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Pope's World Communications Day message to focus on Internet

Pope John Paul II's message for World Communications Day 2002 will focus on Internet, in part because of the medium's special interest to young people.

The president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, Archbishop John P. Foley, disclosed in a press statement on Tueday why the Holy Father chose the topic "Internet: A New Forum for Proclaiming the Gospel."

Internet "touches one of the key means of communication developed in recent years, and one which is of particular interest to young people," Archbishop Foley said.

World Communications Day, the only worldwide celebration called for by the Second Vatican Council (in "Inter Mirifica," 1963), is observed in most countries on the Sunday before Pentecost. Next year it falls on 12 May.

The Holy Father's message is traditionally published in conjunction with the memorial of St. Francis de Sales, patron of writers (24 January), to allow bishops' conferences and diocesan offices time to prepare materials for national and local celebrations of World Communications Day.