VATICAN CITY, MAR 6, 2004 (VIS) - Upon the conclusion of the spiritual exercises that took place this week in the "Redemptor Mater" Chapel in the Vatican, the Holy Father, on behalf of all the participants, thanked Msgr. Bruno Forte, professor of the theology faculty of the University of Southern Italy and member of the International Theological Commission, who preached the spiritual exercises.
John Paul II affirmed that during the spiritual retreat, Msgr. Forte guided him, along with his collaborators in the Roman Curia, "in contemplating the mystery of Christ, as he proposed to us meditations on the theme: 'Following You, light of life'."
"Thank you," he continued, addressing Msgr. Forte, "because, with the style that characterizes your theological research and pastoral care, you offered precious stimulus to our minds and our hearts in order to follow with greater determination the One Who is the light of the world." The Pope also expressed his appreciation "for the colloquial tone" of his preaching, "which helped us to elevate our spirit to God in a contemplative manner, full of faith and love, to which I always invite the People of God, urging Christian communities to stand out in the middle of the world above all for their 'art of prayer'."
The Pope assured Msgr. Forte that "for all of this the Lord, Who entrusted you with the ecclesial service which you carry out with zeal and faithfulness, will reward you. May Our Lady, who helped us to meditate in the context of our earthly pilgrimage toward the celestial homeland, watch over you and your apostolic activity."
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