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Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord 2004

Pope John Paul II's words at the Angelus in St Peter's Square
- in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

"1. On today's Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord, Matthew's Gospel speaks of a mysterious "star" that guided the Magi to Jerusalem and then to Bethlehem, where they adored the Child Jesus (cf. 2:

The star that led the Magi to Christ recalls the rich symbolism of light, vividly present at Christmas. God is light and the Word made man is "the light of the world" (Jn 8: 12), the light that guides the peoples on their journey: "Lumen gentium".

2. My venerable Predecessor Paul VI was moved by this great truth when he made his historical pilgrimage to the Holy Land exactly 40 years ago. Precisely on 6 January 1964 he spoke memorable words in the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem. He said, among other things: "Let us look at the world with immense sympathy. If the world feels foreign to Christianity, Christianity does not feel foreign to the world" (Insegnamenti, Vol. II, 1964, p. 32). And he added that Christianity's mission in humanity's midst is a mission of friendship, understanding, encouragement, promotion, exaltation: in other words, a mission of salvation (cf. ibid., pp. 32-33).

From the place that saw the birth of the Prince of Peace, he urged the leaders of nations to closer collaboration in order to "establish peace in truth, in justice, freedom and fraternal love" (ibid., pp. 34-35).

3. I wholeheartedly make my own these words of the Servant of God Paul VI as I invoke the intercession of Mary Most Holy, Star of humanity on its pilgrimage through time. With the motherly help of the Virgin, may every human being reach Christ, the Light of truth, and may the world advance on the path to justice and peace."

After the Angelus

"Ai fratelli e alle sorelle delle Chiese Orientali, che seguendo il calendario giuliano celebrano in questi giorni il santo Natale, rivolgo il mio augurio cordiale, assicurando il costante ricordo nella preghiera.

Saluto i pellegrini presenti, in particolare i partecipanti al corteo storico-folcloristico "Viva la Befana", dedicato quest’anno alle tradizioni della città di Anagni e del suo territorio.

A tutti auguro di camminare sempre nella luce di Cristo.

Traduzione italiana delle parole pronunciate in lingua polacca:

Saluto i pellegrini giunti dalla Polonia: da Zywiec il complesso folcloristico Pilsko, da Ksawerów vicino a Łód il complesso dei bambini Raggi di Gesù nonché le persone venute individualmente. Dio vi benedica tutti. Felice Anno Nuovo.

Buona festa dell'Epifania a tutti."

JPII - Tuesday, 6 January 2004 - © Copyright 2004 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana