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Wednesday, October 29, 2003


VATICAN CITY, OCT 29, 2003 (VIS) - Made public today was a message from the Holy Father addressed to Fr. John Corriveau, general minister of the Friars Minor Capuchins, and to the religious who are celebrating the Chapter "of the Mats." The theme upon which they are reflecting is: "Reciprocal love between brothers, love for evangelical poverty, love for the Church."

"Being brothers," writes the Pope in the message dated October 22, "must characterize your conduct toward God, each other, others and all creatures. ... This particular fraternal style must reflect and favor the meaning of each one of you belonging to a big family without borders."

Referring to the second theme of reflection, "love for poverty in light of the 'minorite'," which derives from their being "friars minor," the Holy Father says that the "'minorite' requires a free heart, detached, humble, gentle and simple, as Jesus proposed to us, and as St. Francis lived."

John Paul II writes at the end that "faithful love for the Church," the third point of meditation, requires "an outlook of faith and obedience. ... May your obedience bear witness to the Church with the heart and style of your founder. It is a commitment without rest which will make you happy and conscious of giving your life for the Kingdom of God in the name of Jesus."

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VATICAN CITY, OCT 29, 2003 (VIS) - Due to inclement weather, today's general audience was moved from St. Peter's Square to St. Peter's Basilica and the Paul VI Hall. The Pope first greeted pilgrims in the basilica and then proceeded to the Paul VI Hall.

John Paul II affirmed that "with the month of October, the Year of the Rosary," which he proclaimed from October 2002 to October of 2003, "comes to a close."

"I am so grateful to God for this time of grace in which the entire Church community has been able to explore the value and importance of the rosary, which is a Christological and contemplative prayer."

After recalling the "motto" of the Year of the Rosary, "Contemplating the face of Christ with Mary," John Paul II said that these words, taken from the apostolic letter "'Rosarium Virginis Mariae', concisely express the authentic meaning of this prayer, both simple and profound. At the same time, they highlight the continuity between the proposal of the rosary and the path indicated to the People of God in my previous apostolic letter 'Novo millennio ineunte'."

"If at the beginning of the third millennium, Christians are called to grow as 'contemplators of Christ's face', and the ecclesiastical communities are called to become 'genuine schools of prayer', the rosary is the privileged 'Marian way,' in order to reach this dual objective."

The Pope recalled that during this year he wanted "to entrust two great prayer intentions to the People of God: peace and the family. The 21st century, born under the sign of the great jubilee year reconciliation, has unfortunately inherited from the past numerous and enduring acts of war and violence. The disconcerting attacks of September 11, 2001 and the events that followed in the world have peaked tensions on a global level. Despite these alarming situations, praying the rosary is not a retreat inside oneself, but a decision of responsible faith, a conscious choice of faith: contemplating the face of Christ, our peace and our reconciliation, we want to implore God for the gift of peace through the intercession of Mary, Most Holy. We ask her for the necessary strength to be builders of peace, beginning in our daily family life."

Referring to the family, the Holy Father emphasized that it should be "the first environment in which Christ's peace is embraced, cultivated and fostered. In our time, however, without prayer it becomes more and more difficult for the family to realize this vocation. This is why it would be very useful to take up again the beautiful custom of praying the rosary at home, as it was done in past generations. 'The family that prays together, stays together'."

"I entrust these intentions," he concluded, "to the Virgin, so that she may protect the family and obtain peace for each person and the world. I hope that all believers, accompanied by Our Lady, set out decisively on the path of sanctity, their gaze fixed on Jesus while they meditate, with the rosary, the mysteries of salvation. This will be the most precious fruit of this year dedicated to the rosary."

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VATICAN CITY, OCT 29, 2003 (VIS) - According to a declaration made today by Holy See Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro-Valls, "the Holy Father, in his paternal solicitude for the venerable Chaldean Church and in consideration of Canon 72, para 2 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, has convoked for December 2-3 2003 in the Vatican the Synod of Bishops of that Church for the election of the Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans." The former patriarch, His Beatitude Raphael I Bidawid, died July 7, 2003 at the age of 81.

Paragraph 2 of Canon 72 says: "If an election is not successful within 15 days from the opening of the Synod of Bishops of the patriarchal Church, the matter devolves to the Roman Pontiff."

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VATICAN CITY, OCT 29, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience Archbishop Antonio Arcari, apostolic nuncio in Honduras.

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