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Apr 4, 2005

Pope?s message to Belize remembered

Story PictureThe Belizean government has announced three days of official mourning and Roman Catholic public schools are declaring Friday to be a day of prayer following the passing of Pope John Paul II over the weekend. As Belizean Catholics join millions of people all over the world in mourning the passing of Pope John Paul II, no doubt many are remembering their own personal glimpse of this world leader and statesman during his visit to our country in March of 1983. The Pontiff is shown here greeting thousands from all over the country from the back of an open truck. The crowd then gathered to hear him give our nation a special message.

Pope John Paul II, March 9, 1983
?I praise the divine Providence that has brought me to Belize. I give thanks to God for the opportunity to be in your midst today, for this opportunity to speak to you about God?s love, his peace, his commandment of paternal charity, and for this opportunity to proclaim God the son for a world where justice, freedom, and mutual respect are the authentic expression of a civilization of law. I am grateful to the authorities of this land for their invitation to come among you, and I am grateful to all of you, the people for your manifestation of goodwill in mother God and for your wonderful welcome. As a new nation in this part of the world, you rightfully place great emphasis on unity. Indeed it is only by working together in close harmony that you will fulfil your destiny, build a lasting society, and prepare a peaceful future for your children and your children?s children. And today you have a right to have your hopes confirmed and all your lengthy efforts and resolutions lessened. As pastor of the universal church I have come to visit the Catholic faithful of Belize and to encourage them to live their Christian lives according to the gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. I commend them all to the loving protection of the mother of Jesus and…(Unintelligible) of Our Lady of Guadalupe, but I have also come to proclaim to everyone the love of God. I have come to proclaim the dignity of the human person and the hope that peace of the Lord, when brothers and sisters of all beliefs and ethnic backgrounds live according to the pattern so clearly and forcefully laid down by Jesus Christ upon his death: treat others the way you would have them treat you. With profound respect, with friendship, and with love I ask the Lord to guide the destiny of this land so that life in all its aspects may confirm evermore to whence surpassing dignity and to render more human. God bless Belize.?

After his visit to Belize the Pope then went back to Guatemala and boarded his jet for Italy. Prime Minister Said Musa has expressed formal condolences to the Vatican saying this great man and moral leader will be remembered “as the man who transformed the papacy, travelling around the world to bring the church to the people.” His body lies in state until Friday when it will be interred at Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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