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Saturday, April 9, 2005


VATICAN CITY, APR 9, 2005 (VIS) - The Philatelic and Numismatic Office of the Governorate of Vatican City announced today that on Tuesday, April 12 the series of stamps for the "sede vacante" or vacant see 2005 will be issued.

   According to today's communique from the philatelic office, the series, composed of three stamps which have the same subject and bear the insignia of the Apostolic Camera, will be sold directly and exclusively by the post offices of Vatican City and the sales offices of the Office for Pilgrims and Tourists, located in St. Peter's Square, according to their respective opening hours to the public.

  This series of vacant see stamps will be valid only and exclusively during the period of the vacant see.

  The communique adds that "the philatelic office will inform users of its services, via bulletins and forms, how to acquire the stamps and their price. Subscribers will receive the series according to the quantity and established times for ordinary issuances."
SCV/VACANT SEE STAMPS/...                    VIS 20050409 (190)


VATICAN CITY, APR 9, 2005 (VIS) - At the end of today's Sixth General Congregation of Cardinals during the vacant see period, Holy See Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro-Valls, in a briefing held for accredited journalists in the press office, released the following information:

  "The Sixth General Congregation of Cardinals during the vacant see period was held this morning in the New Synod Hall.

  "After the opening prayer the cardinals who joined the assembly today took their oath. There were 130 cardinals present.

  "Cardinal Trujillo expressed gratitude to many people for yesterday's ceremony: Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, dean of the College of Cardinals, Cardinal Eduardo Martinez Somalo, camerlengo of Holy Roman Church, and the diverse Vatican services; the Secretariat of State, the Office of the Master of Liturgical Celebrations for the preparation, organization and unfolding of yesterday's intense funeral ceremony

  "He then expressed a heartfelt thank-you to all the pilgrims present, especially those from Poland and from all of Italy, just as he gave thanks for the welcome provided by the city of Rome for this exceptional pilgrimage.

  "At the meeting, particular thanks were expressed to the Italian authorities for the perfect and much-appreciated organization of the exceptional events of these days.

  "Certain considerations were then made concerning the celebration, beginning with yesterday's funeral Mass, of the 'novendiali' (nine days of mourning) for the late Supreme Pontiff.

  "The cardinals examined certain questions concerning their entry into the 'Domus Sanctae Marthae' and the formal start of the Conclave, due to begin on Monday, April 18 at 4.30 p.m.

  "The cardinals, after the funeral Mass of the Holy Father, began a more intense period of silence and prayer, in view of the conclave. They unanimously decided to avoid interviews and encounters with the media. Journalists are therefore courteously invited to abstain from asking the cardinals for interviews or any other comments. This invitation should not be seen as an attitude of discourtesy or disinterest with regards to the media - in fact the cardinals wish to thank them for the enormous interest with which they are following events in this period - but rather as a gesture of great responsibility.

  "Chapters 1 and 2 of the Apostolic Constitution 'Universi Dominici gregis' were read in the hall.

  "Two cardinals have communicated that they will be unable to attend for reasons of health: Jaime L. Sin, archbishop emeritus of Manila, the Philippines, and Adolfo Antonio Suarez Rivera, archbishop emeritus of Monterrey, Mexico."

  Navarro-Valls added that the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See will be invited to the Mass "pro eligendo  Summo Pontifice" on Monday morning, April 18. He also said that anyone who wished to attend any of the remaining eight Masses of the novendiali, starting today at 5 p.m., may do so. There will be no tickets for these celebrations.

  He also said that he had received countless questions about the beatification process for John Paul II and noted that this is entirely up to the new Supreme Pontiff.


VATICAN CITY, APR 9, 2005 (VIS) - Holy See Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro-Valls released the following statement yesterday afternoon to journalists:

  "The Holy See feels a duty to thank the Italian government and the city of Rome for the dedication and the efficiency with which they welcomed the millions of pilgrims who came to Rome to pay their final farewell to John Paul II and to participate in his funeral. It was an exceptional event, and run in a truly exception manner.

  "It also wishes to underline the availability and generosity of all the people involved in organizing an event that was both without precedent and unpredictable in all of its dimensions.

  "Special thanks go to the thousands of volunteers from all of Italy who gave of themselves with tireless dedication, together with the Italian Civil Protection and the forces of law and order to assure an orderly and tranquil flow of pilgrims.

  "Lastly, special applause goes to all the citizens of Rome for their collaboration and patience in accepting the inevitable discomfort of these days. Rome has once again given proof of its millennia-old civility and its attachment to the deceased Pontiff."

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