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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."

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