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Thursday, September 18, 2003


VATICAN CITY, SEP 18, 2003 (VIS) - Today the Holy Father received in separate audiences:

- Kjell Magne Bondevik, prime minister of Norway, accompanied by his wife and an entourage.

- Nabih Berri, president of the Parliament of Lebanon, accompanied by his wife and an entourage.

- Jean Wagner, ambassador of Luxembourg, accompanied by his wife, on his farewell visit.

- Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo, apostolic nuncio in the United States of America and permanent observer to the Organization of American States.

- Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto, apostolic nuncio in Senegal, Mali, Capo Verde, Guinea-Bissau, and apostolic delegate in Mauritania.

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VATICAN CITY, SEP 18, 2003 (VIS) - A twelve-day meeting of an estimated 1,000 leaders of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal Movement started today at the Mariapoli Center in Castelgandolfo on the theme "Twelve Days of Blessings." Leaders of other ecclesial movements, such as Chiara Lubich of the Focolare, and of other Christian Churches are also expected to attend.
Cardinal James Francis Stafford and Bishop Stanislaw Rylko, respectively president and secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, will preside at the meeting's main celebrations. The participants will reflect on the current situation of the movement and look at some of the challenges facing it in the future.

The twelve-day encounter has three distinct phases: the meeting of leaders, a four-day spiritual retreat led by Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, O.F.M.Cap., preacher of the papal household, on the theme "Holiness, a Challenge for the Third Millennium," and a trip of several days to a number of shrines in south central Italy, including that of St. Padre Pio in San Giovanni Rotondo.

The Catholic Charismatic Renewal Movement was born on university campuses in 1967 in the United States. It spread rapidly and is now present in 70 countries on five continents through a "strong rediscovery of the faith and the action of the Holy Spirit in the lives of Christians," according to a communique published about the meeting.



VATICAN CITY, SEP 18, 2003 (VIS) - This morning at Castelgandolfo John Paul II received participants in the traditional course of study and formation organized by the Congregation for Bishops for bishops who were recently appointed.

The Pope told the prelates who come from different countries that the pastoral mission that has been entrusted to them "is exalting but today it is also particularly arduous and difficult," due to problems and uncertainties and the fact that many Christians seem to be "disoriented and without hope." For this reason, he added, "we pastors are called to proclaim the Gospel and to be witnesses of hope, with our gaze turned to the Cross, to the mystery of the triumph and fecundity of Christ crucified."

After recalling that the episcopal ministry, in light of theological hope, was the theme of the last Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, celebrated in 2001, the Holy Father announced that on October 16, on the 25th anniversary of his pontificate, he will sign the post-synodal apostolic exhortation.

John Paul II emphasized that the episcopal ministry "calls us to lead a holy life. May you be the live and visible image of the Good Shepherd. Be vigilant over your flock. ... Love the Church more than yourselves! Live in it and for it, giving yourselves entirely to pastoral service."

"Our apostolate," he continued, "must be an overflow of our interior life. ... Be men of prayer! With your example, you will show the primacy of spiritual life, that is, the primacy of grace which is the soul of every apostolate."

The Pope urged the prelates to take care of their "first collaborators, priests" and he spoke about the urgency of "adequate pastoral ministry for vocations at the beginning of the third millennium."

"Vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life are a gift from God that needs to be asked for insistently in prayer. But," he concluded, "they are also the fruit of strong and healthy families and ecclesial communities where the figure of the priest is highly regarded and valued. May the choice of educators in the seminaries be made with the greatest care because only the personal testimony of a joyful and generous life is capable of leading the souls of young people today."



VATICAN CITY, SEP 18, 2003 (VIS) - The following prelates died in recent weeks:

- Cardinal Maurice Michael Otunga, archbishop emeritus of Nairobi, Kenya, on September 6 at age 80.

- Bishop Vittorio Maria Costantini, O.F.M. Conv., emeritus of Sessa Aurunca (Caserta), Italy, on September 3 at age 97.

- Archbishop Elie Farah, emeritus of Cyprus of the Maronites, Cyprus, on July 22 at age 93.
- Bishop James Edward Fitzgerald, former auxiliary of Joliet in Illinois, U.S.A., on September 11 at age 64.

- Bishop Henry Joseph Kennedy, emeritus of Armidale, Australia, on September 2 at age 88.

- Bishop Ivan Marchitych, auxiliary emeritus of Mukacheve, Ukraine, on September 7 at age 82.

- Bishop Geoffrey Francis Mayne, ordinary military emeritus of Australia, on September 14 at age 75.

- Bishop Kenneth Joseph Povish, emeritus of Lansing, U.S.A., on September 6 at age 79.

- Bishop Joao Risatti, P.I.M.E., of Macapa, Brazil on September 9 at age 60.

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