Pope Thanks Diplomatic Well-Wishers

Ambassadors Extend 25th-Anniversary Congratulations

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 31, 2003 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II thanked the diplomatic corps accredited to the Vatican for the good wishes expressed by representatives on the 25th anniversary of his pontificate.

The Pope thanked them today for their presence, their «fervent best wishes,» and for «the significant gift that you have given to me on this occasion.» The diplomatic corps gave him a pectoral cross for the occasion.

Noting their diverse geographic areas, he told the diplomats that he was «happy to greet all the countries with which the Holy See maintains diplomatic ties. I willingly take this opportunity to express my great gratitude for the many signs of closeness that have been shown to me in these days by each one of them.»

Giovanni Galasi, ambassador of San Marino and dean of the diplomatic corps, congratulated the Holy Father on his anniversary.

Representing all the other members of the corps were Ambassadors Alejandro Emilio Valladares Lanza of Honduras, for the Americas; Kazys Lozoraitis of Lithuania, for Europe; Raniero Avogardo from Italy, for the European Union; Henri Antoine Turpin of Senegal, for Africa; and Youm Seong from Korea, for Asia.

In statements to the press after the meeting, ambassador Galasi said that despite his state of health, and physical and speech impediments, the Pope «is able to do what he has to do.»

«We found the Pope in good conditions,» he added. «He read all his address and was introduced to five new colleagues.»

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