During a private audience held on Thursday, Pope John Paul II told Irish president Mary McAleese that Ireland must be ready to play a key role in building the new Europe.
McAleese is visiting Rome and the Vatican in order to participate in the celebrations for the 375th anniversary of the Pontifical Irish College.
During the audience, the Pope expressed his “deep affection for the Irish people” and asked the president to convey his “warm greetings and the assurance of his prayers” to the citizens of her country.
“Ireland,” he said, “with its rich Christian history and its outstanding patrimony of spiritual and cultural values, has an essential role to play in the building of the new Europe and the affirmation of its deepest identity.”
“It is my hope that the Gospel message will provide continued inspiration and encouragement to all who are committed to the advancement of Ireland in the path of justice and solidarity, and above all in the great work of national reconciliation,” the Pope concluded.