DAILY CATHOLIC     THURSDAY     July 22, 1999     vol. 10, no. 136

from a CATHOLIC perspective

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          VATICAN (CWNews.com ) -- Pope John Paul II conducted his regular Wednesday public audience at the Vatican on July 21, then traveled to his summer residence at Castelgandalfo, where he will remain until September.

          At this audience, the Pope spoke of Heaven-- which, he reminded his audience, is "not an abstraction but a physical location." The joy of heavenly life, he said, comes from "the fullness of intimacy with God," which is "the end of human existence."

          The Holy Father returned to Rome on Tuesday evening after having spent 13 days vacationing in the Italian Alps. During the coming weeks at Castelgandalfo, he will spend a great deal of time preparing for the Jubilee celebrations and for several upcoming pastoral trips. Although only a few papal voyages have been publicly announced, there are expectations around the Vatican that the Pontiff will visit India in November, to promulgate the formal results of the Asian synod which met in Rome last April and May. He also hopes to visit Iraq in November, and the Holy Land in March 2000. Although diplomatic difficulties still hamper the planning for those trips, Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls assured reporters that the papal visits are "not politically impossible."

          Meanwhile, the Holy Father appeared refreshed by his vacation. On the last day of his stay in the mountains, he encountered a bicyclist-- who, stopping to talk, explained the advanced system of gears that enabled him to pedal comfortably up steep slopes. The Pope, poking fun at his own physical infirmity, remarked, "It's so easy these days, I might try it myself!"

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.

July 22, 1999       volume 10, no. 136


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