Basilica of Guadalupe´s Web Page Activated by Pope

Most-Visited Shrine Will Now Receive Virtual Pilgrims

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 12, 2001 (Zenit.org).- For the first time, a Pope has activated a Web page: the official Internet site of the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City.



In a brief ceremony at the end of the general audience today, John Paul II pushed the key of a portable computer, inaugurating Web site http://www.virgendeguadalupe.org.mx.

"With the new site, the message of Guadalupe can go even farther, helping those who search for meaning in their lives and reasons for hope," the Pontiff explained.

"Let us pray to Our Lady that this new form of communication make her consoling protection more widely visible, especially to the poor and marginalized and that, with the diffusion of the mestizo Guadalupan image, fraternity among races be given impetus, dialogue among cultures be increased, and peace be promoted," the Holy Father added.

The most-visited shrine in the world, the basilica in Mexico City attracts more than 20 million pilgrims a year.

Last Sunday, Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, archbishop of Mexico, confirmed that John Paul II on Dec. 20 would recognize officially a miracle attributed to the intercession of Blessed Juan Diego, the Indian who witnessed the apparitions. Blessed Juan could be canonized a saint next year.

This was not the first time that John Paul II used the Internet for pastoral purposes. On Nov. 22 he sent the apostolic exhortation "Ecclesia in Oceania" by e-mail.