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Friday, September 24, 2004


VATICAN CITY, SEP 24, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

- Five prelates from the Episcopal Conference of Colombia on their "ad limina" visit:

   - Archbishop Gustavo Martinez Frias of New Pamplona.

   - Bishop Carlos German Mesa Ruiz of Arauca.

    - Bishop Oscar Urbina Ortega of Cucuta.

    - Bishop Jorge Enrique Lozano Zafra of Ocana.

    - Bishop Camilo Fernando Castrellon Pizano of Tibu.

- Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 24, 2004 (VIS) - "Sports and Tourism: Two Living Forces for Mutual Understanding, Culture and the Development of Societies" is the theme of the 25th World Tourism Day, which is held annually on September 27 and is sponsored by the World Tourism Organization (WTO).

  A communique from the office of the Holy See Permanent Observer to the WTO, Msgr. Piero Monni, notes that "this year World Tourism Day falls during a particular time of international tension, due to the well-known events that interest several countries involved in warlike or semi-war activities.

  "Annual interest by governments and institutions in this growing world phenomenon," continues the note, "registered, in this current tourist period, a notable decrease of presences which can be attributed to the limited purchase power of the Euro and the widespread fear of possible terrorist acts. Notwithstanding these contingencies, man's desire for tourism has re-emerged in a significant way and people have not always allowed themselves to be intimidated by the above-mentioned negative factors and they have traveled to new countries, even if in smaller numbers and for less time."

  Entrance to the Vatican Museums and to the Vatican Historical Museum at St. John Lateran, concludes the communique, will be free on World Tourism Day, as will be some museums in other countries.
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 24, 2004 (VIS) - This morning the Holy Father received the participants in the General Chapter of the Institute of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate.

  After recalling the theme of the meeting, "Witness to hope," the Pope said that the presence of the Oblates, "driven by authentic religious and missionary fervor, must be a sign and seed of hope for those who meet you, in secular environments as well as places where the first announcement of the Gospel has not yet arrived."

  "I encourage you," he continued, "to persevere in the objectives that you have proposed, especially the objective of renewed fraternal union, according to the will of your holy founder, Eugene de Mazenod, who thought of the Institute as a family whose members form one heart and one soul." John Paul II indicated that "today you are present with more than 1000 communities in 67 countries, and this unity is a demanding challenge but an important one for humanity, called to proceed on the path of solidarity and diversity."

  The Pope expressed his appreciation for their reflection on "the profound changes that are characterizing the congregation, whose center of gravity is moving toward the poorest regions of the world. This significant fact leads you to update your formation, the distribution of persons, the forms of government and the communion of goods."

  "Make clear choices based on the priorities of your mission. Among the more important needs," he concluded, "is the permanent care of the spiritual life in order to constantly renew your fidelity to your original charism. Through the action of the Holy Spirit, God allows religious families to respond adequately to new challenges, using the specific gift which has been given to them."
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