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Wednesday, January 5, 2005


VATICAN CITY, JAN 5, 2005 (VIS) - The following prelates have died in recent weeks:

- Archbishop Salvatore Asta, apostolic nuncio, on December 30, 2004, at the age of 89.

- Bishop Otavio Barbosa Aguiar, emeritus of Palmeira dos Indios, Brazil, on December 8, 2004, at the age of 91.

- Bishop Pietro Fiordelli, emeritus of Prato, Italy, on December 23, 2004, at the age of 88.

- Bishop Gabriel Lee Gab-sou, emeritus of Pusan, Korea, on December 21, 2004, at the age of 80.

- Bishop Lawrence James McNamara, emeritus of Grand Island, USA, on December 17, 2004, at the age of 76.

- Bishop Thomas Kevin O'Brien, auxiliary of Middlesbrough, UK, on December 27, 2004, at the age of 81.

- Bishop Longinus Gabriel Pereira, auxiliary of Bombay, India, on December 20, 2004, at the age of 93.
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VATICAN CITY, JAN 5, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Joseph Konnath, head of the Mar Theophilos Teacher Training College, as auxiliary bishop of the Archeparchy of Trivandrum of the Syro-Malankarese (area 8,684, population 8,520,000, Catholics 260,000, priests 267, religious 937), India, also giving him the post of apostolic visitor to Syro-Malankarese faithful resident in Europe and North America. The bishop-elect was born in Vadasserika, India, in 1952, and ordained a priest in 1978.
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VATICAN CITY, JAN 5, 2005 (VIS) - At 8 p.m. today in the Basilica of St Mary Major, a concert will be held as a mark of solidarity with people affected by the tidal wake that struck Asia on 26 December last year.

  According to a communique made public this afternoon, the invitation to attend the concert is extended especially to people from the countries involved in the disaster, and to those who have lost their loved ones.

  The concert will include performances by the choir of the Basilica of St Mary Major and by the Nova Amadeus Chamber Ensemble, conducted by Msgr. Valentin Miserach Gran. Attendance is free, but anyone wishing to do so may make a donation, which will be passed on through the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum" to the victims of the catastrophe.
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VATICAN CITY, JAN 5, 2005 (VIS) - In this year's first general audience, held in the Paul VI Hall, the Holy Father recalled that "in this holy season we contemplate the great mystery of the birth of Jesus, in whom God definitively enters history and offers salvation to men and women of all times and places.

  "It is precisely this universal dimension of salvation", the Pope continued, "that tomorrow's Solemnity of the Epiphany celebrates: the Son of God is recognized and adored by the Magi, who represent the entire human race".

  John Paul II stressed how "the good news of salvation is thus intended from the very beginning for all peoples of the world. We commend this missionary task of all Christians to Mary, Mother of the Church. We also place under her protection this new year, marked as it is by a deep concern for the sufferings which the people of Southeast Asia are presently undergoing.

  "We ask our Lady to watch over the whole world, praying that ancient Marian hymn sung at the beginning of this audience:  Loving Mother of the Redeemer, Queen of peace, assist your people, defend them from all danger, be with the Church on her journey to our heavenly home. Amen".

  Among his multilingual greetings to the 5,000 people present, the Pope also spoke in Polish to members of the Krakow Sporting Club, which is currently celebrating its centenary, saying: "I have been associated with the club for many years. I wish you great success both in sport and education". Yesterday evening, the Pope granted an audience to players and trainers of the Krakow football club who presented him a shirt marked with the number one and the name Karol Wojtyla, as a reminder of when he used to play as goalkeeper.

  In closing, John Paul II recalled that Europe is dedicating this day to mourning for the many victims of the tidal wave "that tragically devastated Southeast Asia. Once again, I ask everyone to join my prayers for the many dead and for those people suffering acute difficulties".

  At midday, the faithful in the Paul VI Hall accompanied the Pope in observing three minutes of silence. They then prayed the Our Father and a Hail Mary.
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