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Pope Gives New Meaning to the Spirit of St. Louis

Jan. 26,1999 (EWTNews) -- Tuesday afternoon Pope John Paul II arrived in St. Louis at the Lambert International Airport and was enthusiastically greeted with cheers of "John Paul II, we love you!" in a hangar at the airport by 2,000 dignitaries including President and Mrs. Clinton, members of the President’s Cabinet, and others including James Brady, former Press Secretary for President Ronald Reagan who was wounded in an assassination attempt on Reagan in 1981 -- the same year John Paul II survived an assassin's bullet.
After receiving a standing ovation, Pope John Paul II began his welcoming remarks by calling to mind the "Spirit of St. Louis," a spirit representing immense human endeavor; a time to reaffirm the genuine truths and values of the American experience. To that end the Pontiff challenged Americans to choose life. The Pope stated, "the conflict is between a culture that affirms, cherishes, and celebrates the gift of life, and a culture that seeks to declare entire groups of human beings - the unborn, the terminally ill, the handicapped, and others considered "unuseful" - to be outside the boundaries of legal protection. My fervent prayer is that through the grace of God at work in the lives of Americans of every race, ethnic group, economic condition and creed, America will resist the culture of death and choose to stand steadfastly on the side of life. To choose life involves rejecting every form of violence: the violence of poverty and hunger which oppresses so many human beings; the violence of armed conflict, which does not resolve but only increases divisions and tensions; the violence of particularly abhorrent weapons such as anti-personnel mines; the violence of drug trafficking; the violence or racism; and the violence of mindless damage to the natural environment. " Pope John Paul II concluded his welcoming address by saying "the spirit of compassion, concern and generous sharing - must be part of the "Spirit of St. Louis". Even more, it must be the renewed spirit of this "one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all." God bless you all! God bless America!"
President Clinton, in his welcoming address to Pope John Paul II, thanked the Holy Father for his twenty year pilgrimage which has challenged all people to think of life in terms of what we give of our selves, not for what we get; for standing for human dignity and human rights; and reminding us that all are God’s children. At the end, President Clinton exchanged a Polish expression with the Holy Father saying "May you live to be a 100 years and more!".

After the exchange of greetings, Pope John Paul II and President Clinton held a private meeting that lasted about 20 minutes in a room made in a hangar at Lambert International Airport. The President thanked the Pope, on behalf of the American people, for his profound spiritual and moral guidance.
The President and the Holy Father addressed some of the present challenges to peace and justice around the world and the ways in which mutual; cooperation could bring an end to conflict and relief to suffering populations. Coming form Mexico, the pope emphasized again the great need for continental - indeed - solidarity stressing the role of U.S. and its contributions in recent dramatic situations like the disaster in Central America.
The Pope stressed the importance of religious freedom noting with satisfaction the determination of the U.S. to demand and foster this basic freedom. He likewise stated his views on other issues affecting human dignity, expressing the hope that the value of the human being will be defended and protected in all circumstances. The Holy Father reaffirmed that the President and all the leaders of the U.S. were in his prayers.

Thousands In St. Louis Waiting for the Arrival of the Holy Father

Jan. 26,1999 (EWTNews) -- As early as Monday, hundreds of thousands of pilgrims have converged in St. Louis in advance of Pope John Paul II's visit. Local church officials are estimating anywhere from 600,000 to a million people for the St. Louis events, which include three trips through the city in the ''popemobile.''
The Pope is scheduled to arrive in St. Louis at mid-day Tuesday following a five-day stay in Mexico. Among those scheduled to greet the Holy Father at the airport along with President Clinton and the official U.S. delegation is James Brady, Press Secretary to former President Ronald Reagan, who was wounded in an assassination attempt on Reagan in 1981 -- the same year John Paul II survived an assassin's bullet.
During the 30-hour visit there will be a prayer service, a Mass and a youth rally. The largest single public event of the visit will occur Wednesday when the Holy Father celebrates Mass inside the Trans World Dome.


Jan. 26,1999 (EWTNews) --Waving pendants, shouting "John Paul II the world loves you!", and shedding tears of sadness and joy, thousands of pilgrims lined the streets of Mexico City and gathered at the airport to say "adios" to Pope John Paul II as he said farewell to Mexico. In concluding the Mexico portion of his pastoral visit, Pope John Paul II affirmed his trust in the future of the people of this Continent as he said, "A future in which Mexico, more and more evangelized and more Christian, will be a reference point in America and in the world; a country where democracy, ever firmer and more deeply ingrained." The Pope then offered his blessing, "To her I entrust each and every one of her Mexican children whose memory I carry in my heart. Virgin of Guadalupe, watch over Mexico! Watch over the whole beloved American Continent!"