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Pope appeals for prayers at Jubilee Mass

 Pope John Paul appealed to Catholics around the world to pray for him at the Jubilee Mass in St Peter's Square today. Cardinals, bishops and state dignitaries were among the tens of thousands of people who attended the service, which was celebrated under a clear blue sky. The Pope was greeted with rapturous applause as he arrived. Many groups waved banners and flags. Although the Pope was slumped in his chair he appeared alert. In his homily, he said Christ was aware of his human frailty but still encouraged him to bear his responsibilities as Pope. Earlier in the day, the Pope delivered a strong message to bishops at an audience in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall. (See previous ICN story). He presented a 192-page exhortation covering issues from child abuse to dialogue with Islam. Their duty, he said, was the "reparation of scandal and the restoration of justice and [to do] all that is required for the protection and assistance of victims". The document also called for dialogue between faiths to bring "peace between peoples", saying the 11 September attacks on America had created "grave new situations of uncertainty and fear". It also reminded bishops that to work in "poverty" contributed to making the Church "the home of the poor".