DAILY CATHOLIC     TUESDAY     August 3, 1999     vol. 10, no. 144

from a CATHOLIC perspective

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Suggests rest in "Places of the Spirit" while backing Colombian Bishop's reconciliation program

          CASTEL GANDOLFO, AUG 1 (ZENIT).- Several thousand pilgrims crowded into the courtyard of the Pope's summer residence in Castel Gandolfo today to join the Holy Father in the traditional "Angelus" prayer. Summer holidays were the main topic of the Pope's address to the faithful.

          John Paul II hoped that those who are enjoying these days of rest "will be able to spend some time to regain their energies far from their usual environment and be able to rediscover themselves and others, in a more balanced and serene dimension of life."

    Fill Void of Humanity

          The Pontiff mentioned that at this time of year, especially in Europe, many families come together again in their place of origin, having been kept far apart because of work during the year. "How often they are stressed because of the work pace, especially in large cities! How difficult it is to find a quiet place and relaxing atmosphere to enjoy intimacy, to talk and express the needs and plans that each one has! This is why vacations are a good time to fill this void, which we could call of 'humanity,' with peace and life together," the Holy Father said.

          "Also, it is interesting to note that increasingly, more and more persons and families are using their holidays to spend some days in so-called 'places of the spirit' -- monasteries, shrines, hermitages, retreat houses. In general, these places combine the beauty of the natural setting with the opportunity to access the spiritual riches of spending time with God in reflection and silence, in prayer and contemplation. This is a healthy tendency that should not be restricted to vacation time, but must find an adequate way to be combined with daily activity at other times of the year."

          John Paul II said that "the real challenge is to safeguard interior harmony so that the rhythm of daily life will always have the supernatural dimension that each one of us needs."

          This afternoon, the Holy Father attended a concert of the Music Academy "Pro Mundo Uno." The "Camerata Lysy" of the International Music Academy of Gstaad interpreted works by Telemann, Vivaldi, Tchaikovsky, Mendelssohn, Bruckner, Grieg and Smetana.

    Supports National Reconciliation Process Promoted by Bishops

          At the end of his midday meeting with thousands of faithful in the apostolic residence of Castel Gandolfo, John Paul II called world attention to the internal struggle in Colombia, which for years has pitted the guerrillas against the Bogota government. Tension has grown over the last few months, and peace negotiations are stagnant.

          "Over recent weeks I have followed with sorrow incidents of armed conflict taking place in Colombia, with hundreds of kidnappings, destruction of settlements and even of places of worship, and the murder of defenseless people," the Pope continued. "Also worrying are the difficulties encountered for progress in the ... peace process, the only road open to reach reconciliation among Colombians."

          "The Holy See, which energetically promotes every effort for peace among peoples and within nations, encourages and supports the reconciliation endeavor undertaken by the Colombian Episcopate and by so many men of good will. I ask you to pray for this noble objective," the Holy Father said.

          The Pope spoke these words only hours after Caracas authorities confirmed the kidnapping of 14 passengers on a Venezuelan flight, an action claimed by the National Liberation Army. ZE99080104 and ZE99080105

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.

August 3, 1999       volume 10, no. 144


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