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Monday, January 19, 2004


VATICAN CITY, JAN 17, 2004 (VIS) - Made public today was Pope John Paul's Message, dated January 6, 2004 to His Beatitude Michel Sabbah, Latin patriarch of Jerusalem on the occasion of the January 11 dedication of the Chapel of the "Domus Galilaeae" on the Mount of Beatitudes in Korazim, 135 kilometers north of Jerusalem.

The Pope recalled his apostolic pilgrimage to the Mount of the Beatitudes on March 24, 2000 when he visited and blessed the Shrine of the Word and the Domus Galilaeae, a center for formation, study and retreats for seminarians and priests from around the world built by the Neocatechumenal Way on land offered to them by the Custos of the Holy Land. At that time he celebrated Mass for nearly 100,000 faithful, including 45,000 young people from Middle Eastern countries and from abroad, many from the Neocatechumenal Way. The project, whose construction began in 1999 and is not yet finished, is situated above the Shrine of the Beatitudes, towards the top of the mount of the same name, and overlooks Lake Tiberias.

In his Message to the patriarch, the Holy Father wrote that "the chapel, to be solemnly dedicated, offers the possibility of contemplating the supreme mystery of Christ in the Sacrament of the Eucharist and the fresco of the Last Judgement, which enriches its apse, invites us to turn our eyes to those last realities of the faith which illuminate our daily pilgrimage on earth."

"I join you," wrote the Pope to the prelates, clergy and religious present, as well to members of movements and in particular of the Neocatechumenal Way, "in this intense spiritual moment that this Christian community is preparing to live and I send an affectionate greeting. ... I hope this important event will be an encouragement for everyone to renew their own adherence to Christ, Redeemer of the world."


VATICAN CITY, JAN 17, 2004 (VIS) - Today the Holy Father received superiors and students of the "Almo Capranica" College where candidates for the priesthood from the diocese of Rome, as well as from other dioceses in Italy and around world, receive formation. Today is the feast of their patron, St. Agnes.

"Your college," said the Pope, "is characterized by special attention to 'family life' ... based on solid human, theological and spiritual points of reference. I know how much you foster this spirit of fraternal communion, so that it prepares you for the future pastoral ministry assigned to you."

"As you well know," John Paul II told the students, "this spirit must be nourished above all by intense and incessant prayer, since God is the source of our unity. In addition, it is necessary that you share the same objectives and ideals, being unified in mind and heart. The cement of unity should never be lacking, that is charity, true 'vis unitiva', in addition to other virtues, especially obedience and humility, while striving always for evangelic perfection."

"The Lord Who has chosen you as his ministers," concluded the Pope, "wants you to be saints, totally consecrated to Him and to His Church. May this be your main duty, to which the daily commitment of receiving solid human and doctrinal formation should be added."


VATICAN CITY, JAN 17, 2004 (VIS) - This afternoon in the Paul VI Hall, the Pope attended a concert dedicated to reconciliation among Jews, Christians and Muslims that was organized by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, the Commissions for Religious Relations with Judaism, and for Religious Relations with Muslims, and the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue. Among the participants were representatives from various international Jewish organizations, Churches and ecclesial communities, and Islamic groups.

Before the concert, Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Council for Promoting Christian Unity, greeted the Holy Father on behalf of everyone present and thanked him for "his courageous example in the face of contempt, hatred and violence; thank you for your message which urges reciprocal respect among all human beings and all religions; thank you for your contribution to peace in the world."

At the end of the concert, John Paul II greeted in a special way Maestro Gilbert Levine who directed the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the members of the choirs from Ankara, Krakow, London and Pittsburgh.

After referring to the two musical themes of the concert, "the veneration of the Patriarch Abraham and the Resurrection of the Dead," the Holy Father said: "The history of relations among Jews, Christians and Muslims is marked by lights and shadows, and, unfortunately, has known painful moments. Today the pressing need is felt for a sincere reconciliation among all believers in one God. This evening, we are gathered here to give a concrete expression to this commitment to reconciliation, entrusting ourselves to the universal message of music."

"Our common desire is that all human beings be purified from the hatred and evil that continually threaten peace, and that they may know how to extend hands that have never known violence but which are ready to offer help and comfort to those in need."

The Pope emphasized that the followers of the three world religions "must find within ourselves the courage for peace. We must implore the Almighty for the gift of peace. And this peace will spread like oil that soothes, if we unceasingly pursue the path of reconciliation. Then the dessert will become a garden where justice will reign, and the effect of justice will be peace. 'Omnia vincit amor (Love conquers all)!'"


VATICAN CITY, JAN 17, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Appointed Fr. Thomas Msusa, S.M.M, regional superior of the Montfortan delegation in Kenya, Malawi, Congo and Uganda, as bishop of Zomba (area 3,232, population 672,114, Catholics 220,000, priests 40, religious 69), Malawi. The bishop-elect was born in 1962 in Iba, Malawi and was ordained a priest in 1996. He succeeds Bishop Allan Chamgwera, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted upon having reached the age limit.

- Appointed Archbishop Ramiro Moliner Ingles, apostolic nuncio in Guatemala, as apostolic nuncio in Ethiopia and Djibouti, and as apostolic delegate in Somalia.


VATICAN CITY, JAN 19, 2004 (VIS) - An ecumenical delegation from Finland was welcomed to the Vatican this morning by Pope John Paul who told them that "once again this year I am pleased to welcome your ecumenical delegation on its visit to Rome for the feast of Saint Henrik, Patron of Finland."

"In this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity," the Pope added, "I wish to express my gratitude for the ecumenical progress made between Catholics and Lutherans in the five years since the signing of the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification. A promising sign of this progress on our path to full and visible unity has been the establishment of a new dialogue group between Lutherans and Catholics in Finland and Sweden. It is my hope that Lutherans and Catholics will increasingly practise a spirituality of communion, which draws on those elements of ecclesial life which they already share and which will strengthen their fellowship in prayer and in witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Upon all of you I cordially invoke God's abundant blessings."


VATICAN CITY, JAN 18, 2004 (VIS) - Before praying the noon Angelus today with the pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square, Pope John Paul reflected on the traditional Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which begins today and ends January 25, and on the need for peace in the world.

He noted that the words of Jesus, "'I leave you my peace' are the theme of the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. It is significant that this theme was proposed by the Churches of the Middle East where unity and peace are the most heartfelt priorities. Over the next eight days, in every part of the world, Christians of diverse denominations and traditions will gather together to pray intensely to the Lord that He will strengthen the common commitment for their full unity."

"In promising His peace, Christ assured the disciples of His support in trials. And is not the lasting division between Christians a very painful trial? This is why they feel the great need to turn to their One and Only Lord, asking that He help them overcome the temptation of discouragement along the difficult path which leads to full communion. In a world thirsting for peace, it is in fact urgent for Christian communities to announce the Gospel in a unified way. It is indispensable that they witness to the divine Love that unites them, that they be bearers of joy, hope and peace, becoming leaven for all of mankind." The Holy Father said he hoped that this week of prayer "will bear copious fruits for the cause of Christian unity."

After praying the Angelus, John Paul II expressed his wishes for "serenity and prosperity" for the "great peoples of the East" as they celebrate in coming days the lunar New Year. He also noted that today Rome is marking the Day of Catholic Schools, whose celebration is part of the diocesan pastoral ministry on the theme "Together with families, let us build a better society." And lastly, he greeted the Minim Sisters of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ as they mark the 75th anniversary of the founding of their institute.


VATICAN CITY, JAN 19, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience five prelates from the Episcopal Conference of France on their "ad limina" visit:

- Archbishop Guy Thomazeau of Montpellier, with Auxiliary Bishop Claude-Joseph Azema.

- Bishop Jacques Despierre of Carcassonne.

- Bishop Robert Le Gall of Mende.

- Bishop Robert Wattebled of Nimes.

On Saturday, January 17, it was made public that the Holy Father received in separate audiences:

- Filiz Dincmen, ambassador of Turkey, accompanied by her husband, on her farewell visit.

- Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
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VATICAN CITY, JAN 19, 2004 (VIS) - The Office of Liturgical Celebration of the Supreme Pontiff announced today that on Sunday, January 25 Cardinals Stanislas Nagy, S.C.I., and Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, will respectively take possession of the diaconates of St. Mary of the Steps at 11:30 a.m. and of St. Francis of Paula in the Mountains at 5 p.m.
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