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Monday, March 6, 2000


VATICAN CITY, MAR 4, 2000 (VIS) - The Holy Father this morning welcomed President Kim Dae-jung of the Republic of Korea, the first Korean head of state ever to be received by John Paul II and the first Catholic Korean president to visit the Vatican. Diplomatic relations were established between the Holy See and the Republic of Korea in 1963.

In his speech in English to the president, the Pope spoke of his pastoral visits in 1984 and 1989 to "the Land of Morning Calm," recalling the "warm welcome and friendliness" of the "citizens from various backgrounds and religious traditions." He said he had observed "the difficulties and challenges facing the Korean people in their yearning for unity and their desire to create a prosperous and peaceful society, built on the solid foundations of justice, freedom and respect for inalienable human rights."

The Holy Father underscored the "fresh initiatives taken to foster inter-Korean dialogue," noting that, though "the path of reconciliation will be long and difficult, ... you have not allowed yourselves to become discouraged in your endeavors to establish a climate of good and harmonious relations." He also highlighted the "natural calamities and poor harvests" suffered by North Koreans and called upon the international community to assist them in their plight.

He then pointed to the "economic challenges arising from the Asian financial crisis," and said: "Productivity and profit cannot be the sole measures of progress; indeed development is not authentic unless it benefits individuals and the promotion of the good of the family, the nation and the world community."

"The Church's commitment to education, health care and social welfare," continued John Paul II, "stems from her firm conviction of the innate dignity of the human person and the primacy of people over things." He stressed that the Church's "principal contribution" is "her social teaching as an ethical and ideal orientation which, while recognizing the positive value of the market and of enterprise, insists that these must always be directed to the common good of people."

The Pope said that the "violence, persecution and warfare" of the just-ended century "has led to an increased awareness of the need for agreement and cooperation among nations," for peace, justice and the defense of human rights, as well as "eliminating the corruption which all too often mars public life. People are becoming more aware that the realm of politics is not morally neutral."

Underscoring the "existence of transcendent truth," the Holy Father affirmed: "Indeed, if there is no ultimate truth to guide and direct political activity, then ideas and convictions can easily be manipulated for reasons of power."

In closing remarks, John Paul II expressed the hope that "the people of South Korea will draw on their rich cultural and spiritual patrimony ... to build a society worthy of your country's ancient traditions."



VATICAN CITY, MAR 4, 2000 (VIS) - The following communique was released after this morning's visit to the Holy Father by President Kim Dae-jung of the Republic of Korea:

"This morning the Holy Father received in audience Kim Dae-jung, president of the Republic of Korea, accompanied by his wife and an entourage. Later, the president met with Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano and Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran, secretary for Relations with States. Talks focussed on the friendly relations between the Holy See and the Republic of Korea as well as on the intense cooperation that exists between Church and State. Furthermore, the political and social situation on the continent of Asia was reviewed, with particular reference to the respect and promotion of human rights in that region."

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VATICAN CITY, MAR 4, 2000 (VIS) - Made public today was a Letter from Pope John Paul to Cardinal Angelo Sodano, written in Latin and dated February 12, in which he names the secretary of state as his legate to the March 12 celebrations of the millennium of the archdiocese of Gniezno, Poland.

The members of the delegation led by Cardinal Sodano are: Msgrs. Henryk Nowacki and Timothy Broglio, nunciature counsellors in the Secretariat of State, Msgr. Franco Coppola, secretary of the apostolic nunciature in Warsaw and Giampaolo Mattei, a writer from "L'Osservatore Romano."



VATICAN CITY, MAR 4, 2000 (VIS) - This morning in the Paul VI Hall, the Holy Father received in a joint audience 3,000 Lithuanian faithful, on the feast day of their patron, St. Casimir, and 2,000 pilgrims from the Italian diocese of Cremona, all of whom are on a Jubilee pilgrimage to Rome.

Addressing the Lithuanians in their own language, the Pope recalled his 1993 pastoral visit to their country and underscored how "Lithuania was the last of the Baltic countries to become Christian and the only one to remain faithful to the Catholic Church in the period of the Lutheran reformation. Let us thank God for the fidelity of the Lithuanian people to the Church and the Successor of Peter."

"Today," he affirmed, "having re-obtained civil and religious freedom, Lithuania has found its place in the heart of the European family. Freedom involves responsibilities: Your nation, dear Lithuanians, with its cultural patrimony, enhanced by the sufferings undergone in the heroic fidelity to the Christian vocation, is called to contribute to the spiritual renewal of Europe and to reconciliation among peoples."

"Modern man," added John Paul II, "needs the Gospel more than ever in order to walk on the path of truth, freedom, justice and peace. He needs it above all to know God and to know himself."

"You have come to Rome," he then said, turning to the pilgrims from Cremona, "to cross over the Holy Door. It is a very beautiful experience which, here, in the heart of the Catholic world, on the tomb of the Apostle Peter and on the soil bathed on the blood of the first martyrs, asks to be deeply lived. The words of Jesus 'I am with you all the days', is the mainstay of the Christian, who becomes a penitent pilgrim to obtain a strengthening of faith, hope and charity."

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VATICAN CITY, MAR 5, 2000 (VIS) - In remarks made before praying the angelus with the tens of thousands of faithful who had gathered in St. Peter's Square for today's Mass and beatification, Pope John Paul made an appeal for international solidarity with the victims of the floods in Mozambique.

"My thoughts," he said, "go to the population of Mozambique who are living through a tragedy of unheard-of proportions because of the serious floods which have struck a large part of the territory. Everything possible in the line of international solidarity during these days has been done without a break but much remains to be done. I encourage everyone to pursue the work of helping to alleviate in every possible way the dramatic situation of these brothers and sisters of ours."

The Holy Father also recalled the victims of the Spanish ship Zafir, which sank on February 14. He said he hoped "that everything possible would be done to recover the bodies of the missing sailors in order to return them to their families for a worthy burial."

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VATICAN CITY, MAR 5, 2000 (VIS) - This morning, John Paul II presided at a Eucharistic celebration in St. Peter's Square and beatified 44 Servants of God: Brazilian, Thai, Byelorussian, Filipino and Vietnamese martyrs who are, he said in his homily, "united by the same unconditional faith in the Lord and the same profound passion for the Gospel."

The Holy Father stated that Andre de Soveral and Ambrosio Francisco Ferro, priests, together with 28 companions, Brazilian martyrs "are the first fruits of missionary work, the protomartyrs of Brazil. ... The blood of defenseless Catholics, many of them anonymous - children, old people and entire families - will serve as a stimulus to strengthen new generations of Brazilians, recalling above all the value of the family as true and irreplaceable creator of faith and generator of moral values."
The strength in faith of Nicholas Bunkerd Kitbamrung, Thai priest and martyr, "was made clear to all when he forgave those who falsely accused him, deprived him of his freedom and made him suffer much. In prison, Father Nicholas encouraged his fellow prisoners, taught the catechism and administered the sacraments."

Referring to Maria Stella Adela Mardosewicz and her ten companions from the Institute of the Holy Family of Nazareth in Belarus (formerly eastern Poland), the Pope asked where they had found the strength "to give themselves in exchange for the salvation of those condemned to prison in Nowogrodek? Where did they find the audacity to courageously accept such a cruel and unjust death sentence? God had prepared them over time for this moment of even greater trial."

The lay catechist Pedro Calungsod, Filipino martyr, "from his childhood, declared himself unwaveringly for Christ and responded generously to His call. Young people today can draw encouragement and strength from the example of Pedro, whose love of Jesus inspired him to devote his teenage years to teaching the faith as a lay catechist."

Finally, John Paul II indicated that Andre de Phu Yen, Vietnamese lay catechist and martyr, "for love of the Lord gave all his energies to service of the Church, helping priests in their mission. ... Blessed Andre, protomartyr of Vietnam, is today a model for the Church in his country."

Four Catholic bishops from Vietnam were allowed to travel to Rome and were present at today's beatification.

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VATICAN CITY, MAR 4, 2000 (VIS) - Today, feast of Our Lady of Trust, Pope John Paul travelled to the Major Roman Seminary for his traditional annual appointment with the seminarians and their teachers. Following his arrival at 6 p.m. he prayed the rosary and had dinner with them, after which he addressed all present.

Referring to the joyful mysteries of the rosary, which they had just prayed together, the Pope said that, with Mary's example, "and through her intercession, we too can learn how to believe, to have trust and to receive the copious gifts which the Lord wishes to give us."

He encouraged the seminarians to be close to the young people "who walk with you and look at you, anxious to know the secret of your life. May your example help young people to overcome the thousand anxieties of life and to open themselves to trust and commitment."

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VATICAN CITY, MAR 6, 2000 (VIS) - The itinerary for Pope John Paul's March 20-26 Jubilee pilgrimage to the Holy Land was published this afternoon:

Monday, March 20

- 9 a.m.: Departure for Amman, Jordan
- 2 p.m.: Arrival Amman, and welcome ceremony.
- 3:15 p.m.: Private visit to monastery on Mount Nebo at Madaba.
- 6:15 p.m. Courtesy visit to king of Jordan.

Tuesday, March 21

- 9 a.m.: Mass in Amman Stadium.
- 12 noon: Meeting with patriarch and bishops in Latin Vicariate of Amman.
- 3:45 p.m.: Visit to Wadi-Al-Kharrar in the Valley of Jordan.
- 4:30 p.m.: Farewell ceremony.
- 5 p.m.: Departure for Tel Aviv.
- 5:30 p.m.: Arrival at Tel Aviv and welcome ceremony.
- 6:20 p.m.: Departure by helicopter for Jerusalem.
- 6:45 p.m.: Arrival in Jerusalem.

Wednesday, March 22

- 8:15 a.m.: Departure for Bethlehem (Autonomous Territories of the Palestinian National Authority).
- 8:30 a.m.: Arrival in Bethlehem and welcome ceremony.
- 10 a.m.: Mass in Manger Square in front of the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
- 3:45 p.m.: Private visit to the Grotto of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
- 4:15 p.m.: Courtesy visit to the president of the Palestinian National Authority.
- 5:15 p.m.: Visit to the refugee camp of Deheisha.
- 6:30 p.m.: Departure ceremony from Bethlehem for Jerusalem.

Thursday, March 23

- 8:30 a.m.: Mass in private in the chapel of the Cenacle in Jerusalem.
- 11 a.m.: Courtesy visit to the two chief rabbis of Israel.
- 11:30 a.m.: Courtesy visit to president of Israel.
- 12:30 p.m.: Visit to the Hall of Remembrance of Yad Vashem.
- 5:45 p.m.: Inter-religious encounter.

Friday, March 24

- 8:15 a.m.: Departure for Korazim.
- 10 a.m.: Mass for Youth at the Domus Galilaeae on the Mount of the Beatitudes at Korazim.
- 4 p.m.: Meeting with the prime minister of Israel.
- 4:45 p.m.: Private visit to the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves of Tabgha.
- 5:10 p.m.: Private visit to the Church of the Primacy of Peter in Tabgha.
- 5:40 p.m.: Private visit to Shrine of the House of St. Peter in Capernaum. - 6:15 p.m.: Departure for Jerusalem.

Saturday, March 25

- 8:15 a.m.: Departure for Nazareth.
- 9:20 a.m.: Prayer in the Grotto of the Annunciation in Nazareth.
- 10 a.m.: Mass in the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth.
- 12:50 p.m.: Departure for Jerusalem.
- 5 p.m.: Greetings to the consuls general of the Apostolic delegation in Jerusalem.
- 5:30 p.m.: Private visit to the Basilica of the Garden of Gethsemane.
- 6 p.m.: Ecumenical encounter in the Throne Room of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

Sunday, March 26

- 10 a.m.: Courtesy visit to the grand mufti of Jerusalem.
- 10:30 a.m.: Visit to the Western Wall of Jerusalem.
- 11:30 a.m.: Mass in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, and recitation of the angelus.
- 2:30 p.m.: Meeting with patriarchs and bishops in the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem.
- 6 p.m.: Departure for Tel Aviv.
- 6:30 p.m.: Farewell ceremony at Tel Aviv.
- 10:45 p.m.: Arrival at Rome's Ciampino Airport.

The following note was added at the end of the itinerary: "The eventual inclusion of a brief visit by the Holy Father to Al-Maghtas, in the Jordan Valley near Jericho, is still under study by the authorities in whose jurisdiction this lies. The decision will be communicated as soon as it has been taken."

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VATICAN CITY, MAR 6, 2000 (VIS) - On Friday, March 10, at 11:30 a.m., during the celebration of sext, the sixth hour, in the Consistory Hall of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, there will be an ordinary public consistory for the canonization of the following Blesseds:

Agostino Tchao, priest and other martyr Blesseds in China (17th-20th centuries); Cristobal Magellanes and 24 companions, priests and lay people, martyrs; Jose Maria de Yermo y Parres, priest, founder of the Congregation of the Sisters Servants of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Poor; Maria Giuseppa del Cuore di Gesu Sanchez de Guerra, foundress of the Institute of the Servants of Jesus; Catherine Marie Drexel, foundress of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Indians and Colored People; Maria Faustina Kowalska, religious of the Institute of the Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy.

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VATICAN CITY, MAR 6, 2000 (VIS) - This morning, the Pope received the pilgrims who yesterday took part in the beatification of 44 martyrs from Brazil, Belarus, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. "The first beatification of the year 2000," said the Holy Father, "takes place under the sign of martyrdom, in other words of the total giving of oneself to Christ and to the Gospel."

Speaking of the Vietnamese Blessed Andre de Phu Yen, John Paul II asked that all Vietnamese Catholics "even today, may find in his example the strength to be faithful to their Christian vocation, in faith to the Church and to their country."

He continued: "I pray that through the intercession of Fr. Nicholas Bunkerd Kitbamrung (of Thailand), the Catholic community in your country will always be blessed with priests imbued with that same spirit."

The Pope went on to request that many young people follow the example of the Filipino Blessed Pedro Calungsod "and give themselves to the Lord in the many forms of lay apostolate or in the priesthood and religious life."

Speaking of Andre de Soveral and Ambrosio Francisco Ferro, priests, and 28 companions, Brazilian martyrs, he said: "Let us ask God that the example of faith of these first Christians, especially those families of martyrs ... may bring us to renew our commitment to a fruitful and bold evangelization at all levels of society."

Lastly, speaking Polish, the Pope addressed the pilgrims who had come for the beatification of Maria Stella Adela Mardosewicz and her 10 fellow sisters of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth, who were martyred in what was formerly eastern Poland, and is now Belarus.

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VATICAN CITY, MAR 6, 2000 - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

- Cardinal Eugenio de Araujo Sales, archbishop of Sao Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
- Cardinal William Wakefield Baum, major penitentiary.
- Vitali Ignatenko, accompanied by his wife.

On Saturday, March 4, he received in audience Valdas Adamkus, president of the Republic of Lithuania, accompanied by his wife.

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VATICAN CITY, MAR 6, 2000 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

- Fr. Ottavio Vitale R.C.I., diocesan administrator of Lezhe (area 750, population 63,500, Catholics 58,420, priests 9, religious 26), Albania, as apostolic administrator of the same diocese.
- Fr. Prele Gjurashaj O.F.M., provincial vicar of the Franciscan Order at Scutari, Albania, as apostolic administrator of Pult (area 140, population 46,247, Catholics 30,810, priests 4, religious 10), Albania.

- Fr. Cristoforo Palmieri C.N., diocesan administrator of Rreshen (area 3,463, population 259,000, Catholics 70,000, priests 8, religious 16), Albania, as apostolic administrator of the same diocese.

- Fr. Dode Gjergji of the diocesan clergy of Skopje, Albania, and pastor of Kallmet, as apostolic administrator of Sape (area 2,544, population 177,000, Catholics 159,000, priests 6, religious 22), Albania.

On Saturday, March 4, it was made public that he:

- Appointed Msgr. Vincenzo Paglia of the clergy of Rome, pastor of St. Mary in Trastevere and ecclesial assistant to the community of St. Egidio, as bishop of Terni-Narni-Amelia (area 871, population 162,000, Catholics 160,000, priests 137, permanent deacons 12, religious 209), Italy. The bishop-elect was born in Boville Ernica, Italy, in 1945 and ordained a priest in 1970. He succeeds Bishop Franco Gualdrini, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

- Appointed Cardinal Jorge Arturo Medina Estevez, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of Sacraments, as his special envoy to the Mexican National Eucharistic Congress, due to take place in Mexico City from May 5 to 7.

- Appointed Archbishop Santos Abril y Castello, apostolic nuncio in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, as apostolic nuncio in Argentina.

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