URL: http://www.vatican.va/news_services/press/vis/dinamiche/d4_en.htm
 

   JOHN PAUL II EXPRESSES JOY FOR HIS VISIT TO THE HOLY LAND

 
   VATICAN CITY, APR 2, 2000 (VIS) - Prior to praying the angelus at
   midday today, the Pope reminded the 50,000 pilgrims who filled St.
   Peter's Square that this Sunday, known as 'de laetare,' is an
   invitation to happiness.
 
   "Over the past days," said the Pope, "I too have experienced the joy
   of being a pilgrim from Rome to the Holy Land, thus building a bridge
   between the two focal points of the Great Jubilee 2000: Rome and
   Jerusalem. The spiritual joy I carry in my heart as a result of this
   grace is truly deep and something for which I continually thank the
   Lord. I am also grateful to all those who have accompanied me in
   prayer. In those moments, in those places, I felt that the whole
   Church was present with me."
 
   John Paul II confirmed that "this joy, of which the liturgy for this
   fourth Sunday of Lent speaks, derives from knowledge of the mystery of
   love that faces us, and that today echoes in the words of the Gospel
   according to John: 'For God so loved the world that he gave His only
   Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal
   life.' How can we not feel drawn by this love? God does not want the
   sinner to die, rather to convert and to live."
 
   Following the angelus, the Pope greeted many of the pilgrims present,
   especially a group of faithful from the Czech Republic. He said: "I am
   happy to see, for the first time in many decades, thousands of
   faithful from the land of the Czechs, led by their bishops. ... I
   thank you for your presence and hope you return to your homes enriched
   in faith and Christian hope. I give you my heartfelt blessing."