Brasilia (Fides Service) – In a Message to the People of God dated 25 September 2003 to mark the occasion of the 25th year of Pontificate of Pope John Paul II”, the Conference of the Catholic Bishops of Brazil CNBB encourage the whole country to “offer prayers of gratitude to God” for the Holy Father’s fruitful ministry in these 25 years.
The Message is signed by Cardinal Geraldo Macella Agnelo President of the CNBB and Bishop Antonio Celso Quieroz, vice president and Bishop Odil Pedro Scheres secretary general. In their message the Bishops say that this pontificate “has been marked by vigorous defence of life, promotion of huamn dignity and family values”. Moreover the Bishops recall the Pope’s love for youth, his dedication to the cause of ecumenism and his mission passion revealed in his apostolic journeys. “Pope John Paul II opened his ministry as universal Shepherd of our Church with words of confidence: <Do not be afraid> calling us to open the doors to Christ. We recall with gratitude that the Pope has become a pilgrim and a missionary to proclaim the good news to all peoples and nations. John Paul II urges the Church to <walk with hope> facing challenges encountered in the mission of evangelisation. The Pope calls us to serve people in faithfulness to the truth of the Gospel” the message says.
The Bishops of Brazil call on the people to pray the Rosary, the Pope’s favourite prayer, in the family during the days of the silver jubilee celebrations, to take part in diocesan and parish celebrations and to follow those in Rome 16 –19 October to celebrate 25 years of pontificate. For this event, the CNBB has organised two special Masses: 19 October at the National Aparecida Basilica at 10am local time and 29 October at the cathedral of Brasilia, at 8pm local time.
MR (Fides Service 30/9/2003 EM lines 32 Words: 389)