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Tuesday, February 10, 2004


VATICAN CITY, FEB 10,. 2004 (VIS) - Upon the death yesterday in Rome at the age of 93 of Cardinal Opilio Rossi, president emeritus of the Cardinals' Commission for the Pontifical Shrines of Pompeii, Loreto and Bari, the Holy Father sent the following telegram to Mrs. Giovanni Belli, a relative of the cardinal's. A similar telegram was sent to Bishop Luciano Monari of Piacenza-Bobbio.

"Upon learning of the sad news of the death of your beloved relative, Cardinal Opilio Rossi, I would like to express heartfelt condolences to you and the family members and to all who knew and loved the late cardinal, a faithful collaborator of the Holy See for so many years and, in particular, apostolic nuncio and president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity. I offer fervent prayers to God, Father of Mercy, so that He embrace this zealous servant of the Gospel, granting him the eternal prize promised to the just and I impart the apostolic blessing upon you and all those who are in mourning."

The cardinal's funeral will be celebrated on Friday, February 13 at 11 a.m. in the Vatican Basilica at the Altar of Confession. The liturgy will be presided by the Holy Father who will give the homily and the rite of the "Ultima Commendatio" and the "Valedictio." Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, dean of the College of Cardinals, will concelebrate the Mass with other cardinals.
TGR/DEATH/ROSSI VIS 20040210 (220)


VATICAN CITY, FEB 10, 2004 (VIS) - Tomorrow is a holiday in the Vatican as this tiny city-state celebrates its 75th anniversary as a sovereign entity. February 11, 2004, in fact, marks the 75th anniversary of the signing of the Lateran Pacts on the same date in 1929. Signed in the Popes' Room of the Lateran Palace by Benito Mussolini, the representative of the King of Italy, and by Cardinal Pietro Gasbarri, the Secretary of State of Pope Pius XI, the Pacts were a triple agreement: a political treaty, a financial convention and a concordat.

This agreement ended the famous "Roman Question" concerning the relationship between the Roman Pontiffs and the state of Italy. Popes for many centuries had temporal as well as spiritual power, exercising authority over the fairly extensive Papal States. When these States were annexed by the Kingdom of Italy in 1870, the Popes demanded compensation and this was achieved only in 1929 with the signing of the Lateran Pacts.

Among other things, the Lateran Pacts established the sovereign Vatican City State, made Catholicism the official religion of Italy and regulated Church-State relations. This year also marks the 20th anniversary of the revision of the Concordat in 1984 at which time it was declared that Catholicism would no longer be the official State religion.

The 1929 Pacts also established the international character of the Holy See. It is the Holy See which is recognized in international law and which carries on diplomatic relations with other nations. In this regard, Vatican City State was instituted as a "juridico-political reality historically needed to identify and ensure the absolute and visible independence of the Apostolic See in the exercise of her lofty spiritual mission in the world." In 1954 Vatican City was registered in the List of the World's Patrimony.

Vatican City, covering an area of 108.7 acres (44 hectares) is located on the "mons vaticanus," the so-called eighth hill of Rome, and is bordered by the Leonine Walls and by the circular travertine strip in the pavement that joins the two arms of the Bernini colonnade in St. Peter's Square. Visitors are familiar with Vatican City through their tours of St. Peter's Basilica, the Vatican Museums, the "scavi" or pre-Constantine necropolis under the Vatican grottoes, and the city's gardens, available through reservations-only tours.

However, Vatican City State is also home to centuries-old buildings, including the Apostolic Palace, where Roman Pontiffs reside, chapels and churches, a seminary, mosaic factory, fire department, the famed Vatican Library and the Secret Archives, stores, a pharmacy, gas stations, a printing office and medical center. Add to this acres and acres of gardens, dotted with pathways, stone benches, statuary and many decorative fountains.

Vatican City State's estimated 700 inhabitants include people of many different nationalities, though most are Italian. At least 400 have Vatican citizenship, including those prelates who are heads of dicasteries in the Roman Curia. All cardinals have automatic Vatican citizenship but preserve their
original citizenship.

The Head of State is the Supreme Pontiff, who has full legislative, executive and judicial power. Representation of the state and its relations with other states is reserved for the Supreme Pontiff, who exercises it through his Secretariat of State. Both Vatican City State and the Holy See enjoy international recognition and are members of or hold permanent observer status in international and intergovernmental organizations, participate in international conferences with permanent observers and adhere to the respective conventions.

Vatican City State is comprised of the Vicariate of Vatican City, the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State, technical, economic and health services; general services; the Vatican Observatory; Archaeological Studies and Research, and the Pontifical Villas.


VATICAN CITY, FEB 10, 2004 (VIS) - On Thursday, February 19 at 11 a.m. in the Clementine Hall of the Apostolic Palace, during the celebration of sext, the sixth hour, an Ordinary Public Consistory for the canonization of the following Blesseds will be held:

- Blessed Luigi Orione, priest and founder of the Little Work of Divine Providence and of the Congregation of the Little Sisters, Missionaries of Charity.

- Blessed Annibale Maria di Francia, priest and founder of the Congregation of the Rogationist Fathers of the Heart of Jesus and of the Religious Daughters of Divine Generosity.

- Blessed Jose Manyanet y Vives, priest and founder of the Congregation of the Sons of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph and the Missionary Daughters of the Holy Family of Nazareth.

- Blessed Nimatullah Al Hardini, priest of the Lebanese Maronite Order.

- Blessed Paola Elisabetta, nee Costanza Cerioli, widow Busecchi-Tassis, foundress of the Institute of Religious of the Holy Family.

- Blessed Gianna Beretta Molla, mother.


VATICAN CITY, FEB 10, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the diocese of Madison, U.S.A., presented by Bishop George O. Wirz, upon having reached the age limit.

- Appointed Bishop Richard Joseph Malone, auxiliary of Boston, U.S.A., as bishop of Portland (area 85,541, population 1,274,923, Catholics 213,680, priests 211, permanent deacons 23, religious 471), U.S.A. The bishop-elect was born in Salem, U.S.A. in 1946 and was ordained a priest in 1972. The Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese presented by Bishop Joseph John Gerry, O.S.B., upon having reached the age limit.

- Appointed Archbishop Bruno Musaro, apostolic nuncio in Madagascar, Mauritius and the Seychelles and apostolic delegate in the Comoros Islands and Reunion, as apostolic nuncio in Guatemala.

- Approved the election by the Synod of the Ukrainian Catholic Church of Fr. Vasyl Semeniuk, vicar general of the Eparchy of Ternopil-Zboriv, Ukraine, as auxiliary bishop of the same eparchy (area 6,000, population 760,400, Catholics 479,052, priests 223, permanent deacons 4, religious 74). The bishop-elect was born in 1949 in Dora, Ukraine and was ordained a priest in 1974.
RE:NER:NN:NA/./. VIS 20040210 (200)


VATICAN CITY, FEB 10, 2004 (VIS) - Today the Holy Father received in separate audiences:

- Jaber Moubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, vice prime minister and minister of Defense of Kuwait, and an entourage.

- Four prelates from the French Episcopal Conference on their "ad limina" visit:

- Archbishop Albert Rouet of Poitiers.

- Bishop Gaston Poulain of Perigueux.

- Bishop Andre Marceau of Perpignan-Elne.

- Bishop Claude Dagens of Angouleme.
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