DAILY CATHOLIC    WEDNESDAY     December 1, 1999     vol. 10, no. 228

from a CATHOLIC perspective

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Visits Children and Community in Roman Parish

        VATICAN CITY, NOV 29 (ZENIT).- The one impression John Paul II left with parishioners of Pope St. Innocent I, an outlying parish in the north sector of Rome yesterday morning, is that we are beginning a very special Jubilee. The Pope left the Vatican early in the morning, to visit this very lively parish.

        The first to nod their assent to the Holy Father's words were the children, who received the Holy Father at 9 a.m., and who encouraged them to "guard your purity always," in a time of "a crisis of values."

        The youngest children sang a song in Polish, because "in the land you left so many years ago, no doubt you left a piece of your heart," 10-year old Andrea said. The Pope appreciated the children's effort, and told them he likes to learn languages, so that he can "visit many countries," the lands of peoples who will come to Rome because of the Holy Year, which is already at our door.

        "This year there is a more important reason that adds meaning and depth to the call to start on the road of Advent with enthusiasm," the Pope said during the homily. Because, as he reminded the congregation, this road will end "on Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day, when the much anticipated opening of the Holy Door in St. Peter's and in the Basilica of St. John Lateran will take place."

        The Holy Father thanked this parish for the work accomplished for the Jubilee and, addressing the faithful of his diocese, said: "Christian Rome, do not hesitate to open the doors of your homes to pilgrims. Exercise fraternal hospitality with joy. The city and diocese of Rome will be able to welcome the pilgrims who will come from all parts of the world for the Jubilee, only if they know how to open their mind and heart to the ineffable mystery of the Word who became flesh."

        For the Pope Christmas is not an anniversary, but something far more profound: a "meeting," he said at the end of his visit with the youth of the parish. "The night of Bethlehem is meeting the Son of God, meeting Jesus." ZE99112910

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.

December 1, 1999       volume 10, no. 228


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