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(E) Croatian Nazareth EWTN News Story
By Nenad N. Bach | Published  06/17/2003 | Religion | Unrated
(E) Croatian Nazareth EWTN News Story




VATICAN CITY, JUN 8, 2003 (VIS) - At the end of Mass in Rijeka's Delta Square, which takes its name from the delta of the Rifecina River, Pope John Paul recited the Regina Coeli with the faithful who had gathered there for the Eucharistic celebration of Pentecost Sunday.

"At the conclusion of this solemn celebration," the Pope said, "I particularly wish to greet the young people of Croatia. Dear friends, you already know one thing: the Pope looks to you with confidence and hope, and he asks you once more to be sentinels of the dawn and people of the Beatitudes, as I called you at the recent World Youth Day."

"Through the family and professional life for which you are now preparing," the Holy Father went on, "you will take on great responsibilities for the good of society and the Church. I ask you to remember that human beings are of value for what they are more than what they do or what they possess; that superficial goals will never satisfy the thirst for happiness and fulfillment deep within your hearts; that the mission which Providence has assigned to each of you cannot be carried out by anyone else. Listen to Lord Jesus, follow him as the Teacher of life, make him your Companion along the way."

John Paul II followed this by greetings to the faithful in Italian, Slovenian, German, Albanian and Polish.

Following Mass and the recitation of the Regina Coeli, he returned to the archdiocesan seminary where he had lunch with Croatia's 24 bishops (15 ordinaries, 4 auxiliaries and 5 emeritus). At 5:30 in the afternoon he received Prime Minister Ivica Racan.

At 7 p.m. John Paul II visited the shrine of Our Lady of Trsat, Queen of the Adriatic, also known as the "Croatian Nazareth." Administered by the Order of Friars Minor, the shrine was erected in the 15th century on the site where, according to tradition, the Holy House of Nazareth arrived miraculously in 1291 and remained until 1294 when it was transported to Loreto, Italy.

Prince Nikola I of Krk had had a chapel erected on the spot on Trsat, 135 meters above sea level, where the Holy House had been for three years, and this soon became the focal point of pilgrimages. In 1367, as compensation to Croatian pilgrims for the shrine's transfer to Loreto, Pope Urban V donated to them the miraculous effigy of the Mother of God, also known as Mother of Mercy, protector of seamen. The shrine, rebuilt many times over the years, is reached via a flight of 561 steps. Two of the shrine's focal points are the chapel of votive gifts built in 1966 and, in the monastery cloister, a series of 32 paintings depicting the life of Mary.

During his visit the Pope, in off-the-cuff remarks, announced that he had donated a gold rosary to the shrine and said: "As a vow to Our Lady of Trsat, in the name of the communion lived during (the recitation of) the Rosary, pray for me during my life and after my death."


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