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The Vatican Information Service is a news service, founded in the Holy See Press Office, that provides information about the Magisterium and the pastoral activities of the Holy Father and the Roman Curia...[]

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Monday, September 20, 2004


VATICNA CITY, SEP 18, 2004 (VIS) - Joaquin Navarro-Valls, director of the Holy See Press Office, made the following declaration today:

  "Cardinal Angelo Sodano, secretary of State, left today for New York to participate in a meeting at the United Nations to examine new ways to fight hunger and poverty in the world. It is a new initiative spearheaded by the President of Brazil, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, and U.N. Secretary General, Kofi Annan, as well as various other heads of State, governments and international organizations. During his stay in the United States, Cardinal Sodano will also receive an award from the Path to Peace Foundation, which recognizes those who have worked for peace and he will give a conference at St. John University in Brooklyn on the theme, "The leaven of the Gospel in modern society."
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 18, 2004 (VIS) - Made public today was a Letter by the Holy Father, written in Latin and dated July 21, in which he appoints Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, president emeritus of the Pontifical Councils for Justice and Peace and Cor Unum, as his special envoy to the centenary celebrations of the "Social Weeks in France," which will take place in Lille, France on September 24-26.


VATICAN CITY, SEP 18, 2004 (VIS) - This morning at Castelgandolfo the Pope addressed bishops of the Episcopal Conference of the Pacific who just completed their "ad limina" visit.

  In his speech in English and French, the Holy Father reminded the prelates that Jesus Christ "continues to turn His loving attention to the peoples of Oceania, drawing them to a still deeper faith and life in Him. … Even where the life of the Church is filled with signs of growth, no effort can be spared in taking effective pastoral initiatives to make the Lord better known and loved."

  "The vibrant pastoral life of your dioceses, which your reports clearly describe, is an uplifting sign for all. The joyful liturgical celebrations, the keen participation of the young in the mission of the Church, the flowering of vocations, and the palpable presence of faith in the civic life of your nations, all attest to God's infinite goodness to his Church."

  John Paul II referred to the concerns expressed by the bishops: "The encroachment of secularism, particularly in the form of consumerism, and the long reach of the most insidious aspects of the media, which convey a deformed outlook on life, the family, religion and morality, unsettle the very foundations of traditional cultural values.  In the face of such challenges, the peoples of Oceania … look to you, with great expectation, to be steadfast ministers of truth and audacious witnesses to Christ.  They wish for you to be vigilant in seeking new ways to teach faith."

  The Pope indicated that "meeting with and listening to your closest collaborators - priests, religious and catechists - and direct contact with the poor, sick and elderly, will unite your people and enrich your teaching thanks to the concrete example that you offer of humble faith and service."  After highlighting that the bishops are "the primary formators of priests," the Holy Father asked them to carefully supervise seminaries and to propose programs of permanent formation "so that students may build their priestly identity and personality." In addition, he praised priests who left their parish ministry to serve in seminaries and he urged those who have abandoned their ministry for other reasons to return to God "Who is rich in mercy."

  After recalling the evangelizing work of men and women religious in the region, the Pope said that "apostolic fruitfulness, generosity in love of the poor, and the ability to inspire vocations among the young depend upon this priority in the spiritual life."

  After speaking about catechesis, in which many lay people participate, the Holy Father concluded by saying: "As general educational standards among your communities rise, it is imperative that your people grow in their understanding of the faith and their ability to express its liberating truth.  In this regard, I am confident that you will give special consideration to the development of the chaplaincy at the University of the South Pacific where so many of your fine young men and women are being trained as future leaders of your communities."
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 18, 2004  (VIS) - The creation of a culture of peace, the role of religion in this field and inter-religious dialogue were the main themes of John Paul II's talk to the new ambassador of Egypt to the Holy See, Nevine Simaika Halim Abadia, who presented her Letters of Credence this morning.

  "As the Holy See continues to repeat in this turbulent age," said the Pope, "there can only be lasting peace in international relations when the desire for dialogue prevails over the logic of confrontation. Whether this is in Iraq, where a return to civil peace seems so difficult to establish, or the Holy Land, unfortunately marred by an endless conflict that is fuelled by hatred and a reciprocal desire for vengeance or in other countries where terrorism has so cruelly struck the innocent, everywhere violence reveals its horror and its incapacity to resolve conflicts. … Once again I remind the international community of its responsibilities to promote a return to reason and negotiation, the only possible solution for conflicts among human beings."

  The Holy Father then spoke about "the specific role in relations among nations" that Egypt occupies due to its culture, political tradition and strategic geographic position.  Citing the new ambassador's speech about the responsibilities of the State toward its citizens, the Pope recalled that one of them was "to guarantee equality of all before the law, as you said, referring to the role of women in Egyptian society, and to promote mutual respect and understanding among the different components of the Nations."

  In building up peace, continued the Pope, religions play an important role. "They promote teachings that honor life as a sacred gift from God that man must respect and cherish. … For this reason, they are called to denounce and reject violence as something contrary to its purpose which is to reconcile human beings with each other and with God. Since the education of children and young people often falls within their jurisdiction, religions have an important responsibility to assume in the content of their teaching so that sectarian approaches are fought and rejected and, on the contrary, everything that allows for deeper discovery and respect for others is developed and  encouraged."

  John Paul II also recalled that the presence in Egypt of the Al-Azhar University "which plays an essential role in the Muslim world, is an opportunity for the continuation and the intensification of inter-religious dialogue, especially among Christians and Muslims." In this regard, the Pope affirmed that in addition to meetings of religious leaders it "is equally useful to stimulate respect for and desire of mutual knowledge on the level of people and communities of believers in cities and towns."

  Lastly, the Holy Father greeted "the pastors and faithful of different rites that make up the Catholic community in Egypt. I would like all the faithful to be concerned with developing fraternal and constructive relations, putting together their specific richness and rendering homage to Catholic unity."
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 20, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

- Archbishop Ivan Jurkovic, apostolic nuncio in Ukraine.

- Eight prelates from the Colombian Episcopal Conference on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Cardinal Pedro Rubiano Saenz of Bogota, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishops Fernando Sabogal Viana, Olavio Lopez Duque, O.A.R. and Jose Roberto Ospina Leongomez.

    - Bishop Hector Luis Gutierrez Pabon of Engativa.

    - Bishop Luis Gabriel Romero Franco of Facatativa.

    - Bishop Enrique Sarmiento Angulo of Fontibon.

    - Bishop Hector Julio Lopez Hurtado, S.D.B. of Girardot.

- Bishop Fabian Marulanda Lopez, emeritus of Florencia, secretary general of the Episcopal Conference of Colombia.    

  On Saturday, September 18, the Holy Father received in separate audiences:

- Archbishop Patrick Coveney, apostolic nuncio in New Zealand, the Fiji Islands, Marshal Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Samoa, Vanuatu, Tonga, Nauru, Kiribati, Palau and the Cook Islands and apostolic delegate in the Pacific Ocean.
- Six prelates from the Episcopal Conference of the Pacific on their "ad limina" visit:
    - Archbishop Petero Mataca of Suva, Fiji Islands.
    - Bishop Stuart France O'Conneel, S.M. of Rarotonga, Cook Islands.
    - Bishop Paul Eusebius Mea Kaiuea of Tarawa and Nauru, Kiribati and Nauru.
    - Bishop Soane Lilo Foliaki of Tonga, Tonga and Niue.
    - Msgr. Patrick Edward O'Connor, superior of the "sui iuris" mission of Tokelau, Tokelau.
    - Fr. Camille DesRosiers, S.M., superior of the "sui iuris" mission of Funafuti, Tuvalu.

- Bishop Jose Guadalupe Martin Rabago of Leon, Mexico, president of the Episcopal Conference of Mexico, with Archbishop Alberto Suarez Inda of Moralia and Bishop Carlos Aguilar Retes, respectively vice-president and secretary general of the same conference.
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 20, 2004 (VIS) - The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff made public today the calendar of celebrations to be presided over by the Holy Father from September 28 to December 31, 2004.


- Tuesday, 28: At 6 p.m. at the main altar in St. Peter's Basilica, Mass for the repose of the souls of the deceased Supreme Pontiffs Paul VI and John Paul I.


- Sunday, 3: 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time. At 10 a.m. in St. Peter's Square, beatification of the Servants of God Pierre Vigne, Joseph-Marie Cassant, Anna Katharina Emmerick, Maria Ludovica De Angelis and Charles of Austria.

- Sunday, 17:  29th Sunday in Ordinary Time.  At 5:30 p.m. in the Vatican Basilica, beginning of the Year of the Eucharist.  Mass, Eucharistic adoration and benediction.

- Friday, 22: At 5:30 p.m., Mass for the beginning of the academic year of the ecclesiastic universities.


- Thursday, 11: At 11 a.m. in the Vatican Basilica, Mass for the repose of the souls of the cardinals and bishops who died throughout the year.


- Wednesday, 8: Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady.  At 4 p.m. in Piazza di Spagna, homage to Our Lady on the 150th anniversary of the dogmatic definition of the Immaculate Conception.

- Tuesday, 14: At 5:30 p.m. in St. Peter's Basilica, Mass for university students at the Roman Athenaeums.

- Friday, 24: Vigil of the Solemnity of the Birth of Our Lord. Midnight Mass in St. Peter's Basilica.

- Saturday, 25: Solemnity of the Birth of Our Lord.  "Urbi et Orbi" blessing at noon in St. Peter's Square.

- Friday, 31: At 6 p.m. in St. Peter's Basilica, Vespers and "Te Deum" of thanksgiving.
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 19, 2004 (VIS) - At noon today, in the inner courtyard of the apostolic palace at Castelgandolfo, in reflections made before praying the Angelus with the thousands of faithful gathered there, Pope John Paul focused on the presence of evil in the world.

  "In the face of evil, which shows itself in many forms in the world," he said, "man, afflicted and disconcerted, asks himself 'Why?' At this dawn of the third millennium, blessed by the Great Jubilee and rich in so many possibilities, mankind is marked by the disturbing spread of terrorism. The succession of atrocious attacks on human life upsets and worries consciences and provokes in believers the tormented question that occurs in the Psalms: 'Why, Lord? Up to what point?"

  The Holy Father said that "God answered this anguishing question which comes from the scandal of evil, not with an explanation of principle, almost as if to justify it, but with the sacrifice of His own Son on the Cross. In the death of Jesus the apparent triumph of evil and the definitive victory of good come together; the darkest moment in history and the revelation of divine glory; the breaking point and the center of attraction and re-composition of the universe. 'I', said Jesus, 'when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself'."

  The Pope concluded by stating that "the Cross of Christ is an icon of hope for all believers, because on it the saving plan of God's love was fulfilled. For this reason the liturgy several days ago invited us to celebrate the exaltation of the holy Cross, a feast from which every believer draws comfort and courage."
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