February 13, 2001
volume 12, no. 44

Illness Can Lead to Interior Growth, Pope Says

Reaffirms his Ukraine Trip is on Schedule

    VATICAN, Feb. 11, 01 (CWNews.com) -- On Sunday, February 11, the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, the Vatican observed the World Day of the Sick with a solemn celebration in St. Peter's Basilica.

    Cardinal Camillo Ruini, the Pope's vicar for the Rome diocese, presided at the Mass, after which Pope John Paul II met with the 10,000 people who made up the congregation. The Pope-- who is suffering from Parkinson's disease himself-- said that he felt "brotherly solidarity" with those who are sick.

    It is a paradox, the Pope remarked, that while illness "diminishes the energies" of those who are suffering, and "restrains their ability to work," it also allows them to intensify their interior life. When those who are sick "patiently endure their frustrations and miseries," he said, they provide an important lesson to the modern world. In a word, he said, they remind the world that "daily realities" must be seen "from the heavenly perspective."

    During his regular public audience on Sunday, February 11, Pope John Paul II told a group of Ukrainian pilgrims that he was looking forward to visiting their country-- thus reassuring them that his June visit is on schedule despite some protest from Orthodox groups.

    After leading the recitation of the Angelus prayer in St. Peter's Square, the Pontiff took special note of a group from the Ukraine. "I am anxious to visit your country," he told them. The Pope's visit is scheduled for June 23-27. Vatican officials have repeatedly emphasized that plans are on course, despite a formal request from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-- one of three groups competing for the right to speak on behalf of Orthodox believers in that country-- for a postponement of the Papal trip.

February 13, 2001
volume 12, no. 44
News from ROME
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