VATICAN CITY, DEC 31, 1999 (VIS) - At midnight, the Pope appeared at the window of his study in order to greet the young people who were gathered in St. Peter's Square for the prayer vigil organized by the Italian Episcopal Conference's service for the pastoral care of youth. After witnessing the spectacular firework display that marked the passage into the new year, the Holy Father imparted his 'Urbi et Orbi' blessing.

"The clock of history strikes an important hour: at this moment the year 2000 begins, and we enter into a new millennium. For believers, this is the year of the Great Jubilee. A Happy New Year to all of you, men and women of every part of the world! As we cross the threshold of the New Year I would like to knock at the door of every home, to bring to each of you my cordial good wishes. A Happy New Year to everyone in the light which shines out from Bethlehem upon the whole universe!"

He went on: "I wish you a year filled with serenity and happiness, may you always be certain of God's love for us. As He did two thousand years ago, Christ comes today with His saving Gospel to guide the uncertain and faltering steps of peoples and nations, leading them towards a future of true hope.

"I ask Him to bless this moment of festivity and good wishes, that it may be the promising beginning of a new millennium filled with joy and peace. Let us enter the year 2000 with our eyes fixed on the mystery of the Incarnation."

"Christ, yesterday, today and forever," the Pope concluded, "to Him belong time and the ages. To Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen!"

This is a copy of original on: http://www.vatican.va/news_services/press/vis/dinamiche/d3_en.htm