In a moving ceremony on Sunday in the presence of 1500 bishops, Pope John Paul entrusted humanity and the third millennium to the protection of the Virgin Mary.
    The Holy Father pronounced the solemn words before the original image of the Virgin of Fatima, which was brought to St Peter's Square for the occasion. In the statue's crown was the bullet that almost ended the Pope's life on 13 May 1981.
    St Peter's Square was a sea of people. The statue of Fatima was received with enthusiastic applause, brought in procession and followed by John Paul II. The Holy Father was visibly moved by the event.
    During the homily at the concelebrated Mass, John Paul II described the scene of faith and prayer unfolding before him as a 'great cenacle'. He first addressed the bishops who were celebrating their special Jubilee.
    "Given the relativism and subjectivism that contaminate a large part of contemporary culture, bishops are called to defend and promote the doctrinal unity of their faithful," the Holy Father said.
    "Attentive to every situation where the faith is lost or ignored," he added, "bishops work with all their strength in favor of evangelization, preparing priests, religious and laity with this objective in mind."
    Zenit (available soon)
10 Oct 00

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