May 30, 2000
volume 11, no. 100

NEWS for Tuesday, May 30, 2000
Offer Him a Parish and Caritas Health Center as Gifts

    70,000 Romans met with the Pope in St. Peter's Square in the Vatican today to celebrate the Jubilee of the diocese of the Eternal City.

    Cardinal Camillo Ruini, the Pope's Vicar for the diocese, was present for the Mass, as were Cardinals from the Roman Curia and a large contingent of diocesan clergy. But it was the faithful of the diocese who filled the Square and who today gave their Bishop a very special gift: a new parish dedicated to St. Charles Borromeo, the Holy Father's patron saint. This brings the number of parises in the diocese to 329. It was a significant gesture, and the Romans way of congratulating their bishop on his 80th birthday.

    The unique character of this city, which heard Ss. Peter and Paul preach, was highlighted by the Holy Father during the homily. Rome has the responsibility of leading the entire Christian community in charity, a responsibility that is being confirmed every day during this Jubilee by the millions of pilgrims coming to honor St. Peter's tomb, the first pastor of the diocese.

    Thus, the "particular vocation that Divine Providence reserved to Rome," is manifested once again, a "reference point for the communion and unity of the whole Church and for the spiritual regeneration of all humanity," the Pontiff said.

    According to estimates, this year Rome will welcome some 30 million pilgrims, an "invasion" that is testing the generosity and friendliness of Romans. The Holy Father encouraged them to continue in their efforts to measure up to the moment, especially during the major events of the Jubilee, such as the International Eucharistic Congress, which he described as the "heart of the Jubilee" (June 18-25); World Youth Day (August 15-20), which will gather one million youths who "hope to be welcomed with joy and kindness by their Roman contemporaries and be guests of their families, and the whole Christian community and citizenry"; and, finally, the Families' Jubilee (October 14-15).

    "Church of Rome, be aware of your special mission also during this Jubilee! Do not be discouraged in face of the difficulties on your daily path!" the Pontiff exclaimed.

    Towards the end of the liturgy, dozens of children added joyful color to the celebration with a dance in which they composed the Jubilee's logo. At its conclusion, they lined up with a touch of formality to be blessed by the Pope as their "payment."

    During the celebration, Caritas' volunteers collected the pilgrims' offerings, which will be used to restructure and enlarge a health center established in Rome's central train station. It will be inaugurated during the International Eucharistic Congress. ZE00052805

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