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John Paul II celebrates name day

The Vatican went on holiday as John Paul II celebrated his name day by meeting with a group of Polish pilgrims and inviting 11 senior cardinals to a special celebration.

In observing the liturgical memorial of St. Charles Borromeo today, Pope Karol (Charles, in Polish) telephoned his namesake, Carlo Ciampi, the president of Italy, to wish him a happy feast day. Both leaders were born in 1920.

As customary on this day, the Holy Father received 300 Polish pilgrims in the Clementine Hall of the Apostolic Palace, who had come to Rome to congratulate him and to assure him of their prayers.

"Every day I feel" the benefits of the prayers, a smiling Pope told them. "With you, I thank God for the gift of faith that I received at baptism," the Pope said to his compatriots.

John Paul II explained that a name day recalls the day of baptism, when one receives the name of a patron.

Then, visibly moved, the Holy Father thanked his late parents, Karol Wojtyla, a military man in the Austro-Hungarian army, and his mother, Emilia Kaczorowsky, who transmitted to him the gift of faith. The Pontiff said he hoped that all children might enjoy this same experience.


Pope celebrates name-day feast with call to Italian president (Catholic News Service)

6 Nov 2002