.- Pope John Paul II met yesterday with Paraguayan President Nicanor Duarte Frutos, expressing his affection for the people of that country and encouraging them to preserve their Christian faith.
“I would like to take this opportunity to renew my expressions of affection for the Paraguayan people, and I ask you to send them the greeting of the Pope and the assurance of his prayers,” said the Pontiff.
Likewise, he said he hoped “the Christian message, which has penetrated the soul of this noble people and has borne the fruit of holiness in St. Roque and his companion martyrs, will continue to provide inspiration and encouragement to all those committed to development in Paraguay through justice and solidarity.”
“Invoking the protection of the pure and chaste Virgin of Caacupe, I impart my heartfelt blessings upon all Paraguayans,” he concluded.
Before his papal audience, Duarte met with Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Secretary of State, and presented documents ratifying the Accords between Paraguay and the Holy See regarding the pastoral care of members of the Paraguayan Armed Forces and National Police, signed in Asuncion on December 24, 2002.
According to the Holy See’s Press Office, Cardinal Sodano underscored the significance of the Accords and the importance of providing for the spiritual needs of the military, as “for centuries, the Church, who is Mother, has cared for her military children through adequate pastoral care.”