THE Pope's visit to Hong Kong was in many ways the most important part of the tour. The main feature of his brief three-hour stop was a carefully prepared speech, which had been vetted in advance by the authorities. In this, though avoiding any political overtones, the Pope stressed that the love of the Church could not exclude China. "Christ is . . . a loving redeemer for China too," he said.
Although the Communist press took no notice of the Pope's visit, all the other papers gave enthusiastic reports of the speech. Vatican officials travelling with the Pope said the speech could be considered very important; one said it was "pregnant with significance".
Despite the rainy weather, large crowds turned out to welcome Pope Paul before he celebrated Mass at the Hong Kong sports stadium. There. and again at the airport in his farewell address, he reiterated his theme of the universal brotherhood of men to whom the Church was sent.
In order to avoid any political overtones, the hierarchy of Nationalist China was not admitted to Hong Kong for the visit, which they are known to have disliked: Cardinal Paul Yu Pin of Taipei had asked the Pope beforehand to cancel the visit, but Hong Kong was selected as being the most neutral country with a predominantly Chinese popula
Pope Paul flew in a helicopter to and from the stadium where he said Mass, wearing headphones, and looked over the border to Red China 1 miles away.
THE LAST STOT Then, just before four-thirty in the afternoon, Pape Paul left for the last stop of the tour in Ceylon. As he flew over wartorn Indo-China, he sent messages and pleas to both sides for a speedy end to the fighting.
At Colombo. a crowd the police estimated at about 700,000 came to hear the Pope
celebrate Mass under a canopy shaped like a pagoda roof, designed by a Buddhist monk, Mapalagama Vipulasara Thero, who is president of the National Artists' Front in Ceylon.
The Pope greeted President Gopallawa and Mrs, Ilandaranaike. the premier, and the crowds shouted "Viva it Papa" while a choir sang Latin 1 lymns, BEACON OF PEACE
For Ceylon, the Pope's message was one of his most frequent, yet very much to the point peace and the brotherhood of man. -You are among yourselves brothers and sisters, children of out: arid the same motherland, said Pope Paul et that brotherhood knit you together as one family in your economic, and political life, without any distinction of caste, diced. colour or tongue. Share one anothcr's burdens, cares, sorrows and joys."
Pop; Paul called on Ceylonese Catholics to give the lead in this mission of peace, so that it \votild spread from group to group in ever widening circles and make Ceylon a -Beacon of peace" for all Asia.
The Pope's iinal gesture on this greatest ot evangelical tours was to present the Ceylonese Government with a cheque for 0.300 for use in a leper colony outside Colombo.
And from Colombo Pope Paul took off on the long flight back to Rome, ending a tour that, though it began with an attempted assassination. must achieve lasting results for peace and the Gospel in \ale.