April 17, 2000
volume 11, no. 76
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NEWS & VIEWS     Acknowledgments
Articles provided through Catholic World News and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales and International Dossiers, Daily Dispatches and Features at ZENIT International News Agency. CWN, NE and ZENIT are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provide this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

Communist Labor Unions Will Also Meet the Pope

    VATICAN CITY, APR 14 (ZENIT).- "Work for All: The Road to Solidarity and Justice," is the slogan for the Jubilee of the labor world, which will be held in Rome on May 1. When presenting the program for this special day, Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, president of the Central Committee of the Great Jubilee, acknowledged that what is most worrying today is not so much human working conditions, but the unemployed, because unemployment amputates us from our own personalities. "And those wounded by the modern economy are very numerous," he added.

    On May 1, there will be an unprecedented feast in Rome, which will include all Italian labor unions, on the same day as their annual holiday. "The participation of this Pope, who came out of the stone quarries of Zakrzowek and of the ovens of Solvay in Borek Falecki and afterwards Nowa Huta... will give this meeting a Jubilee dimension for the whole Church and the whole of humanity," the Cardinal explained.

On the Outskirts of Rome

    The Workers Jubilee will inaugurate the period of the great events of the Holy Year, so massive that they cannot be held in St. Peter's Square in the Vatican, but must take place on the outskirts of Rome, in a new venue tailor-made for big events called Tor Vergata. Hence, the Jubilee enters an altogether different dimension in terms of organization: between Holy Week and May 1, Rome will be invaded by some 2 million pilgrims. And in August, 1 millions youths are expected.

    The Workers' Jubilee will begin on April 30 at night, with a Prayer Vigil in the Basilica of St. John Lateran. The impressive meeting will take place the following day, with over 200,000 workers beginning to arrive in Tor Vergata in the early hours of the morning. Among them will be men and women who have positions of responsibility in different areas of labor at the world level: entrepreneurs, labor unionists, leaders of workers' associations, leaders of the financial world, and of cooperation and business. Although the majority will be Italian, including communist unions, workers' representatives from all countries of the world will be in Rome on May 1.

Special Mass

    The climax of the event will be a concelebrated Mass at 10:30 a.m., presided by the Holy Father. During the Offertory, gifts will be made representing the commitment to solidarity by a number of associations and labor unions from various countries of the world who favor the humanization of work. One of the most significant gifts will the collection made by the ecclesial campaign to reduce the foreign debt of poor countries. A helmet will be offered, representing the commitment to the defense of life and safety in the workplace. A portable computer will reflect the endeavor to put new technology at the service of man, and a bonsai will represent development that respects nature. Most significant will be a picture of Jesus as a worker.

Papal Meeting with Labor

    At the end of the Mass, John Paul II will meet the workers of the different categories present in Tor Vergata. The Pope will be greeted on behalf of all by Juan Somavia, director general of the International Labor Office (ILO), representing the entire world of labor; and Paola Bignardi, president of Italian Catholic Action, representing all women workers.

    Next on the program is a musical recital by tenor Andrea Bocelli, who will sing the Jubilee Hymn and several compositions of sacred music, accompanied by the choir and orchestra of the Academy of St. Cecilia, directed by maestro Myung-Whun-Chung.

    Later, the Pontiff will give a message to the world of labor and will be greeted by a delegation from various categories of the working world. The meeting will end with the song "Life Is Beautiful."

Labor World's Concert

    The afternoon will be dedicated to a festival for workers. At 5:30 p.m. there will be a concert with the possible participation of Noah, Lou Reed, and the Eurythmics. The participation of all these artists will be confirmed at a future press conference. The subject of the concert will be the commitment to the cancellation of the foreign debt of poor countries. The musical show has three objectives: first, to support an educational commitment; second, to sensitize governments of rich countries to the problem; and finally, to encourage concrete signs of personal and collective responsibility. ZE00041413

April 17, 2000
volume 11, no. 76

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