Vatican City, Oct 8, 2003 (CNA) - The evening vespers are an important tradition and prayer that allow Christians a moment in the day to give thanks, ask for forgiveness and reflect on the essential elements of the Paschal mystery, John Paul II told pilgrims in his general audience at St. Peter’s Square today.
“The evening is a suitable time to consider before God, in prayer, the day that just passed,” said the pope. “It is the time to give thanks for what has been given to us and for what we were able to accomplish.” It is also the time to ask forgiveness for the sins we have committed, imploring the divine mercy of Christ, he added.
“Because every day of our pilgrimage on earth is a gift ever new of the love of God,” said the pontiff, the rising and setting of the sun are two important moments of prayer for Christians.
“Morning and evening are always excellent times to turn to the Lord in prayer, both in the company of others and in private. Evening prayer in particular reminds us that even the darkness of night is illuminated by God' s presence and love,” said the pontiff. “Our prayer at the end of the day fills us with longing and hope for the promised day that will never end, for Christ who is the light of the world.”
The pope said the daily office, which includes morning lauds and the evening vespers, allows Christians to be reminded every day of the two essential aspects of the Paschal mystery – that Christ died on the cross in the evening, but in the morning rose from the dead.
Buenos Aires, Argentina, Oct 8, 2003 (CNA) - Prison inmates of the Florencio Valera Penitentiary prayed one thousand Hail Marys today for the intentions of John Paul II, uniting themselves spiritually with the Holy Father in his pilgrimage to the Italian Shrine of Popeii where he closed the Year of the Rosary. The prisoners offered their thousand prayers in union with the Rosary Campaign of the Diocese of Quilmes, thanks to the prison ministry efforts of missionaries of the Schoenstatt movement. Prisoners prayed alone in front of the pilgrim image of the Virgin of Schoenstatt.
According to sources within the Movement, the members of Schoenstatt have gathered together in many places throughout the world, especially in Latin America, to accompany the Pope through Rosaries, Masses, Eucharistic adoration and other activities.
“The personal and intense devotion to Mary and the Holy Rosary which the Pope has shown us once again, is an original characteristic of the Campaign of the Pilgrim Virgin and the Holy Rosary,” sources said. “The fact that the Pope is on pilgrimage to Pompeii unites you to the ‘pre-history’ of Schoenstatt. It was precisely an article on St. Bartolo Longo and the Shrine of Popeii that inspired Father Kentenich to found the Shoenstatt Movement.”
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Oct 8, 2003 (CNA) - Due to an initiative by the Bishops Conference of Brazil (CNBB), the country will celebrate National Day of Life this Wednesday, October 8, in order to reflect upon “the way to live in society and the respect for human rights.” October 8 was chosen because it coincides with the celebration of Children’s Week, during which many parishes in Rio will be promoting activities in support of the rights of children, together with the Movement in Defense of Life (MDV), which will encourage people to reflect upon the theme, “Human life is of inestimable value and should be defended in all circumstances, from conception to natural death.”
In the Archdiocese of Porto Alegre, activities are being coordinated by Father Gerson Schmidt, director of media ministry. John Paul II’s Encyclical “Evangelium Vitae” will be the text used for reflection during the various activities.
“We are aware that we are engaged in an enormous and dramatic struggle between good and evil, between death and life, between the culture of death and the culture of life. We are taking direct part in this conflict, with the duty to choose unconditionally the side of life,” the Pope writes in his Encyclical.
, Oct 8, 2003 (CNA) - According to the Nuevo Herald de Miami, law enforcement officials in Quito and intelligence officers in Columbia have confirmed that Anglican Bishop of Quito, Walter Crespo Garderas, is suspected of involvement in the sales of weapons to the Revolutionary Forces of Columbia (FARC) in April of 2000.
The newspaper reports the bishop negotiated the sale of several hundred anti-tank missiles and cluster bombs by the Ecuadorian Air Force (FAE) to the Columbian guerrillas, as well funneling $240,000 for M-72-A2 missiles, which were intended to be used in an attack on Columbian president Alvaro Uribe.
The sale of the cluster bombs was made to appear as a deal with the government of Zimbabwe, according to Columbian military and police officials.
The Ecuadorian connection to the weapons has been under investigation by the Justice department of Ecuador since 2001, leading to the arrest this week of Bishop Crespo.
Bishop Crespo spoke to the Nuevo Herald from prison in Quito and acknowledged he has contracts with FARC, especially with guerilla leader Teófilo Forero.
However the Bishop claimed his original affidavit in which he acknowledged being an intermediary with the FARC was given under coercion because of drugs he was given while in custody.