John Paul II Credits His Strength to Prayer of Church

Cites a Reason for the Year of the Rosary

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 22, 2003 ( Exhausted but pleased after a week of 25th-anniversary celebrations, John Paul II said his strength to carry out his duties comes from the prayer of the whole Church.

The Holy Father made that point today in his homily at a concelebrated Mass with the 30 new cardinals. The cardinals received their rings, sign of their unity with the Pope.

The first reading of the liturgy, taken from the Acts of the Apostles (12:1-11), recounted the imprisonment of the apostle Peter in Jerusalem, when “earnest prayer for him was made to God by the Church.” The text goes on to narrate the miraculous liberation of the first Pope.

“What great courage is infused by the support of the unanimous prayer of the Christian people! I myself have been able to experience its comfort,” John Paul II said in the homily read by Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, substitute for general affairs of the Vatican Secretariat of State.

“This, dear brothers, is our strength,” the Pope said. During the Mass his difficulties in pronunciation revealed his exhaustion after a week of celebrations that included the beatification of Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

“And it is also one of the reasons why I desired that the 25th year of my pontificate be dedicated to the holy rosary: to stress the primacy of prayer, in a special way of contemplative prayer, made in spiritual union with Mary, Mother of the Church,” he continued.

“The presence of Mary — desired, invoked and welcomed — helps us to live this celebration also as a moment in which the Church is renewed in the encounter with Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit,” the Pope explained.

John Paul II ended his exhortation: “Yes, Lord, we trust in you and with you we continue on our way in the service of the Church and of humanity.”

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