Pope Hopes Artists Get "Message of Truth"

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 17, 2004 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II hopes that the artists participating in this year's Vatican Christmas concert will understand better "the message of truth and love" that comes from Bethlehem.



The purpose of the concert, to be held Saturday, is to collect funds to build new churches in outlying areas of the Diocese of Rome.

At today's audience with the artists, the Pope expressed the hope that the season's concerts, as well as "other traditional and evocative signs -- such as the crib and the Christmas tree -- will facilitate people's encounter with the Lord who, by being born in Bethlehem, has offered man of every age his message of truth and love."

Among the concert's participants are the British group Simply Red, singers such as Israel's Noah and American jazz queen Dee Dee Bridgewater, and Italian Pino Daniele.

The organizers told ZENIT that Antonello Venditti, a popular Rome singer, will also participate. So too will the Virginia State University Gospel Chorale.

The concert in Paul VI Hall will be broadcast in several countries.