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Thursday, February 5, 2004


VATICAN CITY, FEB 5, 2004 (VIS) - This morning in the Holy See Press Office, Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry, presented the Twelfth World Day of the Sick which will be celebrated on February 9-11 at the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes on the theme: "The Immaculate Conception and Health Care in the Christian Roots of Europe."

The following people participated in the press conference: Bishop Jose Luis Redrado, O.H. and Fr. Felice Ruffini, M.I., secretary and undersecretary respectively of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry, Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, metropolitan archbishop of Lyon and head of health care ministry for the French Episcopal Conference, and Bishop Jacques of Tarbes and Lourdes, France.

Cardinal Lozano explained that this year the World Day of the Sick will take place in Lourdes because "this year marks the 150th anniversary of the proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception and it was in Lourdes that Mary in one of her apparitions said that she was the Immaculate Conception. In addition, Lourdes was the first place where the World Day of the Sick was celebrated and the Holy Father desired that this day be celebrated on the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes."

"Our objective," he said, "is to renew health care ministry all over the world and especially in Europe through the celebration" of this Marian anniversary. "We think that in the Christian roots of Europe there is always the search for harmony through Christ; and Mary in her Immaculate Conception begins this Christian harmony that will mean fullness in health and life in her Assumption. For this reason, we chose this theme."

Three days of celebrations are scheduled: February 9th will be dedicated to studying the situation of health care ministry in every country in Europe; on February 10th the topics of bioethics and the meaning of the Immaculate Conception as a source of health will be discussed; on February 11th the solemn welcoming of the special papal envoy is scheduled as well as an Eucharistic celebration in conclusion. In addition, there will be a procession with candles and a Eucharistic blessing for the sick and many of them will receive the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick.

The president of the council said that they had especially invited all the bishops who were presidents of the European Episcopal Conferences and those in charge of health care ministry in every European nation, as well as all bishops around the world.


VATICAN CITY, FEB 5, 2004 (VIS) - This morning John Paul II received members from the American Jewish Committee and, during brief remarks, recalled their previous visit in 1985 on the twentieth anniversary of the Conciliar Declaration, 'Nostra Aetate,' which "has so significantly contributed to the strengthening of Jewish-Catholic relations."

"As we now approach the fortieth anniversary of this historic document," the Pope went on to say, "there is regrettably a great need to repeat our utter condemnation of racism and anti-semitism. Violence in the name of religion is always a desecration to religion. Countering this alarming trend requires that together we stress the importance of religious education which promotes respect and love towards others."

"In these days our attention remains drawn to the Holy Land which continues to be afflicted by violence and suffering. He concluded by saying: "It is my fervent prayer that a just solution will be found which respects the rights and security of both Israelis and Palestinians."


VATICAN CITY, FEB 5, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Msgr. Giovanni Dettori, vicar general of the diocese of Ozieri, Italy and rector of the Major Seminary, as bishop of Ales-Terralba (area 1,494, population 104,364, Catholics 104,024, priests 78, permanent deacons 2, religious 113), Italy. The bishop-elect was born in 1940 in Nule, Italy and was ordained a priest in 1965. The Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese presented by Bishop Antonino Orru upon having reached the age
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VATICAN CITY, FEB 5, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received the following people in separate audiences:

- Four prelates from the French Episcopal Conference:

- Archbishop Laurent Ulrich of Chambery, Saint-Jean de Maurienne et Tarentaise.

- Bishop Yves Boivineau of Annecy.

- Bishop Guy Bagnard of Belley-Ars.

- Bishop Pierre Joatton of Saint-Etienne.

- Archbishop Michael Louis Fitzgerald, M. Afr., president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, accompanied by Archbishop Pier Luigi Celata and Msgr. Felix Anthony Machado, secretary and undersecretary respectively of the same pontifical council.
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