Pope´s Address Before Praying "Regina Caeli"
Calls for an End to Exploitation of Children as Soldiers

(Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of John Paul II's address today, before praying the "Regina Caeli."

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1. At the end of this solemn celebration
, I want to entrust to Mary's maternal intercession the whole Church, which in Pentecost has a renewed awareness of her missionary vocation. Moreover, we place in her hands the expectations of peace and justice of the world. In particular, we wish to recommend to Our Lady's intercession the lives of so many youths, who are victims of the ongoing absurd violence in several countries, as testified by the news reaching us in the past days from the Holy Land. In addition to them, we remember especially the children involved in armed conflicts. In about 50 countries, many minors live in the midst of conflicts or post-conflict situations. They are victims of forced recruitment and of abuses of all kinds; they cannot go to school, they are separated from their parents, and subjected to physical and psychological violence.

I appeal to the international community to increase its efforts to protect and rehabilitate all those who live in such tragic conditions. May the children, who are humanity's future and hope, grow up at last far away from the flagellation of war and every form of violence.
May Mary, Mother of life, protect children in danger and support those who work to help them.

2. In a few moments, the venerable remains of Blessed John XXIII, which we had with us during the Holy Mass, will be devotedly taken to the Vatican Basilica, where they will remain exposed for the veneration of the faithful. I remember with admiration the brief but intense pontificate of this, my unforgettable predecessor. At this moment, I would like to recall his fervent devotion to Our Lady. He often remembered the good traditions of his childhood, when the most elderly in the family led the recitation of the rosary at home. Since then, he liked to say, Most Holy Mary took him by the hand and accompanied him on the path of the priesthood, the ideal of his whole life.

On May 15, 1963, during the last general audience in St. Peter's Basilica,
he exhorted everyone to multiply their manifestations of affection for Mary, to whom, he underlined, the whole Eternal City is, so to speak, consecrated.

Let us gather his spiritual testament! Like him, let us deepen our relation with the Mother of Christ and Tabernacle of the Holy Spirit and, inspired by new fervor, let us invoke her with confidence: Regina caeli ...

[Translation by ZENIT]

Pope´s Address Before Praying "Regina Caeli"
"At the Same Time Citizens of Heaven and Earth"

(Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of John Paul II's address to pilgrims gathered at midday today in St. Peter's Square, before the recitation of the "Regina Caeli."

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Dearest Brothers and Sisters!

1. Jesus' Ascension into Heaven is celebrated today in Italy and other countries. The traditional day would have been last Thursday; but, for pastoral reasons, the feast was transferred to today's Sunday.

Jesus' Ascension was an event that left an indelible mark in the memory of the first disciples, as we see in the testimony of the Gospel and in the Book of the Acts of the Apostles. Forty days after the Resurrection, Jesus led his disciples to the Mount of Olives, "toward Bethany," and, "while he blessed them, he parted from them, and was carried up into heaven" (Luke 24:50-51). Naturally, they continued to look on high, but they were asked immediately by two angels: "Why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus ... will come in the same way as you saw him go up to heaven" (Acts 1:11).

2. "On earth as it is in heaven": these words, which we repeat every day in the prayer of the Our Father, express well the new condition of the disciples, transformed by the experience of the paschal mystery of Christ. They are at the same time citizens of earth and heaven.

Indeed, Christ has become the bridge between heaven and earth: He is the Mediator between God and man, between the Kingdom of heaven and the history of the world. United to Him in his same Spirit, believers form a new community, the Church, whose nature is at the same time visible and spiritual, a pilgrim in the world and participant of heavenly glory (see "Lumen Gentium," 8. 48-51).

3. Among all creatures, Most Holy Mary was associated more than any other to this mystery. As the new Eve, from whom the new Adam was born, she points out the way for our endeavor on earth; at the same time, having been assumed into heaven in soul and body, She invites us to be directed to our real homeland, where the fullness of the life of love of God, One and Triune, awaits us.

As the Church embarks on the ocean of the new millennium, she does not lose sight of the polar star that guides her navigation. That star is Christ, Lord of the centuries. Next to Him is his and our Mother, who does not cease to accompany her children in their earthly pilgrimage. We look to her with sincere hope. We entrust to her the hopes and plans of the Church, as they emerged from the extraordinary consistory that just ended. As we sing the "Regina Caeli" with renewed confidence, we ask her for the gift of peace for the whole world.

[Translation by ZENIT]

Pope´s Address Before Praying "Regina Caeli"
Assails "Absurd Spiral of Violence" in Mideast

(Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the full text of John Paul II's address, given at St. Peter's Square before he prayed the "Regina Caeli" at midday today.

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Dearest Brothers and Sisters!

1. Today, together with you, I wish to give thanks to God and to the Blessed Virgin for the pilgrimage in St. Paul's footsteps, which I had the joy of undertaking over the past days. Athens, Damascus, Malta: I carry those places imprinted in my soul, which the mission of the Apostle to the Gentiles has linked, indissolubly, to the history of Christianity. Next Wednesday, during the general audience, I will discuss at greater length this unforgettable journey, which was very significant from the ecumenical and interreligious point of view.

Unfortunately, it was saddened by the painful news that continued to arrive from the Holy Land. Indeed, we are faced with an absurd spiral of violence. To sow death every day does no more than exasperate spirits and delay the blessed day when all will be able to look at one another in the face and walk together as brothers! All, and in particular leaders of the international community, have the duty to help the parties in conflict to break this immoral chain of provocations and reprisals. It must be remembered, moreover, as so often repeated, that the language and culture of peace must prevail over incitement to hatred and exclusion.

2. Today, a reason for joy and praise comes to us from the priestly ordinations, which I celebrated this morning in St. Peter's Basilica. Thirty-four deacons from several Seminaries of the Diocese of Rome, became priests, to serve the Church through preaching of the Gospel, the celebration of the Sacraments, and the pastoral care of the People of God. I embrace each one of them again in peace, assuring them of my prayerful support in their new ministry. I thank all those who are responsible for their formation and affectionately greet relatives and friends.

3. We now invoke, on these new Priests of the Diocese of Rome, the help of Most Holy Mary, on the day in which we remember her apparitions in Fatima. I myself was able to experience her protection on May 13 twenty years ago. We renew our supplication to her for the Holy Land, that the hearts and intentions of all will be purified, so that the massacres will cease and the energies of one and all will be employed for the effective and lasting construction of peace.

[Translation by ZENIT]

Who is the Most Holy?


Daniel 9:24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.


Presents of God ministry