Pope turns thoughts to Christmas
Amid Christmas preparations worldwide, Pope John Paul II reminded the faithful in his weekly address yesterday that it is necessary to "prepare the soul" in order to "intensely live this great mystery of faith".
He was reportedly in good form as he spoke to pilgrims gathered next to the Vatican's huge tinsel-decorated fir Christmas tree.
He said that in order to understand the true meaning of Christmas, it is necessary to consider the Virgin Mary and her response to Christ's birth: "humility, silence, amazement, joy."
"She indicates to us the value of silence, which knows to listen to the singing of the angels and the wailing of the child, not stifling them in din and confusion," the pope said. "Together with her, we will pause before the nativity scene with quiet amazement, savoring the simple and pure joy that that the child brings to humanity."
Among the pope's scheduled events this week are Wednesday's Midnight Mass, as well as the traditional Christmas Day "Urbi et Orbi" message - Latin for "To the City and to the World."
Pope Turns Thoughts to Christmas Holiday (The Guardian/AP 21/12/03)
Vatican official: Martino was not speaking for Pope (Catholic World News 19/12/03)
Schedule set for Pope's liturgical appearances during Christmas (Catholic World News 18/12/03)
Vatican Recognizes Austrian Emperor's Miracle (Voice of America 20/12/03)
Vatican Distances Itself From Comment (Associated Press/Yahoo 19/12/03)
Pope Asks Young People for Prayers (Zenit 19/12/03)
Vatican set to beatify emperor (BBC 21/12/03)
Vatican Recognizes Austrian Emperor's Miracle (VOA News 20/12/03)
Vatican paves way for Austro-Hungary saint (Associated Press/NewsObserver 20/12/03)
Lawyers Compile Book on John Paul II's Teachings on Law (Zenit 19/12/03)
22 Dec 2003