Always Possible to Be Forgiven by God, Pope Says

Visits 295th Roman Parish

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VATICAN CITY, APR. 2, 2001 ( Forgiveness is always possible, independent of the situation in which man might find himself, the Holy Father said when he visited one of the parishes in his diocese.

The faithful of Our Lady of Help and St. Augustine of Canterbury, located on the eastern outskirts of the Italian capital, welcomed their bishop, the Pope, with fireworks and white and yellow balloons on Sunday morning.

It was a beautiful spring morning for John Paul II´s 295th parish visit in the years of his pontificate, which enabled him to greet children and the sick personally.

Inspired by the Gospel passage about the adulterous woman threatened with stoning, the Holy Father said: «Undoubtedly, the woman´s situation was serious. However, it is precisely from here that the message stems: Independently of the condition in which one might find oneself, one can always be open to conversion, and receive forgiveness for sins.»

As he usually does when he visits parishes, the Bishop of Rome spoke about the local conditions. «In your parish, just as in other areas outside the city,» he said, «there is no lack of situations of malaise: from the phenomenon of drug addiction to usury, from prostitution to juvenile unrest, from unemployment to the not-so-easy integration of immigrants.»

John Paul II invited the parishioners, especially youth, to «increasingly spread goodness, and care for the last, one of the pivots of pastoral action.»

After recalling World Youth Day, which gathered 2 million pilgrims in Rome last August, the Holy Father invited young people to participate in the youth meeting which will be held in the Vatican this Thursday.

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