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Thursday, 25 January, 2001, 19:29 GMT
'Miracle' return of Pope's rosary

Rosary beads stolen from a Catholic church in Bala have been anonymously returned.

The gold and white string - which been blessed by the Pope before being donated - were returned anonymously - was stolen in December 2000 from the arm of a statue at the church of Our Lady of Fatima.

The shrine to the Virgin Mary - designed by Welsh artists for pilgrims unable to travel to the village of Fatima in Portugal - was unveiled earlier this year.

Murder attempt

In the Portuguese village, 17,000 people said they witnessed a visitation of the Virgin Mary.

Pope John Paul II believes that Our Lady of Fatima saved him from death in May 1981 after an assassination attempt.

This attempt at his life coincided with the anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady at Fatima.

The rosary gift is seen as a reaffirmation of the Pope's devotion to Our Lady of Fatima and a sign of encouragement to the Catholic Church in Wales.

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