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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Oct. 8, 1979)
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7n farming you cooperate with the Creator
Pope John Paul 11
Des Moines, Oct 4, 1979
Photo by Tom Gessner
End world hunger, Pope asks farmers
By Alice Hrnicek
DES MOINES-Pope John Piul II soft
ened his stern American message to the
simple concerns of rural life as he addressed
about 340,000 people in a converted Des
Moines cow pasture and alfalfa field Thurs
day. The pope praised American farmers for
advancing agriculture,, but urged them to
cooperate with God in feeding the world's
famished and conserving land for future
"You have the potential to provide food
for the millions who have nothing to eat
and thus rid the world of famine,' the
pontiff said in a deep Polish accent.
The pontiff avoided controversial issues
that prevailed in his speeches in other
Clad is a simple white robe, the pope
instead celebrated the agricultural themes
of the patron saint of the day, St. Francis
of Assisi, in a two hour Mass at Living
History Farms on the west edge of Des
ARRIVING AT 1:45 pjn. at the Des
Moines, airport forty-five minutes late be
cause of a delay in departure from Phil
adelphia, the pope flew by helicopter to
St. Patrick's Church, a 127earold Irish
settlement with a congregation of 205, a
tew miles west of Des Moines in dimming.
After a 20 minute courtyard visit with
the parishioners, he flew to Living History
Farms in an army helicopter, Angel One,
preceded by a helicopter carrying the press
Many had waited hours, with several
hundred trieklin in a full day before the
pope's arrival to camp out in sleeping bags
and down feather coats. Security guards
kept them several hundred feet from the
altar throughout the night.
Lifting Italian, Polish and American
flags at his 3:15 pjn. arrival, the crowd
quited in eager anticipation of the pope s
words. A banner near the fronted, 'We
Lutherans love the pope too."
"You support the lives of millions who
themselves do not work on the land, but
who live because of whit you produce,
the pope said as he stood near an altar on
top of a grassy hill in full face of a cutting
HE PLEADED with the farmers to prac
tice three Important principles of Jesus:
rratitude.lmd conservation and generosity.
Because the fanner depends on God lor
favorable weather conditions, he should be
grateful, he said.
"Even the natural disasters, such as hail
storms and drought, tornadoes or floods,
remind the farmer of his dependence upon
The pope added that farmers must con
serve the land which is entrusted to them
by God. He warned that farming is more
than a way to earn a living.
"In farming, you cooperate with the
Creator in the very sustenance of life on
earth," he said.
The pontiff also implored farmers to
promote rural development and to share
their food with the world.
Extending his arms out to the people
from an altar constructed for the visit and
surrounded by chrysanthemums and mari
golds he accepted grains and other harvest
JOSEPH HAYS, the farmer who origin
ally conceived the idea to invite the pope,
carried the water, wine and host to the
Pope with his family.
By shaking hands and embracing, the
crowd joined in the universal greeting of
"Peace be with you."
The pope then issued communion to
150 participants, ignoring a change in
church doctrine refusing to put wagers
in the hands of those who requested it and
placing them directly in their mouths.
Priests gave communion to the crowd.
The pope sang a closing blessing in
Latin. Donning his regal miter, he walked
to the edge of the crowd, amid cheers of
"Long live the pope!"
As he turned to go back to the heli
copter, hundreds broke through National
Guard security to escort him. No one
Thirty feet from the altar, priests wear
ing white cassocks and some with coats and
baseball or stocking caps to protect against
the cold,'-stood balancing on the tops of
their chain vying with each other to view
the pope's procession. ..
Reverend Robert J. Waters, i priest on a
three week recruiting tour for San Diego
University, said he was excited to be sitting
in the front rows.
I've been going to all the cities that the
pope went to and IVe seen the president
and a lot of others,- he said. "But I never
thought I'd see him."
80,000 member Des Moines Diocese, said,
he anticipated, the visit to gq as planned.. .
i Tt pope'svlsit - to rural Iowa Will be
more relaxed than his other visits," Bishop
Dingman said. "This should be one of the
highlights of his trip."
Bishop Dingman said the impact of the
visit would be immense, resulting in a
resurgence of faith.
"Des Moines has been a magnificent
illustration of how we can all cooperate
the business, civic, religious and ecumenical
communities," he said.
Wednesday, the ICLU agreed to declare
a paid holiday for businesses. Schools male
their own decisions.
The day started early for the thousands
who lined up expecting to be admitted at 6
ajn. But officials decided to wait until 7
am. to open the gate because it was still
dark at 6.
When the gate opened, people squeezed
through and raced to find a spot close to
the front. .
People on pilgrimmages were not stop
ped by the cold. A group of high school
Students walked 150 miles.
Buses and cars were parked as far as 10
miles away, according to a Des Moines
deputy sheriff. Country roads were closed
early the night before. ,
Eighteen loudspeakers tang with hymns
and festive songs including "Ave Maria"
and "OhWhat a Beautiful Morning," as
the crowd increased by thousands each
No site in Iowa has ever hosted as large
a crowd. Living History Farms, a historical
monument to past, present and future
farming methods, is an active museum,
farm manager Vincent King said.
Preparations involved three weeks of
voluntary labor by more than 100 people
in prematurely harvesting jrops and remov
ing fences, he said. The farms had to pre
pare for the comhusking contest Saturday,
one of two annual festivals.
Free will donation boxes buried six feet
in the ground and 1,500 portable toilets
were scattered about.
Choirs from area colleges and high
schools sang next to the altar on a platform
built of wood planking.
The pope left Des Moines for Chicago
and Washington D.C, at 5:30 pjn.. an
hour behind schedule.
THE SUN ROSE to an almost clear sky
and nippy breeze. However, clouds over
cast the scene later in the morning threat
ening a dark greeting for the pope. By the The pope left Des Moines for Chicago
time he arrived, though, the clouds were and Washington, D.C, at 5:30 pjn., an
gone. hour behind schedule.
f.yw (r - i -i 11
. THE DAY BEFORE the popes arrival,"
Bishop Maurice J. Dingman, head of the
Photo try Taw Cmntr
Thoui roped off only 150 feet from the pope, these Nuns carried binoculars to ia-
sure a clear view of the Ilofy Father. .".
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