Pope backs the European Union
THE POPE has reminded his countrymen weeks before Poland's referendum on membership in the European Union that the foundations of Europe's identity are built on Christianity.
John Paul II spoke to Polish pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square on May 9 who had come for Sunday's canonisation of their fellow country men St Joseph Sebastian Pelczar and St Ursula Ledochowska.
In his greeting, the Pontiff reviewed the trips he made to Poland, starting with the first historic trip of 1979, and mentioned his country's profound bond with Europe.
With only a few weeks to go before voters decide, he quoted from his speech in Warsaw in 1997.
Swim against tide, says Pope
POPE JOHN Paul II has said that being Christian today means swimming against the tide.
In an address to the general assembly of the Italian episcopal conference the Pope said that "the formation of a Christian and the transmission of the faith to new generations are of decisive importance, even more important in the present social and cultural context."
He said it was necessary to proclaim the faith to new generations, creating means of "Christian initiation" that gave "ample space to the proclamation of the faith" and offering "the fundamental motivations in a manner proportionate to the age and preparation of people".
Pope to issue exhortation
ON JUNE 28 the Pope will promulgate the apostolic exhortation Ecclesia in Europa from the second Synod of Bishops of Europe in 1999, it was announced last week.
The news was confirmed by Bishop Piero Marini, master of papal liturgical celebrations, with the publishing of the programme of the Holy Father's principal activities for June.
The Synod of Bishops' second special assembly for Europe was held from October 1-23 of 1999, with the motto "Jesus Christ Living in His Church, Source of Hope for Europe".
The Pope will give the post-synodal apostolic exhortation on the eve of the solemnity of the patron saints of Rome.
Italian bishops hear peace call
POPE JOHN Paul II renewed his appeal for peace in the Middle East in an address to the general assembly of the Italian bishops' conference at the Vatican.
"Among the many regions of the world deprived of the fundamental good of peace, for too long a time, unfortunately, we have had to include the Holy Land," he said.
"I wish to express to you, Italian bishops, my heartfelt appreciation for the initiative to send a representation of yours there. after Easter, to take a testimony of concrete solidarity in particular to the communities that live there and face conditions of very grave difficulty."
Peace rosary book issued
THE VATICAN has published a book on the recitation of the Rosary for peace as a response to the Pope's invitation earlier this year.
The Rosary of Peace written by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, comments on the 20 mysteries of the Marian prayer with their relevant Gospel passages and extracts from papal messages for World Days of Peace.
The book, which is currently published only in Italian, seeks "to accompany the reflection on the great need for change and conversion on which peace in the world depends", Archbishop Renato Martino, president of the Ponitifical Council, writes in the introduction.
THE ENGLISH summary of Pope John Paul H's weekly general audience, given at St Peter's on Wednesday, May 23, 2003.
"Dear Brothers and Sisters, today's Psalm is a testimony of hope. Faced with great danger and difficulty, King David turns with confidence to the Lord, knowing that he will not ignore his people's prayer but will intervene in history and defeat evil.
"The King recognises the weakness of man who is 'merely a breath' (verse 4) and understands humanity's utter dependence upon God. Today's men and women must also acknowledge their need for God. Jesus Christ has won victory over evil, and gives us the strength to overcome trials.
"It is he who sustains us in the life of true freedom. Let us rejoice and bear witness to this hope for which our world long