic Letter on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Second World War.

Sept. 7 In an address to a symosium organized by the Pontifical Institute for Arab and Islamic Studies, Pope traces a "charter" for fruitful coexistence between Christians and Muslims.

Sept. 7 Apostolic Letter to all Bishops of the Catholic Church on the situation in Lebanon. World Day of Prayer for Peace in Lebanon.

Sept. 29 Official visit of Archbishop of Canterbury Robert Runcie.

Oct. 2 Joint statement of John Paul II and Archbishop Runcie.

Oct. 6 44th foreign pastoral visit: Seoul, Korea, Indonesia and Mauritius (October 6-10).

Nov. 13 Meeting of the diocesan bishops of the Federal Republic of Germany with the Holy Father on the theme: "Handing the faith to the next generation and the pastoral work of catechesis."

Dec. 1 Official visit of President Mikhail Gorbaciov of the USSR: marks the first time a Pope has met with the head of the Soviet government.

Dec. 21 New appointment of bishops in Czechoslovakia.


Jan. 25 45th pastoral visit outside Italy: Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Chad (January 25-February 1).

Mar. 15 Exchange of official representatives at the level of apostolic nuncio and special ambassador between the Holy See and the Soviet government.

Apr. 21 46th pastoral visit outside Italy: Czechoslovakia.

Apr. 22 In Velehrad, Czechoslovakia, John Paul II announces a Special Assembly for Europe of the Synod of Bishops.

Apr. 27 Official visit of President Mario Soares of Portugal.

May 6 47th pastoral visit outside Italy: Mexico and Curacao (May 6-14).

May 25 48th pastoral visit outside Italy: Malta.

Aug. 26 During his Angelus message John Paul II appeals for peace in the Persian Gulf, following the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq.

Sept. 1 49th pastoral visit outside Italy: Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda and Ivory Coast (September 1-10).

Sept. 30 Eighth General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the theme: "The Formation of Priests in Circumstances of the Present Day" (September 30-October 28).

Oct. 18 Promulgation of Code of Canons for Eastern Churches.

Nov. 24 "Ad limina" visit of Vietnamese bishops: for the first time all bishops are present.

Dec. 1 John Paul II accepts the resignation of Cardinal Secretary of State Agostino Casaroli and appoints Archbishop Angelo Sodano pro-secretary of State.

Dec. 21 Vatican Information Service transmits first bulletin in English and Spanish: destined for bishops and nuncios.

Dec. 25 From "Urbi et Orbi" message: "War is an adventure with no return." Papal appeal for peace in Persian Gulf.


Jan. 15 Letter of John Paul II to U.S. President George Bush and to President Saddam Hussein of Iraq, in an attempt to deter a Gulf War.

Jan. 17 Start of Gulf War.

Feb. 5 Official visit of President Lech Walesa of the Polish Republic.

Feb. 28 End of Gulf War.

Mar. 4 Meeting at the Vatican of episcopal representatives from the countries directly implicated in the Gulf War.

Apr. 4 Fourth Plenary Meeting of the College of Cardinals on the theme: "The Church facing the threat against human life and the challenge of the sects."

Apr. 8 Meeting of the presidents of Episcopal Conferences (April 8-9), concerning the economic problems of the Holy See and the financial contribution of the bishops (Canon 1271, CIC).

Apr. 13 Reorganization of the Latin-Rite Catholic Church in the Soviet Republics of Belarus, Russia and Kazakistan.

Apr. 22 Official visit of the President of the Republic of Chile, Patricio Aylwuin Azocar.

Apr. 29 Meeting of Swiss bishops with the Holy Father and the Roman Curia.

May 1 Papal encyclical "Centesimus Annus" (The Hundreth Year), commemorating 100 years of papal social teaching, beginning with Leo XIII's "Rerum Novarum" of 1891.

May 3 Official visit of King Carl Gustav XVI and Queen Silvia of Sweden.

May 10 50th pastoral visit outside Italy: Portugal (May 10-13).

June 1 51st pastoral visit outside Italy: Poland (June 1-9).

June 12 Announcement of a Special Assembly for Lebanon of the Synod of Bishops.

June 28 Fifth consistory of John Paul II for the creation of 22 new cardinals: Cardinal Ignatius Kung Pin-Mei is revealed as the 1979 "in pectore" cardinal.

Aug. 13 52nd pastoral visit outside Italy: Czestochowa, Poland for the 6th World Youth Day, and Hungary (August 13-20).

Sept. 7 Holy See and Albania establish diplomatic ties.

Oct. 5 Ecumenical prayer service at St. Peter's Basilica, on the occasion of the 6th centenary of the canonization of St. Brigid of Sweden. For the first time since the Reformation, two Lutheran bishops prayed in St. Peter's Basilica with the Pope, together with the Catholic bishops of Stockholm and Helsinki.

Oct. 12 53rd pastoral visit outside Italy: Brazil (October 12-21).

Nov. 28 Special Assembly for Europe of the Synod of Bishops on the theme: "So that we might be witnesses of Christ who has set us free," (November 28-December 14).

Dec. 12 Ecumenical prayer service in St. Peter's Basilica, on the occasion of the Special Assembly for Europe of the Synod of Bishops.

Jan. 1 Holy See recognizes Russian Federation.

Jan. 12 Holy See recognizes sovereignty of Croatia and Slovenia.

Jan. 27 Pope creates Assemblee des Ordinaires Catholiques de Terre Sainte.

Feb. 8 Diplomatic relations with Croatia, Slovenia, Ukraine.

Feb. 19 54th pastoral visit outside Italy: Senegal, Gambia and Guinea (February 19-26).

Mar. 7 Promulgation of new General Regulations of the Roman Curia.

Mar. 11 Diplomatic relations with Kingdom of Swaziland.

Mar. 19 Trip to Sorrento, Castellamare di Stabia, Italy.

Mar. 25 Restructuring of Church in Poland.

Apr. 4 Diplomatic relations with Mongolia.

Apr. 7 Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation "Pastores Dabo Vobis" (Shepherds I give you).

Apr. 9 "Populorum Progressio" Foundation made public.

Apr. 30 102nd trip within Italy: Friuli region (to May 3).

May 13 Pope John Paul institutes World Day for the Sick, to be celebrated annually on February 11.

May 17 Beatification of Jose Maria Escriva de Balaguer, the founder of Opus Dei, and of Giuseppina Bakhita of Sudan.

May 23 103rd trip within Italy - Campania. Diplomatic relations with Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Moldova.

May 25 Visit to Pope by Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury George Leonard Carey.

June 1 First "ad limina" visit of Bulgarian Episcopal Conference. Diplomatic relations with Republic of Nauru.

June 4 55th pastoral visit outside Italy: Angola and Sao Tome and Principe (June 4-10).

June 19 104th trip in Italy: Lombardy (to June 21).

June 30 5,000th day of Pope John Paul's pontificate, which began October 22, 1978.

July 12 At the Angelus John Paul II announces that he will go to Gemelli Hospital that evening for diagnostic tests.

July 15 Holy Father undergoes colic resection surgery. His gallbladder is removed due to gallstones. John Paul II is released from Gemelli Polyclinic on July 26.

July 29 Holy See-Israel working commission formed.

Aug. 22 Dramatic appeal for peace in the Balkans at Angelus.

Sep. 21 Diplomatic relations between Holy See and Mexico.

Oct. 9 56th pastoral visit outside Italy: Santo Domingo, for the 5th centenary of evangelization of Latin America and Fourth General Conference of the Latin American Episcopate (October 9-14).

Oct. 17 Diplomatic relations with Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan.

Nov. 6 First "ad limina" by Slovenia's bishops.

Nov. 11 Diplomatic relations with Belarus.

Nov. 16 Apostolic Constitution "Fidei Depositum," for new catechism, is made public; Catechism of the Catholic Church presented in Paris.

Nov. 27 Official visit of President Oscar Luigi Scalfaro of the Italian Republic.

Dec. 7 John Paul II officially presents the Catechism of the Catholic Church to representatives from the Roman Curia and to the presidents of doctrinal and catechetical commissions of episcopal conferences.

Dec. 25 Bishops of Albania appointed.


Jan. 1 Holy See recognizes Czech Republic and Slovak Republic.

Jan. 9 At Assisi, special prayer meeting for peace in Europe and particularly in the Balkans (January 9-10).

Jan. 21 Official visit of Giuliano Amato, president of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Italy.

Jan. 25 Pope announces new Ecumenical Directory.

Feb. 3 57th pastoral visit outside Italy: Benin, Uganda and Khartoum (February 3-10). John Paul II announces that the synod for Africa will be held in the Vatican in 1994.

Feb. 11 1st World Day of the Sick.

Feb. 19 Official visit of President Milan Kacan of Slovenia.

Feb. 23 Motu Proprio "Europae Orientalis" with which Permanent Interdicastery Commission for the Church in Eastern Europe substitutes Pontifical Commission for Russia.

Mar. 19 Trip to Sabina-Poggio-Mirteto, Italy.
Apr. 25 58th pastoral visit outside Italy: Albania. John Paul II ordains 4 bishops, restoring the hierarchy in a country that once declared itself officially atheist.

May 4 Pontifical Councils for Culture and for Dialogue with Non-believers are joined: name is Pontifical Council for Culture.

May 8 Start of three-day trip to Sicily, Italy.

May 23 Pastoral trip to Arezzo, Italy.

May 29 Conclusion of the second Rome diocesan synod.

June 1 Church re-structured in Hungary.

June 4 "Centesimus Annus Pro Pontefice" Foundation announced.

June 8 First ambassador from Romania presents credentials.

June 9 Orthodox patriarch of Ethiopia received by Pope.

June 12 59th pastoral visit outside Italy: Spain (June 12-17).

June 19 Trip to Macerata, Foligno, Gran Sasso, Italy. Ends June 20.

Aug. 6 Papal encyclical "Veritatis Splendor"; published October 5, 1993.

Aug. 9 60th foreign pastoral visit: Jamaica, Merida and Denver, for 8th World Youth Day (August 9-16).

Sept. 3 Holy Father receives Emperor Akihito of Japan.

Sept. 4 61st pastoral visit outside Italy: Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia (September 4-10). First ever visit by a Pope to these countries.

Sept.23 John Paul II receives Mikhail Gorbachev.

Sept.25 Trip to Asti, Italy. Ends Sept. 26.

Oct. 16 15th anniversary of Holy Father's election.

Nov. 5 Lebanon's President Elias Hrawi on visit; invites Pope to his country.

Nov. 11 Pope dislocates his right shoulder during a fall at the end of an audience in the Hall of Benediction. He spent one day at Gemelli Hospital; his shoulder is immobilized for one month.

Dec. 13 South Africa's President De Klerk visits Pope.

Dec. 16 Official visit of President Carlos Saul Menem of Argentina.

Dec. 26 Opening of the International Year of the Family of the Catholic Church.

Dec. 30 Signing of the accord on basic principles regulating diplomatic relations between the Holy See and Israel.

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