April 3, 2000
volume 11, no. 66

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    Today we bring you the Holy Father's Angelus Message from yesterday Laetare Sunday in which he emphasized the joy of "rejoicing" as is the custom of mid-Lent. His Holiness pointed out that this year that is especially meaningful in light of the fact he has just returned from his spiritual "Jubilee Journey" to the Holy Land and the "Cradle of Christianity" - the Jerusalem area which incorporates Bethlehem where the Savior Jesus Christ was born to the Blessed Virgin Mary, whom the Pope calls on as a willing guide during this Jubilee year in which Christians the world over are awakening to their roots and the meaning of their faith. The full English text was translated and provided by ZENIT news agency ZE00040220.

ANGELUS Message for April 2, 2000 from the Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

    1. "Laetare Ierusalem" - Rejoice, Jerusalem (Cf. Isaiah 66,10). This is the invitation that resounds at the beginning of today's Sunday Mass, called for this reason traditionally "Laetare Sunday." We are now half way in the Lenten road and the invitation to joy encourages us to continue without interruption in the penitential road toward Easter. As happens in a pilgrimage, so in Lent, exhaustion on the road does not decrease, but rather increases the joy of moving towards the goal.

        "Rejoice, Jerusalem ..." In the past days, I also experienced the joy of being a pilgrim from Rome to the Holy Land, laying a bridge between the two focal points of the Great Jubilee of 2000, Rome and Jerusalem. The spiritual joy I have in my heart for such a grace is profound, and for that I continually thank the Lord. Moreover, I am grateful to all those who accompanied me with prayer. In those moments and in those places I felt the whole Church with me.

    2. "Exult and rejoice, you who were in sorrow." This gladness, about which the liturgy speaks on this fourth Sunday of Lent, stems from the awareness of the mystery of love that is before us, and that today echoes in the words of John's Gospel: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life" (John 3,16). How can one not be attracted by this love? God does not want the death of the sinner, but that he convert and live. In order to live, people must turn to Him, they must abandon ways that degrade their dignity and return to the Father's house.

        This is the meaning of the Jubilee, which has entered its most intense phase during this Lenten time. This is very visible in Rome: the Holy Doors of the four major Basilicas welcome without interruption ever more numerous pilgrims. The same is happening in the dioceses in every part of the world. It could be said that Christians everywhere are on the road, either as individuals or as the people of God.

    3. In this Jubilee pilgrimage chorale, the Most Blessed Virgin Mary precedes us and encourages us as a tender and merciful Mother. May we learn from her to "quicken" our step toward Christ, Whom we shall contemplate at Easter as dead and risen for us. In the darkest moments may we cherish the memory of God's invitation: "Rejoice... the Lord is with you." Blessed Virgin, "cause of our joy," help us to follow Christ faithfully to receive fully the gift of Easter joy.


April 3, 2000
volume 10, no. 66

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