LOURDES, August 16, 2004 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Pope John Paul II concluded his 104th international trip yesterday, celebrating Mass at France's foremost Marian shrine in the presence of over 300,000 pilgrims. Lourdes is an especially meaningful place for the ailing Pontiff, who took time out between public appearances for private devotion at the shrine. When he instituted the World Day of the Sick in 1992, Pope John Paul chose February 11, the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, as the date on which the event would be celebrated each year.Article here.
The 84-year-old pope urged his hearers to respect, love and protect life. He said, "I appeal urgently to all of you, dear brothers and sisters, to do everything in your power to ensure that life, each and every life, will be respected from conception to its natural end. Life is a sacred gift, and no one can presume to be its master."
Full text of the Holy Father's homily