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Also: AP Coverage of Themes of John Paul II's Papacy

25 YEARS OF FAITH

Published October 17, 2003

photo
[AP photo]
Pope John Paul II greets two young pilgrims during Mass in St. Peter’s Square Thursday. Thousands of faithful flooded the square to honor the pope.

VATICAN CITY - John Paul II, the pontiff who strode the world over for a quarter century, sat bent and weak Thursday as pilgrims and delegates from that world gathered here to praise, listen, and in many cases, perhaps, to say goodbye to him at the dusk of his papacy.

In the mid-morning, John Paul kicked off the 25th anniversary celebration of his reign over the world's Roman Catholics by exhorting a meeting of bishops and cardinals to fight against global economic inequalities. In words meant to urge the prelates to greater labors, but which could also poignantly be applied to his frail condition, he said, "The office to which we are called is difficult. To be a shepard today is particularly tiring and demanding."

As has become routine, the pope read only part of the message, then handed over the bulk of it to an assistant to deliver.

Yet his charisma remained intact, perhaps even heightened by the strain of his afflictions. The pilgrims and prelates rose to their feet in applause when he entered on a wheeled throne.

Outside, in vast St. Peter's Square, well-wishers gathered in the thousands in advance of an evening mass. Pilgrims carried flags from a wealth of countries. There was an evident blend of joy and sadness, especially among the pope's many Polish compatriots who had traveled to Rome for the celebrations.


*Includes secular, agnostic and atheist.

1979
Poland
Ireland
United States
Turkey

1980
Congo
Republic of Congo
Kenya
Ghana
Burkina Faso
Ivory Coast
France
Brazil
West Germany

1981
Philippines
Guam
Japan
Pakistan
United States

1982
Nigeria
Benin
Gabon
Equatorial Guinea
Portugal
Great Britain
Argentina
Brazil
Switzerland
San Marino
Spain
1983
Costa Rica
Nicaragua
Panama
El Salvador
Guatemala
Belize
Honduras
Haiti
Portugal
Poland
France
Austria

1984
South Korea
Papua New Guinea
Solomon Islands
Thailand
United States
Switzerland
Canada
Spain
Dominican Republic
Puerto Rico

1985
Venezuela
Ecuador
Peru
Trinidad
Tobago
Belgium
Netherlands
Luxembourg
Togo
Ivory Coast
Cameroon
Central African Republic
Zaire
Kenya
Morocco
Liechtenstein

1986
India
Colombia
St. Lucia
France
Australia
New Zealand
Bangladesh
Fiji
Singapore
Seychelles

1987
Uruguay
Chile
Argentina
West Germany
Poland
United States
Canada

1988
Uruguay
Bolivia
Peru
Paraguay
Austria
Zimbabwe
Botswana
Lesotho
Swaziland
Mozambique
South Africa
France

1989
Madagascar
Reunion
Zambia
Malawi
Norway
Iceland
Finland
Denmark
Sweden
Spain
South Korea
Indonesia
East Timor
Mauritius
1990
Cape Verde
Guinea Bissau
Mali
Burkina Faso
Czechoslovakia
Mexico
Curacao
Malta
Tanzania
Rwanda
Burundi
Ivory Coast

1991
Portugal
Hungary
Brazil

1992
Senegal
Gambia
Guinea
Angola
Sao Tome and Principe
Dominican Republic

1993
Benin
Uganda
Sudan
Albania
Spain
Jamaica
Mexico
United States
Lithuania
Latvia
Estonia

1994
Croatia

1995
Philippines
Australia
Papua New Guinea
Sri Lanka
Czech Republic
Poland
Belgium
Slovakia
Cameroon
South Africa
Kenya
United States
1996
Guatemala
El Salvador
Nicaragua
Venezuela
Tunisia
Slovenia
Germany
Hungary
France

1997
Bosnia-Herzegovina,
Czech Republic
Lebanon
Poland
France
Brazil

1998
Cuba
Nigeria
Austria
Croatia

1999
Mexico
United States
Romania
Poland
Slovenia
India
Georgia

2000
Egypt
Jordan
Israel
Palestinian territories
Portugal

2001
Greece
Syria
Malta
Ukraine
Kazakstan
Armenia

2002
Azerbaijan
Bulgaria
Canada
Guatemala
Mexico
Poland

2003
Spain
Croatia
Bosnia-Herzegovina
Sources: Catholic News Service, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Official Catholic Directory 2002, Encyclopedia Britannica
[Times art — Amanda Raymond]
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