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Pope joins Europe's mourning for tsunami victims

Pope John Paul II joined many Europeans in observing 3 minutes of silence in memory of Asian tsunami victims, at the start of his regular weekly public audience on 5 January. The Holy Father then led the 5,000 people assembled in the Vatican's Paul VI auditorium in prayer for the victims and their families.

According to Catholic World News, European Union leaders had marked 5 January as a day of mourning for the tsunami victims, and asked for the midday period of silence to be observed in all 25 countries of the Union. In complying with that request, the Pope remarked: "Once again, I call upon everyone to join me in prayer for the many who died, and those who are suffering acute difficulties."

In his weekly catechetical message, which he read in its entirety, the Pontiff reminded his audience that on 6 January the universal Church celebrates the Epiphany. That feast, he said, reminds the faithful that "the good news of salvation is intended, from the outset, to reach all the peoples of the world." He said that he would entrust the success of this missionary task to the intercession of the Virgin Mary.

John Paul II also asked for the Virgin Mary's protection on mankind, noting that the new year has begun with a tragedy that has shaken the world. "Mother of the Church and Mother of the Redeemer," he said; "help your people, and protect them from all danger; be with the Church on our journey toward our heavenly home."

Pope joins Europe's mourning for tsunami victims (Catholic World News 5/1/05)

John Paul II General Audience Wednesday, 5 January 2005

Tsunami survivors find consolation in church personnel (CathNews 5/1/05)
Bishop denounces Asian adoption profiteers (CathNews 5/1/05)
Pope praises human solidarity after tsunami tragedy (CathNews 4/1/05)
Australian Church sends prayers and support to tsunami victims (CathNews 4/1/05)

Europe, 3-minute silence for dead and missing (Asia News 5/1/05)
Pope, Vatican audience observe silent prayer for tsunami victims (Catholic News Service 5/1/05)
Solidarity seen key to tsunami relief effort (Catholic World News 5/1/05)

6 Jan 2005