The source said, "This is not an official projection, but it certainly is a great expectation and arrangements are being made in that sense." That expectation confirmed the statement of the new Mexican Ambassador to the Holy See, Horacio Sanchez Unzueta, who said in an interview with Mexican media: "The Holy Father will hold his largest Mass ever next time he comes to Mexico."
"We never wanted this to become an official statement, but since this will be not only a Mexican visit but an [North and South] American one, I think is realistic to think in those terms," the source from the bishops' conference said. The Holy Father's visit to Mexico City has a continental dimension, since he will present his Post-Synodal Apostolic Letter at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
A location for the open air Mass has not yet been confirmed, but the possibilities include the La Estrella hill, the Magdalena Mixhuca race track, or the Milpa Alta plains. All three places are capable of holding around 5 million people. The current record-holder for largest papal Mass is the Mass during World Youth Day in 1994 in the Philippines which more than 4 million people attended. It was also the largest gathering of humanity in history for any purpose.
Born in Italy in 1914, Agostino Casaroli was ordained to the priesthood in 1937 and a bishop in 1967. He was raised to the College of Cardinals by Pope Paul VI in 1979.
Pope John Paul II paid tribute to Cardinal Casaroli as "an authentic witness to the Gospel" and a "faithful servant of the Church" whose long service at the Vatican included many "courageous and significant steps with great diplomatic sensitivity, especially to improve the situation of the Church in Eastern Europe."
Cardinal Casaroli enjoyed a remarkable tenure in the Vatican diplomatic corps, serving in the Secretariat of States from 1940 through 1990. Beginning with a modest post in the archives, he rose eventually to become the Secretary of State in 1979, and to hold that position throughout the following decade. He was considered the primary practitioner of the Vatican policy of "ostpolitik" during the years of the Cold War, and in a public address last year he described his successful efforts to persuade Pope Paul VI to seek accommodations with the Soviet empire-- abandoning the policies of Pope Pius XII, who had refused all forms of cooperation with the Communist regime.
Often the focus of criticism-- especially from those who pointed to the Catholics still suffering under the repressive policies of the Soviet bloc-- Cardinal Casaroli was a key negotiator for the Vatican for more than two decades, and traveled constantly to participate in international conferences and to fulfill delicate diplomatic missions. Pope John Paul II-- despite his support for more active opposition to Communism-- retained Cardinal Casaroli as his Secretary of State until the cardinal finally retired at the age of 76.
The cardinal died of an infection that set in as the result of cardiac and respiratory problems. His funeral will be celebrated at St. Peter's basilica on Friday, June 12.
President B.J. Habibie was quoted by an anonymous president aide as saying mainly Muslim Indonesia would grant some form of recognition to the region's culture and Catholic faith. Indonesia invaded the former Portugese colony in 1975 and annexed it the following year in a move not recognized by the United Nations. The capital city of Jakarta, as well as some few other regions of Indonesia, enjoy a special status that gives local governments only a few, mostly symbolic privileges.
The British Broadcasting Corp. also reported that Habibie ordered the release of 10 Timorese resistance fighters, although it was made clear resistance leader Xanana Gusmao wouldn't be among them. Fernando Araujo, an East Timorese activist and former political prisoner who is in regular contact with Gusmao, said the withdrawal of Indonesian troops and Gusmao's release were requirements for any peaceful solution.
Habibie replaced former President Suharto last month when the leader stepped down after 32 years in power following widespread protests over economic conditions and lack of freedoms.
The bill sponsored by Sen. Paul Coverdell, R-Georgia, and Sen. Robert Toricelli, D-New Jersey, would allow tax-free savings accounts to be created for children, starting at birth. Up to $2,000 a year could be contributed, with money coming from relatives, employers, foundations, or other sources. The accounts would permit tax-free withdrawals and the money could be used for a range of expenses from kindergarten through college, including tuition at private or religious schools.
President Clinton has threatened to veto the bill, saying it would only benefit the wealthy while siphoning money away from public schools. Supporters of the bill said it is intended to give greater choice to all parents, and give them the same opportunities as more privileged people, like Clinton himself, who send their children to private schools. Clinton's daughter, Chelsea, attended the elite Sidwell Friends School after he father became president in 1992 until last year when she graduated.
Today's Prayer is the continuing Novena to the Body and Blood of Christ leading up to next Sunday's the Feast of Corpus Christi. Click on PRAYERS & DEVOTION
I thank You, Jesus, my Divine Redeemer, for coming upon the earth for our sake, and for instituting the adorable Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist in order to remain with us until the end of the world. I thank You for hiding beneath the Eucharistic species Your infinite majesty and beauty, which Your Angels delight to behold, so that I might have courage to approach the throne of Your Mercy.
I thank You, most loving Jesus, for having made Your- self my food, and for uniting me to Yourself with so much love in this wonderful Sacrament that I may live in You.
I thank You, my Jesus, for giving Yourself to me in this Blessed Sacrament, and so enriching it with the treasures of Your love that You have no greater gift to give me. I thank You not only for becoming my food but also for offering Yourself as a continual sacrifice to Your Eternal Father for my salvation.
I thank You, Divine Priest, for offering Yourself as a Sacrifice daily upon our altars in adoration and homage to the Most Blessed Trinity, and for making amends for our poor and miserable adorations.
I thank You for renewing in this daily Sacrifice the actual Sacrifice of the Cross offered on Calvary, in which You satisfy Divine justice for us poor sinners.
I thank You, dear Jesus, for having become the priceless Victim to merit for me the fullness of heavenly favors. Awaken in me such confidence in You that their fullness may descend ever more fruitfully upon my soul.
I thank You for offering Yourself in thanksgiving to God for all His benefits, spiritual and temporal, which He has bestowed upon me.
In union with Your offering of Yourself to Your Father in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, I ask for this special favor: (Mention your request).
If it be Your holy Will, grant my request. Through You I also hope to receive the grace of perseverance in Your love and faithful service, a holy death, and a happy eternity with You in Heaven. AMEN.
O Lord, You have given us this Sacred Banquet, in which Christ is received, the memory of His Passion is renewed, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us.
O Jesus, since You have left us a remembrance of Your Passion beneath the veils of this Sacrament, grant us, we pray, so to venerate the sacred mysteries of Your Body and Blood that we may always enjoy the fruits of Your Redemption, for You live and reign forever. Amen.