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The Vatican Information Service is a news service, founded in the Holy See Press Office, that provides information about the Magisterium and the pastoral activities of the Holy Father and the Roman Curia...[]

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Monday, May 31, 2004


VATICAN CITY, MAY 31, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed  Fr. Bernardino C. Cortez, pastor of the parish of St. Theresa of the Child Jesus in Los Banos, as auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese of Manila (area 117, population 2,993,000, Catholics 2,719,781, priests 186, religious 1,013), Philippines. The bishop-elect was born in Baclaran, Philippines, in 1949, and ordained a priest in 1974.

  On Saturday, May 29, it was made public that he appointed:

- Fr. Lucio Soravito De Franceschi, pastor of the cathedral of Udine and episcopal vicar for the laity, as bishop of Adria-Rovigo (area, 1,193, population 202,864, Catholics 200,128, priests 175, religious 239), Italy. The bishop-elect was born in Mione di Ovaro, Italy, in 1939 and ordained a priest in 1963.

- Fr. Giuseppe Andrich, diocesan administrator of Belluno-Feltre (area 3,263, population 181,822, Catholics 181,402, priests 221, permanent deacons 4, religious 287), Italy, as bishop of the same diocese. The bishop-elect was born in Canale d'Agordo, Italy, in 1940, and ordained a priest in 1965.
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 31, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences four prelates from the United States Catholic Bishops' Conference (Region XIII) on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Archbishop Michael Jarboe Sheehan of Santa Fe.

    - Bishop Donald Edmond Pelotte S.S.S., of Gallup.

    - Bishop Ticardo Ramirez C.S.B., of Las Cruces.

    - Bishop Thomas James Olmsted of Phoenix.

  On Saturday, May 29, he received in separate audiences:

- Cardinal Edmund Casimir Szoka, president of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State and of the Governorate of Vatican City State.

- Archbishop Albert Malcolm Ranjith Patabendige Don, apostolic nuncio in Indonesia and East Timor.

- Baron Hendrik Volkier Bentinck van Schoonheten, ambassador of the Netherlands, on his farewell visit.

- Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
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CARDINAL RENATO R. MARTINO, president of the Pontifical Council "Justice and Peace," will travel to Uganda from May 31 to June 4 to visit, among others places, the cities of Gulu, Kalongo and Kitgum, where armed conflicts still persist. The cardinal will meet the authorities, "Justice and Peace" organizations, and representatives of religious and lay associations involved in social work, and he will visit refugee camps and hospitals for victims of the war which has lasted for 18 years. On June 3, he is scheduled to preside at a Eucharistic celebration in Namugongo in honor of Ugandan martyrs, on the feast day of St. Charles Lwanga and 21 companions, canonized by Paul VI in 1964.

THE FINAL DOCUMENT HAS JUST BEEN PUBLISHED of the sixteenth Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples. The meeting was held from May 17 to 19 at the Rome headquarters of the dicastery. During the sessions, the members and consultors reflected upon the necessity and methods of ecumenical, inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue in the context of human mobility. Among the conclusions reached was the urgent need that such dialogue become a driving element for peace and harmony among nations and civilizations.
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 31, 2004 (VIS) - This morning, John Paul II received participants in the general chapter of the monastic family of Bethlehem, of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and of St. Bruno.

  In his address, the Pope assured the female religious that through a "humble and bold faithfulness, in the silence that characterizes your secluded lives, you are supported by the prayers of the Virgin Mary. Through your contemplative life you raise the world up to God and remind the human beings of our time of the place of silence and prayer in their existence."

  The Holy Father requested that St. Bruno give them "the grace to remain vigilant in prayer, mounting a 'holy and persevering guard, while awaiting the return of the Lord, to open to Him when He calls.' I particularly invite your monastic family, which bears the name of Bethlehem birthplace of the Emmanuel, to intensify your prayers for the Middle East, beseeching the Lord to give the grace of peace and of reconciliation to all inhabitants of that region so tormented by violence."
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 30, 2004 (VIS) - "The Church today celebrates the Solemnity of Pentecost, recalling the prodigious effusion of the Holy Spirit upon Mary and the Apostles in the Cenacle," said John Paul II to the numerous pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square to pray the Regina Coeli.

  "Animated by the fire of the Spirit, the Apostles left the Cenacle and began to speak of Christ, Who died and rose again, to the faithful who had come to Jerusalem from all places, and each heard them speak in his own language."

  With Pentecost ... was born the Church: the mystical body of Christ distributed around the world. The Church is made up of men and women of all races and cultures, united in faith and love for the Most Holy Trinity as a sign and instrument of the unity of the entire human race. Shaped by the Spirit to conform to Christ, new man, believers become His witnesses, sowers of hope, agents of mercy and peace."

  The Pope concluded by invoking the maternal intercession of Mary "that the prodigies of Pentecost may be renewed in the Church and that all men and women may welcome the joyous news of salvation."
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 29, 2004 (VIS) - This evening in St. Peter's Square, the Pope presided at the celebration of the first Vespers of the Solemnity of Pentecost. Faithful from parishes, associations and ecclesial groups participated in the ceremony, as did members of Movements for Renewal in the Spirit, at the special invitation of the Holy Father.

  The Holy Father also greeted numerous young people who were participating in a prayer vigil at Lednica, Poland, and were connected to St, Peter's Square through a radio and television link: "I pray with you, my dear friends, for the gift of the Holy Spirit. May the Consoler, the Holy Spirit, fill you with the love of Christ, to Whom you entrust your future."

  Having addressed himself especially to members of Renewal in the Spirit, "one of the various expressions of the great family of the Catholic charismatic movement," he said: "Thanks to the charismatic movement many Christians - men and women, children and adults - have rediscovered Pentecost as a living reality in their daily lives. It is my hope that the spirituality of Pentecost may spread through the Church as a renewed impetus of prayer, of sanctity, of communion and of announcement."

  The Pope encouraged "the initiative known as the 'Burning Bush,' promoted by Renewal in the Spirit. It involves incessant adoration, day and night, before the Most Holy Sacrament; an invitation to the faithful to 'return to the Cenacle' so that, united in contemplation of the Eucharistic Mystery, they may intercede for the full unity of Christians and for the conversion of sinners. It is my heartfelt wish that this initiative may conduct many people to rediscover the gifts of the Spirit that have their source in the Pentecost."

  "This evening's celebration," he continued, "reminds me of the memorable meeting with ecclesial groups and new communities on the vigil of Pentecost six years ago. That was an extraordinary epiphany of the unity of the Church, in the richness and variety of charisms which the Holy Spirit lavishly donates." And the Pope repeated the words he used on that occasion: "Ecclesial movements and new communities are a 'providential response' - one 'activated by the Holy Spirit' - to the modern-day question of new evangelization, for which 'mature Christian personalities' and 'living Christian communities' are necessary."

  "For this reason," he concluded, "I also say to you: 'Open yourselves meekly to the gifts of the Holy Spirit! Accept with gratitude and obedience the gifts that the Spirit does not cease to give! Do not forget that each charism is given for the common good, in other words for the benefit of the entire Church!'"
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Saturday, May 29, 2004


VATICAN CITY, MAY 29, 2004 (VIS) - This morning, the Holy Father received students of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, accompanied by their president, Archbishop Justo Mullor Garcia, saying to them: "May difficulties never hinder your generous commitment to Christ and His Church."

  Having recalled that tomorrow is the Solemnity of Pentecost, the Pope indicated that from that day when they received the Holy Spirit, the Apostles "began to travel the world announcing the Good News. Since then, this announcement has never ceased to sound out among men: Christ, only begotten of God is the Savior of man, of all men."

  He continued: "By maintaining contact with the Pope, pontifical representatives are called to represent him before the ecclesial communities of the countries in which they work, before national governments and international organizations. This requires that the personnel of such missions have a capacity for dialogue, knowledge of various peoples, of their cultural and religious expressions, as well as of their legitimate expectations. At the same time, an adequate theological and pastoral formation is indispensable, and above all a mature and total faithfulness to Christ. Only if you remain united to Him with prayer and the constant quest for His will, will your work be fruitful and will you feel fully realized in your priesthood."

  John Paul II called on the priests "to keep alight in their minds and hearts the life-giving fire of the Holy Spirit, which  in these days we ardently implore, and to be witnesses of peace and love wherever divine Providence may take you."

Tuesday, May 25, 2004


VATICAN CITY, MAY 25, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences ten prelates from the United States Catholic Bishops' Conference (Region VII) on their "ad limina" visit:

- Cardinal Francis Eugene George, O.M.I., archbishop of Chicago, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishops Gustavo Garcia-Siller, M.Sp.S., Francis J. Kane, Jerome E. Listecki, Thomas J. Paprocki and Joseph N. Perry.

- Bishop Daniel Robert Jenky, C.S.C., of Peoria.

- Bishop Thomas George Doran of Rockford.

- Bishop George Joseph Lucas of Springfield in Illinois.

- Archbishop Daniel Mark Buechlein, O.S.B., of Indianapolis.
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 25, 2004 (VIS) - Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, librarian and archivist of Holy Roman Church and Archbishops Michael Fitzgerald and Pier Luigi Celata, respectively president and secretary of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, will be among the Holy See participants at the Qatar Conference on Muslim-Christian Dialogue which starts Thursday, May 27 in the capital city of Doha.

  The Commission for Religious Relations with Muslims, an office of the pontifical council, and the Gulf States Center at the University of Qatar have organized the three-day event which will take place at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Doha. May 27 is a public session to which Muslim and Christian leaders from around the world have been invited. Closed sessions will he held on May 28 and 29 on the theme of religious freedom.

  Among those scheduled to address the public sessions on Thursday are Cardinal Tauran, Archbishop Fitzgerald, Shayk Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, emir of Qatar, His Holiness Shenouda III, Pope of Alexandria of the Coptic Orthodox Church, Youssef al-Qaradawi of the University of Qatar, Muhammad Sayyed Tantawi of al-Azhar and Youssef El-Hage from Lebanon.

Monday, May 24, 2004


VATICAN CITY, MAY 24, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:
 - Fr. Colin Campbell, rector of the National Seminary in Auckland, New Zealand, as bishop of Dunedin (area 64,747, population 282,183, Catholics 35,307, priests 57, religious 139), New Zealand. The bishop-elect was born in 1941 in Dunedin, New Zealand and was ordained a priest in 1966. He succeeds Bishop Leonard Anthony Boyle whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted in accordance with Canon 401, para. 2, of the Code of Canon Law.

 - Bishop John Atcherley Dew, auxiliary of the archdiocese of Wellington, New Zealand, as coadjutor archbishop of the same archdiocese (area 35,810, population 559,350, Catholics 81,189, priests 122, religious 284), New Zealand.

   On Saturday May 22, it was made public that the Holy Father:

 - Appointed Msgr. Gerardo de Jesus Rojas Lopez, vicar general of Juarez City, Mexico as bishop of Nuevo Casas Grandes (area 7,257, population 671,321, Catholics 657,721, priests 58, religious 69), Mexico. The bishop-elect was born in 1957 in Teocaltiche, Mexico and was ordained a priest in 1983. He succeeds Bishop Hilario Chavez Joya,  M.N.M whose resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese the Holy Father accepted upon having reached the age limit.

- Appointed Archbishop Emil Paul Tscherrig, apostolic nuncio in Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Dominica, Jamaica, Granada, Guyana, Surinam, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint-Vincent and Granadinas, Santa Lucia and apostolic delegate in the Antilles, as apostolic nuncio in Korea.

 - Appointed Fr. Fernando Vergez Alzaga, L.C., study assistant in the Pontifical Council for Laity,  as bureau chief of  the Ordinary Section of the Administration of the Apostolic Patrimony of the Holy See. 
 - Appointed Ivan Ruggiero, general accountant of the Prefecture of Economic Affairs of the Holy See, as consultant of the same dicastery. 
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 24, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

- Branko Orvenkovski, president of the Republic of Macedonia, accompanied by his wife and an entourage.

- Three prelates from the United States Catholic Bishops' Conference (Region VII) on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Wilton Daniel Gregory of Belleville.

    - Bishop Joseph Leopold Imesch of Joliet in Illinois, accompanied by Bishop Roger Louis Kaffer, former auxiliary of the same diocese.

- Oghnjan Gerdjikov, president of Parliament in Bulgaria, accompanied by his wife and an entourage.

On Saturday May 22, the Holy Father received in separate audiences:

 - Archbishop Raul Nicolau Gonsalvez, emeritus of Goa and Damao, India.

 - Four prelates from the United States Catholic Bishops' Conference (Region VII) on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop James Anthony Tamayo of Laredo.

    - Bishop Placido Rodriguez,  C.M.F. of Lubbock.

    -  Bishop Alvaro Corrada del Río, S.J. of Tyler.

    - Bishop David Eugene Fellhauer of Victoria in Texas.

- Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
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THE HOLY FATHER SENT A MESSAGE to Cardinal Fiorenzo Angelini, president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry, who will inaugurate this week a social and health center run by the Congregation of the Benedictine Reparatrix Sisters of the Holy Face of Our Lord Jesus Christ, in Bacau, Romania. In the Message, dated May 13, the Pope writes that this new center called "The House of the Holy Face of Jesus," will welcome the elderly and handicapped, beginning with priests. It is an important service for the poor and sick and they do not have family members who are capable of attending to their needs."

POPE JOHN PAUL TODAY WELCOMED A DELEGATION  from Macedonia on the occasion of their visit to Rome for "the traditional and affectionate homage which you pay to Sts. Cyril and Methodius, Apostles of the Slavonic peoples, whose memory is preserved in the venerable Basilica of St. Clement." The Pope noted that "your country has wisely reaffirmed its commitment to follow the path of peace and reconciliation.. ... You eyes are turned legitimately towards Europe. ... I truly hope that your desires will receive just consideration and that the citizens of your republic may be one day rightful members of a united Europe."

A DELEGATION FROM BULGARIA WAS RECEIVED BY THE POPE this morning for their traditional visit on the occasion of the feast of Sts. Cyril and Methodius. "For some years now," said the Pope in French, "your country has rediscovered its place on the international scene and it is pursuing this path of freedom and democracy, seeking thus to consolidate harmony within the nation. It is involved in a patient effort to rejoin in a stable fashion the institutions of the European union. In this regard, I hope that Bulgaria can realize its legitimate aspirations in bringing .... its own contribution to the building for Europe."
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 24, 2004 (VIS) - Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, arrives today in Jerusalem where he will stay until May 28, during which time he will meet with Catholic authorities, hold ecumenical meetings, meet with Jewish leaders, including the Chief Rabbi of Israel and with Israeli government officials as well.

  The cardinal's visit is the result of an invitation extended by the Ecumenical Institute of Advanced Theological Studies in Tantur asking him to take part in a colloquium organized by the institute in collaboration with Notre Dame University. He will deliver a talk entitled "Pardon and Purification of Memories."

  Cardinal Kasper's visit will include meetings with the Latin patriarch of Jerusalem, the Catholic ordinaries, the custos of the Holy Land and superiors and members of various religious institutes and congregations. On the ecumenical level, encounters are scheduled with the Greek Orthodox patriarch and the Armenian patriarch, in addition to authorities from other churches and ecclesial communities.


VATICAN CITY, MAY 23, 2004 (VIS) - This afternoon Cardinal Camillo Ruini, vicar general of Rome, read a Message from the Pope to the Chief Rabbi of Rome, Riccardo Di Segni, during a commemorative service for the centenary of the synagogue in the Italian capital. The Holy Father was also represented in the ceremony by Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Commission for Religious Relations with Judaism.

  In the message, the Holy Father sends special greetings to the former Chief Rabbi Elio Toaff, who received him during his historic visit made on April 13, 1986. "This event," he writes, "remains instilled in my memory and in my heart as a symbol of the newness that has characterized in the last few decades relations between the Jewish people and the Catholic Church, after periods which were sometimes difficult and sad."

  John Paul II says that despite the fact that the Catholic Church and Vatican Council II rejected "clearly and definitively anti-semitism in all its expressions,... it is not enough to deplore and condemn hostility against the Jewish people; ... it is necessary to also foster friendship, esteem and fraternal relations with them." He then recalled the victims of the Holocaust, and especially members of the Jewish community of Rome who in October of 1943 were taken to Auschwitz. "May their memory lead us to work as brothers."

  "Thus," he added, " it is necessary to recall all those Christians ... who acted with courage, also in the city of Rome, to help persecuted Jews, offering them their solidarity and help, sometimes even risking their own lives. ... We also cannot forget, along with official pronouncements, the Apostolic See's action, often hidden, which in many ways helped Jews in danger, something which has been recognized by their representatives also."

  The Pope indicates that the Church has deplored the mistakes of its daughters and sons and has asked for forgiveness "for their responsibility related to the plagues of anti-semitism." In addition, he recalls the homage he paid to the victims of the Shoah at Yad Vashem in March 2000.

  "Unfortunately," he writes, "thinking about the Holy Land causes concern and sadness in our hearts for the violence that continues in that area, for the great quantity of innocent blood shed by Israelis and Palestinians. ... Therefore, today we want to direct to the Eternal God a fervent prayer ... so that enmity ... gives way to clear awareness of the bonds that link them and to the responsibility that weighs on everyone's shoulders."

  "Nevertheless," concludes the Holy Father, "we still have a long way to go: the God of justice and peace, of mercy and reconciliation, calls us to collaborate without vacillating in our modern world, scarred by conflict and hostility. If we know how to unite our hearts and hands in order to respond to the divine call, the light of the Eternal One will draw close to illuminate all peoples, showing us the ways of peace, of Shalom.  We would like to go along these paths with one heart."
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 23, 2004 (VIS) - Before praying the Regina Coeli with the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square, the Pope recalled that on this Sunday many countries celebrate the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord, as well as the World Day of Social Communications.

  The Holy Father said that the Church "wants to establish a frank and open dialogue with those who work in this field in order to encourage their commitment to humanity's authentic progress."

  After recalling the theme of this year's World Day of Social Communications, "The Media in the Family: Risk and Enrichment," John Paul II said that "thanks to modern technology, many families are able to directly access the vast resources of communication and information, and to take advantage of the opportunity to educate, be culturally enriched and to grow in the spirit.  However, the media can do serious damage to the family when they offer an inadequate vision or a deformed vision of life, family, religion and morality."

  "Therefore," he continued, "it is necessary to learn how to use the media wisely and prudently. It is a duty that concerns all parents, who are responsible for providing a healthy and balanced education of children.  It is also a duty of public institutions who are called to create regulations that assure that the media always respect the truth and common good."

  After greeting pilgrims in different languages and praying the Regina Coeli, the Pope said that on May 29, eve of the Solemnity of Pentecost, he will preside at 6 p.m. in St. Peter's Basilica at the celebration of Vespers.  "I invite all the faithful," he said, "in particular those who belong to the movements of renewal in the Spirit, to participate in the prayer vigil in order to invoke upon us and on all the Church an abundant effusion of the gifts of the Holy Spirit."
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 22, 2004 (VIS) - Made public today was the speech given on May 20th by Msgr. Renato Volante, Holy See permanent observer to the United Nations Organization for Food and Agriculture and head of the Holy See delegation to the 27th FAO conference for Asia and the Pacific, which was held in Beijing from May 17 to 21.

  In opening remarks, Msgr. Volante said that the "the international presence of the Holy See is motivated exclusively by the desire to render a common service to the human family as a whole. She wishes in this way to testify to her constructive interest in the cause of human person, the attention to its fundamental needs, beginning with the primary right to nourishment that is an essential component of the right to life."

  "It seems to us," he underscored, "that the situations of food security are becoming more serious, the growth of systems of production that are more and more linked to the large-scale methods, and the environmental degradation which for the world of agriculture concern 'inter alia' the land degradation and the water scarcity. This clearly lowers the levels of food security. In the perspective of these challenges, it becomes always more necessary to look to the future, to understand what can be the role of  FAO in the coming years in this region."

  Msgr. Volante then quoted from Pope John Paul's speech in 1996 at the World Food Summit: "It is to be hoped that your reflections will also inspire concrete measures to combat the food insecurity, which claims as its victims too many of our brothers and sisters in humanity, for nothing will change at the world level, if national leaders do not put into practice the commitments written in your plan of action for implementing economic and food policies based not only on profit but also on sharing in solidarity."


VATICAN CITY, MAY 22, 2004 (VIS) - Yesterday afternoon in the Vatican there was a workshop, organized by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace on the social and economic development of Africa in the era of globalization.

  In a Message sent to participants, the Pope writes that "the many hotbeds of violence that plague Africa, including AIDS and other epidemics, as well as dramas of misery and injustices, continue to weigh upon the future of the continent and to produce negative effects that impede the overall development of Africa and the restoration of a stable peace and a just society."

  "The continent," he continues, "urgently needs peace, justice and reconciliation and also the help of industrialized countries who are called to sustain its development so that the African peoples are truly protagonists of their own future, actors and subjects of their destiny. ... May the international community be able to contribute with determination and generosity to promoting a society of justice and peace on the African continent."

  Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the pontifical council, in his talk, emphasized that Africa should not be considered "an immense weight and an irresolvable problem but an extraordinary resource of good for all of humanity. The greatest evil that plagues Africa is the general sense of resignation and distrust at all levels which surrounds this continent like an iron curtain of selfishness and indifference.  The real battle is to create an environment of renewed confidence and generous and intelligent creativity."

  The cardinal announced the publication of a document on poverty in the era of globalization and the creation of a permanent group of reflection on the social and economic development of Africa.
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 22, 2004 (VIS) - John Paul II today welcomed bishops from the United States provinces of San Antonio and Oklahoma City as they conclude their "ad limina" visit. "In this my final reflection on the sanctifying office (of bishops)," he told them, "I wish to concentrate in a special way on one of the cornerstones of the Church itself, namely, the complex of interpersonal relationships known as the family."

  "Family life is sanctified in the joining of man and woman in the sacramental institution of holy matrimony," he affirmed.  "Many today have a clear understanding of the secular nature of marriage, which includes the rights and responsibilities modern societies hold as determining factors for a marital contract. There are nevertheless some who appear to lack a proper understanding of the intrinsically religious dimension of this covenant."

  The Holy Father remarked that "modern society rarely pays heed to the permanent nature of marriage." He asked that "the Church seek to offer better pre-marital instruction aimed at forming couples in this vocation and insist that her Catholic schools and religious education programs guarantee that young people, many of whom are from broken families themselves, are educated from a very early age in the Church's teaching on the sacrament of matrimony."
  "The communion of love present in family life serves as a model of the relationships which must exist in Christ's family, the Church," the Pope added. "The family is placed at the service of the building up of the Kingdom of God in history" and the Church's duty is to assist it, especially parents as "the main catechists in the family." And, he said, the Church must "share the hurts and struggles of parents and families, as well as their joys."

  "Like a family, the Church is a place where its members feel free to bring their sufferings, knowing that Christ's presence in the prayer of His people is the greatest source of healing." Thus, the Church must maintain an active "family ministry and especially in those areas which reach out to youth and young adults. Young people, faced with a secular culture which promotes instant gratification and selfishness over the virtues of self-control and generosity, need the Church's support and guidance."
   John Paul II noted that "as in any family, the Church's internal harmony can at times be challenged by a lack of charity and the presence of conflict among her members.  This can lead to the formation of factions within the Church which often become so concerned with their special interests that they lose sight of the unity and solidarity which are the foundations of ecclesial life and the sources of communion in the family of God. To address this worrisome phenomenon Bishops are charged to act with fatherly solicitude as men of communion to ensure that their particular Churches act as families, so that there may be no discord in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another." 

  In concluding, he noted how the United States, whose patroness is Mary Immaculate, is marking in a special way the 150th anniversary of the proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.
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Friday, May 21, 2004


VATICAN CITY, MAY 21, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Bishop Roberto Camilleri Azzopardi, O.F.M., auxiliary of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, bishop of Comayagua (area 7,527, population 671,321, Catholics 657,721, priests 58, religious 69), Honduras. He succeeds Bishop Geraldo Scarpone Caporale, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese he accepted upon having reached the age limit.

- Appointed Msgr. Vicente Jiménez Zamora, vicar general of Osma-Soria, Spain as  bishop of the same diocese (area 10,328, population 90,717, Catholics 72,580, priests 178, permanent deacons 1, religious 364), Spain.  The bishop-elect was born in 1944 in Agreda, Spain and was ordained a priest in 1968.

 - Appointed Msgrs. Thomas A. Donato, spiritual director of the Major Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in South Orange, U.S.A., and John W. Flesey, director of permanent formation for the clergy of the archdiocese of Newark, U.S.A., as auxiliary bishops of the same archdiocese (area 1,328, population 2,809,267, Catholics 1,319,558, priests 929, permanent deacons 198, religious 1,667), U.S.A.  Bishop-elect Donato was born in 1940 in Jersey City, U.S.A., and was ordained a priest in 1965. Bishop-elect Flesey was born in 1942 Jersey City and was ordained in 1969. They succeed Bishops Charles J. McDonnell and David Arias, O.A.R. whose resignations from the office of auxiliary were accepted upon having reached the age limit.
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 21, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

- Cardinal Paul Poupard, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, accompanied by family members.

- Three prelates from the United States Catholic Bishops' Conference (Region X) on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Gregory Michael Aymond of Austin.

    - Bishop Curtis John Guiollory, S.V.D., of Beaumont.

    - Bishop Raymundo Joseph Peña of Brownsville.

- Helen Clark, prime minister of New Zealand, accompanied by her husband and an entourage.

- Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

  This afternoon, he is scheduled to receive six prelates from the United States Catholic Bishops' Conference (Region X) on their "ad limina" visit:

- Bishop Edmond Carmody of Corpus Christi.

- Bishop Charles Victor Grahmann of Dallas.

- Bishop Joseph Anthony Fiorenza of Galveston-Houston, accompanied by Coadjutor Bishop Daniel N. DiNardo and Auxiliary Bishops Vincent M. Rizzotto and Joseph Steve Vasquez.

  Yesterday, May 20, the Holy Father received in audience five prelates from the United States Catholic Bishops' Conference (Region X) on their "ad limina" visit:

- Archbishop Patrick F. Flores of San Antonio, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishops Thomas J. Flanagan, Patrick J. Zurek.

- Bishop Edward James Slattery of Tulsa.

- Bishop John Walter Yanta of Amarillo.
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CARDINAL RENATO MARTINO, PRESIDENT OF THE Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, is presiding today, May 21 at a study session on the social and economic development of Africa in the era of globalization in the Rome headquarters of this dicastery. Participants in this meeting include cardinals from Africa, ambassadors from African countries accredited to the Holy See, experts on the above-mentioned topics and leaders from international organizations, including the United Nations, Catholic Relief Services, the Sant'Egidio Community and the Earth Institute of Columbia University. The morning session was presided over by Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, secretary for Relations with States, who spoke on Pope John Paul's solicitude for Africa. Other speakers addressed the problem of conflicts in Africa and reconciliation. The afternoon session is scheduled to focus on the chronic problems of the continent, including pandemic illnesses, poverty and foreign debt.

MSGR. PIERO MONNI, HOLY SEE PERMANENT OBSERVER to the World Tourism Organization, spoke yesterday in Rimini, Italy at the 42nd meeting of the WTO's Regional Commission for Europe at a seminar entitled "The Future of Traditional Destinations: Will Their Experience be useful to Emerging Countries of Europe?" He highlighted the problems linked to competition between traditional tourism destinations and those of  emerging countries in Eastern Europe. Europe offers a variety of tourist destinations, and "there are great hopes that these sites will reveal values that for years have been marginalized, that is, cultural, moral and spiritual values. ... Competition within the 'global village' has problems similar to those of the European dimension, whose Christian roots we cannot ignore, roots which are perceptible even in many emerging sites. It is always respect for these values which can help develop sustainable tourism and a greater attention to and sensitivity for culture and local traditions."
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 21, 2004 (VIS) - Prime Minister Helen Clark of New Zealand was received by John Paul II this morning who, in brief remarks in English, told her that "New Zealanders have always cherished the fundamental value of freedom, justice and peace. Indeed, in the face of aggression or threat, they have generously sought to defend and promote such rights in the Pacific and beyond."

  "Today," he added, "in our world so troubled by the scourge of racial divisions and conflict, I encourage you and your fellow citizens to foster dialogue. In acknowledging the fundamental God-given dignity of every person, dialogue leads to a recognition of diversity while opening the mind to the mutual acceptance and genuine collaboration demanded by the human family's basic vocation to unity."
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 20, 2004 (VIS) - The following telegram was sent by Pope John Paul to Archbishop Theodore-Adrien Sarr of Dakar, Senegal, upon the death of  Cardinal Hyacinthe Thiandoum, archbishop emeritus of Dakar on May 18 at the age of 83:

  "Having learned with sadness of the death of Cardinal Hyacinthe Thiandoum, archbishop emeritus of Dakar, I would like to express to you, the family of the deceased, the faithful of your diocese and to all Catholics in Senegal my profound spiritual communion and the assurance of my fervent prayer for the repose of the soul of the cardinal who served as the pastor of the archdiocese for so many years. I would like to pay homage to the noble son of the Senegalese nation who generously gave himself to his brothers and sisters in the service of Christ in His Church, also providing for the successor of Peter a clear voice for Africa.  While entrusting the illustrious late cardinal  to the Lord's mercy, I unite myself in thought and prayer to those who are gathered in hope to accompany Cardinal Thiandoum with their prayer and I bestow upon them a special apostolic blessing as a sign of consolation." 
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 20, 2004 (VIS) - This morning the Holy Father received the participants in the 53rd General Assembly of the Italian Episcopal Conference which has been reflecting these past few days on the renewal of parishes, social communications and priestly and religious vocations.

  The Pope encouraged bishops who share his concerns for vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life, and he invited young people in Italy "to carefully consider and  to embrace, with joy not fear, the Lord's call which is an extraordinary gift." Addressing the families of those who receive a vocation who are "so often worried about the future of their children," he recalled that "no one is more generous than the Lord and every one of his calls is a great blessing for the family of those who are called."

  Referring to the media, John Paul II said, "We know well the penetrating influence that the media have on modern thought and personal and collective behavior, promoting a vision of life that unfortunately often corrodes fundamental ethical values, especially with regard to the family." The media, he added, must contribute to "the affirmation of positive models of life and to spreading the Gospel."

  "Terrorism, war and violations of human rights, which make the international situation so difficult and dangerous, weigh greatly on our hearts, dear brother bishops. I continue to join in your prayer, especially for those who are held hostage in Iraq, for those who risk their life and for those who die in the line of duty."

  "The Pope expressed his appreciation for the conference's initiative to promote pilgrimages of peace to the Holy Land. "This is also," he said, "a strong sign of unity and solidarity with Christian communities that live there who greatly need our help."

  Referring to Italy, the Holy Father indicated that despite differences "a sincere search for the common good must prevail so that Italy's path to progress becomes quicker and so that a new phase of development begins with the creation of jobs which are so necessary especially in the South."

  "A decisive field, in which efforts must be multiplied, is the family, based on marriage, the protection and acceptance of life and the primary responsibility of parents in education.  I repeat in unison with you the words of this year's theme for the World Day of Life: 'There is no future without children!' A common effort in social politics, the pastoral care of the Church and all those who can influence thought is necessary and urgent for Italy's future so that young couples may discover the joy of having and educating children and thus participating in the work of the Creator."
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Wednesday, May 19, 2004


VATICAN CITY, MAY 19, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Bishop Moacyr Jose Vitti of Piracicaba, Brazil, as metropolitan archbishop of Curitiba (area 12,923, population 2,771,731, Catholics 2,000,000, priests 439, permanent deacons 61, religious 1,871), Brazil. The archbishop-elect was born in Piracicaba in 1940 and was ordained a priest in 1967. The Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese presented by Archbishop Pedro Antonio Marchetti Fedalto upon having reached the age limit.
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 19, 2004 (VIS) - In multi-language greetings to the 15,000 pilgrims in St. Peter's Square for the Wednesday general audience, Pope John Paul had special words for his fellow Poles, reminding them that their presence today is linked to the 60th anniversary of the battle of Monte Cassino when Polish troops paved the way for the Allies to enter Rome.

  "This was an event that subsequent generations of Poles referred to with pride," said the Pope. "It became the symbol of the most noble values of the Polish spirit, and above all of the courage and willingness to give one's life for 'your freedom and ours'. How great must have been the love for country in the hearts of the young people who, in a foreign land shed their blood in hope of its liberation."

  John Paul II said that "after the war we had to wait a long time for this hope to be achieved. Today however we can thank God for this great grace which is the freedom of the Polish people. This is both a gift and a duty for today's generations."
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 19, 2004 (VIS) - One day after his 84th birthday, Pope John Paul presided at the weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square and spoke to the 15,000 faithful present about  Psalm 31, "Thanksgiving for the forgiveness of sins."

  The Holy Father said that in Psalm 31 we find the "personal testimony of a convert" who has committed "serious sins and does not have the courage to confess his sins to God. It is a terrible interior torment, described with strong images. ... The convert feels the weight of the hand of God on him, conscious that God is not indifferent to the evil perpetrated by man, because He is the guardian of justice and truth."

  "Unable to go on in this way, the sinner decides to confess his sins with a courageous declaration which seems to foreshadow that of the prodigal son in Jesus' parable."  God "responds right away with generous forgiveness. ... For the faithful who repent and are forgiven, despite life's trials, a new horizon of safety, faith and peace" is opened up.

  The Lord, said the Holy Father, "promises to help the converted sinner. It is not enough to be purified; we must walk on the just path. ... True justice," he added, "entails conversion, leaving vice and its dark power of attraction behind.  But above all it leads to the enjoyment of that peace which comes from being freed and forgiven."

  "We can apply this psalm," he concluded, "to the sacrament of confession. In reconciliation, one experiences the recognition of sin, often suppressed in our times, and at the same time, the joy of being forgiven.  The strict logic of 'sin-punishment' has been replaced by the joyful reality of 'sin-forgiveness' because the Lord is a God who forgives faults, offences and sin."
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 19, 2004 (VIS) - Last evening, on his 84th birthday, Pope John Paul received Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski, his wife and an entourage of fellow Poles.

  He noted that their meeting marks "the 60th anniversary of the battle of Monte Cassino. Every Pole recalls with pride that battle which, thanks to the heroism of the army commanded by General Anders, opened the path to liberation for the allies and for the defeat of the nazi invaders. At Monte Cassino's military cemetery there are tombs with Christian and Greek crosses as well as stones marked with the Star of David. Fallen heroes rest there, joined together by the ideal of fighting for 'our and your freedom', that includes not only love for one's homeland, but also concern for the political and spiritual independence of other  nations. Everyone feels the duty to oppose at all costs the physical overpowering of individuals and nations, but also attempts to annihilate their traditions, their culture and their spiritual identity."

  "I speak of this," said the Holy Father, "to remind everyone that, through the centuries, Europe's spiritual and cultural patrimony was formed and defended even at the cost of the lives of those who believe in Christ and those who in their religious belief go back to Abraham. It seems necessary to remember this in the context of the formation of the constitutional basis of the European Union, of which Poland recently became a member." He underscored that "Poland cannot forget this and must remind those who, in the name of the secular nature of democratic societies, seem to forget the contribution of Christianity in building their own identity."

  In closing remarks, Pope John Paul told the president that he has been "informed about the current political difficulties in Poland. I hope they can be overcome quickly. I am confident that this will happen in such a way that everyone, especially the poorest, the large families, the unemployed, the sick and the elderly can feel secure in their homeland. It is a difficult task."

Tuesday, May 18, 2004


VATICAN CITY, MAY 18, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Appointed Fr. Martin David Holley, of the clergy of the diocese of Pensacola-Tallahasee, U.S.A and pastor of Little Flower Parish, as auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese of Washington (area 5,447, population 2,571,395, Catholics 581,900, priests 1,060, permanent deacons 61, religious 1,608), U.S.A. The bishop-elect was born in 1954 in Pensacola, U.S.A. and was ordained a priest in 1987.

- Accepted the resignation as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Washington, U.S.A., presented by Bishop Leonard James Olivier, S.V.D., upon having reached the age limit.
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 18, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

- Four prelates from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (Region X) on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Archbishop Eusebius Joseph Beltran of Oklahoma City.

    - Bishop James Peter Sartain of Little Rock, accompanied by Bishop emeritus Andrew Joseph McDonald.

    - Bishop Michael David Pfeifer, O.M.I.,  of San Angelo.

- Archbishop Marian Golebiewski of Wroclaw, Poland.

- Bishop Ignacy Dec of Swidnica, Poland.

  This afternoon, the Holy Father is scheduled to receive Aleksander Kwasniewski, president of Poland, accompanied by his wife and an entourage.
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MSGR. PIERO MONNI, HOLY SEE PERMANENT OBSERVER to the World Tourism Organization, will address the 42nd meeting of the WTO Regional Commission for Europe which will meet in the Republic of San Marino and in Rimini, Italy from May 19 to 21. The WTO is also sponsoring a seminar on the theme "The Future of Traditional Destinations. Is their Experience Useful to the Emerging Countries of Europe?" The meeting of the Commission will focus on problems linked to the application of the World Code of Ethics for Tourism, and participants will analyze data from 2003 relative to European tourism tendencies.

CARDINALS ANTHONY OLUBUNMI OKOGIE AND TELESPHORE PLACIDUS TOPPO will take possession of their titular churches in Rome this coming weekend. Cardinal Okogie, metropolitan archbishop of Lagos, Nigeria, will take possession of the title of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel on May 22 at 6:30 p.m. Cardinal Toppo, metropolitan archbishop of Ranchi, India, will take possession of the title of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Agony on Sunday, May 23 at 11 a.m.
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 18, 2004 (VIS) - Yesterday afternoon the official program of the Holy Father's apostolic trip to Bern, Switzerland for a national gathering of Catholic youth on June 5 and 6 was made public.

  John Paul II will leave Rome's Fiumicino Airport at 9:45 a.m. on June 5, arriving at Payerne Airport in Switzerland at 11:30 a.m. After meeting with Joseph Deiss, president of the Helvetic Confederation, he will proceed to Bern and the Viktoriaheim residence, the house of the Sisters of Charity of the Holy Cross, for lunch. At 6:15 p.m., he will meet with young Swiss Catholics in the Ice Palace in the same city and later will retire for the night at the Viktoriaheim residence.

  On Sunday, June 6 at 10:30 a.m., the Holy Father will celebrate Mass outdoors in Allmend, followed by the recitation of the Angelus. At 1:45 p.m., he will meet with bishops from the Swiss Episcopal Conference and with the cardinals and bishops in his entourage in the residence. At 5:15 p.m., he is scheduled to meet with members of the Association of former Swiss Guards. At 7 p.m., he will depart from Payerne Airport for Rome with arrival scheduled for 8:45 p.m.

  On the occasion of his third apostolic trip to Switzerland, following those in 1982 and 1984, we offer our readers statistics about the Catholic Church in Switzerland taken from the latest Statistical Yearbook of the Catholic Church with data relative to December 31, 2002.

  Switzerland has 7,290,000 inhabitants, of whom 3,183,000, or 44 percent of the total, are Catholic. Currently, there are 22 bishops, 3,109 priests, 6,117 religious and 248 seminarians in the country.

  The Catholic Church runs 50 primary schools, 46 middle and secondary schools and 13 universities attended by 12,000 students. There are 11 hospitals, 45 rest homes for the elderly, invalid and disabled, 57 orphanages, 35 family counseling centers and other pro-life centers, and 72 centers for education and social rehabilitation which are owned or administered by the Catholic Church.    
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 18, 2004 (VIS) - Participants in the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples were received this morning by the Holy Father who focused his talk to them on their theme: "Inter-cultural, Inter-religious and Ecumenical Dialogue in the Context of Migrations Today."

  The Pope began by highlighting the "massive migratory phenomenon which is sometimes marked by tragedies that shock consciences. From this phenomenon has come ethnic, cultural and religious pluralism which in general characterize national societies today." He added that "if 'globalization' is the term that, more than any other, connotes modern historical evolution, then the word 'dialogue' must characterize the behavior, mental and pastoral, that we are all called to assume in view of a new world equilibrium. The consistent number of about 200 million migrants makes this even more urgent."

  "Every culture," he went on, "has an approach to the mystery of man even in his religious dimension and that explains, as Vatican Council II says, why some elements of truth are found even outside the revealed message, even among those believers who worship elevated human values, though they do not know their source. We must approach all cultures with an attitude that is respectful of who is aware of not only having something to say and to give, but also of listening and receiving. ... Thus, the need for inter-cultural dialogue."

  Turning to the question of inter-religious dialogue in a globalized world, the Holy Father noted that "integration among populations belonging to diverse cultures and religions is never without unknown factors and difficulties. This is true in particular for the immigration of Muslim believers, who pose specific problems. And it is necessary for pastors to assume, in this regard, precise responsibilities, promoting an ever more generous Gospel witness of Christians themselves." He added that Churches must also "help the faithful to overcome prejudices."

  On the question of ecumenical dialogue, John Paul II said that "the ever more numerous presence of Christian immigrants not in full communion with the Catholic Church offers particular Churches new possibilities for fraternity and ecumenical dialogue, urging them to realize, far from irenicisms and proselytism, a greater understanding between Churches and ecclesial communities."
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 18, 2004 (VIS) - This morning John Paul II received the prime minister of Portugal, Jose Manuel Durao Barroso, head of an official delegation that came to the Vatican for the signing of a new concordat between the Holy See and the Portuguese Republic.  Also present during the meeting were Cardinal Jose da Cruz Policarpo, patriarch of Lisbon, Archbishop Alfio Rapisarda, apostolic nuncio, and members of the Portuguese Episcopal Conference.

  In a speech, the Pope said that the signing of the agreement "confirms the sentiment of reciprocal consideration that inspires relations between the Holy See and Portugal.  While I express my profound appreciation for the concern that the government and the Assembly of the Portuguese Republic demonstrate for the Church's mission which culminates with today's signing, I hope that the new concordat may promote a greater understanding between the State authorities and the pastors of the Church for the common good of the nation."

  The concordat, signed this morning by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, secretary of State of the Holy See, and Jose Manuel Durao Barroso, the Portuguese prime minister, regulates matters of common of interest between the Church and the State. A communique on today's ceremony notes that "the changes which have occurred between the signing of the original concordat on May 7, 1940 and the present one render inapplicable part of its content, especially the Missionary Accord. The new concordat regulates the juridical position of the Catholic Church and its institutions. The State guarantees the Church the public and free exercise of its activities, especially with regard to worship, magisterium and ministry, as well as jurisdiction in ecclesiastical matters. It also recognizes religious freedom, especially with regard to personal beliefs, the right to assemble, public expression, teaching and charitable activity."


VATICAN CITY, MAY 18, 2004 (VIS) - Today is Pope John Paul's 84th birthday.  VIS subscribers who wish to e-mail birthday wishes to him may do so by clicking on the link below, and then clicking on the icon of the Pope where it says "Wishes to the Holy Father."

  "Arise, Let us be going," the latest book by Pope John Paul, was released today to coincide with the Pope's birthday. It contains reflections on his life as a bishop and on the ministry of every bishop. John Paul II was ordained a bishop on September 28, 1958.

  The book is 178 pages long, has an introduction, six chapters, notes, a list of quotations from the Bible and the Magisterium and an index.

  Holy See Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro-Valls, in a statement made this morning to journalists, said: "For the Holy Father today is an ordinary work day, above all one of thanksgiving. One special detail: the Holy Father has invited his closest collaborators in the Curia to lunch.

  "Birthday wishes have arrived from around the world, and not just from Catholics, for John Paul II. They have come from heads of State and government, Church officials and people in the world of politics, business and the arts, but above all from single individuals who wish to express their affection and gratitude to the Pope."
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Monday, May 17, 2004


VATICAN CITY, MAY 17, 2004 (VIS) - President Ricardo Maduro Joest of Honduras was welcomed to the Vatican this morning by Pope John Paul who, in brief remarks in Spanish, thanked him for his visit and expressed his best wishes "for your very high mission in the service of the Honduran people."

"On this occasion I wish to renew my affection for the people of your country, whom I always remember in prayer, asking God to bless each one of them, all families and the different social groups that they may all have a serene present and a future filled with hope, while building a society based on justice and peace, fraternity and solidarity, which will favor the integral progress of everyone, especially the most needy."
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MADE PUBLIC ON MAY 15 WAS A LETTER BY THE HOLY FATHER, written in Latin and dated April 23, in which he appoints Cardinal Secretary of State, Angelo Sodano, pontifical legate for the solemn closing ceremony of the gathering of Catholics in Central Europe (Mitteleuropäischer Katholikentag 2003/2004) which will take place in the Shrine of Mariazell, Austria on Saturday May 22. The mission that will accompany the cardinal will include Msgrs. Josef Toth, dean of the Chapter of Vienna; Msgr. Piero Pioppo, counselor of the nunciature in service to the Secretariat of State; and Msgr. Christoph Kuehn, secretary of the nunciature in service to the Secretariat of State.

CARDINAL GIOVANNI BATTISTA RE, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, has been named by the Pope as his envoy to the celebrations for the 750th anniversary of the consecration of the patriarchal basilica of St. Francis of Assisi which will take place on May 23. The other members of the mission who will accompany the cardinal were announced in a letter to the cardinal, written in Latin and dated April 29: Fr. Massimo Reschiglian, O.F.M., provincial minister of the Conventual Friars Minor of Umbria, Fr. Bernardo Commodi, O.F.M. Conv., provincial minister of the Friars Minor of Umbria, Fr. Ennio Tiacci, O.F.M. Cap., provincial minister of the Friars Minor Capuchins of Umbria and Fr. Alessio Maglione, T.O.R., provincial minister of the Third Regular Order of the St. Francis of Umbria. 

THE MEMBERS AND CONSULTANTS OF THE PONTIFICAL COUNCIL for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples will participate in the 26th plenary assembly in Rome on May 17-19 on the theme "Ecumenical, Inter-religious and Inter-cultural Dialogue in the World of Migrants and Itinerant People." During the sessions, there will be various presentations on the experiences of dialogue in the fields of refugees, tourism, nomads, the apostolate of the sea and airports.

THE NEW CUSTOS OF THE HOLY LAND is Fr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, appointed by the General Definitor of the Friars Minor and approved by the Holy See according to the norm of the Pontifical Statutes that regulate this entity of the Franciscan Order.  Fr. Pizzaballa, who succeeds Fr. Giovanni Battistelli after six years in charge, was born in Cologno al Serio, Italy in 1965 and was ordained a priest in 1990.  That same year he was assigned to the Custody of the Holy Land. Since May of 2001, he has been superior of the convents of St. Simeon and Anna in Jerusalem.
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 17, 2004 (VIS) - This morning the Pope received in St. Peter's Square the participants in yesterday's canonization of five of the six new saints: Hannibal Maria Di Francia, Josep Manyanet y Vives, Nimatullah Kassab Al-Hardini, Paola Elisabetta Cerioli and Gianna Beretta Molla.

  The Pope offered some brief reflections on the devotion that the new saints had to Our Lady.  "St. Hannibal Maria Di Francia," he said, "was honored to have the name of Our Lady, whom he called 'My mother,' from his baptism. He nourished a tender and ardent devotion to her and he invoked her as Mother of the Church and Mother of vocations."

  St. Josep Manyanet "was an instrument chosen to promote the good of the family as well as the education of children and young people," he said.

  "Praying the rosary set the pace of St. Nimatullah Al-Hardini's days from childhood.  Throughout his life he found in the Mother of God, the Immaculate Conception, the model of fidelity to Christ to whom he aspired."

  "In reference to St. Paola Elisabetta Cerioli, wife and mother, John Paul II emphasized that "in the school of Mary she knew how to transform natural love into supernatural love, allowing God to enlarge her motherly heart."

  Referring to St. Gianna Beretta Molla, the Holy Father said that "she nourished a deep devotion to Our Lady. References to the Virgin were frequent in her letters to her husband - who is still alive - before marriage and in the subsequent years of her life, especially when she underwent surgery to remove a tumor, without endangering the life that she carried in her womb."
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 16, 2004 (VIS) - This morning the Pope celebrated the Eucharist in St. Peter's Square and, in the presence of 50,000 people, canonized Blesseds Luigi Orione, Hannibal Maria di Francia, Josep Manyanet y Vives, Nimatullah Kassab Al-Hardini, Paola Elisabetta Cerioli and Gianna Beretta Molla.

  In his homily, the Holy Father said that "true peace is the fruit of Christ's victory over the power of evil, sin and death. Those who follow Him faithfully become witnesses and builders of peace."

  Referring to Luigi Orione, founder of the Little Work of Divine Providence and of the Congregation of the Little Missionaries of  Charity, John Paul II said that "he was a man completely devoted to the cause of Christ and His kingdom. Physical and moral suffering, fatigue, difficulties and obstacles of every type characterized his apostolic ministry. ... Christ's passion was the soul of his courageous life, the interior impulse of his tireless altruism, the ever-fresh source of an indestructible hope."

  Speaking about Hannibal Maria Di Francia, he said "he left the Rogationist Fathers and the Daughters of Divine Zeal the task of devoting themselves with all their strength so that prayer for vocations would be 'incessant and universal.'  Fr. Hannibal Maria Di Francia issued this same invitation to the young people of our age, summing it up in the exhortation: 'Fall in love with Jesus Christ'.  Through this great providential intuition a great movement of prayer for vocations began in the Church."

  St. Josep Manyanet, "true apostle of the family," said the Pope, "inspired by the school of Nazareth, realized his project of personal holiness and dedicated himself, with heroic abandonment, to the mission that the Spirit entrusted to him. As a result, he founded two religious congregations," the Sons of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph and the Missionary Daughters of the Holy Family of Nazareth. "A visible symbol of his apostolic zeal is also the Church of the Holy Family in Barcelona."  Speaking in Catalan, John Paul II prayed that the new saint "would bless all families and help all to bring the examples of the Holy Family to your homes."

  Referring to St. Nimatullah Kassab Al-Hardini, a priest of the Lebanese Maronite Order, the Pope said that he "was a man of prayer, in love with the Eucharist. ... He gave himself completely to the Lord in a life of great sacrifice, demonstrating that love of God is the only true source of joy and well-being for man."

  "Contemplating the Holy Family, St. Paola Elisabetta Cerioli, religious and foundress of the Institute of the Religious of the Holy Family and the Congregation of the Holy Family of Bergamo, understood that families are solid when family ties are sustained and cemented by sharing the values of faith and Christian culture."

  John Paul II concluded by speaking about Gianna Beretta Molla, mother and wife, whose 92 year-old husband was present. "The extreme sacrifice that sealed her life is a testimony as only a person who has the courage to give themselves completely to God and to their brothers and sisters can make. May our age discover once again through the example of Gianna Beretta Molla, the pure, chaste and fruitful beauty of conjugal love, lived as a response to the divine call!"

  After the Mass and before reciting the Regina Coeli, the Pope greeted the civil and religious authorities of the countries of the six new saints - Lebanon, Spain and Italy - and all the pilgrims who attended the canonization.
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 15, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Piero Montecchia as bureau chief of the Ordinary Section of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Holy See.
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 15, 2004 (VIS) -  Today the Holy Father received in separate audiences:

- Emile Lahoud, president of Lebanon, accompanied by his wife and an entourage.

- Dora Bakoyiannis, mayor of Athens, Greece, and an entourage.

- Archbishop Jozef Kowalczyk, apostolic nuncio in Poland.
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 15, 2004 (VIS) - More than 8,000 of the estimated 30,000 pilgrims who are in Rome for the canonization tomorrow of Blessed Luigi Orione attended a festive encounter this evening with the Holy Father in the Paul VI Hall. The meeting included songs and dances which the Pope visibly enjoyed and applauded, and many interruptions of "Best wishes, Holy Father." The Pope will turn 84 on May 18.

  He welcomed members of the congregations founded by Fr. Orione - the Sons of Divine Providence and the Little Missionaries of Charity - the consecrated lay people and the associates of the Orione Lay Movement. He had special words of greeting for the young people and the handicapped who were present "whom Fr. Orione considered as his 'treasures' and precious 'pearls."

  In his talk John Paul II focused on Blessed Orione's humility and his lifelong love for the poor and their needs. "His witness is still very current. A world too often dominated by indifference and violence and violence needs people like him. ... We need Good Samaritans who are ready to respond to 'the anguished cry of those of our brothers who suffer and who long for Christ'."

  "Fr. Orione," said the Pope, "knew with clarity that the first work of justice is to bring Christ to peoples. ...Here lies the secret of his holiness, as well as in the peace he ardently desired for families, for peoples. May Fr. Orione intercede, in particular, for peace in the Holy Land, in Iraq and in other regions of the world, so troubled by bloody wars and conflicts."

  The evening concluded with an act of consecration to Mary.
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 15, 2004 (VIS) - A statement was made this morning by Holy See Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro-Valls on the May 11-13 visit to London, upon an invitation of the government of the United Kingdom, by Archbshop Giovanni Lajolo, secretary for Relations with States.

   "Archbishop Lajolo met with Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, archbishop of Westminster and president of the Episcopal Conference of England and Wales, the Episcopal Commission for International Affairs, representatives of British Caritas (CAFOD) as well as with Rowan Williams, archbishop of Canterbury.

  "He also had conversations with government authorities including Foreign Affairs Minister Jack Straw, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, and Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Paul Murphy. There were conversations concerning the situation in Iraq and the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa as well as the current peace process for Northern Ireland.

  "Archbishop Lajolo was also received by Michael Martin, Speaker of the Lower House of Parliament, with whom he spoke of matters of common interest currently under study by Parliament."
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 15, 2004 (VIS) - This morning the Holy Father received the mayor of Athens, Greece, Dora Bakoyiannis, accompanied by a delegation from the city. "I hope," said the Pope in brief greetings, "that the upcoming celebration of the Olympic games in your city may be an expression of fraternity for all participants and a message of peace and unity for the spectators around the world. With this spirit, I invoke divine blessings upon you and all those who are organizing this event."


VATICAN CITY, MAY 15, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father this morning received in audience President Emile Lahoud of Lebanon, who is in Rome for the canonization tomorrow of Blessed Nimatullah Kassab Al-Hardini, a Maronite monk and the third Lebanese to be canonized. St. Charbel, a monk, was canonized in 1977 and St. Rafqa, a Maronite nun, was canonized in 2001.

  Recalling "the happy memories" of his trip to Lebanon in 1997, the Pope said he prays that "God will help all Lebanese to consolidate their nation's unity, in harmony and respect for all those who comprise it and I hope that the canonization of a native son, Fr. Nimatullah Al-Hardini, will be for your fellow citizens an example of fraternal life. I also ask God to sustain the efforts by all men of good will in favor of peace, especially in the Middle East region, so very tried by unacceptable violence."


VATICAN CITY, MAY 15, 2004 (VIS) - Members of the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue and council president, Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, were received by the Holy Father this morning as the council marks the 40th anniversary of its founding by Paul VI on May 19, 1964.

  The Pope noted that the decision by his predecessor to institute this dicastery came from - as Paul VI himself wrote - "the atmosphere of unity and hopefulness that clearly marked Vatican Council II." During these 40 years, the Pope added, the work of the council has produced fruitful results in many dioceses as well as in Churches and Christian communities of different denominations.

  "The importance of the work you do," stated John Paul II, "has been noted by many organizations of other religions which have had in the past and continue to have fruitful contacts with your pontifical council, and share diverse initiatives with you. Such cooperation must be intensified, orienting attention to themes of common interest."

  The Pope added that "coming years will see the Church even more committed to respond to the great challenges of inter-religious dialogue." He recalled that in his Apostolic Letter "Novo millennio ineunte" at the close of the Jubilee Year 2000, he wrote that the new millennium would see "increased cultural and religious pluralism."  He added that what must be avoided in "promoting dialogue with the followers of other religions, (is) any kind of relativism and religious indifference."

  Again quoting his apostolic letter, John Paul said that inter-religious dialogue is important  for "creating a sure basis for peace. ... The name of the one God must become increasingly what it is: a name of peace and a summons to peace." In building foundations for peace, Christians must be "animated by love for all of mankind and for every man, seeking with courage the truth, and cultivating a prophetic thirst for justice and freedom."

Friday, May 14, 2004


VATICAN CITY, MAY 14, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Thare and Nonseng, Thailand, presented by Archbishop Lawrence Khai Saen-Phon-On, upon having reached the age limit.

- Appointed Fr. Tarcisio Isao Kikuchi, S.V.D., provincial superior of the Verbites in Japan, as bishop of Niigata (area 33,517, population 4,893,401, Catholics 7,549, priests 34, permanent deacons 1, religious 119), Japan. The bishop-elect was born in 1958 in Iwata, Japan and was ordained a priest in 1986. The Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese presented by Bishop Francis Keiichi Sato, O.F.M. upon having reached the age limit.

- Appointed Bishop Francis Xavier Osamu Mizobe, S.D.B., of Sendai, Japan as bishop of Takamatsu (area 18,800, population 4,142,157, Catholics 5,492, priests 48, religious 122), Japan. He accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese, presented by Bishop Joseph Satoshi Fukahori upon having reached the age limit.

- Appointed Archbishop Ramon C. Arguelles, military ordinary of the Philippines, as metropolitan archbishop of Lipa (area 3,165, population 1,972, 562, Catholics 1,892,746, priests 151, religious 272), the Philippines.

- Appointed Fr. Hector Epalza Quintero, P.S.S., rector of Major Seminary of the archdiocese of Manizales, Colombia as bishop of Buenaventura (area 7,000, population 325,000, Catholics 317,836, priests 40, religious 94), Colombia.  The bishop-elect was born in 1940 in Convencion, Colombia and was ordained a priest in 1965.

- Appointed Bishop Jose F. Oliveros of Boac, the Philippines, as bishop of Malolos (area 2,2672, population 2,820, 350, Catholics 2,467,108, priests 225, religious 333), the Philippines.

- Appointed Fr. Emmanuel T. Cabajar, C.Ss.R., former member of the General Council of the Redemptorists, as bishop of Pagadian (area 2,860, population 976,681, Catholics 784,868, priests 41, religious 52), the Philippines. Bishop-elect Cabajar was born in 1942 in Handayan Getafe, the Philippines and was ordained a priest in 1966.

- Appointed Bishop Leo M. Drona, S.D.B., bishop of San Jose, the Philippines, as bishop of San Pablo (area 1,203, population 2,363,881, Catholics 1,917,507, priests 164, religious 438), the Philippines.

- Appointed Fr. Gaston Kashala Ruwezi, S.D.B., vicar of the Inspectorate of Central Africa, as bishop of the diocese of Sakania Kipushi (area 40,000, population 204,000, Catholics 110,000, priests 41, religious 46), Democratic Republic of Congo. The bishop-elect was born in 1961 and was ordained a priest in 1990.

- Appointed Msgr. Richard Gagnon, vicar general of the archdiocese of Vancouver, Canada, as bishop of the same archdiocese (area 95,275, population 705,113, Catholics 90,000, priests 39, religious 97). Bishop-elect Gagnon was born in 1948 in Lethbridge, Canada and was ordained a priest in 1983.

- Appointed Fr. Emmanuel C. Trance, up to November 2003 rector of the minor seminary "St. Vincent Ferrer" in the archdiocese of Jaro, the Philippines, as coadjutor bishop of Catarman (area 3,498, population 500,639, Catholics 365,967, priests 41, religious 43), the Philippines. Bishop-elect Trance was born in 1953 in Calinog Iloilo, Philippines and was ordained a priest in 1978.
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 14, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

- Cardinal Paul Shan Kuo-hsi, bishop of Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

- Three prelates from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (Region XI) on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Patrick Joseph McGrath of San Jose in California.

    - Bishop Daniel Francis Walsh of Santa Rosa.

- Bishop Stephen Edward Blaire of Stockton.

- Participants in the fourth meeting of the Post-synodal Council of the Special Assembly for Europe of the Synod of Bishops: Cardinals Miloslav Vlk, archbishop of Prague, Czech Republic, Josip Bozanic, archbishop of Zagreb, Croatia and Jose Saraiva Martins, C.M.F., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints; Archbishops Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz of Mother of God in Moscow, Russia, Joseph Dore of Strasbourg, France, and Nikola Eterovic, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops; Msgr. Fortunato Frezza, under-secretary of the Synod of Bishops.
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 14, 2004 (VIS) - Yesterday in the apostolic nunciature in Berlin, Germany, Archbishop Erwin Josef Ender, apostolic nuncio in Germany, and the president of the Senate and mayor of Brema, Henning Scherf, exchanged the instruments of ratification of the Accord that was signed on November 21, 2003 between the Holy See and the Hanseatic Free City of Brema in order to regulate relations between the Catholic Church and the city-state.  The accord goes into effect today.
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 14, 2004 (VIS) - This morning in the Holy See Press Office, the Instruction by the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People entitled "Erga migrantes caritas Christi" (The Love of Christ towards Migrants) was presented.

  The document, which was published in English, Spanish, German, French, Italian and Portuguese, was approved by the Holy Father on May 1, the feast of St. Joseph the Worker, and is signed by Cardinal Stephen Fumio Hamao and Archbishop Agostino Marchetto, respectively president and secretary of the dicastery. It consists of an introduction, four parts, a conclusion and an appendix. 

  The introduction addresses the topic "The Migration Phenomenon Today." The four parts are entitled: "Migration, Sign of the Times and Concern for the Church";  "Migrants and the Pastoral Care of Welcome"; "Workers in a Pastoral Care of communion"; and "Structures of Missionary Pastoral Care." The conclusion, "Universal Mission," is followed by the appendix, "Juridical pastoral regulations," which includes the duties of those who work in pastoral care and various ecclesial organizations that deal with migrants.

  In the presentation, Cardinal Hamao and Archbishop Marchetto write: "Taking into consideration the new migration flows and their characteristics, the Instruction 'Erga migrantes caritas Christi' aims to update the pastoral care of migration, thirty-five years after the publication of Pope Paul VI's Motu Proprio 'Pastoralis migratorum cura' and the Congregation for Bishops' related Instruction 'De pastorali migratorum cura' ('Nemo est')."

  "The composition of today's migration also requires an ecumenical vision of the phenomenon because of the presence of many migrants not in full communion with the Catholic Church. It also imposes the need for inter-religious dialogue because of the increasing number of migrants belonging to other religions, particularly Muslims, in traditionally Catholic countries, and vice-versa."

  The Instruction also emphasizes the need for "the promotion of pastoral action that is both faithful to tradition and open to new developments. These include pastoral structures which must also be apt to guarantee communion between pastoral agents in the field of migration and the local hierarchy in the receiving country. The latter continues to be the decisive organ of the solicitude of the Church for migrants."

  The migration problem "raises the ethical problem of establishing a new international economic order with a more equitable distribution of the goods of the earth, in which the international community is considered a family of peoples whose relations are governed by international law."

  The presentation continues to stress "the need for 'inculturation', the vision of Church as communion, mission and People of God, the ever new importance of a specific pastoral care for migrants, the dialogical-missionary commitment of all the members of the Mystical Body of Christ, and the consequent duty of forming a culture of welcome and solidarity. These introduce the analysis of pastoral questions that require responses, specifically the pastoral approaches among Catholic migrants, both of the Latin and the Eastern rites, of migrants who belong to other Churches or Ecclesial Communities, and those who are followers of other religions, Islam in particular."

  The president and secretary of the pontifical council said that in the text there is "a more detailed description, or pastoral and juridical definition, of pastoral agents (namely, chaplains/missionaries and their national coordinators, diocesan/eparchial priests, religious priests and brothers, women religious, lay people, lay associations and ecclesial movements), whose apostolic commitment is seen and considered in view of a 'pastoral care of communion', an integrated one."

  The document also points out "the integration of pastoral structures (those already established and those proposed) and the ecclesial inclusion of migrants in ordinary pastoral care, with full respect for their legitimate diversity and of their spiritual and cultural patrimony, also in view of the formation of a concretely Catholic Church. Such an integration is an essential condition for pastoral care, for and with migrants, to become a significant expression of the universal Church and 'missio ad Gentes'."

  The document concludes with the "Juridical pastoral regulations" which recalls "the duties, tasks and roles of pastoral agents and of the various Church entities in charge of the pastoral care of migration."

  For full text, click here: http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/migrants/documents/rc_pc_migrants_doc_20040514_erga-migrantes-caritas-christi_en.html.
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