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Friday, January 21, 2005


VATICAN CITY, JAN 21, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience Bishop Demetrio Fernandez Gonzalez of Tarazona, Spain, on his "ad limina" visit.
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POPE JOHN PAUL, in liturgical memory of the virgin-martyr St. Agnes, whose feast is today and for whom the traditional symbol is a lamb, blessed some baby lambs in the library of his apartment. The wool of these lambs will be used to make the palliums given every year to new metropolitan archbishops as signs of their office. The blessing of lambs, who are under one year of age, is traditionally celebrated on the January 21 feast of St. Agnes, who died about 350 and who is buried in the basilica named for her on Rome's Via Nomentana. The lambs are raised by Trappist Fathers of the Abbey of the Three Fountains in Rome and the palliums are made from the newly-shorn wool by the sisters of St. Cecilia.

ARCHBISHOP JOHN FOLEY, PRESIDENT of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications yesterday inaugurated the Cardinal Deskur Room located in the council offices in the Palazzo San Carlo in the Vatican. Cardinal Deskur is the president emeritus of the social communications council. Archbishop Foley noted that the newly restored room, which is the projection room of the Vatican Film Library, "has hosted many film premieres for a select audience and the Holy Father also has been a guest several times, showing his interest in the world of cinema." Three short films were projected yesterday: "Leo XIII" in the Vatican Gardens, from 1896, "The Inferno" and "The View of Michelangelo."
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VATICAN CITY, JAN 21, 2005 (VIS) - Sixty members of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry, meeting in the Vatican for their plenary session, were welcomed by the Pope this morning, who noted that 2005 marks the 20th anniversary of the founding of the council whose aim is "to spread the Gospel of Christian hope in the vast world of those who suffer and those called to care for them."

  This period, he added, "will also be for you a stimulus to a renewed commitment in translating into action your programs for 'spreading, explaining and defending the teachings of the Church in matters of health and favoring their dissemination into health care practices', according to the Motu Proprio 'Dolentium hominum' which established the council."

  The Holy Father said that "the Church, in her pastoral action, is called to face the most delicate and inescapable questions that arise in the human soul in the face of suffering, sickness and death. It is from faith in Christ, Who died and rose from the dead, that those questions can find the comfort of hope that does not delude. The world today, which often does not have the light of this hope, suggests solutions of death. Thus, the urgency to promote a new evangelization and a strong witness of  active faith in these many secularized areas."

  "The Pontifical Council," he continued, "does well, therefore, to focus its reflections and programs on the sanctification of the period of sickness and on the special role that sick people play in the Church and in the family by virtue of the living presence of Christ in every suffering person."

  Church leaders, said John Paul II, also have a responsibility to pay attention "to the structures where the sick person suffers some form of marginalization and lack of social support. This attention must also be extended to those areas of the world where the neediest sick people, notwithstanding medical progress, lack medicines and adequate assistance. The Church must have a special concern for those areas of the world where AIDS patients have no assistance. For this reason the 'Good Samaritan' Foundation was  created with the aim of contributing to help the most vulnerable populations with the necessary therapeutic support."
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VATICAN CITY, JAN 21, 2005 (VIS) - This morning, the Pope received members and counselors of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, who are participating in their plenary session on the theme: "Sunday Mass, center of Christian life in Latin America."

  The Pope expressed his joy that, during the Year of the Eucharist, they had chosen to reflect on "various initiatives to rediscover and fully 'experience Sunday as the day of the Lord and the day of the Church'," as proposed in the Apostolic Letter "Mane nobiscum Domine."

  "Participation in Sunday Mass," said the Pope, "is not only an important obligation, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church (no. 1389) makes quite clear, but above all a profound need of each individual faithful. It is not possible to experience faith without participating regularly in Sunday Mass: the sacrifice of redemption, the shared banquet of the Word of God and of the Bread of the Eucharist, heart of Christian life."

  John Paul II underlined the "renewed efforts" by pastors of the Church to "raise awareness of the centrality of Sunday in the ecclesial and social life of the men and women of today. ... To this end it is necessary to concentrate efforts on a better and more careful education and catechesis of the faithful about the Eucharist, and to ensure that the celebration is dignified and decorous, so that it inspires true respect and authentic piety in the face of the greatness of the Eucharistic mystery."

  "Sunday Mass," he went on, "must be correctly prepared by the celebrant, with a spiritual disposition which is then revealed in his words and gestures, just as the homily must be prepared in an appropriate way." On this subject, the Pope referred to the importance of choosing and preparing "the hymns, symbols and other elements that enrich the liturgy, always showing due respect for established norms, taking advantage of all the spiritual and pastoral richness of the Roman Missal and the directives proposed by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments."

  The Holy Father concluded by asking the bishops, in collaboration with priests, religious and faithful, to give "the maximum commitment to reflecting on and deepening this essential dimension of the sacramental life of the Church," and to work "to awaken an ever greater love for the Mystery of the Eucharist in their dioceses."
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VATICAN CITY, JAN 20, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

 - Cardinal Camillo Ruini, vicar general for the diocese of Rome and president of the Italian Episcopal Conference, as his special envoy to the 24th Italian Eucharistic Congress which will be held in Bari, Italy, from May 21 to 29, 2005.

 - Msgr. Ercole Boggio-Bozzo, adjunct defender of the bond of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota, as defender of the bond of the same tribunal.
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