The Pope's Week

Sept. 29 - Oct. 4


Pope John Paul celebrated Mass this morning in the private chapel of the papal residence at Castelgandolfo for the repose of the souls of his predecessors Paul VI and John Paul I.


At today's noon Angelus from Castelgandolfo, the Holy Father spoke of Oriental spirituality, and its contribution, “insisting on the perspective of ‘the heart,’” to man's knowledge.

“A certain drift from humanistic culture has led not a few men and women of our times to separate themselves from God. But with the decline of the great ideologies, it resulted, in all its dramatic clarity, that when man becomes an ‘orphan of God,’ he also loses the sense of his being and in some way becomes an ‘orphan’ of himself."

Faced with the question, “Who is man?" stated the Pope, “Christianity, in its double Oriental and Western tradition" has always answered that the ultimate truth on the human being can be found in the Creator.

“Eastern Christians like to distinguish three types of knowledge. The first is limited to man in is bio-psychic structure. The second is within the sphere of moral life. The highest level, however, of knowledge of one's self is obtained in ‘contemplation.’” He added: “This is knowledge of the heart…. This is what Oriental writers allude to when they invite [one] ‘to come down from the head to the heart..’”

“This is an important message,” the Pope concluded, “which has value not only for the specifically religious experience, but also for life in all its aspects…. We need now more than ever to rediscover the dimensions of ‘the heart,’ we need more heart."

At the conclusion of today's Angelus in Castelgandolfo the Pope made an appeal for peace in the Middle East:

“Unfortunately, once again painful events have occurred which upset the already fragile peace process in the Middle East. Following the bloody episodes of recent days in Jerusalem and other places, all we can do is entrust so much pain to God, beseeching him to transform such sufferings into a loyal commitment in favor of a true, just and lasting peace."

“It is the duty of believers—Jews, Christians and Muslims—to seek every way which favors understanding and reciprocal faith in favor of peace in a land which God willed to be “holy."

This morning at Castelgandolfo the Holy Father received members of the 31st Storm Group of the Italian Air Force, which assists him in his air travel within Italy.


As is his custom before leaving the summer residence in Castelgandolfo, John Paul II said good-bye to the civil and religious authorities there. Welcoming the mayor and members of the town council this morning in the Consistory Hall, the Pope showed them his gratitude for their collaboration. The Holy Father then greeted in the Hall of the Throne the religious and medical personnel in service during the summer period.

In the Swiss Hall he addressed officials from the Carabinieri, the Vatican's Inspectorate of Public Security and the State Police and said: “I thank you for your precious service and the spirit with which you provide it…."


In today's general audience, the Pope commented on the Visitation of the Virgin to her cousin Elizabeth, in which Mary foretold Christ's mission and “became the model of those in the Church who place themselves on the path to bring the light and joy of Christ to the men of every place and every time."

The Holy Father, who returned to Rome yesterday afternoon, spoke to 20,000 pilgrims in St. Peter's Square, and explained that, “in the episode of the Visitation, St. Luke shows how the grace of the Incarnation, after having filled Mary, brought salvation and joy to Elizabeth's house. The Savior of man, in his mother's womb, poured forth the Holy Spirit, showing himself from the beginning of his coming into the world."

When Mary entered her cousin's house, “the messianic joy filled even Elizabeth who ‘was full of the Holy Spirit’ and exclaimed aloud: ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!’ … Proclaiming her ‘blessed among women,’ Elizabeth pointed to the faith of Mary as the motive of her blessedness: ‘And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.’”

At the end of today's general audience, Pope John Paul greeted numerous groups of pilgrims present in their own languages. He had special words for the students of the Pontifical North American College who will be ordained deacons tomorrow: “You will be configured to Christ and sent forth as ministers of the Gospel and servants of the People of God. May you always be joyful witnesses of the grace and truth which God has bestowed upon us in Jesus his Son."


Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano sent a telegram in John Paul II's name to Cardinal Augusto Vargas Alzamora, S.J., archbishop of Lima, Peru, and another to Cardinal Carlos Oviedo Cavada, O. of M., archbishop of Santiago, Chile, upon learning of the airplane crash in the ocean near Lima.


On the occasion of the Oct. 2 funeral for Sister Danka Juscevic of the Daughters of Divine Charity, killed in Kakanj, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano sent a telegram expressing the Holy Father's sorrow to Cardinal Vinko Puljic, archbishop of Vrhbosna, Sarajevo.

The telegram said, in part: “The Holy Father expresses his spiritual closeness to the entire Catholic Church in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Calling to mind that the future of peoples cannot be built on violence against the innocent and defenseless and by trampling on the elementary human rights of individuals and groups, the Supreme Pontiff raises fervent prayers so that the blood spilled by those who have consecrated their lives to God and to disinterested service of the Church and of their brothers and sisters, along with the blood of so many innocents, may be a pledge of true freedom and lasting peace for all the dear people of those tormented regions." (VIS)