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Friday, June 8, 2007


VATICAN CITY, JUN 7, 2007 (VIS) - At 7 p.m. today, Solemnity of Corpus Christi, Benedict XVI celebrated Mass on the square in front of Rome's Basilica of St. John Lateran, then presided at the Eucharistic procession to the Basilica of St. Mary Major.

  In his homily, the Pope recalled how the Solemnity of Corpus Christi "originated in a specific historical and cultural context. It came into being with the precise aim of openly reaffirming the People of God's faith in Jesus Christ, living and truly present in the Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist."

  Consequently, "Corpus Christi is a reprise of the mystery of Holy Thursday, almost an act of obedience to Jesus' invitation to 'proclaim from the housetops' what He passed on in secret. The Apostles received the gift of the Eucharist from the Lord in the intimacy of the Last Supper, but the gift was intended for everyone, for the whole world. This is why it is openly proclaimed and exposed, so that everyone has the chance of meeting 'Jesus Who passes.' ... This is the perpetual and living heritage that Jesus left us in the Sacrament of His Body and His Blood."

  "Benedict XVI continued: "This is a mystery that is beyond our understanding, and we should not be surprised if even today many people struggle to accept the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. ... The Eucharist remains a 'sign of contradiction,' and it cannot be otherwise, because a God Who becomes flesh and sacrifices Himself for the life of the world throws human wisdom into crisis."

  Yet, "for each generation of Christians the Eucharist is the indispensable nourishment that sustains them as they cross the desert of this world, made barren by ideological and economic systems that fail to promote life; ... a world dominated by the logic of power and possession rather than by the logic of service and of love; a world in which the culture of violence and death often triumph. But Jesus comes out to meet us and gives us assurances: He Himself is 'the bread of life'."

  The Holy Father then went on to consider the Gospel of St. Luke and its account of the miracle of the loaves and the fishes. "It contains," he said, "an explicit invitation for each individual to make his or her own contribution. The five fish and the two loaves represent our contribution, poor but necessary, which He transforms into a gift of love for everyone. ... The Eucharist is, then, a call to sanctity and to the giving of self to others, because 'each of us is truly called, together with Jesus, to be bread broken for the life of the world'."

  Benedict XVI concluded his homily be recalling that at the end of the Mass he would "symbolically carry the Lord Jesus along the streets and through the neighborhoods of Rome. Thus we will, so to speak, immerse Him in our daily lives, so that He may walk where we walk. ... We walk the paths of the world knowing He is next to us, supported by the hope of one day seeing Him face to face in the definitive meeting."

  Following Mass, the Pope presided at a Eucharistic procession that passed along Rome's Via Merulana to the Basilica of St. Mary Major. Along the way, thousands of faithful prayed and sang, accompanying the Blessed Sacrament. An open vehicle transported the Sacrament in a mostrance, before which the Holy Father knelt in prayer.
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VATICAN CITY, JUN 8, 2007 (VIS) - At midday today, the Holy Father received participants in the 18th General Assembly of the Caritas Internationalis Confederation. They were led by Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga S.D.B., archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, whom the general assembly had elected as the new president of the group.

  Speaking in English, the Pope recalled that Caritas Internationalis today numbers more than 150 national organizations and that Servant of God John Paul II conferred public and canonical legal personality upon the confederation. "This means," he said, "that your confederation does not simply work on behalf of the Church, but is truly a part of the Church, intimately engaged in the exchange of gifts that takes place on so many levels of ecclesial life. As a sign of the Holy See's support for your work, Caritas Internationalis has been granted its wish to be accompanied and guided by the Pontifical Council 'Cor Unum'."

  The mission of the confederation, said Benedict XVI, is "to assist in the Church's mission to spread throughout the world the love of God. ... Charity has to be understood in the light of God Who is 'Caritas': God who loved the world so much that he gave His only Son. In this way we come to see that love finds its greatest fulfillment in the gift of self. This is what Caritas Internationalis seeks to accomplish in the world. The heart of Caritas is the sacrificial love of Christ, and every form of individual and organized charity in the Church must always find its point of reference in Him, the source of charity.

  "This theological vision," he added, "has practical implications for the work of charitable organizations. ... The first is that every act of charity should be inspired by a personal experience of faith, leading to the discovery that God is Love. ... Only when charitable activity takes the form of Christ-like self-giving does it become a gesture truly worthy of the human person created in God's image and likeness."

  "The second implication follows closely from the first. God's love is offered to everyone, hence the Church's charity is also universal in scope, and so it has to include a commitment to social justice."

  "For this reason, the great challenges facing the world at the present time, such as globalization, human rights abuses, unjust social structures, cannot be confronted and overcome unless attention is focused on the deepest needs of the human person: the promotion of human dignity, well-being and, in the final analysis, eternal salvation."

  The Holy Father concluded his address by assuring those present that "there are countless men and women whose hearts are filled with joy and gratitude for the service you render them. I wish to encourage each one of you to persevere in your special mission to spread the love of Christ, Who came so that all may have life in abundance."
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VATICAN CITY, JUN 8, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Mohamed El Baradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), accompanied by his wife and an entourage.

 - Five prelates from the Regional Episcopal Conference of North Africa, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Maroun Elias Lahham of Tunis, Tunisia.

    - Bishop Claude Rault M. Afr., of Laghouat, Algeria.

    - Bishop Gabriel Piroird of Constantine, Algeria.

    - Bishop Giovanni Innocenzo Martinelli O.F.M., apostolic vicar of Tripoli, Libya.

    - Bishop Alphonse Georger of Oran, Algeria.

  This evening, he is scheduled to receive in separate audiences three prelates from the Regional Episcopal Conference of North Africa, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Sylvester Carmel Magro O.F.M., apostolic vicar of Benghazi, Libya.

    - Fr. Acacio Valbuena Rodriguez, apostolic prefect of Western Sahara.

    - Fr. Jose Seijas Torres, apostolic administrator of Tangier, Morocco.
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VATICAN CITY, JUN 8, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Fr. Denis Komivi Amuzu-Dzakpah, vicar general of the archdiocese of Lome, Togo and secretary of the Episcopal Conference of Togo, as archbishop of Lome (area 3,682, population 1,535,000, Catholics 436,263, priests 175, religious 494). The archbishop-elect was born in Kpogame Tahasi, Togo in 1943 and ordained a priest in 1972. He succeeds Archbishop Philippe Fanoko Kossi Kpodzro, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese, the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Msgr. Lourdes Daniel, vicar general of the diocese of Poona, India as bishop of Amravati (area 46,447, population 10,182,215, Catholics 6,224, priests 34, religious 207), India. The bishop-elect was born in Dehu Road, India in 1947 and ordained a priest in 1980.
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