Thousands of Roman Catholics on the Adriatic coast town of Pescara, turned out on Saturday (17 September) to welcome Pope Paul.
Thousands of Roman Catholics on the Adriatic coast town of Pescara, turned out on Saturday (17 September) to welcome Pope Paul. The Pontiff was attending Italy's National Eucharistic Congress where he delivered a sermon on religious themes.
SYNOPSIS: Nearly a quarter of million people lined the streets to cheer the Papal motorcade. Pope Paul, who will be eighty on 26 September, looked frail and tired, but was visibly moved by the enthusiastic crowds. Its his first journey outside Rome in more than a year.
Church and civil dignitaries, including 20 Cardinals and 250 Bishops, assembled at a cold rain-soaked, open air theatre to greet the Pontiff. There, the Pope celebrated a solemn mass to mark the closing stages of the Eucharistic Congress. Afterwards, he delivered a fifteen minute sermon on the need for Christian unity.
Sounding impassioned and faltering a number of times, the Pope reminded the world's 650 million Roman Catholics of their duty to attend mass every Sunday. He said it was the pivot of religious life. He also accused the Church of failing to provide answer's to the world's social and economic problems.
During the mass which lasted until nightfall, the Pope was presented with gifts, which included some local cherry brandy, a live lamb and a rock from Friuli Province, the scene of a devastating earthquake in May last year. After the mass the Pontiff returned to Rome.