John Paul II's Dictum "Do Not Be Afraid" Resounds Again in Jerusalem

Israelis and Palestinians Celebrate the 25th Anniversary of His Pontificate

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JERUSALEM, OCT. 24, 2003 (Zenit.org).- Under the title "Do Not Be Afraid: John Paul II, Prophet of Dialogue," Israeli, Palestinian, and Christian representatives gathered together to honor John Paul II’s 25th anniversary.



The celebration, held at the "Notre Dame" Pontifical Institute in Jerusalem on Wednesday, was sponsored by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The event recalled the very day, Oct. 22, 1978, when John Paul II officially began his pontificate.

In his message, read by Archbishop Pietro Sambi, apostolic nuncio in Israel, the Holy Father renewed his appeal launched 25 years ago to all men and women of goodwill: “Do not be afraid,” Vatican Radio reported.

"Do not be afraid to serve the human person; do not be afraid to open the borders of States, economic and political systems, the great realms of culture, civilization, and development to the power of divine grace," the Pope said.

The papal text also affirmed that a lasting peace can only be made stable at present on the pillars of "truth, justice, love, and freedom."

In conclusion, the Holy Father prayed: "[May] Almighty God, who calls us to move from oppression and conflict to freedom and cooperation for the well-being of all peoples, make us capable of building a world of true peace."

During the conference the song "Gerusalemme" (Jerusalem) written by Italian composer Amedeo Minghi, was sung, accompanied by a video-clip of Francesco Pan.

It was the first time that a singer was allowed to “perform” in the holy places of the three monotheist religions: the Holy Sepulcher, the Wailing Wall, and the complex of Mosques.

After the celebrations in Krakow, Buenos Aires, Strasbourg, Bucharest, and Jerusalem -- the host city of the latest stage of the initiative "My Second Homeland" --, New York and Sao Paulo will be the next venues of this cycle in honor of the Holy Father.