VATICAN CITY, NOV 2, 2003 (VIS) - Today at noon the Pope appeared at his study window with many thousands of people gathered below in St. Peter's Square.
John Paul II recalled that today, November 2, we remember 'all those who have left this world and are waiting to reach the heavenly city. The Church has always urged us to pray for the dead. She invites believers to regard the mystery of death not as the last word on human fate but as a journey toward eternal life.'
'It is an important duty of ours to pray for the dead because although they may have died in grace and in friendship with God, they may still be in need of a last purification in order to enter into the joy of heaven. Prayer for the souls of the dead can be expressed in various ways, including a visit to the cemetery. Going to these sacred places provides an auspicious occasion to reflect on the meaning of earthly life and to nourish, at the same time, hope in the blessed eternity of paradise.'
At the end, the Holy Father prayed that 'Mary, Gate of Heaven, help us never to lose sight of our heavenly homeland, ultimate goal of our pilgrimage here on earth.'
After the Angelus, the Pope greeted those who had come to St. Peter's Square to pray the Marian prayer, 'which we have offered for the deceased, in particular those who are most forgotten.' Then, in off-the-cuff remarks in Polish, he thanked his fellow Poles from Krakow for having gone to the graves of his parents and his brother in the cemetery at Rakowize to pray for the repose of their souls.
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