Pope Urges a Parish to Remember the Needy

292nd Visit to a Roman Parish

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VATICAN CITY, FEB. 26, 2001 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II as Bishop of Rome visited his 292th parish on Sunday, and urged it to offer practical help to those in need.

The church of Nativity of Mary Parish, located on Via Bravetta on the outskirts of Rome, was inaugurated last April. The Pope has said he hopes to visit all of Rome´s 335 parishes.

The Pontiff arrived at 9:30 a.m. and greeted the people who had gathered at the entrance, dressed in their Sunday best, under a light rain.

Children were on hand to sing. One of them, Monica, 12, greeted the Pope on behalf of all the others. She said, «The dream of the young parishioners had come true,» as John Paul II blessed the «new home» of this community.

During the homily, the Bishop of Rome gave this parish the message that he sent to his diocese at the end of the Jubilee Year. In the text, the Pope invites parishes to «come out of themselves» and attend to the sufferings of their people, offering them practical help.

«Go forward on this road, giving preference in the first place to families, who often are not capable of ensuring a proper Christian formation for their children,» he implored.

The Holy Father then turned to the younger members of the parish and said, «There are children and adolescents who need someone to help them grow in the faith.» He said urged them to be «the first evangelizers of their contemporaries.»

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