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Wednesday, June 22, 2005


VATICAN CITY, JUN 22, 2005 (VIS) - At midday today, Holy See Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro-Valls released the following declaration:

  "Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, secretary of the Holy See for Relations with States, returned to Rome today, following a trip to southeast Asia which lasted from June 11 to 22 and during which he visited Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei Darussalam."

  "Archbishop Lajolo met with prelates from the Bishop's Conference of Thailand, as well as with the archbishop of Kuala Lumpur, the archbishop of Singapore, and the apostolic vicar for Brunei Darussalam. He also held talks with George Yong-Boon Yeo, foreign minister of Singapore, and with Vice Sultan Prince Haji Mohamed Bolkiah, foreign minister of Brunei.

  "In the course of his meetings with the diplomatic heads, attention was given to various aspects of the presence and life of the Catholic Church in those countries. Discussions particularly focussed on the situation of bilateral relations and other aspects of international affairs, with special reference to the southeast Asian region.

  "On Sunday, June 12, Archbishop Lajolo travelled to the parish of Our Lady of Assumption on the island of Phuket, Thailand, where he celebrated a Mass for the victims of the tsunami that devastated the region on December 26, 2004. He then inaugurated, in the village of Tha Chu, a number of small houses built by the Catholic Church for the families of fishermen struck by the tidal wave.

  "On Friday, June 17, in the city of Singapore, the secretary for Relations with States attended the inauguration of the exhibition: 'The Journey of Faith, Art and History from the Vatican Collections', which has been organized by the Vatican Museums and by the Asian Civilizations Museum, and participated in a well-received conference on the nature and aims of pontifical diplomacy."
OP/SOUTHEAST ASIA TRIP/LAJOLO                    VIS 20050622 (310)

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