John Paul II Urges Europe to Build World Peace

In Message to Participants in March to Assisi

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 13, 2003 ( John Paul II, in a message to more than 300,000 participants in a March for Peace, urged them not to lose confidence and instead to be «architects of peace.»

The traditional march from Perugia to Assisi in Italy took place this year under the motto «Together Let Us Build a Europe for Peace.»

The Sunday march, which also celebrated the 40th anniversary of John XXIII’s encyclical «Pacem in Terris,» attracted young people from ecclesial associations and movements, as well as religious, missionaries and others.

In the message John Paul II sent through Bishop Sergio Goretti of Assisi, he expressed his satisfaction over the joining of «Europe» and «peace» in the march’s motto. «We could say that these support one another reciprocally: one needs the other,» he noted.

«As a young man I was able to experience personally the drama of a Europe deprived of peace,» the Pope added. «That impelled me all the more to work tirelessly so that Europe would rediscover solidarity in peace and become, among other continents, the architect of peace within and beyond its borders.»

«I am convinced that it is a mission that must be rediscovered with all its force and urgency,» the Holy Father said.

Given Europe’s «noble spiritual traditions,» he said, it is necessary that it use «with generosity in favor of the whole of humanity, its rich cultural heritage, matured in the light of the Gospel of Christ.»

In recent years, «not much has been invested to defend peace, preferring instead to allocate considerable resources to the purchase of arms,» while «the daily chronicle reminds us that wars continue to disturb peoples’ lives, especially of the poorest countries,» the Pope observed.

«How can we not think of the persistent violence that bloodies, for example, the Middle East and, in particular, the Holy Land?» he asked. «How can we remain indifferent to an ever extending scene of conflicts that affects different parts of the earth?»

However, «despite the difficulties, we must not lose confidence. It is necessary to continue working for peace, being architects of peace,» he said. «Peace is the good of all. Each one is called to be a builder of peace in truth and in love.»

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