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Pope urges spiritual preparation for Christmas

At his regular weekly public audience yesterday, Pope John Paul II asked the faithful to intensify their spiritual preparations for Christmas during the final week of Advent.

The Holy Father also used the occasion to thank the people of Croatia for the Christmas tree that adorns St Peter's Square this year. The 90-foot tree was lit on Tuesday evening, December 17, in a short but colorful ceremony.

"Our entire lives should be a sort of Advent," the Pope said.

He said Christmas is not only about the commemoration of the historical event that took place more than 2000 years ago, but also a "personal journey".

As next Wednesday is Christmas Day, this was the final regular weekly audience of the year. The Pontifical Household issued a press release reporting that more than 400,000 people have attended the 46 Wednesday audiences this year. During the entirety of his pontificate, Pope John Paul has addressed more than 17 million people at such audiences.

Catholic World News

Vatican lights up Christmas Tree from Croatia (AP)

19 Dec 2002