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Pope encourages all Catholics to go on retreat

 Pope John Paul II recommended all Catholics go on a spiritual retreat, when he spoke to pilgrims in St Peter's Square on Sunday. He said: "The most generous choices are the result of profound and prolonged union with God in prayerful silence." Recently returned from his own week-long retreat, the Pope told the crowds, life becomes radically different for the person who has found Christ. "In carrying the cross every day with faith full of love, we also experience, together with the weight and hardness, the force of renewal and consolation .... With Jesus, we receive this interior light especially in prayer." Reflecting on the Gospel of the day, which described the Transfiguration, he said: "On Tabor we understand better that the life of the cross and of glory are inseparable." He called Tabor the "mountain of silence and contemplation." The Pope encouraged Catholics to go on retreat, " in ways adapted to the different vocations and conditions of life." He said: "It is important, especially during Lent, that Christian communities become authentic schools of prayer, where we allow ourselves to be conquered by the mystery of God's light and love."