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Friday, January 7, 2005


VATICAN CITY, JAN 7, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Bishop Javier Echevarria Rodriguez, prelate of the personal prelature of Opus Dei.

 - Cardinal Camillo Ruini, his vicar general for the diocese of Rome and president of the Italian Episcopal Conference, accompanied by Archbishop Luigi Moretti, vice gerent of Rome.
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 VATICAN CITY, JAN 6, 2005 (VIS) - At midday today, Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord, the Pope appeared at the window of his study in order to pray the Angelus with thousands of faithful gathered in St Peter's Square.

  The Pope recalled the Gospel passage "we have come to worship Him," and said: "These words of the Magi, which we heard in the Gospel today, are the theme of the forthcoming World Youth Day, due to be held in Cologne in August. I invite young people in Germany and their peers throughout the world to start a spiritual journey towards this important appointment to discover in Christ, as the Magi did, the face of God.

  "Epiphany is also the Day of Missionary Children," the Holy Father went on. "Children are the present and future of the Church. They have an active role in evangelizing the world, and with their prayers they contribute to saving and improving it."

  After giving further assurance of his prayers for the "young victims of the tidal wave in Asia", the Holy Father indicated that he could not forget "children who are victims of hunger and disease, of war and of terrorism, as well as children who have been kidnapped, have disappeared or are exploited in shameful traffic."

  The Pope praised people who commit themselves to defending children, "especially the Pontifical Work of the Holy Childhood." After recalling the words of the Lord, "whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it," he concluded by appealing to the Virgin Mary, "who today presents Christ to the world, to help us adore Him with the soul of a child."

  Following the Angelus, John Paul II expressed his "cordial best wishes for peace and joy in the Lord to our brothers and sisters in the Eastern Churches who are celebrating Christmas over these days."
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