Holy Father Asks For Spiritual Support To Continue His Mission

Turns 82 This Saturday

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Vatican City, May 15, 2002 (ZENIT.org).-A few days before his 82nd birthday, John Paul II asked for spiritual support from the millions of Catholics throughout the world in order to continue his ministry as Bishop of Rome.

More than 13 thousand pilgrims came together in Saint Peter´s Square for the general audience, to greet the Pope for his upcoming birthday on the 18th of May.

After thanking them for their festive gestures of appreciation, which often turned into shouts and songs he said, «I turn to your spiritual support, to continue with fidelity in the ministry that the Lord has entrusted to me.»

Press speculations of the Pontiff´s resignation have circulated since the beginning of the 1990´s, only to be denied constantly by the Holy Father with words such as these and his increasing agenda.
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After eight months, he prepares again to begin a series of international trips, which have for the first stage Bulgaria and Azerbaijan, from the 22 to the 26 of May.

At the end of July, he will travel to Canada for the World Youth Day in Toronto, after which, he will go to Guatemala and Mexico. In the second half of August, he intends to visit his homeland, Poland.

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