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Special Event

Millennium 2000: Pope John Paul II Delivers New Year's Day Address

Aired January 1, 2000 - 6:00 a.m. ET


COLLEEN MCEDWARDS, CNN ANCHOR: The first dawn of the new millennium is breaking over North America.

LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: The ball drops without a hitch, and all around the globe, Y2K starts without a glitch.

MCEDWARDS: At the Vatican, Pope John Paul prepares a New Year's address, and we begin in-depth millennium programming with a look at the Catholic Church.

Hello, I'm Colleen McEdwards at CNN Center.

HARRIS: And I'm Leon Harris. Good morning, and welcome to our worldwide Millennium 2000 coverage.

The last midnight of 1999 is in the Samoan Islands of the South Pacific, where Fire Night dancing is a tradition, and also where thousands of Samoans are waiting for the new millennium. You see here live pictures that we're now bringing in from Apia, the capital of Samoa.

McEDWARDS: From the celebrations on Samoa to the latest developments on the first day of 20000, the third millennium now reaches to the four corners of the globe. Few Y2K computer glitches are reported, and they are not major problems. And no terrorist attacks are reported.

HARRIS: At the Vatican, Pope John Paul II made his first New Year's Eve midnight appearance, welcoming the new millennium and blessing thousands of people in St. Peter's Square. The pope is making another address, and he's giving more blessings at this hour.

And we're going live now to the Vatican. You see there the live picture we have coming in from Vatican City.

VATICAN TELEVISION COMMENTATOR: ... unfortunately at this moment you can see only the back of the crib. It was inaugurated by this pope, the custom was begun, in 1982, as was the custom of the Christmas tree. Before that, there had been no such decorations in St. Peter's Square at Christmas time, neither had there been a Christmas crib in St. Peter's Basilica. That also began...

HARRIS: This is part of our coverage of the pope's address, which should be getting under way shortly. You can see that we will continue to keep an eye on that as it develops, and coming up, we'll have an in-depth look at the past, present, and the future of the papacy, as we'll take a good look at that, the first of CNN's Millennium theme segments.

And here now, Pope John Paul II.

VATICAN TELEVISION COMMENTATOR: ... which describes the appearance of the Angel to Mary, asking that she be the Mother of God.

There is a band in the square...

POPE JOHN PAUL II (through translator): Dearest brothers and sisters, we thank God who offers us the opportunity to begin another year. As I ask from him protection and grace for each one of us, I express all my most cordial best wishes for a happy New Year 2000.

VATICAN TELEVISION COMMENTATOR: It's obvious that the people in the square return the best wishes.

POPE JOHN PAUL II: During the night of Christmas, we heard once again the announcement of the angels, "Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth to those He loves."

This is the announcement of hope which I wish to propose again in the traditional message for today's celebration of the World Day of Peace.

God loves us and gives to each one of us hope for a new time, a time of salvation and of peace. Yes, Christ is our peace. He calls us to love every human being without discrimination, converting the heart and the mind (inaudible) to peace, getting far from the temptation to violence and to war.

The Jubilee which is just beginning constitutes a pressing invitation to love in the hope for a reconciled humanity. We cross over the threshold of a new year with the commitment to make our contribution that peace might become the daily language of people.

The Gospel teaches us that dialogue, cooperation, respect for life, and solidarity are valid instruments for weaving new relationships among people and countries, between rich and poor, between believers and nonbelievers.

From every part of the earth, there is lifted a heartfelt prayer for peace. We pray that this will not go unheard. In this moment, my thoughts go to those who are the victims of violence, to those who feel alone and abandoned. Christ, as the Incarnate Son of God, can lighten the hearts of men with the gift of peace.

(inaudible) Son of the Most High (inaudible), you are the same yesterday, today, and forever.

The first day of the year is placed under the special protection of Mary. We begin the year 2000 under the lovable countenance of the Mother of God, who gives to the world Christ, the Prince of Peace. May the mantle of her motherhood be extended over all, and may she protect us from evil, free us from hatred and violence. Let her accompany humanity on the path of peace.

Let every man discover in others, beyond every frontier, the countenance of brothers, of friends, of members of only one human family. Mary, Mother of God, make us apostles of peace.

"The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary, and she conceived by the Holy Spirit.

"`Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Be it done unto me according to thy Word.'

"The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us."

Pray for us, Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray.

Pour forth, we beseech thee, O Lord, thy grace into our hearts, that we to whom the Incarnation of Christ, thy Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may by his passion and cross be brought to the glory of his resurrection through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Blessed be the name of the Lord, now and forever. Our help is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth. May Almighty God bless you, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

VATICAN TELEVISION COMMENTATOR: The people in the square, the vast number of people in the square -- it looks as if today you have about 100,000 people in this square. They're saluting the Holy Father, who have -- will have other words to address to them. We see those who are preparing...

HARRIS: And we are continuing with our live coverage here of the pope's address to the crowd there gathered in Vatican City, our coverage being provided by Vatican Television this morning.

CNN's Brent Sadler is standing by. He's been listening as well.



This has been a grueling 12 hours for Pope John Paul II, who's just concluded the Angelus (ph) prayer from the private balcony off his apartment, blessing a crowd of about 100,000 pilgrims, faithful, and just sightseers in St. Peter's Square in the center of Vatican City. Earlier on this morning, the pope attended another of the Holy Door opening ceremonies at St. Mary Major, a church in the center of ancient Rome, one of the city's four giant basilicas. Those holy doors are only open during rare Holy Year celebrations, such as 2000. St. Mary Major is one of the churches that Holy Year pilgrims must visit as part of their itinerary to gain remittance from punishment for sin.

Now, a lot of emphasis has been put on the pope's health over the past month and the last few years, and it was interesting to see him leave St. Mary Major there on his own two feet, obviously with ushers either side of him, rather than using the chariot which came out last week, a non -- a machine-driven cart which is pushed through St. Peter's Basilica to help the pope to be seen by the crowd, but without putting too much strain on him.

The pope is clearly suffering from the tremors associated with Parkinson's disease, as well as difficulty in walking, as I said, following a hip replacement the Holy Father had some five years ago.

Quite clearly on the series of appearances he's made in St. Peter's and elsewhere in the city, he has been focusing on one of his main issues that has been prevalent throughout his papacy, that of world peace.

In an address at St. Peter's Basilica before his New Year appearance, when the hour struck midnight here in this time zone change, the pope had cited the discovery of America as one of the last millennium's major events.

So world peace and congratulating humanity on its achievements over the past millennium, but also some criticism from the pope about how achievements and scientific improvement have in some cases worked against humanity and against human development.

So there we have it, the conclusion of the pope's Angelus, delivered in St. Peter's Square on this New Year's Day here in the center of Rome. And once the pope concludes and leaves the balcony in the apostolic palace, Rome will be clogged with a huge marathon event, which will be started once the pope finishes his ceremony there from his private balcony.


HARRIS: CNN's Brent Sadler reporting live this morning from Vatican City. Happy New Year to you, Brent.

Well, coming up in the next hour, again we will focus on the future of cyberspace, including an interview with Internet guru Esther Dyson. We'll also be taking a look at the papacy and the role of the papacy coming up, and also taking a look at possible successors to Pope John Paul II.

We'll have all that, as well as some more discussion of future events just ahead this morning.

MCEDWARDS: And we'll be right back. CNN's millennium coverage continues. Stay with us.


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