DAILY CATHOLIC     CHRISTMAS ISSUE     December 23-27, 1998     vol. 9, no. 248

from a CATHOLIC perspective

To print out entire text of Today's issue, go to SECTION ONE and SECTION TWO and SECTION THREE and SECTION FOUR


          VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- In the traditional exchange of Christmas greetings between the Pontiff and the Roman Curia, Pope John Paul II reviewed the events of 1998 and indicated his desire to serve the Church through 1999, and "if it is God's will" to make several more apostolic voyages, beginning with his January trip to Mexico and the United States.

          "I ask all of you to continue your prayers that I will be able to serve the Lord, and the brothers he has confided to my care, with greater love each day," the Holy Father said as he met the leaders of the Curia in the Apostolic Palace on Tuesday.

          On behalf of the Curial officials, Cardinal Bernardin Gantin, the dean of the College of Cardinals, responded with the traditional prayer: "Dominus te conservet et vivificet te." He observed that the power of the Holy Spirit sustains the hearts of the faithful, and gives them perpetual youth-- an apparent allusion to the continued health of the Pope.

          In his account of the year that is drawing to a close, the Pope emphasized the preparations for the Jubilee Year 2000. He spoke of the "moments of reflection, such as the symposium on the Shoah," which have encouraged recognition for past offenses, and a renewed sense of humble commitment to God's will. He also underlined the importance of the City of Rome itself in the celebration of the Jubilee, insisting that the city has a key responsibility for greeting pilgrims and beginning a new evangelization of the entire world.

          Among the "moments of great emotion and spiritual joy" during the year, the Holy Father mentioned first his visit to Cuba, then his trips to Nigeria, Austria, and Croatia. And among the major projects of the year he recalled the issuance of his latest encyclical, Fides et Ratio, in which "I wanted to express my confidence in the efforts of human though, inviting my contemporaries to rediscover the role of reason and to recognize that faith is a precious ally in the search for truth."

          The number of pilgrims attending papal audiences and public events in 1998 was up by 61 percent in 1998, according to figures released on Tuesday by the Pontifical Household.

          Nearly 2 million people saw the Pope during audiences and special ceremonies, the report indicated. The official attendance figures showed 1,946,050 people participating at papal ceremonies this year, as against 1,192,580 in 1997.

          Through December 22, 656,200 people had attended the weekly papal audiences on Wednesdays, 518,000 had attended other special audiences, and religious ceremonies had brought 771,850 faithful to the Vatican.

Articles provided through Catholic World News Service.
CWN is not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provides this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

December 23-27, 1998       volume 9, no. 248


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