Assisi Day Seeks to Inspire "Justice and Forgiveness," Pope Says

Asks the Faithful to Pray for Meeting of Religious Leaders

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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 23, 2002 ( John Paul II appealed to the faithful to pray for the religious leaders´ Day of Prayer for Peace, which will be held Thursday in Assisi, so that it will inspire «justice and forgiveness» in spirits.

«I trust that this initiative, in addition to the spiritual effects that escape human calculations, will contribute to direct spirits and decisions toward sincere and courageous determination for justice and forgiveness,» the Holy Father said today.

The meeting convoked by the Pope is a chance for believers, in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, to renounce together the use of violence in the name of God.

«If this happens, we will have contributed to consolidate the bases of an authentic and lasting peace,» the Pope continued.

John Paul II invited «the Catholic faithful to unite themselves to the prayer we will raise tomorrow in Assisi, together as Christians, cultivating at the same time in their hearts sentiments of sympathy toward the followers of the other religions in the city of St. Francis.»

During the Day of Prayer there will be no common prayer of religions, in order to avoid syncretism, the Holy Father has said. The various religious groups will pray in different places, according to their own rites.

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