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Wednesday, October 1, 2003


VATICAN CITY, OCT 1, 03 (VIS) - The Holy Father's general prayer intention for the month of October is: "That young people may follow Christ, the Way, the Truth, the Life, with generous enthusiasm and be ready to bear witness to him in all the situations in which they live."

His missionary intention is: "That for the Church, God will not fail to provide Pastors who are rich in wisdom and holiness and ready to defend the light of the Gospel to the very ends of the earth."

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VATICAN CITY, OCT 1, 2003 (VIS) - In today's general audience, celebrated in St. Peter's Square, the Pope spoke about the canticle of Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist. He noted that this canticle, which is commonly known as the "Benedictus," is a "blessing that proclaims the saving action and liberation offered by the Lord to His people."

John Paul II told the 12,000 people that filled the square: "This hymn is a 'prophetic' reading of history, the discovery of the intimate and profound meaning of human life, led by the hidden but industrious hand of the Lord that entwines with the weaker and more uncertain hand of man."

After speaking about the covenants of Abraham and David and the new alliance with Christ, he continued: "The central part of the canticle is the phrase: 'The rising sun will come from high to visit us.' ... With Christ, therefore, the light which illuminates every creature appears and enhances life as the evangelist John will say, joining these two realities: 'In Him was life and the life was the light of men'."

The Holy Father indicated that "humanity which is at times 'in the darkness and shadow of death' is enlightened by the splendor of revelation. ... We move about, having that light as our reference point; and our uncertain steps, which during the day often deviate on dark and slippery ways, are sustained by the light of the truth that Christ spreads in the world and in history."

As he greeted the pilgrims in different languages, the Pope recalled that today begins the month of the Rosary, and he invited everyone to "re-discover the beauty and richness of this Marian prayer in private as well as in the parish community, and especially, in the family."

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VATICAN CITY, OCT 1, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Oakland, U.S.A., presented by Bishop John Stephen Cummins, upon having reached the age limit. Coadjutor Bishop Henry Allen Vigneron succeeds him.

- Appointed Bishop Nelson Westrupp, S.C.I., of Sao Jose dos Campos, Brazil, as bishop of Santo Andre (area 841, population 2,359,467, Catholics 2,102,100, priests 117, permanent deacons 6, religious 245), Brazil.

- Appointed Marco Buonocore, "scriptor latinus" at the Vatican Apostolic Library, as the library's head archivist.

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