A Father's Welcome

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MANAGUA, NICARAGUA: Hundreds of thousands of jubilant Roman Catholics turned out Wednesday to celebrate with Pope John Paul II at an open-air Mass. In a nation that is nearly 80 percent Catholic, the Pope's arrival is considered a blessing. Welcoming him, President Violeta Chamorro, a devout Catholic, said the visit could help heal old wounds in a nation still recovering from a decade-long civil war. "Thanks to divine providence, peace has returned to your country and to all of Central America," the Pope told the crowd. In 1990 elections, Chamorro defeated the leftist Sandinistas, who controlled the government during John Paul's 1983 visit. Sandinistas in the crowd that year interrupted the Pope as he attempted to give Mass, shouting "We want peace!" This week, perhaps to atone for his previous behavior, Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega bought newspaper advertisements and billboards greeting the Pope.