Great Jubilee News

Pilgrims on Horseback, Actors, Athletes, Musical Bands

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 4 ( Today, St. Peter's Square was filled with a sea of colors in a Jubilee festival organized by the Italian Federation of Musical Bands. There were a series of parades throughout the morning, starting in Castel Sant'Angelo, moving down the Via della Conciliazione, and ending in St. Peter's Square. Upon seeing this magnificent sight, John Paul II thanked everyone for their presence. 

He was especially grateful to some 200 pilgrims who came to Rome on horseback. They rode for
10 days, about 8-11 hours a day, and arrived in the Eternal City after crossing the Italian regions of
Tuscany, Umbria, and Latium.

The riders were loudly applauded and greeted with great enthusiasm and admiration by more than 6,000 Italian children who were part of the "Rainbow Country" movement. They all cried with one voice when John Paul II appeared at the window of his library to greet them. The children were in the company of Italian and English participants in a regatta that took place on the Tiber.

Yet more color was added to the spectacle by the arrival of members of a theatrical company who
are visiting the Eternal City and performing a musical on St. Anthony of Padua entitled, "Between
Heaven and Earth."

The Holy Father was delighted to greet all these colorful groups, as well as organizers and
participants in the "Soccer Match of the Heart," which was played later in Milan's Meazza
Stadium to help charity associations in that city. "May this charitable initiative help so many of our
brothers in difficulty to look to the future with confidence, thanks to the contribution of all," John
Paul II said.

Message of the Ascension

The Pope's key reflection in his "Regina Cæli" message was on the feast of the Ascension, which
many Catholic areas of the world were celebrating today. (The rest of the world celebrated it last
Thursday.) He explained that the Church continues to live the words that Christ expressed when
he ascended into heaven, "proclaiming the Gospel to the men and women of our time, pointing out
to all that our true ands final homeland is not down here but 'in heaven,' namely in God."

The Pontiff warned that this "should not withdraw us from engagement in the world, as the lives of
the Saints demonstrate, but must reinforce it even more. In fact, only by fulfilling our mission on
earth will we finally be able to be in the glory of God.

Journalists' Responsibility During his meeting with pilgrims, the Pope could not leave out a
reference to the Journalists' Jubilee, which he himself would close a few minutes later. He
explained that "one of the most vast areas of social coexistence is that of communication;
therefore, the activity of those who work in social communications is of great importance." Given
this reality, the Pontiff asked that they carry out their work with responsibility, "understanding that
those who work with respect for truth render a precious service to truth itself and, consequently, to

"I gladly give my encouragement to journalists and to all workers in information who in every part
of the world are dedicated to the good of humanity, serving justice, liberty, and peace, not rarely at
the price of personal sacrifices," the Pope concluded.