Pope begins 2004 with appeal for a new world order

 On New Year's Day at 10am in the Vatican Basilica, John Paul II presided at a Eucharistic celebration on the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, and on the occasion of the 37th World Day of Peace. This year's theme is: "An Ever timely Commitment: Teaching Peace." Cardinal Angelo Sodano, secretary of State, celebrated the Mass. The Pope said that this year's message for the World Day of Peace "is connected to what I proposed at the beginning of my pontificate, emphasizing the urgency and necessity of forming consciences in the culture of peace. Since peace is possible - I wanted to repeat - it is a duty of ours." John Paul II remembered Archbishop Michael Aidan Courtney, apostolic nuncio in Burundi, "who was tragically killed a few days ago while carrying out the mission of promoting dialogue and reconciliation. We pray for him with the hope that his example and his sacrifice bring fruits of peace to Burundi and to the world." After inviting all "to return ideally to Bethlehem in order to adore the Child in the manger," the Pope emphasized that the land where Jesus was born, "continues to live in dramatic conditions" and in other parts of the world "the fires of violence and conflict continue to burn. However, we must persevere without giving into the temptation of discouragement. Everyone must make an effort so that the fundamental rights of persons through a constant education in lawfulness is respected." "The need for a new international order is ever more necessary," he continued, "one that takes advantage of the experience and results achieved over the years by the United Nations; an order that is capable of finding adequate solutions to problems, solutions based on the dignity of the human person, the integral development of society and solidarity among rich and poor nations, the sharing of resources and the results of scientific and technological progress." Later, at midday, the Holy Father appeared at the window of his private study. Before thousands of people who came to St. Peter's Square to participate in the praying of the Angelus, the Pope stressed that "peace is above all a gift from God, but it is also a project which each and every person must contribute to." After asking Our Lady to "help us to be witnesses and builders of this peace, heavenly gift and daily conquest of human beings who are concerned about the common good," John Paul II expressed his "wishes for prosperity and for peace at the beginning of this new year." Source: VIS

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