| POPE HIGHLIGHTS A "PROMISING" BEGINNING TO THE JUBILEE
|| VATICAN CITY, JAN 13, 2000 (VIS) - This morning, the Holy Father received members of
the regional administration of Lazio, Italy, and of the local and provincial administration of Rome,
for the traditional exchange of new year greetings.
After giving thanks to God "for this promising start," the Pope said, addressing the presidents of
the region of Lazio and the province of Rome: "I wish to express my heartfelt gratitude, to all the
institutions you represent" as well as to those who have contributed towards preparing Rome to
welcome pilgrims from all over the world.
John Paul II thanked Romans for the "generous willingness with which they accepted the
sacrifices and inconvenience linked with the preparations immediately prior to the Jubilee," and
requested that they "recognize, in the Jubilee event, a precious occasion for grace, as well as for
civil, social and economic development. Furthermore, I trust that they will put their traditional
hospitable qualities at the service of pilgrims."
Going on to refer to "a number of features that may enrich and give a new perspective to
objectives already achieved," the Pope made a call to especially protect the family and asked
"those responsible to shun any initiative that may favor or support placing the family on an equal
level with other forms of co-habitation." He also requested that certain obstacles be removed,
such as "the lack of affordable accommodation and the shortage of structures for welcoming
The Holy Father also requested from those present "courageous choices in the field of schooling
and education." He went on: "It is also important, in the field of healthcare, to combine technical
progress and cost control with giving primary attention to the sick." Finally, he repeated his
concern for "the numerous unemployed young people," and asked that greater efforts be made
towards the creation of new work and occupational opportunities.