John Paul II Urges Brazilians to Reach Out to the Poor

Part of Message for Sao Paulo’s 450th Anniversary

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SAO PAULO, FEB. 2, 2004 ( In a message to Sao Paulo’s archbishop, John Paul II emphasized the need to help the poor, defend life and the family, and accept immigrants.

The Pope made those points in the message sent to Cardinal Cláudio Hummes for the 450th anniversary of the founding of this Brazilian city.

On Jan. 25, the cardinal presided at the Mass to celebrate the anniversary in the Cathedral da Se. Archbishop Lorenzo Baldisseri, apostolic nuncio in Brazil, was on hand to read the papal message.

Aware of the «profound commitment oriented to promote the unity of the human race,» the Pope congratulated the cardinal and the people «for the energies employed in keeping ever alive the indomitable spirit that has accompanied the history of Brazil.»

He noted the city’s founding on Jan. 25, 1554, thanks to the work of Jesuits Father José Anchieta and Manoel da Nóbrega.

Sao Paulo, an «amalgam of races and cultures,» represents a model for the whole country, a model based on understanding, solidarity, justice and peace, the Pope said.

The message acknowledges the contributions of the past and the hopes for the future. It is fundamental «to stretch a hand to the poor and marginalized with a just distribution of the wealth» and «to defend the institution of the family and life, from its conception until its natural end,» John Paul II said.

Likewise, the Holy Father stressed the importance of «accepting immigrants and fostering a just distribution of work,» as well as good education for all levels of society.

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