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Monday, March 15, 2004


VATICAN CITY, MAR 13, 20004 (VIS) - Made public today was a Message from the Pope to Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz Ossa, archbishop of Santiago de Chile and president of the Episcopal Conference of Chile, and Archbishop Eduardo Vicente Miras of Rosario, president of the Episcopal Conference of Argentina, on the occasion of the solemn commemoration of the centenary today of the inauguration of the monument of Christ in the Andes.

"Indeed," writes the Holy Father in the message dated February 11, "if the location of this majestic monument represented a notable display of the efforts and close collaboration of numerous people and institutions, no less so were the efforts carried out earlier to give meaning to that event. In previous years, various agreements were achieved in order to resolve by peaceful means the different disputes between both peoples, resulting in four different peace treaties in 1902."

John Paul II recalls that "the threat of conflict was overcome, achieving friendly coexistence between two neighboring, sister countries. The jubilation and satisfaction at having reached the invaluable triumph of peace were well-justified. The profound spirit of the faith of Argentines and Chileans recognized in those events an inestimable gift of God, and ... sought to represent their gratitude on the peaks of the Andes so that the divine blessing would arrive from on high to all the neighboring lands and make the border a place of encounter and never one of antagonism."

"At the beginning of the third millennium," he continues, "at a time when peace is threatened, I would like to invite the beloved sons and daughters of Argentina and Chile, in commemoration of this centenary, to direct their gaze toward the Redeemer in order to ask Him for light and the necessary strength to confront the challenges of today with hope and determination."

Finally the Pope asks for "fraternal coexistence to increase, as well as the forums of mutual collaboration and the commitment to build a society founded above all on the recognition of the inalienable dignity of the human person. In this way, peace will be guaranteed and a heritage will be left to new generations which allows them to build a better future on solid and lasting foundations."

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