DAILY CATHOLIC    MONDAY     October 4, 1999     vol. 10, no. 188

NEWS & VIEWS
from a CATHOLIC perspective

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EXPLOSION OF LIGHT AND SOUND DURING BLESSING OF ST. PETER'S FAÇADE

Celebration as in Bernini's Time Marks End of Restoration

        VATICAN CITY, OCT 1 (ZENIT).- John Paul II, foreign pilgrims, and thousands of Romans took part in a magnificent celebration yesterday, to mark the end of the restoration work on St. Peter's façade. Close to 70,000 persons acclaimed the Pope's arrival, as he drove through the crowd to the strains of Handel's Hallelujah.

        The people were enthusiastic and happy with what they saw: they broke into long applause at the official moment when the works were handed to the Pope and the Basilica was totally illuminated, its resplendent façade bathed in candescent light.

        Among the numerous personalities attending the celebration was Italy's President, Carlo Ciampi; and prime minister Massimo D'Alema, with their wives. The Pontiff spoke with them briefly, before watching the final display of fireworks.

        It was a Baroque spectacle, much like what Bernini organized in his time: gold, silver, and every imaginable color streamed from the sky, drawing beautiful shapes in the cobalt blue skies, to the accompaniment of Charpentier's "Te Deum."

        The Pope expressed his admiration and wonder "for the greatest stone restoration this century," as the press described it. "In experiencing admiration for the prodigious result of these works, the desire rises spontaneously from the heart to bless the Lord, who has given man the capacity to work the material and ennoble it, imprinting on it the seal of the spirit," the Holy Father said.

        "The restoration works remind us that each one of us is called to constant conversion and a courageous revision of life, to be able to meet Christ in a profound way, and to benefit totally from the fruits of the Holy Year," the Holy Father concluded. ZE99100106


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October 4, 1999       volume 10, no. 188
NEWS & VIEWS

DAILY CATHOLIC

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