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Monday, April 11, 2005


VATICAN CITY, APR 11, 2005 (VIS) - Today, at the end of the Seventh General Congregation of Cardinals in the period of the vacant see, Holy See Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro-Valls released the following statement to journalists:

  "The 134 cardinals present, after the opening prayer and after the three newly arrived cardinals swore their oath, proceeded to the designation, through choosing lots, of the three new cardinal assistants who, together with the camerlengo, compose the Particular Congregation (cf. Universi Dominici gregis, no 7). They are: Cardinals Angelo Sodano for the Order of Bishops, Polycarp Pengo for the Order of Priests and Walter Kasper for the Order of Deacons.

  "The cardinals recommend to the bishops and priests of the Church to use the formula of the Mass 'pro eligendo Summo Pontifice' which is found in the edizione tipica (Latin edition) of the Roman Missal. In this sense the cardinals renewed with insistence their exhortation to all the People of God to accompany with intense prayers these days of preparation for the Conclave so that the Holy Spirit may assist the cardinal electors.

  "Several cardinals will lead special prayers and Eucharistic celebrations in their titular churches in Rome.

  "The General Congregation began to examine the expenses that must be incurred during the period of the vacant see and also examined the time of the General Congregations that, from now on, will begin at 9 a.m.

  "I can add that the Vatican Grottoes will be open to the faithful starting on Wednesday April 13, at 7 a.m.

  "Journalists interested in visiting the grave of the deceased Supreme Pontiff John Paul II must be at the Arch of the Bells entrance tomorrow, Tuesday, April 12, at 3 p.m.

  "The cardinals, after the celebration of the Cappella Papale tomorrow, will go down to the Vatican Grottoes for a moment of prayer before the grave of John Paul II."


VATICAN CITY, APR 10, 2005 (VIS) - At 5 p.m. today in the Vatican Basilica, Cardinal Camillo Ruini, vicar general for the diocese of Rome, presided at the celebration of the third Mass of the "novendiali" (nine days of mourning for John Paul II). Numerous cardinals, bishops and priests of Rome concelebrated with the cardinal.

  In his homily Cardinal Ruini, addressing the faithful of the Church of Rome who filled the basilica, asked himself how John Paul II had managed to be "so close to us and enter so deeply into the hearts of Romans, as well as of Italians and of so many citizens of the world. The true reply is simple and full of meaning: he was and still is a brother and father to everyone, because he was a man of God, because he lived constantly in God's presence, intimately united to Him and trusting utterly in His infinite mercy."

  Nonetheless, the cardinal went on, "this extraordinary closeness to God in no way distanced him from us. ... On the contrary, John Paul II was a true man, one who fully savored and appreciated the flavor of life: from the beauty of art, of poetry and of nature, to the vigor of sport, and to the courage of the most difficult decisions."

  The cardinal recalled John Paul II's visits to 301 of Rome's 333 parishes, the annual Mass for university students shortly before Christmas each year and the meeting with young people prior to Palm Sunday. He also mentioned pastoral initiatives such as the diocesan synod (1986) and the Citizens' Mission (1995), part of the preparations for the Jubilee Year 2000.

  "This is the Church that he wanted, and today continues to ask us to be and to live: not a Church closed in on itself, not timid, not disheartened; a Church that burns with the love of Christ, for the salvation of all men and women."

  The only way truly to remain with the Pope, said Cardinal Ruini, "not just in an emotive or superficial way, is to remain - each of us individually, and the whole of the Church of Rome together - in the love of the Lord, the love that nourishes itself with faith and with daily obedience to His will, especially to His commandment: love one another as I have loved you."

   Cardinal Ruini emphasized that "John Paul II, in his suffering and his death, just as in his life, was a witness and an extraordinarily effective proclaimer of Jesus Christ, crucified and risen from the dead, like the Apostles Peter and Paul whose great Christian and human legacy he assumed"

  "As we renew our gratitude to God for this Pope who for 26 years broke the Eucharistic bread with us and for us, we also thank, from the bottom of our hearts, the sister Church of Krakow and the entire beloved Polish nation in which Karol Wojtyla received life, faith and his admirable Christian and human richness, which he then donated to Rome and the entire world."
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