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Slovaks mourn Pope John Paul II

MANY SLOVAKS are in mourning for Pope John Paul II, who died on the evening of Saturday, April 2. Slovak dailies and press agencies are devoting much space and commentary to the Holy Father’s passing.

Slovak President Ivan Gašparovič said April 3 that Slovakia is mourning for the Holy Father, as Slovaks cherished and honoured John Paul II for his charisma and wisdom, as well as for the love he had for Slovakia.

Prime Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda remembered the Pope as one who significantly contributed to the fall of Communism. "He knew Slovakia very well, and he loved us," Dzurinda added. He went on to say that it is not only the faithful who are grieving for the Pope, but that many agnostics are also moved by the Holy Father’s death.

Speaker of Parliament Pavol Hrušovský said that there was a great concentration of staunch spiritual energy in the pontificate of John Paul II, which markedly affected the course of world events. Hrušovský reacted to the Pope's death with deep grief.

Marián Gavenda, spokesman for the Slovak Bishops Conference said, "We, the faithful, in our belief, see the other shore where his life will go on," the TASR news agency reported.

Compiled by Marta Ďurianová from press reports
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