DAILY CATHOLIC     THURSDAY     June 24, 1999     vol. 10, no. 122

from a CATHOLIC perspective

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          VATICAN CITY (CWNews.com) - As is his custom after each pastoral visit abroad, Pope John Paul II expressed his reflections concerning his seventh and longest trip to Poland during his Wednesday general audience in St. Peter's Square.

          In different languages, the obviously joyful Pope recalled that this trip had been for him "a great song of praise to God the Father," and thanked God once again for having allowed him to go to his native land. Twenty years after his first trip to Poland as pope, June 2-19, 1979, the Holy Father returned to his homeland for different reasons: the millennial anniversary of the canonization of St. Adalbert and the institution of new dioceses, the conclusion of the national synod and the proclamation of a new saint, Sister Kinga, and many beatifications of martyrs of the Nazis.

          In his catechesis, which was a little longer than usual, the Pope underlined the great faith of the Poles, "greatly supported by the devotion to the Sacred Heart and to the Virgin Mary." His detour by Czestochowa before returning to Rome was "a moment of great spiritual emotion," he confessed. He desired to put into the hands of Mary his own life and his "Petrine ministry" and to devote to her the Church in Poland and the whole world, without forgetting to call upon "the precious gift of peace for all humanity and solidarity among people."

          Other reasons for joy for the Pope were the "transformations which took place in Poland these past twenty years in the name of liberty and of solidarity." He recalled particularly his time in Gdansk, symbolic home of the Solidarisnosc movement. When he visited the Polish Parliament, first of its kind, he saw the chance to pray for "the old continent, so that it can continue to be a light to civilization and of authentic progress, rediscovering its spiritual roots and fully developing the potential of its people, from the Urals to the Atlantic."

          Lastly, addressing his compatriots, present in the square, in Polish, the Pope did not fail to encourage them to remain faithful to the moral and ethical principles which are the basis of democracy and all political life.

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.

June 24, 1999       volume 10, no. 122


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