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Friday, October 3, 2003


VATICAN CITY, OCT 3, 2003 (VIS) - Today the Pope received Fr. Joseph Tobin, superior general of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (Redemptorists) and participants in the General Chapter which is being celebrated these days.

After recalling that the main theme of the General Chapter is "reflecting on 'giving one's life for abundant redemption'," John Paul II said that it was also important to examine the state of the Institute. He spoke about new vocations in some countries and their scarcity in other countries. "If the temptation of conforming to lifestyles which are culturally dominant today were to contaminate your communities, your religious spirit and evangelizing impetus would run the risk of being weakened."

"I am sure," he continued, "that this General Chapter will create a more decisive stimulus in the work of renewal that you have embarked upon, discovering priorities and brave apostolic decisions. ... In order to successfully carry out this special missionary service, it is necessary, above all, that you cultivate an intense personal and community prayer life."

The Holy Father assured them that "in these times, for various causes, many people are far from Christ and the Church and many are still waiting to hear the Gospel for the first time. Inspired by the example of St. Alphonsus, and other saints and blesseds of your Institute, do not hesitate to reach out to them, to present the Gospel to them with language appropriate for their various personal and environmental situations'."

"If you proclaim the 'copiosa redemptio', or God's infinite love for humanity, with joy and unity of life, you will revive and confirm the hope of the Gospel in the hearts of so many people, especially those most in need, because they have been stained by sin and its evil consequences. I hope with all my heart that useful directives are produced at this meeting for effective apostolic programming which responds to the needs and challenges of our times."

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VATICAN CITY, OCT 3, 2003 (VIS) - On Monday, October 6, the Vatican Information Service will present the first in a series of special reports on Pope John Paul and the 25 years of his pontificate. The ninth and final report will appear on October 16, the 25 anniversary of his election to the papacy.

From October 6 through October 10, we will present an overview of his pontificate, covering a five-year period each day. On Monday, October 13, there will be a look at his 102 foreign apostolic trips; Tuesday, October 14, the encyclicals of John Paul II; Wednesday, October 15, the synods presided over by the Holy Father; Thursday, October 16, the Pope's biography and a look at some of the statistics of his pontificate.

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VATICAN CITY, OCT 3, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

- Jean Obeid, foreign minister of Lebanon, accompanied by his wife and an entourage.

- Three prelates from the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines on their "ad limina" visit:

- Bishop Jose F. Advincula of San Carlos.

- Bishop Patricio Abella Buzon, S.D.B., of Kabankalan.

- Bishop Prospero N. Arellano of Libmanan.

This evening, he is scheduled to receive Leszek Miller, prime minister of the Republic of Poland, and an entourage.

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