Assisi Event a "Milestone" Toward Civilization of Love, Pope Says

In Angelus Address, He Recalls the Historic Day of Prayer

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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 27, 2002 ( The Day of Prayer for Peace, held in Assisi, was a «milestone» in building the civilization of love, says John Paul II.

The Holy Father today mentioned the «intense emotion» he felt last Thursday, and repeated again the words he spoke at the conclusion of the joint declaration of religious leaders: «War never again! Terrorism never again! In the name of God, may every religion bring upon earth justice and peace, forgiveness and life, love!»

At his Angelus address, the Pope explained that in Assisi, leaders of numerous religions promised to reject forcefully «the temptation to resolve humanity´s grave problems with the use of arms and violence.»

«Thus, we have achieved a milestone on the way to building a civilization of peace and love,» the Holy Father stressed.

The Pope, speaking to pilgrims in St. Peter´s Square from the window of his study, was accompanied by two children. At the end of his address, they released two doves as a sign of peace.

One of the doves returned immediately to the Pontiff´s study, eliciting a smile from John Paul II and the applause of thousands of pilgrims below.

After thanking the religious leaders and all people, both believers and nonbelievers, who were spiritually united to the Assisi event, John Paul II greeted the thousands of boys and young men of Catholic Action who heard his address.

During January, the children promoted the «Peace Caravan» to collect money for «the victims of terrorism and war,» in response to John Paul II´s appeal on Dec. 14, the Day of Fasting.

A child spoke after the Holy Father, promising to work for peace in the «spirit of Assisi.» The Pontiff smiled again when the child said: «We all embrace you tightly, tightly.»

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