Brazilian Cardinal to Preach for Papal Retreat

John Paul II Begins Annual Spiritual Exercises on Sunday

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VATICAN CITY, FEB. 15, 2002 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II will take a break next week from his meetings with heads of state, men of the Church, and pilgrims from around the world, to dedicate the time to prayer.

The spiritual exercises of the Bishop of Rome and of his collaborators in the Roman Curia, which every year take place at the start of Lent, will start Sunday and end Saturday, Feb. 23.

During those days, the Holy Father will meditate on the theme “Always Christ´s Disciples,” which will be preached by the archbishop of Sao Paulo, Brazil, Cardinal Claudio Hummes.

The son of German immigrants, Hummes was born in Montenegro, the state of Rio Grande do Sul, on Aug. 8, 1934. He joined the Franciscans and was ordained a priest on Aug. 3, 1958. Appointed bishop of Santo Andre in 1975, the diocese where Volkswagen and Ford had the largest plants in Latin America, he dedicated himself to the pastoral care of workers. At times he served as mediator between the companies and workers´ associations.

In 1996 he named archbishop of Fortaleza and two years later of Sao Paulo, replacing Cardinal Paulo Evaristo Arns, also a Franciscan.

Each day of the spiritual exercises, Cardinal Hummes will preach two meditations in the morning and two in the afternoon. The Pope and his collaborators will spend the rest of the day in moments of prayer, including Mass, the Liturgy of the Hours, the rosary, and eucharistic adoration and Benediction.

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