Pope John Paul II sent a message to George Bush expressing the hope that his presidency will contribute to world peace, the Vatican announced Friday.

"May God guide your efforts to conserve and promote freedom, harmony and the prosperity of your fellow citizens," the pope said in the message released by the Vatican.The Roman Catholic pontiff said he hoped the Bush presidency "may contribute to the effort to build peace in the world on the solid foundation of justice and respect for all human beings."

The message gave the pope's apostolic blessing to the United States.