CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, SEPT. 22, 2003 ( John Paul II encouraged Uganda's bishops to undertake initiatives for AIDS care and prevention that are in harmony with Church teaching.

The Pope made his appeal when he met with the bishops on their five-yearly visit to the Holy See.

He applauded the efforts of the Church in the African country "in the spheres of health care, education and development," which "show clearly the Church's commitment to the integral well-being of her sons and daughters and of all Ugandans regardless of religious creed."

"Worthy of particular mention are the various HIV/AIDS initiatives that, in complete harmony with the Church's teaching, seek to assist those affected by this disease and to keep the public duly informed about it," the Holy Father said Saturday.

To help support this work, he first emphasized the need to strengthen "the communion of persons in the family" as "the great antidote to the self-indulgence and sense of isolation so prevalent today."

John Paul II appealed to Catholics to "work to ensure that the younger generations are properly trained and adequately prepared to fulfill the responsibilities that will be theirs, and which in some ways already are theirs."

The Pope then requested that Catholic schools "be communities in which the faith is nourished and pupils are prepared for their mission in the Church and in society."

At the same time, he pointed out that it "is important also to continue to seek ways to bring sound moral and religious teaching to the public schools as well, and to promote in public opinion a consensus regarding the importance of such training."