Pope John Paul II celebrated an outdoor Mass in the Roman countryside Sunday on a beautiful spring day, but his thoughts were shadowed by war.
    ``Our eyes are full of images of violence and death that come from Kosovo and the Balkans, where a conflict with dramatic consequences is being fought,'' the pope said in his homily to about 700 people of the parish of Santa Maria di Loreto a Castelverde.
    John Paul is the bishop of Rome as well as the head of the entire Catholic church and often visits local parishes.
    He also spoke to the faithful in St. Peter's Square on Sunday, renewing his call for peace in the Balkans, home to a volatile ethnic and religious mix that includes Catholics, Orthodox and Muslims.
    ``I renew my appeal, directed not only to faith but above all to reason: may they live together in harmony in their land, putting down arms and reopening dialogue,'' he said.
    The Vatican has repeatedly called for an end to the conflict in the rebellious Yugoslav province of Kosovo and sharply criticized NATO's air strikes.
    ``What a great need for true peace pervades the world in this last bit of the millennium,'' John Paul said Sunday. ``It touches individuals, families and the very lives of nations.''

9:41am 12/4/99 / AP


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