The Holy Father ended his traditional general audience today with a request to the pilgrims gathered in St. Peter´s Square: "Let us pray for peace in the Holy Land!"

John Paul II added: "Let us ask the Holy Virgin to intercede for the success of the efforts being made by various parties to overcome the tragic situation those people are going through, who suffer so much."

When the Holy Father, in his "popemobile," passed by a pilgrim who raised a pole with the Israeli and Palestinian flags, the Pope blessed the two banners.