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Pope speaks about afterlife in All Souls' Day address

On Sunday, Pope John Paul II urged the faithful to pray for the dead and consider death as merely a step toward eternal life.

"This invites the faithful to look at the mystery of death not as the last word of human fate, but as a step toward eternal life," John Paul told a crowd gathered in St Peter's Square.

He was in good form on Sunday, but on Saturday evening he skilled a prayer ceremony in the grotto under St Peter's Basilica to honour deceased popes, many of whom are buried there. Vatican television officials said it would be logistically difficult for him to reach the underground area.

John Paul has great trouble walking and standing and is frequently wheeled around in a chair by aides. He also suffers from Parkinson's disease, which has made it increasingly difficult for him to speak clearly.

Pope speaks about afterlife in All Souls' Day address (Associated Press/Indianapolis Star)

Pope thanks Poles for grave visit (Associated Press/CNN)
Prayer for the dead is "important duty," Pope says (Catholic World News)
Pope Turns Thoughts to Death, Afterlife (Associated Press/Guardian)
All Souls' Day Reflection: John Paul II Reflects on Meaning of Life (Zenit)

4 Nov 2003