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Monday, March 7, 2005


VATICAN CITY, MAR 5, 2005 (VIS) - E-mail has been pouring in from around the world for Pope John Paul since the Vatican's web site posted an address in each of its six language versions (john_paul_ii@vatican.va). Letters in English, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and German have been arriving daily for the Holy Father, wishing him well, a speedy recovery and a prompt return to his ministry as Pope and Bishop of Rome.

  From March 1 to noon of March 3, according to statistics and sample letters released today, over 20,000 e-mail messages have arrived for the Pope: about 10,000 in English, 6,077 in Spanish, 2,012 in Portuguese, 1,134 in Italian, 850 in German and 800 in French. Many messages in the Pope's native Polish also arrive daily. While these numbers are only for a two-day period, they represent just a portion of mail arriving for the Holy Father: the additional e-mails since March 3 as well as letters and faxes that arrive at the Secretariat of State and other offices of the Roman Curia.

  This is not the first time the Vatican has posted the e-mail address for the Holy Father: it was on the web page on the occasion of his 25th anniversary as Pontiff in October 2003.

  Letters arrive from doctors, heads of volunteer organizations, housewives and mothers, students, religious congregations, hospital employees, pastors and parishioners. Most e-mails seem to be from ordinary faithful throughout the world and a few, as seen from the sample letters provided, are from people who had been away from their faith and now have returned.

  The majority are relatively short letters wishing the Pope well, telling him how much he is loved and admired as the leader of the Catholic Church, how his suffering is an example to all, or simply thanking him for all he has done and continues to do for the Church, especially in promoting the value of human life and human dignity. A number of missives are longer and recount personal experiences of ill health, physical and mental suffering or personal conversions.

  The faithful assure the Pope of their "prayers and personal sacrifices," rosaries and daily Masses and hours of adoration before the Blessed Sacrament. One person wrote: "How much you encourage us as we struggle in out day-to-day life to be ever faithful to God." Another: "I pray that, as you suffer greatly, you will also feel the very powerful presence of God with you."

  A letter from Italy tells John Paul II: "You are our father on this earth. We need you! We need your witness as it gives strength to each one of us." A writer in Brazil says he hopes that "in this Year of the Eucharist, ... the Eucharist will fortify your much troubled life." A youth in Brazil tells the Pope he hopes he gets better soon so that "you can be with us young people in Cologne (for World Youth Day) and can continue to lead the Holy Church for many more years."

  Faithful from Panama tell the Holy Father: "We Catholics are very concerned for your health. Masses and prayers have been organized to ask God Almighty for health for you." Another letter in Spanish tells the Pope "We hope you get well soon and continue to be an example of strength and goodness for the entire world."

  A writer in France says he has added the Holy Father to his daily Rosary intentions: "May you be with us as long as possible in the best health that heaven can give. And may you not suffer." Another e-mail in French: "Beloved Holy Father, you lead the Church by your suffering: The Lord, through you, is giving a lesson to both the wise and the prudent of this world."
.../E-MAIL FOR POPE/...                        VIS 20050307 (650)

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