INTRODUCTION: Pope John Paul, concerned for the fate of Poles under martial law in his birthplace, has again prayed for a resolution of the country's problems without external intervention.
GV ZOOM IN TO SV Pope blessing children in crowd in room at Vatican, girl hands him bunch of flowers
GV ZOOM IN Pope on dais speaking in Latin
GV EXTERIOR Pope at window of Vatican lighting candle
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Background: INTRODUCTION: Pope John Paul, concerned for the fate of Poles under martial law in his birthplace, has again prayed for a resolution of the country's problems without external intervention. The Pontiff's comments came on Thursday (24 December) as over 1,000 Poles remained underground in two pits in the south of the country in protest at the military crackdown.
SYNOPSIS: The Pope has kept in as close touch as possible with events in Poland since the imposition of martial law. On Christmas-eve (24 December) he celebrated a festive mass for a group of over 300 Poles, resident in Italy. Despite the happy faces of the children among the crowd it was an occasion marred by what was happening in their homeland. The ex-patriots were clearly anxious to hear the Pope's message.
He told them they should pray for Poles to be the creators of their own destiny.
As the night before the great Christian festival of Christmas drew in Pope John Paul fulfilled a pledge made earlier in the day to his Polish audience. He lit a candle in his Vatican apartment window in an act of emotional unity with his compatriots at home as they prepared for Christmas. United States President Ronald Reagan urged Americans to make the same symbolic gesture in a seasonal message to his countrymen on Wednesday (23 December). As Poles face their bleakest Christmas since the Second World War the Pope still awaited a first hand report on their fate from his special envoy, Archbishop Luigi Poggi, sent to Poland on a fact-finding mission.