VATICAN CITY, JUNE 9, 2002 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of John Paul II´s address, delivered at midday today to pilgrims gathered in St. Peter´s Square to pray the Angelus.
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Dear Brothers and Sisters!
1. This morning in Ravenna, in the famous Byzantine Basilica of Sant´Apollinare in Classe, witness of the time when the Church of the East and West lived in full communion, His Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I celebrated a solemn liturgy. I send him my fraternal greetings.
Thanks to a special television linkup with Venice, tomorrow I will be able to sign with him a joint Declaration for the protection of the Creation. This event, which takes place a few months after the Day of Prayer for Peace held in Assisi, where the ecumenical patriarch was by my side, is another example of that sharing of intentions, which is the prelude to a renewed and full communion. Ravenna and Venice challenge us with their same history, and encourage us to continue on the road toward full unity between the Christian East and West.
2. The World Food Summit opens in Rome tomorrow, which will gather heads of state and government from all the world in the headquarters of FAO.
Millions of people, who suffer daily from hunger and malnutrition, expect from this meeting a confirmation of the commitments assumed in this respect in 1996. May God bless this meeting and enlighten leaders of the nations, so that they will know how to express the legitimate aspirations of the people and give new drive to the international community´s struggle against hunger.
3. Let us entrust these events to the maternal protection of Mary Most Holy.
[After praying the Angelus, the Pope added:]
My thoughts go today to the beloved Angolan people who, after the sufferings of a long and bloody civil war, are faced with a dramatic humanitarian crisis because of lack of food and of the most elementary medical care, and because of the constant danger of anti-personnel mines scattered over the whole territory.
Let us pray that the Lord will enlighten all those who have the possibility to contribute to surmounting this tragedy, and will move them to act so that the country´s resources may be useful to all its inhabitants and be a help to the whole of Africa.
[Translation by ZENIT]