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Wednesday, November 3, 2004


VATICAN CITY, OCT 31, 2004 (VIS) - In reflections made before praying the Angelus with the many thousands of faithful who had gathered in St. Peter's Square today, the Pope once again referred to the October 29 signing in Rome of the European constitution and urged Europe to never forget its Christian roots or Christian spiritual and cultural patrimony.

  Referring to the signing ceremony in Rome's City Hall on Capitoline Hill, John Paul II said that "this was a highly significant moment in the building of the 'new Europe' to which we will continue to look with trust. It is the most recent point on a path that is still long and that seems ever more compelling.

  "The Holy See has always been favorable to promoting a Europe that is united on the basis of those common values that are part of history. To take into consideration the Christian roots of the continent means availing oneself of a spiritual patrimony that remains fundamental for the future developments of the Union."

  The Holy Father said he hoped that "in years to come, Christians will continue to bring into all spheres of European institutions that Gospel leaven that is a guarantee of peace and collaboration between all citizens in the shared commitment to serving the common good."
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 30, 2004 (VIS) - This morning in the Paul VI Hall, the Pope received 2,500 pilgrims from the religious families founded by Blessed Luigi Guanella - the Servants of Charity, the Daughters of Blessed Mary of Providence and the representatives of lay movements.

  "One hundred years ago," said the Holy Father, "Blessed Luigi Guanella came to Rome with several collaborators 'to do some good for our neighbor'. Since then, dear members of his spiritual family, you have not ceased following in his footsteps. ... And even now, seeking to be 'good Samaritans' for the poor, you administer avant-garde works that answer the changing needs of the times with a many-faceted apostolate of charity."

  Referring to the care they give to the terminally ill, John Paul II recalled that Fr. Guanella founded "the Pious Union of the Passing of St. Joseph for the dying, thus stimulating a current of prayers to help all those who are about to cross the threshold into eternity."

  "You have learned from your blessed founder," he continued, "that to give love to our brothers, we must draw from the furnace of divine charity, thanks to a constant contact with Christ in prayer. May you be animated by that strong spirit of faith which induced Fr. Guanella to say repeatedly: 'It is God Who acts, we are only the instruments of Providence'."

  The Holy Father told the members of the Guanella families that he hoped that the presence in Rome these days of the Blessed's mortal remains "will encourage you to imitate his virtues in order to aim, with all your strength, to the 'high plain' of Christian life, that is, holiness."
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 30, 2004 (VIS) - John Paul II today received Marek Belka, president of the Council of Ministers of Poland, with his wife and an entourage. The prime minister came to Rome for the signing yesterday at Rome's City Hall of the constitution of the European Union.

  The Pope called yesterday's signing ceremony "an event that in a certain sense concludes the process of enlarging the Community to those States that have always cooperated in the formation of the spiritual and institutional foundations of the Old Continent, but in recent decades were, so to speak, on the margins of the continent. The Apostolic See and I personally sought to sustain such a process so that Europe could fully breathe with both lungs: with the spirit of the East and of the West."

  The Holy Father continued, saying that "even though there was no explicit reference in the European constitution to the Christian roots of the culture of all nations that today comprise the Community, I have faith that the perennial values laid forth on the basis of the Gospel by generations of those who preceded us, will continue to inspire the efforts of those who have the responsibility of forming the face of our continent. I hope that this structure, which in the end is a community of free nations, not only will do everything possible to not deprive them of their spiritual patrimony but will also safeguard it as a basis of unity.

  "As I said in Gniezno in 1997, it is not possible to build lasting unity 'separating ourselves from the roots from which European countries grew and from the great richness of the spiritual culture of past centuries'. 'There will be no unity in Europe until it is founded on unity of spirit'."

  The Pope thanked the prime minister, and the government and Parliament of Poland for all they have done and will do "so that the new constitution of the European union will be understood in the spirit of European values, at the basis of which is the Christian vision of man and politics as service dedicated to man himself and to the entire community."


VATICAN CITY, NOV 3, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father received today in audience Archbishop Francesco Canalini, apostolic nuncio in Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

  On Saturday, October 30, he received in audience Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 3, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father sent the following telegram of condolence to Cardinal Godfried Danneels, archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels, Belgium, upon the death of the Belgian Cardinal Gustaaf Joos yesterday at age 81.

  "Having learned of the death of Cardinal Gustaaf Joos with sadness, I express my closeness in prayer to the diocese of Gent, the Church in Belgium and the family of the late cardinal.  As I remember our common years in Rome, I join all those in prayer who mourn the death of Cardinal Joos, whom I made a cardinal in the last consistory.  I pray that Our Lord welcomes into his kingdom his faithful servant who served for such a long time in pastoral commitments.  I impart upon you, Cardinal Danneels, my heartfelt apostolic blessing, as well as upon the pastors and faithful of Belgium and to all the parishioners in Landskouter, Belgium."
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 3, 2004 (VIS) - In today's general audience, celebrated in St. Peter's Square, the Pope spoke about a hymn in the Book of the Apocalypse, "Hymn of the Saved."

  John Paul II explained that this hymn "brings to the liturgy of evening prayer the simplicity and intensity of a chorus of praise.  It is in line with the solemn vision of the opening of the Apocalypse which presents a sort of heavenly liturgy which we, still pilgrims on earth, join during our ecclesiastical celebrations."

  The first element of the hymn, he affirmed, "is the celebration of the Lord's works. … Creation reveals the immense power of God."  The Pope referred to the fact that the Book of the Apocalypse was written during the reign of  the Roman emperor Domitian who forced the people to call him "Domunis et deus noster."  Christians, however, he said, "refused to give such a title to a human creature" and only applied such terms of adoration to "Our true 'Lord and God'." 

  The Holy Father emphasized that Christ, "the immolated lamb" on the Cross who now reigns glorious, is the focus of the canticle.  "The beloved eternal project of God has been fulfilled in Christ.  He has freed us from evil and has made us into a 'kingdom of priests.'  All of humanity is called to be part of this community of the children of God."

  This hymn, he concluded, is "a moment of pure contemplation, joyous praise, and a song of love for Christ in His paschal mystery. … In the liturgy of the Church in a sense we already share in the festive communion of the heavenly liturgy."
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 1, 2004 (VIS) - Archbishop Celestino Migliore, Holy See permanent observer to the United Nations, spoke today before the Special Political and Decolonization Committee on Item 75, the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

  "We come to this forum once again," he said, "to review the delivery of human services (to refugees) amid an unending cycle of violence and terrorism, military action and reaction, in effect a series of retaliations which begets more violence. ... A realistic analysis of the situation finds that there is a lot of peacemaking rhetoric but very little political will shown in the resolution of differences." He urged the "international community to challenge the Israeli and Palestinian leaderships to negotiate in good faith," in order to create "opportunities for reconciliation, forgiveness, compromise or collaboration." In particular, he underscored the difficulties of "the refugee population so adversely affected by this 'undeclared war'."

  Archbishop Migliore spoke of the multifaceted work of the Pontifical Mission for Palestine, and then addressed the question of the Holy City of Jerusalem, saying this is part of any solution to the Middle East situation. He renewed the Holy See's call for "'internationally guaranteed provisions to ensure the freedom of religion and of conscience of its inhabitants, as well as permanent, free and unhindered access to the Holy Places by the faithful of all religions and nationalities'."

  "It is painful," said the nuncio in concluding remarks, "to see that a land once entrusted with a message of love, life, brotherhood and peace, called by many a Holy Land, in these times sends a very different message to the world, one of division, destruction and death. The family of nations must challenge all the actors concerned to renew their efforts to bring peace to the region."


VATICAN CITY, NOV 1, 2004 (VIS) - Pope John Paul's general prayer intention for the month of November is: "That Christian men and women, aware of the vocation which is theirs in the Church, may answer generously to God's call to seek holiness in the midst of their lives."

  His mission intention is: "That all those who work in the missions may never forget that personal holiness and intimate union with Christ are the source of the efficacy of evangelization."
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 1, 2004 (VIS) - John Paul II, in a brief address during the Angelus prayer, remarked on today's feast of All Saints and tomorrow's commemoration of the faithful departed, known as All Souls' Day. He also said he was praying for all the victims of terrorism.

  "'Let us all rejoice in the Lord, on this solemnity of All Saints'. With this invitation to joy, today begins the Eucharistic celebration in honor of all the Saints. The pilgrim Church on earth raises her eyes to heaven and joins with exultation in the choir of those whom God has brought to His glory. This is the communion of saints!"

  "Precisely in the light of this stupendous mystery, we will celebrate tomorrow the annual commemoration of all the faithful deceased. The liturgy invites us to open our hearts and pray for everyone, especially for the souls most in need of divine mercy."

 "I am raising a special prayer to God," said the Pope, "for all the victims of terrorism. I feel spiritually close to their families and, while I ask the Lord to alleviate their pain, I ask Him for peace in the world."
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