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Thursday, April 29, 2004


VATICAN CITY, APR 29, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Aliwal, South Africa, presented by Bishop Fritz Lobinger upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Archbishop-Bishop Patabendige Don Albert Malcom Ranjith, emeritus of Ratnapura, Sri Lanka and adjunct secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization for Peoples, as apostolic nuncio in Indonesia and East Timor, transferring him at the same time to the titular see of Umbriatico as archbishop.

 - Appointed Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, secretary of the section of  Relations with States in the Secretariat of State, as a consultant for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

 - Appointed Fr. Thomas Michel, S.J., as consultant of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.
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VATICAN CITY, APR 29, 2004 (VIS) - Today the Holy Father received in separate audiences:

- A delegation from the city of Dubrovnik, Croatia.

- Four prelates from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on their "ad limina" visit:

- Bishop Paul Stephen Loverde of Arlington.

- Bishop Bernard William Schmitt of Wheeling-Charleston.

- Bishop Michael A. Saltarelli of Wilmington.

- Bishop Walter Francis Sullivan, emeritus of Richmond.

- Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.
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POPE JOHN PAUL TODAY RECEIVED HONORARY CITIZENSHIP from the city of Dubrovnik. In brief remarks the Holy Father thanked the members of the delegation from Croatia and said that this recognition is due to "the deep ties over many centuries that join Dubrovnik to the popes and it serves to recall the pastoral trip which I had the pleasure of making on June 6 last year."

THE ANNUAL MESSAGE BY ARCHBISHOP MICHAEL FITZGERALD to Buddhists around the world on their annual festival of Vesakh was published today. The theme of the message is: "Christians and Buddhists: we both regard children as the future of humanity." Archbishop Fitzgerald, president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, stresses the plight of many children without a stable family and those who are subject to all types of violence. "We, Christians and Buddhists," he writes, "cannot close our eyes to these tragic situations. As believers, we must be focused on the needs of children, in our families as well as in all of society."
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VATICAN CITY, APR 29, 2004 (VIS) - The Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences starts its tenth annual plenary session today in the Vatican on the theme "Intergenerational Solidarity, Welfare and Human Ecology." Mary Ann Glendon,  whom the Pope appointed as president on March 9, will preside at the plenary which, on its concluding day, Monday, May 3 will celebrate the academy's tenth anniversary.

  Among the participants in the plenary are most of the academy's 33 members, coming from all continents, together with experts in the subject matters under discussion who have been invited to Rome. An audience with the Pope is scheduled for tomorrow.

  The Academy was founded by John Paul II in January 1994 to promote the study and progress of social sciences - in particular economy, law, political sciences and sociology - with the purpose of providing elements to the Church to deepen and develop its social doctrine. Immediately after its founding the academy decided to study four principal themes: work and employment, democracy, globalization and intergenerational solidarity.

   A communique from the academy notes that the current plenary is the first dedicated to intergenerational solidarity and its objective is to examine the implications in the social, political, economic and environmental fields of the changes in intergenerational relations. The aim of the plenary is to give a clear picture of these changes and to analyze the effects of these changes on the provisions of social services, both in countries where a welfare state is in force and those where this is either minimal or non-existent.

  The meeting will look at many questions of Catholic social thought: the concept of solidarity as a virtue, interest in the family as the 'first and most vital cell of society', interest for the weakest and most vulnerable members of the human family, attention to future generations and the principle of subsidiarity.
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VATICAN CITY, APR 29, 2004 (VIS) - Made public today was the Pope's Message on the occasion of the 78th World Mission Day which will be celebrated on October 17 on the theme: "Eucharist and Mission." The text was published in English, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and German.

  Following are excerpts from the Message:

  "The Church's missionary activity is an urgency also at the beginning of the third millennium, as I have often said. Mission, as I stated in the Encyclical 'Redemptoris missio' is still only beginning and we must commit ourselves wholeheartedly to its service."

  "The social and religious challenges facing humanity in our day call believers to renew their missionary fervour. Yes! It is necessary to re-launch mission 'ad gentes' with courage, starting with the proclamation of Christ, Redeemer of every human person."

  "The International Eucharistic Congress which will be celebrated at Guadalajara in Mexico in the coming month of October, the missionary month, will be an extraordinary opportunity to grow in choral missionary awareness around the Table of the Body and Blood of Christ. Gathered around the altar, the Church understands better her origin and her missionary mandate. As the theme of World Mission Sunday this year clearly emphasises 'Eucharist and Mission' are inseparable. In addition to reflection on the bond that exists between the Eucharistic mystery and the mystery of the Church, this year there will be an eloquent reference to the Blessed Virgin Mary, because of the occurrence of the 150th anniversary of the definition of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception (1854-2004). Let us contemplate the Eucharist with the eyes of Mary."

  "Around Christ in the Eucharist the Church grows as the people, temple and family of God: one, holy, Catholic and apostolic. At the same time she understands better her character of universal sacrament of salvation and visible reality with a hierarchical structure."

  "At the end of every Mass, when the celebrant takes leave of the assembly with the words 'Ite, Missa est', all should feel they are sent as 'missionaries of the Eucharist' to carry to every environment the great gift received. In fact anyone who encounters Christ in the Eucharist cannot fail to proclaim through his or her life the merciful love of the Redeemer."

  "To live the Eucharist it is necessary, as well, to spend much time in adoration in front of the Blessed Sacrament, something which I myself experience every day drawing from it strength, consolation and assistance."

  "How could the Church fulfill her vocation without cultivating a constant relationship with the Eucharist, without nourishing herself with this food which sanctifies, without founding her missionary activity on this indispensable support? To evangelize the world there is need of apostles who are 'experts' in the celebration, adoration and contemplation of the Eucharist."

  "Journeying through the centuries, reliving every day the Sacrifice of the altar, the Church, the People of God, awaits Christ's coming in glory. ... The Eucharist is the comfort and the pledge of final triumph for those who fight evil and sin; it is the 'bread of life' which  sustains those who, in turn, become 'bread broken' for others, paying at times even with martyrdom their fidelity to the Gospel."

  "I hope that the happy coinciding of the International Eucharistic Congress with the 150th  anniversary of the definition of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, may offer the faithful, parishes and missionary institutes an opportunity to strengthen their missionary zeal so that in every community there may always be 'a genuine hunger for the Eucharist'."

  "This is also a good opportunity to mention the contribution offered to the Church's apostolic activity by the worthy Pontifical Mission Societies. They are very dear to my heart and I thank them, on behalf of all, for the valid service rendered to new evangelization and the mission 'ad gentes'. I ask you to support them spiritually and materially so that also through their contribution, the proclamation of the Gospel may reach all the peoples of the earth."

  Click here for full text.
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VATICAN CITY, APR 29, 2004 (VIS) - Today in the Holy Press Office there was the presentation of the Holy Father's Message for World Mission Day which will take place on October 17.  Its theme this year is "Eucharist and Mission."

  The Message was presented by Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Fr. Massimo Cenci, P.I.M.E., under-secretary of the same congregation, Fr. Fernando Galbiati, P.I.M.E., secretary general of the Pontifical Missionary Works and Fr. Tarcisio Agostoni, Combonian missionary in Uganda.

  Cardinal Sepe commented on the last part of the message in which the Holy Father urges the faithful to materially and spiritually help the Pontifical Missionary Works. He then recalled the works supported by his dicastery: 280 inter-diocesan major seminaries in which 65,000 seminarians are formed; 110 minor seminaries in which 85,000 seminarians are formed; 42,000 schools; 1,600 hospitals; 6,000 medical clinics; 780 leprosariums and 12,000 social and charitable centers.

  "These social and charitable centers aim to help not only Catholics but also, in some cases, mostly non-Catholics and non-Christians." The prefect gave the example of India, "where only 6.9 percent of the population is Catholic while Catholic charities represent 27 percent all existing charitable organizations. The same can be said of Catholic schools in Arab countries: the majority of students are Muslim."

  Fr. Agostoni said that he was a missionary in Uganda for 43 years during two different periods (1951-1969 and 1980-2004) and "between 1969 and 1979 I was superior general of the Combonian Missionaries throughout the world. Sixty-five percent of them are in mission territories."

  "Today Africa is at a crossroads.  Should they go back to ancient traditions illuminated by the proverbs or be dominated and invaded by decadent Western culture?  I think that the ideal situation would be a harmonious culture of African traditions purified by evangelical leaven and the life of the Gospel."


VATICAN CITY, APR 29, 2004 (VIS) - Bishops from the ecclesiastical provinces of Baltimore and Washington in the United States were welcomed today by the Holy Father as they end their "ad limina" visit. The Pope noted that, in his meetings with U.S. prelates this year, he "is reflecting on the mystery of the Church and, in particular the exercise of the episcopal ministry."

  He dedicated today's talk to the "munus sanctificandi,"  the sanctifying mission of all bishops, which "finds its source in the indefectible holiness of the Church. Because 'Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her, that He might sanctify her', she has been endowed with unfailing holiness and has become herself, 'in Christ and through Christ, the source and origin of all holiness'. This fundamental truth of the faith ... needs to be more clearly understood and appreciated by all the members of Christ's Body, for it is an essential part of the Church's self-awareness and the basis of her universal mission."

  "At the same time," said the Holy Father, "the holiness of the Church on earth remains real yet imperfect. Her holiness is both gift and call, a constitutive grace and a summons to constant fidelity to that grace. The Second Vatican Council ... reaffirmed that 'all Christians in any state or walk of life are called to the fullness of Christian life and to the perfection of charity' and it invited every member of the Church to an honest recognition of sin and the need for constant conversion along the path of penance and renewal."

  John Paul II emphasized that "the challenge set before us (as bishops) and before the whole Church" is that "the life of every Christian and all the structures of the Church must be clearly ordered to the pursuit of holiness. ... The pursuit of personal holiness must be central to the life and identity of every Bishop.  He is to recognize his own need to be sanctified as he engages in the sanctification of others."

  He underscored that a bishop must be an attentive "hearer of the word of God, ... one who contemplates" and "also a teacher of contemplation." His prayer must be nourished by the Eucharist, adoration before the tabernacle, regular recourse to Penance and the celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours.

  The Pope spoke at length of the importance of "the adoption of a lifestyle which imitates the poverty of Christ. ... I encourage you and your brother Bishops to undertake such a discernment with regard to the practical exercise of the episcopal ministry in your country, in order to ensure that it will be seen ever more clearly as a form of sacrificial service in the midst of Christ's flock."

  The Holy Father concluded with remarks on "the inseparable relationship between holiness and the Church's mission. As essential part of the new evangelization must therefore be a renewal of faith and Christian life."
  Click here for full text.

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