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Wednesday, December 22, 2004


VATICAN CITY, DEC 22, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Sebastiao Bandeira Coelho, rector of the major seminary of the diocese of Balsas, as auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese of Manaus (area 64,079, population 1,405,835, Catholics 1,200,000, priests 122, religious 266), Brazil.  The bishop-elect was born in Riacao, Brazil in 1959 and was ordained a priest in 1984.
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VATICAN CITY, DEC 22, 2004 (VIS) -  In today's general audience, celebrated in the Paul VI Hall, the Holy Father spoke about the mystery of Christmas.

  John Paul II said that "during these days of preparation for Christmas we pray continually in the liturgy 'Come Lord Jesus'."

  "On Christmas," he continued, "we contemplate the great mystery of God becoming man in the Virgin's womb.  He is born in Bethlehem to share our fragile human condition! He comes among us and brings salvation to the whole world.  His mission will be to reunite all human beings and peoples in the one family of the children of God.  We can say that in the mystery of Christmas, we contemplate the 'leap forward' in the history of salvation."

  The Pope emphasized that "in Christ we are offered the gift of a new and fuller communion with Him.  Hope springs up in our hearts, and the gates of heaven are opened for us."

  The Holy Father concluded by expressing his desire that "the celebration of Christmas may be a propitious occasion to truly live the value and meaning of the great event of Jesus' birth."
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