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Last Updated: Saturday, 1 January, 2005, 14:20 GMT
Pope's prayer for tsunami victims
Pope John Paul II at the New Year mass
The Pope mentioned world solidarity in the face of tragedy
Pope John Paul II has prayed for the victims of last week's Indian Ocean wave disaster.

During his traditional New Year's Day message at St Peter's Basilica in Rome, he spoke of the "terrible calamity" which had befallen the region.

He noted "the movement of solidarity which is developing everywhere in the world" to help the victims.

Correspondents say the pontiff, 84, who is suffering from Parkinson's disease, was on good form.

Peace plea

The Pope had started 2005 with a mass in his private chapel at the Vatican.

His spokesman said he would "remember the families of the victims and how much they are suffering in these days because of the consequences of the disaster".

The Pope has made a number of appeals to encourage people to donate to victims of the tidal waves.

The Roman Catholic Church traditionally dedicates New Year's day to global peace.

"World Peace Day constitutes an invitation to Christians and to all men of good will to renew their determined commitment to build peace," the Pope said.

He added that it was necessary to promote peace through dialogue, justice and teaching.


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