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FALL RIVER DIOCE!iAN FO~ SOUTHEAST CAPE COD 8. THE VOL. 41, NO. 23 It Friday, June 6, 1997 FALL RIVER, MASS. NEWSPAltlE~ 1l\~ASSl\CH~J§H1S ISLt\NI~S Southeastern Massachusetts' Largest Weekly • 514 Per Year Pope's Polish homecoming marked by humor, warmth WROCLA W, Poland (CNS) - Poland was clearly home, sweet home for Pope John Paul II during his first weekend in the country of his birth. After two years' absence, he was happy to be going back, despite reports of wet weather, he toldjournalists on the papal plane while still in Rome. And he laughed off the rain upon landing May 31, taking a moment during his prepared greeting on the slick tarmac at the Wroclaw airport to say he was relieved to be out of the Roman sun. But from the very start of the II-day pastoral visit, his longest yet to Poland, Pope John Paul was anything but flippant about his country and its people. "Every return to Poland is like coming once again under the family roof," he said, "where every little thing is a reminder of what is nearest and dearest to the heart. " In this first speech and in subsequent ones, he referred repeatedly to "my homeland." llis off-the-cuff comments, always delivered in his native Polish, glowed with warmth. It was evident. that his fellow Poles returned the pope's affection, topped with pride for a famous native son. For several miles along the road from the airport into town, they lined the streets by the thousands, hoisting umbrellas, banners and flags. For every Vatican flag, there seemed to be three of Poland's. The windows of homes throughout the city center were plastered with Pope John Paul's picture and messages in his mother tongue. In honor of the 46th International Eucharistic Congress taking place in town, some people had taped to their windows paper outlines of chalices and wafers. In his first prolonged contact with a crowd, at the Wroclaw Cathedral that first afternoon, the pope lingered among the clergy who had filled every available space. Slowly he made his way toward the altar, pressing a hand here, giving a blessing there, and exchanging smiles all around Off to one side was a group of nuns who had no chance to get close to the pope as he came in. So some of them did the next best thing: They slipped under the restraining rope, stretched tautly as the people pressed forward, to cross the aisle and move up a few feet. A security guard tried to stop them, but if he turned his back lor justa moment, one of the nuns in asomber black habit would scurry past. Every time that happened, the remaining nuns giggled like schoolgirls. "We just want to see the Holy Father," one of them explained to the .bemused guard. He shook his head and smiled, able to muster up only mock anger at this breaking of the ranks. By the time Pope John Paul finished at the cathedral and held a private meeting with the Polish president, he was noticeably tired. But he was in good spirits that evening as he led a prayer with 7,000 participants from various faiths at the eucharistic congress. People at the concelebrated outdoor Mass that closed the congress the next morning seemed to appreciate the pope's personal touch. Helina Krajarska, a 50-year-old church decorator and architect for the Turn to Page 13 Spring general meeting June 19-21 .Full agenda faces bishops in Kansas City WASHINGTON (CNS) restructuring the National - The U.S. Catholic bis- Conference of Catholic hops will confront a full Bishops and U.S. Catholic agenda when they hold their Conference. If the ·bishops adopt the spring general meeting June restructuring proposals, the 19-21 in Kansas City, Mo. Major actions they face Kansas Cit.y meeting could be the last identified as a include: - A vote on a new nation- meeting of the NCCB and al collection for the home USCC. One of the proposmissions. als is to merge the two con- Approval of the last ferences under which the elements of the first com- bishops conduct their buspletely revised U.S. Sacra- . iness into a single confermentary in more than a ence with the name "U nited quarter-century. States Conference of Catho- A key vote on a long- lic Bishops," or USCCB. Other elements on the delayed new Lectionary, held up by Rome for five bishops' agenda include: years while disagreements - A pre-meeting halfover gender-inclusive lan- day workshop on issues of guage were being resolved. health care ministry facing - Approval of a major bishops in their dioceses. - First discussion of a new statement on Catholic draft st.rategic plan for comyouth ministry. - Approval of a new munications, with the inPast.oral Plan for Com- tention of bringing a final version of the plan to a vote munications. - First decisions to im- in November. - A proposal to move plement a six-year study on the memorial of St. Camillus de Lellis from July 14 to July 18 on the liturgical calendar so that it will not conflict with the U.S. memorial July 14 of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, which always takes precedence. - Finishing up the voting - most of which was completed in Novemberon bishops to attend this fall's Synod of Bishops for America as delegates for the NCCB. If the bishops approve the proposed new home mission collection, it will be taken up in parishes each year on the last Sunday of April, starting in 1998. U.S. home missions used to get 40 percent of the annual rvtission Sunday Collection, 'but soon all of that collection is to be used to aid foreign missions. The proposed statement on youth ministry is titled Turn to Page 13 1


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