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Saturday, 3 July 2004    


Venerable Brother in the Episcopate,
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I am pleased to extend a cordial greeting to you on the occasion of this courteous visit. Your agreeable presence puts me in mind of the two Visits I paid to your fine city. Welcome!

I gladly reciprocate your sentiments and greet you, Archbishop Edoardo Menichelli, the new Archbishop of Ancona-Osimo, who recently received the Metropolitans Pallium from my hands. I greet you, Mr Mayor, who represent the inhabitants of the capital of the Picene region who are so dear to me. I greet everyone present. In addressing you, I would also like to extend my thoughts to your fellow citizens; I warmly hope that they will be faithful to their ancient and noble moral, spiritual and civil traditions.

You have come just over a year after commemorating, with the "Song of peace" project, the damage your city sustained in the last world war and the tenacity of your people in the work of reconstruction. You have chosen to commemorate the drama of the war with the prayer I said at Assisi in January 2002 when, together with the representatives of the religions, we celebrated the Day of Prayer for Peace in the World.

As I express the hope that each one will be able to do his or her own part in fostering the fundamental good of peace, I entrust you to the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary, St Cyriac and St Leopold, the Patrons of your city, and cordially impart my Blessing to you all.


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