Two Koreas want the Pope
SOUTH KOREA'S Catholic bishops have encouraged Pope John Paul II to visit North Korea, saying it is the wish of the South Korean people that he visits the communist North.
In a letter delivered last month to the apostolic nunciature in Seoul, the permanent council of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea, said that "despite political and ecclesiastical obstacles, all South Koreans are looking forward to the pope's visit to North Korea".
They also expressed appreciation for the Pope's encouragement before the historic summit between the leaders of North and South Korea in June, as well as the Holy See's material aid to North Koreans, who are suffering from poverty and famine.
The Korean bishops' Committee for the Reconciliation of Korean People issued a message after the meeting calling on North and South Korea to overcome past "painful memories" and begin anew with mutual forgiveness and reconciliation. The message, marking the 50th anniversary of the start of Korean War on June 25, 1950, was signed by Bishop Kang, the committee president.
Peace appeal in Philippines
CARDINAL Jaime Sin of Manila led prayers in the capital during a national vigil for peace in Mindanao, the southern Philippines.
Speaking at the Manila cathedral, Cardinal Sin said he firmly believed that "peace was still possible, but it needed
to be implored from God as his gift".
"Peace needs to be built day by day with God's help through works of justice and love. not through military conquest," he said.
The cardinal appealed to Filipinos to never grow tired of pursuing the difficult and often discouraging path to peace. He warned against the "misguided notion that uses religion as an issue and scapegoat" and ideologies that distorted nationalism and destroyed civility.
Dioceses across the country also held prayer vigils as part of the act of consecration to Mary for peace in the troubled region of Mindanao. The day was designated by Archbishop Orlando Quevedo of Cotabato, president of the
Philippines bishops` conference.
Indonesia peace prayers
THOUSANDS of people from various faiths gathered in a joint prayer for peace in Indonesia on the eve of the annual session of the country's highest legislative body.
The "Indonesia Prays" rally capped a national week of prayer and drew some 10,000 Catholics, Protestants, Buddhists, Confucianists, Hindus, Muslims and followers of traditional religions, such as Javanese mysticism, which did not have institutional organisations.
Indonesian President Abdurratunan Wahid, House Speaker Akbar Tanjung and others addressed the prayer meeting at the capital's indoor stadium.