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Wednesday, April 30, 2003


VATICAN CITY, APR 30, 2003 - In this Wednesday's general audience celebrated in St. Peter's Square, the Pope resumed the catecheses on the Psalms, commenting on Psalm 100, "Way of a king, faithful to God."

John Paul II explained that Psalm 100 is "a meditation that paints the figure of an ideal political ruler" who is characterized by "perfect moral integrity and a resolute commitment to fighting against injustice. The text is presented as a way of life for the faithful who begin their day of work and of relations with their neighbor."

In the first part, the Holy Father said, "personal life decisions, made with 'a whole heart', that is with perfect rectitude of conscience, are praised." The "wisdom that helps one to understand and to judge well" is noted, as is the "struggle against every form of evil and injustice."

The Pope indicated that the psalm also points out "the importance of the more typical public and social gifts. ... Above all, the struggle against calumny and detraction. In addition, it rejects all arrogance and pride; and refuses the company and counsel of those who always use trickery and lies."

After referring to the last verse of the psalm which speaks about destroying the sinners of the land, John Paul II emphasized that with this sentence proclaimed by the king, who exercises the function of judge, "he expresses his firm commitment to combat criminality, a necessary commitment shared by all those who exercise responsibility in public administration."

The Holy Father concluded by emphasizing that all the faithful are called "every morning to uproot from their hearts and their conduct the evil plant of corruption and violence, perversion and wickedness, as well as every form of selfishness and injustice."

At the end of the audience, John Paul II recalled that tomorrow, with the feast of St. Joseph the Worker, we start the month of May, which is dedicated to Our Lady. "Today we entrust the world of work to the Holy Virgin and especially to her chaste spouse Joseph. May St. Joseph, who knew the fatigue of daily work well, be an example and a support to all those look after the needs of the family and the entire human community."

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VATICAN CITY, APR 30, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father's general prayer intention for the month of May is: "That children in difficulty and those who devote themselves to their care, may find in Mary, Mother of life, constant support and help."

His missionary intention is: "That in the local Churches of Asia, the Holy Spirit may kindle renewed ardor for evangelizing the entire Continent."

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VATICAN CITY, APR 30, 2003 (VIS) - Pope John Paul II, when he was elected to the papacy on October 16, 1978, became the 263rd successor to St. Peter, the first Pope. As of today, John Paul's pontificate becomes the fourth longest in the two millennium-old history of the Catholic Church at 24 years, 6 months and 8 days, having just surpassed Pius VI. The date is calculated as of October 22, 1978, the official start of his papacy.
Only three Roman Pontiffs have now reigned longer than Pope John Paul. In ascending order they are: Leo XIII (25 years, 5 months), Pius IX (31 years, 7 months, 21 days) and St. Peter (precise dates unknown).

In this almost-quarter-of-a-century reign, the Holy Father has amassed unparalleled statistics, including 98 foreign apostolic trips (the May 3-4 trip to Madrid will be his 99th), and 142 within Italy, not including those to various institutions in his diocese of Rome, for a total of nearly three-quarters of a million miles. He has written 14 encyclicals, 13 apostolic exhortations, 11 apostolic constitutions, 42 apostolic letters and 28 Motu proprio.

John Paul II has proclaimed 1,314 Blesseds in 138 ceremonies and, as of Sunday, May 4, will have proclaimed 469 Saints in 48 liturgical celebrations. He has held eight consistories for the creation of cardinals and has named a total of 201 cardinals. The last consistory was February 2001. The current College of Cardinals is comprised of 168 members, of whom 112 are eligible to vote in a conclave.

Over the years the Pope has held 1,083 weekly general audiences, including today's audience, and has welcomed nearly 17 million faithful from every part of the world. Other audiences, including various groups and heads of State and government, total just over 1,500.

In addition to these figures, Pope John Paul II has achieved many "firsts" in his long reign. To name but a few, he is the first Pope to ever visit a synagogue (Rome, April 1986); to visit a mosque (May 2001, Omayyad Great Mosque of Damascus); to hold press conferences in airplanes and one in the Holy See Press Office (January 24, 1994); to publish books of prose and poetry; to stay at a hotel instead of residing in the apostolic nunciature during his travels (Irshad Hotel in Baku, Azerbaijan, May 2002); to add five new mysteries to the Rosary (October 2002); to say Mass in an airplane hangar (December 1992, Rome's Leonardo da Vinci Airport); to call for a Day of Pardon (Jubilee Year 2000).

As the most peripatetic Pontiff in history, John Paul II has visited 133 countries, the overwhelming majority of which were welcoming a Pope for the first time.

He is also the first Pope: to visit a prison cell (when he spoke in December 1983 with Ali Agca, the Turk who made an attempt on his life in 1981 in St. Peter's Square); to say Mass in the northernmost Catholic community in the world, over 350 kilometers north of the Arctic Polar Circle (Tromso, Norway 1989); to use a letter (the letter "M" for Mary) on his papal crest (normally heraldic rules allow words around a crest, but not on it).



VATICAN CITY, APR 30, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Appointed Fr. Marco Eugenio Galrao Leite de Almeida, of the clergy of Aracaju, Brazil and pastor of St. Mark the Evangelist Parish, as bishop of Estancia (area 6,737, population 425,857, Catholics 419,652, priests 26, religious 70), Brazil. He succeeds Bishop Hildebrando Mendes Costa whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepteed upon having reached the age limit.

- Appointed Msgr. George William Coleman, diocesan administrator of the diocese of Fall River, U.S.A., as bishop of the same diocese (area 3,107, population 590,911, Catholics 350,570, priests 294, permanent deacons 62, religious 461). The bishop-elect was born in Fall River in 1939 and was ordained a priest in 1964.

- Appointed Fr. Enrique Diaz Diaz, episcopal vicar of the archdiocese of Morelia, Mexico, as auxiliary bishop of San Cristobal de Las Casas (area 36,821, population 1,531,372, Catholics 995,322, priests 73, permanent deacons 342, religious 264), Mexico. The bishop-elect was born in Huandacareo, Mexico in 1952 and was ordained a priest in 1977.

- Appointed Fr. Jeno Schonberger, of the clergy of the diocese of Satu Mare, Romania and pastor of Sighetu Marmatiei Parish, as bishop of the same diocese (area 10,500, population 925,000, Catholics 110,000, priests 74, religious 33). The bishop-elect was born in 1959 in Turulung, Romania, and was ordained a priest in 1985.

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VATICAN CITY, APR 30, 2003 (VIS) - The following declaration, made by the patriarchs and bishops of Iraq and dated April 29, was published by the Holy See Press Office this afternoon in both Italian and French. We present it in its entirety:

"At this moment when Iraq is turning a page and is beginning a new chapter in her millenary life, we, the patriarchs and bishops of the Christian Churches in Iraq, driven also by pressure from our faithful, wish to express our aspirations relative to the future of this country, in the hope that the Iraqi people, which has had a long history marked by defeats and successes, will be able, without religious or ethnic distinction, to live in freedom, justice and respect for interreligious and multiethnic coexistence.

"When Hammurabi sculpted his Code on the stone of this land, law became the basis of the development of civilization.

"When Abraham looked at the heavens above Ur, they opened up to him and, by this revelation, Abraham became the father of a multitude of peoples.

"When Christianity and Islam met, their respective 'holy ones' began the two religions in respectful and reciprocal coexistence.

"In addition, by virtue of our original right of belonging to the most ancient peoples of this land, we claim for ourselves and for all those who live in it today, whether a majority or minority, united by a long history of coexistence, the full right to live in a State of law, in peace, freedom, justice, and equality, according to the Human Rights Charter. Consequently, we - Chaldeans, Assyrians, Syrians, Armenians, Greeks and Latins - forming together one Christian community, ask that the new Iraqi constitution:

- recognize our religious, cultural, social and political rights;
- envision a legal statute in which each person will be considered according to their capacities, without discrimination, so that each may have the right to actively participate in the government and the service of this country;
- consider Christians as Iraqi citizens with full rights;
- guarantee the right to profess our faith according to our ancient traditions and our religious law, the right to educate our children according to Christian principles, the right to freely assemble, to build our places of worship, and our cultural and social centers according to our needs.
"And lastly, we make this appeal before everyone, the Iraqi people, rich in ethnicities and religions, the political and religious authorities, as well as to everyone who has the good of the country at heart, and to the leaders of the international community."

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Tuesday, April 29, 2003


VATICAN CITY, APR 29, 2003 (VIS) - Today the Pope's Message to Fr. Camilo Maccise, superior general of the Order of Discalced Carmelites, on the occasion of their 89th general ordinary chapter, was made public. The meeting is being celebrated from April 28 to May 18 in Avila, Spain.

In the Message, written in Spanish and dated April 21, John Paul II writes that the chapter's theme, 'On Our Way with St. Teresa and St. John of the Cross: Come Back to the Basics', underscores the order's firm will to remain faithful to the charism that, inspired by the Spirit in a determined historical and ecclesial context, has developed throughout the centuries and is destined to produce also today the fruits of sanctity in the Church' 'for the common good', responding to the challenges of the third millennium."

"I also repeat to you, as I have to other religious," he continues, "that you 'do not only have a glorious history to remember and to recount, but also a great history to create.' For this reason, it is necessary to make an effort to overcome every obstacle to the growth of the charism. The best service that one can provide to the gift received is the purification of the heart through worthy fruits of conversion."

The Holy Father emphasized that "in order to respond to the challenges of our times, the Church stresses the 'permanent task of examining in depth the signs of the times and of interpreting them in the light of the Gospel'."

Following the example of their founders and foundresses, the Pope adds, you must "start with Christ and His Gospel" according to the specific charism. In addition, "we must preserve His experience, and at the same time, "go deeper in it and develop it with the same openness and docility to the action of the Holy Spirit, in this way the fidelity and original experience is safeguarded as well as the way of responding appropriately to the changing demands of each moment in history."

After pointing out that "humanity is thirsty for genuine witnesses of Christ," the Pope concludes by saying: "In order to be a witness, it is necessary to proceed toward sanctity, which has already flourished abundantly in your religious family. I think about all the saints formed by the Carmelites, and especially in the inestimable heritage that St. Teresa and St. John of the Cross have left to your order and to the whole Church. 'Aspire to sanctity: this is, in short, the program of all consecrated life.'"



VATICAN CITY, APR 29, 2003 (VIS) - The Pope today welcomed members of the Pontifical Biblical Commission and their president, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, as they celebrate their annual plenary assembly on the theme "The Bible and Morals" and also commemorate the centenary of the institution of this pontifical commission.

Noting this anniversary, the Holy Father said that "the Pontifical Biblical Commission serves the cause of the Word of God according to the objectives that were established for it by my predecessors Leo XIII and Paul VI. It has gone forward with the times, sharing uneasiness and anxieties, concerning itself with indicating in the message of Revelation the answer that God offers to the serious problems that from era to era trouble mankind."

"One of these," he added, "is the object of your current research. You have summed it up in the title 'the Bible and Morals'. Everyone can see that there is a paradox: man today, disillusioned by so many unsatisfactory answers to the basic questions about life, seems to open himself to the voice that comes from the Transcendent Being and is expressed in the bible message. At the same time, however, he seems to be more and more intolerant of being asked to behave in harmony with the values that the Church has forever presented as founded on the Gospel. We thus see the most varied attempts to unlink biblical revelation from the most binding proposals of life."

In conclusion, the Pope pointed out that "an answer to this situation can be found in carefully listening to the Word of God, which has its fullest expression in the teaching of Christ."



VATICAN CITY, APR 29, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Bishop Mario Luis Bautista Maulion of San Nicolas de los Arroyos as metropolitan archbishop of the archdiocese of Parana, Argentina (area 30,348, population 450,232, Catholics 103,553, priests 22, religious 37). The archbishop-elect was born in Carcanara, Argentina in 1934 and was ordained a priest in 1960. He succeeds Archbishop Estanislao Esteban Karlic whose resignation from the pastoral care of same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted upon having reached the age limit.

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VATICAN CITY, APR 29, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father received today in audience Cardinal Edmund Casimir Szoka, president of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State, president of the Governorate of Vatican City State.

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Monday, April 28, 2003


VATICAN CITY, APR 26, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father this morning welcomed three groups to the Paul VI Hall, addressing each in their own language. He spoke to 300 members of the Association of Italian Catholic Scouts, 800 executives from a Spanish banking group, and 1,250 members of Polish Catholic Action.

He told the scouting leaders that he had "always admired the youthful enthusiasm that marked them as well as the ardent desire to faithfully follow the Gospel. Scouting was born as an educational path with its own method that fascinates children, adolescents, and young people and gives adults concrete opportunities to become educators." He added that the Church looks at this association with hope "because it is necessary to offer the new generations the opportunity to have personal experiences of Christ (in their lives)."

The Pope urged the leaders to create "dynamic and constructive relationships with the many lay groups that enrich the ecclesial community. You can actively cooperate with them to build a new society founded on justice, freedom, truth and love." He counselled them "to never fail to give the fascinating activity of scouting its daily nourishment of listening to the Word of God, prayer and an intense sacramental life."

John Paul II then addressed executives of the Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, who had come to Rome from Spain and Latin America on a pilgrimage. He told them that their work of collaborating in economic development "when well oriented, favors peaceful coexistence with citizens and allows for a life that is in accord with human dignity." Man should always, he added, be "the author, center and goal of all economic and social life."
"I wish to remind you," the Pope went on, "that interest in money, while legitimate, cannot be the principal motive or even the exclusive one of entrepreneurial or commercial activity, because such activity must take into account human factors and is subordinate to the moral exigencies proper to all human action."

He concluded by urging them to bring "the Christian commitment into the sphere of your activities, witnessing with words and deeds to the teachings of the ecclesial Magisterium on social matters."

Greeting his fellow countrymen in Polish, the Pope spoke of the long history of Catholic Action in the world, noting that it was re-born only ten years ago in Poland when he asked the Polish bishops to restore in the Church this form of lay apostolate. He added that Catholic Action, in the 20th century "became a school of formation for the laity who were preparing to courageously face secularization which was becoming ever more widespread." This is true today as well, he said.

He encouraged the members of Catholic action to face "the challenges brought on by secularization in various sectors of social life. As witnesses to the Gospel, welcome this challenge in all milieux: in families, the work place, in schools or universities. Welcome it, aware that 'the laity derive the duty and the right to this apostolate by their very union with Christ, the Head. ... Duty and Right. Precisely like this: you have the duty and the right to convey the Gospel, to witness to its actuality for modern man and to light up the faith in those who are far from God. If the Church recognizes your right, if she sustains you in it, she also reminds you that this is your duty."

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VATICAN CITY, APR 26, 2003 (VIS) - Pope John Paul sent a Message to Giuliana Cavallini who, on the occasion of the European symposium on St. Catherine of Siena, was accorded a Plaque of Honor by the Academic Senate of the St. Thomas Pontifical University for "the merits you have acquired during your long life, spent for the most part in studying and spreading the thought of the saint from Siena, a patroness of Europe."

The award, noted the Pope, was conferred upon the request of the Council of the Theological Faculty of the university, also known as the Angelicum.

"As a devoted spiritual daughter of St. Catherine," the Holy Father wrote, "you have illustrated her doctrinal richness, thanks also to the support of the Congregation of the School Missionaries ... of which you are an active member. ... Your untiring cultural and scientific activity has gone beyond the confines of Italy and has aroused a wide echo and growing appreciation in the various countries where you are recognized as an internationally famous expert on St. Catherine."



VATICAN CITY, APR 27, 2003 (VIS) - Today, Divine Mercy Sunday, at the end of the Mass celebrated in St. Peter's Square, during which he beatified six Servants of God, the Holy Father greeted the pilgrims who had come for the beatifications, following which everyone prayed the Regina Coeli, the prayer that substitutes the Angelus during the Easter Season.

The Pope welcomed "the priests, religious and faithful who animate the Divine Mercy Spirituality Center, active for the last ten years here in Rome in the church of the Holy Spirit in Sassia."

"The Risen Jesus," stated John Paul II, "encounters the disciples in the Cenacle and to them he offers the Easter gift of peace and mercy. How well we understand, meditating on today's pages from Scripture, that true peace comes from a heart that is reconciled, that has felt the joy of pardon and is therefore ready to pardon. The Church, gathered today spiritually in prayer in the Cenacle, presents her Lord with the joys and hopes, the pains and anguish of the entire world. And it also offers, as an efficacious remedy, 'divine mercy', asking her ministers to become its generous and faithful servants."

He concluded by entrusting to Mary in a special way the Churches of the East that today celebrate the Easter of the Resurrection.

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VATICAN CITY, APR 27, 2003 (VIS) - Today, the Second Sunday of Easter, also known as Divine Mercy Sunday, John Paul II beatified six Italian Servants of God, saying that in each of them "the loving and surprising mercy of God was manifested in a different way."

The Pope said in his homily that Blessed Giacomo Alberione, priest and founder of the Pauline Family, "felt the need to make Jesus Christ, the way, truth and life, known 'to the men of our time with the means of our time', as he liked to say. ... May his spiritual sons and daughters maintain intact the spirit of their origins in order to correspond appropriately to the demands of evangelization in the world today."

Speaking about the priest of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin, Blessed Marco d'Aviano, the Holy Father emphasized that "this itinerant contemplative carried out a vast spiritual renewal on the streets of Europe thanks to courageous preaching as well as several miracles." The new blessed, he added, reminds the European continent "that its unity will more stable if it is based on its common Christian roots."

"It is surprising," he continued, "what God accomplished through Maria Cristina Brando", virgin and foundress of the Congregation of Expiatory Victims of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. "Her spirituality was an expiatory and eucharistic spirituality that is articulated ... as 'two branches that come from the same trunk': love for God and for neighbor."

John Paul II said that Blessed Eugenia Ravasco, virgin and foundress of the Congregation of the Daughters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, "dedicated herself entirely to spreading the love of the hearts of Jesus and Mary. Contemplating these two hearts, she was passionate about service to her neighbor and lived life with joy for the young and the poor."

When referring to Blessed Maria Domenica Mantovani, virgin and co-foundress of the Institute of the Little Sisters of the Holy Family, he said, "her way of always being faithful to the will of God, by whom she felt loved and called, until her last breath was extraordinary. What a beautiful example of holiness for every believer!"

The Holy Father concluded by saying that Blessed Guilia Salzano, virgin and foundress of the Catechist Sisters of the Sacred Heart, "was an apostle of the new evangelization, in which apostolic activity was united to prayer, offered continuously in a special way for the conversion of people who were 'indifferent'. This new blessed encourages us to persevere in the faith and never to lose confidence in God."

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VATICAN CITY, APR 26, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father appealed to Fidel Castro, president of the Council of State and of the Government of the Republic of Cuba, through a letter written by Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano, asking clemency for penalties inflicted on a number of Cuban dissidents.

That letter and an introductory text, which follow in their entirety, were released today by the Holy See Press Office.

"Having learned the news of the heavy penalties inflicted on a sizeable group of Cuban dissidents, including three condemned to die, the Holy Father has charged Cardinal Angelo Sodano, secretary of State, to express to the president of the Republic of Cuba, Fidel Castro, his deep pain for such a harsh sentence.

"In the letter, which we publish here, the secretary of State expresses the profound pain of Pope John Paul II for the three death penalties and the 'deep sorrow' of the Supreme Pontiff for the 'penalties imposed on many Cuban citizens', asking, in the end, the president of the Republic of Cuba for 'a significant gesture of clemency for those condemned'."
Cardinal Sodano's letter reads:

"Distinguished President,

"With the approaching Easter season, I am happy, in the first place, to express my best wishes to you and the entire Cuban nation.

"In addition, I am carrying out the important duty of communicating to you that the Holy Father felt deeply afflicted when he was informed of the harsh penalties imposed recently on numerous Cuban citizens and also for several who received the death penalty.

"In the face of these facts, His Holiness has charged me with asking Your Excellency to fully consider a meaningful gesture of clemency for those condemned to die, with the certainty that such an act will contribute to creating a climate of greater distension for the benefit of the beloved Cuban people.

"I am sure that you share with me the conviction that only a sincere and constructive encounter between citizens and civil authorities can guarantee the promotion of a modern and democratic State in a Cuba ever more united and fraternal.

"I welcome this occasion to assure you, Mr. President, of sentiments of my highest and most distinguished consideration."



VATICAN CITY, APR 28, 2003 (VIS) - Today the Holy Father received in separate audiences:
- Archbishop Angelo Comastri, prelate of Loreto and pontifical delegate for the Shrine of Loreto, and an entourage.

- Bishop Wilton Daniel Gregory of Belleville, U.S.A., president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, accompanied by Bishop William Stephen Skylstad of Spokane, U.S.A., Msgr. William P. Fay, and Sister Lourdes Sheehan, R.S.M, respectively vice-president, secretary general and associate secretary general of the same conference.

On Saturday April 26, the Holy Father received in audience:

- Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza, apostolic nuncio in Bulgaria.

- Nina Kovalska, ambassador of the Ukraine, on her farewell visit.

- Blanca Elida Zuccolillo de Rodriguez Alcala, ambassador of Paraguay, on her farewell visit.

- Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.

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VATICAN CITY, APR 27, 2003 (VIS) - Today at noon in the Paul VI Hall, the Holy Father received in audience the pilgrims who participated yesterday in the beatifications of the Servants of God Giacomo Alberione, Marco D'Aviano, Maria Christina Brando, Eugenia Ravasco, Maria Domenica Mantovani and Guilia Salzano.

Recalling some aspects of the life of the blesseds, the Pope said that Fr. Giacomo Alberione, founder of the Pauline Family, "not only opened up the modern 'pulpits' of social communication to evangelization, but also conceived his work as an organic activity inside the Church and at its service."

The Holy Father asked Blessed Marco d'Aviano, priest of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin, "to protect Europe so that it may be able to build up its unity without neglecting its common Christian roots."

Addressing the spiritual daughters of Blessed Maria Cristina Brando, the Pope asked them to unite themselves to "Christ who sacrifices Himself for humanity in the Eucharist" and to spread "their love toward God in humble and daily service to needy brothers and sisters" while following the example of the foundress of the Congregation of the Expiatory Victims of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.

The Pope said that Blessed Eugenia Ravasco, foundress of the Congregation of the Daughters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, "became an ardent and untiring apostle, a zealous educator of youths, in particular of young girls, to whom she was not afraid to propose the high aims of Christian life."

Speaking about Blessed Maria Domenica Mantovani, co-foundress of the Institute of the Little Sisters of the Holy Family, John Paul II urged them to learn from her "how to respond promptly to the voice of God who calls every baptized person to aim for sanctity in the ordinary circumstances of every day life."

The Pope concluded by expressing the desire that the spiritual sons and daughters of Blessed Guilia Salzano, foundress of the Congregation of the Catechist Sisters of the Sacred Heart, follow "with joy the footsteps traced by their foundress, ready to face every sacrifice necessary to carry out the mission that God entrusts you."

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VATICAN CITY, APR 28, 2003 (VIS) - The pope today welcomed to the Vatican the new ambassador from the Czech Republic, Pavel Jajtner, as he presented his Letters of Credence.

The Pope, speaking English, noted that "the Church's diplomatic relations form a part of her mission of service to the human family. While that mission is eminently spiritual and therefore distinct from the political order, her heartfelt desire to foster fruitful relations with civil society stems from her long experience of seeking to apply the universal values pertaining to truth and love to the vast array of cultures and nations that constitute our world. Indeed, it is precisely the task of promoting an understanding of the dignity of the human person and fostering peace among peoples ' essential conditions for the authentic development of individuals and nations ' that motivates the Holy See's diplomatic activity."

Pointing to "the political freedom that the Czech people now enjoy," he added: "History teaches us that the journey from oppression to liberty is arduous, often marked by the lure of false forms of freedom and hollow promises of hope. While economic development and the accompanying social transformation have benefitted many in your country, the weaker members of society, particularly the poor, the marginalized, and the sick and elderly, must be protected.

"Authentic development can never be attained solely through economic means," John Paul II went on. "In fact what has become known as the 'idolatry of the market' ' a consequence of the so-called 'civilization of consumption' ' tends to reduce persons to things and to subordinate being to having. This seriously detracts from the dignity of the human person and makes promotion of human solidarity difficult at best. Instead, recognition of the spiritual nature of the human person and a renewed appreciation of the moral character of social and economic development must be acknowledged as prerequisites for the transformation of society into a true civilization of love."

The Holy Father remarked that, as the world enters the third millennium, countries, individuals and groups in Europe are reflecting on "the fundamental and defining role of Christianity in their particular cultures. Indeed, you yourself noted that the truths and values of Christianity have long been the foundation of the very fabric of European society, giving form to its civic and political institutions." He underscored the importance of Christian teaching that "vigorously affirms and defends the source of the human person's dignity and his place in God's design."

"In this context," Pope John Paul affirmed, "we cannot fail to be concerned that an eclipse of the sense of God has resulted in an eclipse of the sense of man and of the sublime wonder of life to which he is called. While the tragic calamities of war and dictatorship continue to disfigure violently God's loving plan for humanity, so too the more subtle encroachments of increasing materialism, utilitarianism, and marginalization of faith gradually undermine the true nature of life as a gift from God. As the nations of Europe move towards a new configuration, the desire to respond to the challenges of a changing world order must be informed by the Church's perennial proclamation of the truth which sets people free and which enables cultural and civic institutions to make genuine progress."



VATICAN CITY, APR 28, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Cardinal Julius Riyadi Darmaatmadja, archbishop of Jakarta, Indonesia, and Archbishop Juan Sandoval Iniguez of Guadalajara, Mexico, as members of the Pontifical Council for Culture.

On Saturday April 26 it was made public that the Holy Father:

- Appointed Cardinal Jozef Tomko, president of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses, as his special envoy to the ceremony in which the relics of Blessed Teodor Rornzha will be relocated. This ceremony will take place in the Ukraine on June 28, 2003.

- Appointed Archbishop Adriano Bernardini, apostolic nuncio in Thailand, Singapore and Cambodia, as apostolic delegate in Myanmar, Laos, Malaysia and Brunei.

- Appointed Bishop Joseph Ngo Quang Kiet of Lang Son et Cao Bang, Vietnam as apostolic administrator "sede plena" of the archdiocese of Hanoi (area 7,000, population 6,000,000, Catholics 305,000, priests 49, religious 325), Vietnam.

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Friday, April 25, 2003


VATICAN CITY, APR 25, 2003 (VIS) - The Pontifical Biblical Commission will hold its annual plenary session in the Vatican's Domus Sanctae Marthae from April 28 to May 2 on the theme of the relationship between the Bible and morals. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, president of the commission and prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, will preside at the meeting. Fr. Klemens Stock, S.J., will lead the work sessions.

The afternoon of May 2 there will be a celebratory session in the Augustinianum Patristic Institute to mark the centenary of the Biblical Commission. The third and final report commemorating this anniversary will be given by Cardinal Ratzinger on "The Magisterium of the Church and Exegesis. Their Relationship in the Light of the 100 years of the Pontifical Biblical Commission."

The Commission has 19 members in addition to Cardinal Ratzinger, Fr. Stock and Fr. Alessandro Belano, F.D.P. respectively president, secretary and technical secretary.
On October 30, 1902 Pope Leo XIII instituted the Pontifical Commission for Bible Studies with the Apostolic Letter "Vigilantiae studiique," assigning it the task of promoting Bible studies and taking care to see that they were free from error. Pope St. Pius X in 1904 gave the commission the faculty of conferring academic degrees in Bible studies. Pius XI, in 1924 and again in 1931, made the degrees given by the commission equal to those conferred by pontifical athenaeums. In 1942 Pope Pius XII divided the subject matter of the licentiate, allowing the bachelor's degree to be given after the first exam.

Pope Paul VI, with the Motu proprio "Sedula cura" of June 27, 1971, completely reorganized the Pontifical Biblical Commission, linking it with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, whose prefect is "ex officio" the president of the commission.

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VATICAN CITY, APR 25, 2003 (VIS) - This afternoon at the conference center of Gesu Maestro Church in Rome, Archbishop John P. Foley, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, will speak at a round table discussion on "Fr. Giacomo Alberione: 'All of Christ for All Men with All Means." Fr. Alberione, founder of the Pauline Family, will be beatified this Sunday in Rome by Pope John Paul.

Today's forum is part of a weeklong celebration of the beatification of Servant of God Giacomo Alberione, who lived from 1884 to 1971.

Fr. Alberione initiated the Pauline Family when he founded the Pious Society of St. Paul in 1914, followed a year later by the institution of the Daughters of St. Paul. In 1924, following a serious illness the previous year, Fr. Alberione founded a second feminine congregation: the Pious Disciples of the Divine Master. A third feminine congregation, the Sisters of Jesus the Good Shepherd, or Pastorelle Sisters, was born in 1938. The Pauline family was completed between 1957 and 1960 with the founding of a fourth feminine congregation, the Queen of the Apostles Institute for Vocations, also known as the Apostoline Sisters.

The future Blessed founded many publications during his life, including weekly and monthly magazines, one of the most famous being the Italian weekly "Famiglia Cristiana" (Christian Family), as well as a weekly children's magazine, "Il Giornalino" (The Little Newspaper).

He also built the church of St. Paul in Alba, two churches to the Divine Master, in Alba and Rome, and Queen of the Apostles Shrine in Rome. Fr. Alberione attended daily sessions of Vatican Council II for the three years of its duration (1962-65).



VATICAN CITY, APR 25, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Appointed Fr. Ricardo Antonio Tobon Restrepo, local secretary of the Apostolic Nunciature in Colombia, as bishop of Sonson - Rionegro (area 7,300, population 735,000, Catholics 698,000, priests 226, religious 718), Colombia. The bishop-elect was born in 1951 in Ituango, Colombia and was ordained a priest in 1975.

- Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the Apostolic Vicariate of Tierradentro, Colombia presented by Bishop Jorge Garcia Isaza, C.M., upon having reached the age limit.

- Appointed Msgr. Cristian Contreras Villaroel, vicar general of the archdiocese of Santiago de Chile, Chile as auxiliary bishop of the same archdiocese (area 9,132, population 5,219,199, Catholics 3,862,207, priests 799, permanent deacons 12, religious 4,109). The bishop-elect was born in 1959 in Santiago de Chile and was ordained a priest in 1984.

- Appointed Msgr. Dominic Mai Luong, pastor of Mary Queen of Vietnam Parish in New Orleans, U.S.A., as auxiliary bishop of the diocese of Orange in California (area 2,025, population 2,846,289, Catholics 1,110,508, priests 273, permanent deacons 59, religious 484), U.S.A. The bishop-elect was born in Minh Cuong, Vietnam in 1940 and was ordained a priest in 1966.

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Thursday, April 24, 2003


VATICAN CITY, APR 24, 2003 (VIS) - On Sunday, April 27, Divine Mercy Sunday, Pope John Pope will beatify six Servants of God during a Eucharistic celebration starting at 10 a.m. in St. Peter's Square.

The future Blesseds are: Giacomo Alberione, priest, founder of the Pauline family; Marco D'Aviano, priest, of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin; Maria Cristina Brando, virgin, foundress of the Congregation of Sisters, Victims Expiators of Jesus of the Sacrament; Eugenia Ravasco, virgin, foundress of the Congregation of the Daughters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary; Maria Domenica Mantovani, virgin, co-foundress of the Institute of Little Sisters of the Sacred Family; Giulia Salzano, virgin, foundress of the Congregation of Sisters, Catechists of the Sacred Heart.

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VATICAN CITY, APR 24, 2003 (VIS) - Pope John Paul this morning at 10:30 in St. Peter's Basilica, presided at the funeral Mass for Cardinal Aurelio Sabattani, who died Holy Saturday, April 19, at the age of 90. In his long years of service to the Holy See, the cardinal had been prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, archpriest of the Vatican Basilica, vicar general for Vatican City and president of the Fabric of St. Peter's.

"'Blessed'!" said the Pope in his homily, referring to today's Gospel of the Beatitudes. "Jesus proclaimed as blessed those who followed him, day after day, going against the current with respect to the logic of the world. It seems that, even in the limits of every human existence, our brother, who gave a multi-faceted and generous service to the Church, belongs to this large group of Jesus' faithful disciples."

The Holy Father noted that "our ultimate home and our 'recompense', as Jesus recalls in the Gospel, are not of this earth, but of heaven. Our dearly beloved cardinal was well aware of this as, in his spiritual testament, he recommended to those close to him to 'live in the faith and grace of God, the only thing that has definitive value. Indeed, he knew well that, precisely in conforming one's own will to that of Christ, especially in life's difficult and agonizing moments, the believer becomes worthy of the Gospel Beatitudes."

In his spiritual testament, the Pope went on, Cardinal Sabattani, "recognizing that he had been blessed by God with continuous and singular advantages, has now presented himself for judgment, after having personally exercised the office of judge in the Church. He presented himself with serene trust, as he declared, aware of having always been motivated by the desire to serve Christ and the Church."

After mentioning Cardinal Sabattani's "final years marked by much suffering," John Paul II reviewed his long life and years of faithful service to the Holy See.

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VATICAN CITY, APR 24, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Appointed the following people as members of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum": Fr. Massimo Cenci, P.I.M.E., undersecretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples; Msgr. Frank J. Dewane, undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace; Fr. Salvador Lopez Mora of "Caritas" in Mexico; Fr. Michael Yeung of "Caritas" in Hong Kong; Jose Sanchez Faba, president of "Caritas" in Spain.

- Appointed Fr. Ladislav Hucko, spiritual director of the Major Seminary in Kosice, Slovakia, as apostolic eparch for Catholics of the Byzantine rite resident in the Czech Republic (Catholics 250,000, priests 10, religious 21). The eparchial bishop-elect was born in 1948 in Presov, Slovakia and was ordained a priest in 1996. The Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the same apostolic eparchy presented by Bishop Ivan Ljavinec upon having reached the age limit.

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VATICAN CITY, APR 24, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience Bishop Frantisek Tondra of Spis, Slovakia.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2003


VATICAN CITY, APR 17, 2003 (VIS) - Today, Holy Thursday, at 9:30 a.m. in the Vatican Basilica, John Paul II concelebrated Chrism Mass with the cardinals, bishops and priests who are in Rome for Easter. After the renewal of priestly vows, the oils used for catechumens, the sick and confirmation were blessed.

In the homily, the Pope affirmed that every time that the Eucharist is celebrated "the mystery of Christ, the one and only high priest of the new and eternal Covenant, becomes present and effective."

The Holy Father urged priests "not to lose the spiritual enthusiasm of priestly ordination. And you, dear faithful, pray for priests that they may be careful dispensers of the gifts of divine grace, especially of God's mercy in the sacrament of Confession and of the Bread of Life in the Eucharist, living memorial of the death and resurrection of Christ."

"In order to emphasize the reality of the great memorial of the redemption," he concluded, "during the Mass of the Lord's Supper, I will sign the encyclical 'Ecclesia de Eucharistia' which I wanted to direct in a special way to you, dear priests, in place of the usual letter on Holy Thursday. Accept it as a special gift on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of my petrine ministry and make it known to the souls entrusted to your pastoral care."

At 5:30 p.m., John Paul II presided in St. Peter's Basilica at the Eucharistic concelebration of the Lord's Supper during which he signed the encyclical "Ecclesia de Eucharistia." Cardinals Joseph Ratzinger and Angelo Sodano washed the feet of 12 priests as is customary on Holy Thursday. During the presentation of the gifts, the Holy Father received an offering that will be sent to the people affected by the war in Iraq.

The Pope emphasized that "the washing of the feet and the sacrament of the Eucharist are two manifestations of the same mystery of love entrusted to the disciples 'because - Jesus says - you should also do as I have done to you'."

"The Eucharist," he exclaimed, "is a truly great mystery! It is a mystery that is 'incomprehensible' to human reason, but so bright to the eyes of faith! The Lord's Supper in the simplicity of the Eucharistic symbols - the shared bread and wine - is revealed as a supper of concrete fraternity. The message that comes from this supper is too clear to be ignored: those who participate in the Eucharistic celebration cannot remain insensitive to the poor and needy."

"In this context," continued the Holy Father, "I would like the money collected in this celebration to go to alleviate the urgent needs of those who suffer in Iraq due to the war. A heart that has experienced the Lord's love opens up spontaneously to charity toward our brothers and sisters."

John Paul II concluded by affirming that the Eucharist "is a great gift for the Church and for the world. Precisely so that greater attention may be reserved for the sacrament of the Eucharist, I wanted to offer to the entire community of believers an encyclical whose main theme is the Eucharistic mystery."

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VATICAN CITY, APR 18, 2003 (VIS) - As is customary on Good Friday, John Paul II heard confessions and presided at the celebration of the Lord's Passion in St. Peter's Basilica, and in the evening lead the Way of the Cross in the Colosseum.

Towards noon, the Pope went to St. Peter's Basilica where he heard the confessions of 10 people of different nationalities and afterward greeted the numerous faithful present in the basilica at that hour.

At 5 p.m., he presided at the celebration of the Lord's Passion, during which Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, O.F.M.Cap., preacher of the Papal Household, gave the homily. The liturgy continued with prayers of the faithful, veneration of the Cross and Holy Communion.

Shortly after 9:15 p.m., the Way of the Cross began in the Colosseum. Seated on the Palatine Hill which overlooks this monument, the Pope presided at the celebration in which 30,000 people participated. This year the Pope wrote the meditations on the Way of the Cross on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of his pontificate.

During the first 13 stations, Cardinal Camillo Ruini, vicar of Rome, and faithful from Colombia, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Egypt, the Holy Land, Italy and Iraq carried the cross. John Paul II carried the cross during the 14th and final station.

At the end, instead of reading a prepared text, the Holy Father spoke to the crowd spontaneously. "'Ecce lignum crucis in quo salus mundi pependit...Venite adoremus'. We heard this word," he said, "in today's liturgy: here is the wood of the cross. This is the key word on Good Friday. ... The day after tomorrow we will sing: 'Surrexit de sepulchro...qui pro nobis pependit in ligno'."
"I hope that everyone lives this Triduum as deeply as possible. We are here, as we are every year, in the Colosseum. It is a symbol. ... It is difficult to find another place where the mystery of the Cross speaks more eloquently than here, in front of the Colosseum."

In the text that he had prepared, the Pope wrote: "How many of our brothers and sisters are re-living the drama of Calvary in the flesh! So many are the forgotten 'ways of the cross'! I think about the tragic images of violence, wars and conflicts, that reach us daily from so many places; the pain and suffering of individuals and peoples of every continent; death due to hunger and the poverty of thousands of innocent adults and children; the offenses against human dignity, unfortunately perpetrated at times in the name of God. Can we remain indifferent to this excruciating cry of distress that is raised from so many parts of the planet?"

"When human beings keep silent, powerless before these distressing questions, faith offers the answer. It is an answer that is found in the same event we commemorate today: the death of Christ. ... The definitive victory does not belong to death. The last word belongs to God, Who will rise on the third day, the only-begotten Son, sacrificed for us."

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VATICAN CITY, APR 17, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

- Bishop Jerzy Mazur, S.V.D., of St. Joseph in Irkutsk, Russian Federation, as bishop of Elk (area 11,000, population 470,000, Catholics 440,000, priests 297, religious 176), Poland.

- Bishop Cyryl Klimowicz, auxiliary of Minsk-Mohilev, Belarus, as bishop of St. Joseph in Irkutsk (area 9,960,000, population 15,500,000, Catholics 49,000, priests 42, religious 80), Russian Federation.

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VATICAN CITY, APR 19, 2003 (VIS) - At 8 this evening in St. Peter's Basilica, the Pope presided at the solemn Easter vigil during which he administered Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist to seven catechumens from the United States, Italy, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Tunisia, Burundi and Japan.

The vigil began in the atrium of the basilica where the Holy Father blessed the new fire and the Easter candle. After the entrance procession to the altar with the candle and the singing of the "Exultet", the liturgy of the Word, the Baptismal liturgy and the Eucharistic liturgy took place.

During the homily, the Pope spoke of the women who go to the tomb where Jesus' body was laid but do not find Him because He has risen. "This upsetting news," he said, "destined to change the course of history from that moment on, continues to resound from generation to generation: an ancient proclamation, yet always new. It resonates once again during this Easter Vigil, mother of all vigils, and it is spreading at this very moment throughout all the earth."

"Oh sublime mystery of this Holy Night! The night in which we relive the extraordinary event of the Resurrection! If Christ were to have remained a prisoner of the tomb, humanity and all of creation, in a certain way, would have lost their meaning. But you, Christ, are truly risen," he exclaimed.

After recalling that through the sacrament of Baptism "one becomes a member of the people of the redeemed," the Holy Father addressed the seven catechumens who were about to receive the Sacraments of Christian initiation: Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist. "Entering in this way into the house of the Lord, you will be consecrated with the oil of happiness and can feed yourselves with the Bread of Heaven. Sustained by the power of the Holy Spirit, you will persevere in your faith in Christ, and courageously proclaim his Gospel."

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VATICAN CITY, APR 19, 2003 (VIS) - The following telegram was sent by Pope John Paul to Teresa Sabattani, the sister of Cardinal Aurelio Sabattani who died this morning at his home in Vatican City at the age of 90. Cardinal Sabattani was prefect emeritus of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, archpriest emeritus of the Vatican Basilica and vicar general emeritus for Vatican City.

"Upon having learned the sad news of the death of your dear brother Cardinal Aurelio Sabattini, I wish to express to you and to the family members my sincere participation in the mourning that afflicts all those who knew and esteemed the late cardinal, an illustrious jurist for so many years, an industrious collaborator of the Holy See in particular in the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura and as archpriest of St. Peter's Basilica, always giving an appreciated testimony of enthusiastic priestly zeal and of fidelity to the Gospel. While I raise fervent prayers to the Lord Jesus to give the late cardinal the eternal prize promised to His faithful disciples under the protection of the Virgin Mary, I send a special consoling Apostolic Blessing to you and to all those who mourn his loss."

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VATICAN CITY, APR 23, 2003 (VIS) - Pope John Paul dedicated the catechesis of today's general audience in St. Peter's Square to the Easter Octave, the days following Easter Sunday when the Church proclaims with great joy and hymns of praise and thanksgiving, that Jesus, through His death and resurrection, "freed man from the slavery of evil and sin."

The Pope pointed out that "Jesus appeared numerous times after His resurrection to the disciples," noting that "the Evangelist John, in particular, underscored the first words of the Risen Lord to His disciples. 'Peace to you'. ... This expression, 'peace to you', 'shalom' in Hebrew, contains and summarizes, in a certain way, the Easter message."

"Peace is born of a profound renewal in the hearts of men," the Holy Father explained. "It is not therefore the result of human efforts nor can it be achieved only thanks to agreements between persons and institutions. Rather it is a gift to be welcomed with generosity, preserved with care and made to be fruitful with maturity and responsibility. As anguishing as situations are and as strong as tensions and conflicts are, nothing can resist the efficacious renewal brought about by the Risen Christ. He is our peace."

John Paul II remarked that the Easter Octave concludes next Sunday, which is also known as Divine Mercy Sunday. "With His death on the Cross, Christ reconciled us with God and laid the foundations in the world for a fraternal coexistence among everyone. ... The blood of the redeemer has washed away our sins. We have thus experienced the renewing power of His pardon. Divine mercy opens our hearts to pardoning our brothers, and it is through pardon, offered and received, that peace is built in families and in every other milieu of life."

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VATICAN CITY, APR 21, 2003 (VIS) - Pope John Paul, appearing at noon at the window of his study overlooking St. Peter's Square, spoke briefly to the large crowd that had assembled there. After his remarks he led the recitation of the Regina Coeli, the prayer that replaces the Angelus during the Easter season.

The Pope noted that "Easter Monday is called 'Monday of the Angel' in memory of what happened at dawn the first day after Saturday. It was an angel, in fact, who gave heart to the women who, having run to the tomb, were dismayed and worried to see that it was empty. 'Don't be afraid!' he told them. 'He is risen, He is not here'. And the angel added: 'Now go' and announce this news to the Apostles."

The Holy Father said "the angel's words have great value for us too, as we always listen to them with innermost emotion. If Christ has risen, everything has changed and life and history take on a new meaning."

He pointed out that it was with "simplicity and clarity that Peter affirmed (to the crowds in Jerusalem) that Christ crucified is living, has risen and 'we are all witnesses to it'. Since then the Church has never ceased to proclaim the same good news. It is urgent for all men to know and encounter Christ, crucified and risen, and to allow themselves to be won over by Him. To all who welcome Him, He opens hearts to that true joy that makes human existence new, beautiful and rich with hope."

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VATICAN CITY, APR 20, 2003 (VIS) - In the presence of tens of thousands of faithful in a rain-soaked St. Peter's Square, Pope John Paul today celebrated his 25th Easter morning Mass of the Resurrection. At the end of Mass the Pope delivered his annual Easter Message, imparted the "Urbi et Orbi" (To the city and to the world) blessing, and greeted the faithful in 62 languages.

The world's faithful were linked to Vatican City via television and radio. Fifty-four countries and 80 television networks broadcast this morning's ceremonies, with commentaries being given in local languages. Dutch florists, for the 18th year in a row, provided the tens of thousands of flowers, flowering plants, trees and shrubs that decorated St. Peter's Square, many of which were in the Vatican colors of yellow and white. The trucks that delivered the flowers and plants, which were ordered from Holland last October, arrived in the Vatican between Holy Thursday and Holy Saturday. In his multi-lingual greetings, Pope John Paul had special words for the Dutch florists.

Following are excerpts from the Holy Father's Easter Message:

"'The Lord is risen from the tomb; for our sake He hung on the Cross'. Alleluia!"

"This proclamation is the foundation of the hope of all mankind. If Christ did not rise from the dead, not only would our faith be in vain but our hope would also be vain, for we would all still be held hostage by evil and death."

"'Peace be with you! This is the first greeting of the Risen One to His disciples; a greeting which echoes today throughout the world. O Good News, so long awaited, so greatly desired! O proclamation of consolation for all those oppressed beneath the burden of sin and its many structures! For all, especially for the least and the poor, we proclaim today the hope of peace,
of true peace, founded on the solid pillars of love and justice, of truth and freedom.

"'Pacem in terris'... Peace on earth, the profound aspiration of men and women of all times, can be firmly established and sustained only if the order established by God is firmly respected'. These are the first words of the historic Encyclical, in which forty years ago Blessed Pope John XXIII indicated to the world the way of peace. These words remain as timely as ever at the dawn of the third millennium, tragically marred by acts of violence and conflicts.

"Peace in Iraq! With the support of the international community, may the Iraqi people become the protagonists of the collective rebuilding of their country. Peace in other parts of the world, where forgotten wars and protracted hostilities are causing deaths and injuries amid silence and neglect on the part of considerable sectors of public opinion. With profound grief I think of the wake of violence and bloodshed, with no sign of ceasing, in the Holy Land. I think of the tragic situation of many countries on the African continent, which cannot be abandoned to itself. I am well aware of the centres of tension and the attacks on people's freedom in the Caucasus, in Asia and in Latin America, areas of the world equally dear to me.

"Let there be an end to the chain of hatred and terrorism, which threatens the orderly development of the human family. May God grant that we be free from the peril of a tragic clash between cultures and religions. May faith and love of God make the followers of every religion courageous builders of understanding and forgiveness, patient weavers of a fruitful inter-religious dialogue, capable of inaugurating a new era of justice and peace."

"However dark the horizon of humanity may seem, today we celebrate the radiant triumph of Easter joy. If a contrary wind slows the march of peoples, if the sea of history is tossed by storms, let no one yield to dismay and lack of trust! Christ is risen; Christ is alive in our midst; truly present in the Sacrament of the Eucharist, He offers himself as the Bread of salvation, Bread for the poor, the Food of wayfarers."

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Wednesday, April 16, 2003


VATICAN CITY, APR 16, 2003 (VIS) - Calling it "the fulcrum of the entire liturgical year," Pope John Paul II dedicated today's general audience, as he traditionally does during Holy Week, to the Easter Triduum which starts tomorrow, Holy Thursday. That is also the day, he noted, that he will sign his 14th encyclical letter.

"While the Chrism Mass," he began his catechesis, "which is normally celebrated Holy Thursday morning, especially emphasizes the priestly ministry, the rites of the Mass of the Lord's Supper are a pressing invitation to contemplate the Eucharist, the central mystery of Christian life and faith. Precisely to underline the importance of this sacrament I wished to write the Encyclical Letter 'Ecclesia de Eucharistia', that I will have the joy of signing during the Mass of the Lord's Supper. In this text I intend to give every believer an organic reflection on the Eucharistic sacrifice that gathers within it the entire spiritual good of the Church."

"On Good Friday, a day of penance and fasting," the Pope observed, "we will commemorate the passion and death of Christ, remaining in absorbed adoration of the Cross. ... Following the drama of Good Friday is the silence of Holy Saturday, a day filled with longing and hope. ... During the Easter vigil everything is renewed in the Risen Christ. From every angle of the earth the hymns of the Gloria and Alleluia will rise to heaven while the light breaks through the darkness of the night. On Easter Sunday we will exult with the Risen One, receiving from Him the wish for peace."

"Commemorating this central mystery of faith," explained the Holy Father, "involves a commitment to fulfill it in the concrete reality of our existence. It means recognizing that the passion of Christ continues in the dramatic events which, unfortunately, even in these times, afflict so many men and women in every part of the earth."

"The mystery of the Cross and Resurrection," concluded John Paul II, "assures us however that hatred, violence, blood and death never have the last word in human affairs. The definitive victory is Christ's and it is from Him that we must start again, if we wish to build for everyone a future of authentic peace, justice and solidarity."

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VATICAN CITY, APR 16, 2003 (VIS) - In recent weeks the following prelates died:

- Cardinal Gerald Emmett Carter, archbishop emeritus of Toronto, Canada, on April 6 at the age of 91.

- Bishop Vincent De Paul Breen, emeritus of Metuchen, U.S.A., on March 30 at the age of 66.

- Archbishop Patrick Fani Chakaipa of Harare, Zimbabwe, on April 8 at the age of 70.

- Bishop Luis Gonzaga Fernandes, emeritus of Campina Grande, Brazil, on April 5 at the age of 76.

- Bishop Emmanuel Pothanamuzhy, C .M.I., of Mananthavady of the Syro-Malabars, India on April 6 at the age of 70.

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VATICAN CITY, APR 16, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Sorsogon, the Philippines, presented by Bishop Jesus Y. Varela upon having reached the age limit. Coadjutor Bishop Arturo M. Bastes, S.V.D., succeeds him.

- Appointed Fr. Giuseppe Guerrini, judicial vicar of the diocesan tribunal of Cuneo, Italy as bishop of Saluzzo (area 1,782, population 92,356, Catholics 89,160, priests 116, religious 155, permanent deacons 2), Italy. The bishop-elect was born in 1941 in Cuneo and was ordained a priest in 1964. He succeeds Bishop Diego Natale Bona, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Saluzzo the Holy Father accepted upon having reached the age limit.

- Appointed Fr. Peter Martin Musikuwa, director of the Major Seminary of St. Peter's in Zomba, Malawi, as bishop of Chikwawa (area 7,676, population 763,862, Catholics 112,178, priests 23, religious 20), Malawi. The bishop-elect was born in 1952 in Kalimtulo, Malawi and was ordained a priest in 1982.

- Appointed Fr. Prudencio Padilla Andaya, C.I.C.M., instructor of novices and provincial counselor in Taytay, the Philippines, as bishop of Tabuk (area 6,471, population 271,152, Catholics 177,749, priests 27, religious 22), the Philippines. The bishop-elect was born in 1959 in Lubuagan, the Philippines and was ordained a priest in 1986.

- Appointed Msgr. Pawel Stobrawa, pastor of Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Opole, Poland, as auxiliary bishop of the same diocese (area 8,033, population 910,000, Catholics 870,400, priests 773, religious 1,050). The bishop-elect was born in Zborowskie, Poland in 1947 and was ordained a priest in 1973.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2003


VATICAN CITY, APR 15, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

- Fr. Herve Giraud, superior of the University Seminary of Lyon, France, and Fr. Thierry Brac de la Perriere, vicar general of Lyon, as auxiliary bishops of the same archdiocese (area 5,087, population 1,733,500, Catholics 1,200,000, priests 545, permanent deacons 48, religious 2,198). Fr. Giraud was born in 1957 in Tournon, France and was ordained a priest in 1985. Fr. Brac de la Perriere was born in Lyon, France in 1959 and was ordained a priest in 1988.

- Appointed Fr. Thomas Anthony Williams, canon and pastor of St. Anthony in Liverpool, England as auxiliary bishop of the same archdiocese (area 1,165, population 1,100,000, Catholics 508,000, priests 386, permanent deacons 91, religious 500). The bishop-elect was born in 1948 in Liverpool and was ordained a priest in 1972.



VATICAN CITY, APR 15, 2003 (VIS) - Today the Holy Father received in audience Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

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VATICAN CITY, APR 15, 2003 (VIS) - In answer to press reports of a possible stopover by Pope John Paul in Russia during his August trip to Mongolia, Joaquin Navarro-Valls, director of the Holy See Press Office, yesterday afternoon told journalists: "The Holy Father's desire to return the sacred icon of Our Lady of Kazan, which for years has been cared for in the Vatican, to the Russian people and the Orthodox Patriarchate of Moscow is well known. The appropriate occasion and way of turning it over (to them) will be evaluated at the proper time."


Monday, April 14, 2003


VATICAN CITY, APR 13, 2003 (VIS) - Today at 10 a.m., Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord, John Paul II presided at a Eucharistic celebration in St. Peter's Square in the presence of 50,000 young people from all over the world who were celebrating the 18th World Youth Day on the theme 'Behold your mother.'

In the homily, the Pope said that today's liturgy is "like a solemn portal to enter into Holy Week. It connects two contrasting moments: Jesus's triumphant entrance into Jerusalem and the drama of the Passion. ... It anticipates the 'hour' in which the Messiah will have to suffer so much, be killed and rise on the third day and it prepares us to live the Easter mystery in its entirety."

The Holy Father affirmed that Jerusalem "can be considered the city-symbol of humanity, especially in the dramatic beginning of the third millennium that we are living. Today we are celebrating because Jesus, King of peace, enters Jerusalem."

After greeting the many young people present, the Pope said: "How can I not express my fraternal solidarity to your peers who suffer due to war and violence in Iraq, the Holy Land, and in other regions in the world?"

"Today," he continued, "we welcome with faith and joy Christ, who is our 'king': king of truth, liberty, justice and love, which are the four 'pillars' on which it is possible to build the structure of true peace, as Blessed John XXIII wrote in the Encyclical 'Pacem in Terris' 40 years ago. I entrust it ideally to the young people from around the whole world. ... Read it, meditate on it, make an effort to put in into practice."

"'Behold your mother!' Jesus directs these words to each of you, dear friends. He also asks you to welcome Mary as mother in 'your home, among your goods.' ... May Mary help you to respond generously to the Lord's call and to persevere with joy and fidelity in the Christian mission! ... Young people of the third millennium," he concluded, "do not be afraid to offer your life as a total response to Christ! Only He changes the life and history of the world."

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VATICAN CITY, APR 12, 3003 (VIS) - This morning in the Clementine Hall, decrees relative to 16 Servants of God were promulgated in the presence of the Holy Father, members of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints and the postulators of the respective causes. Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, prefect of the Congregation, read a speech detailing the lives of the Servants of God.

The decrees concern the following causes:


- Venerable Servant of God Juan Nepomuceno Zegri y Moreno, Spanish, priest from the archdiocese of Granada, founder of the Institute of the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercede (1831-1905).

- Venerable Servant of God Luigi Talamoni, Italian, priest from the archdiocese of Milan, founder of the Congregation of the Merciful Sisters of St. Gerard (1848-1926).

- Venerable Servant of God Luigi Maria Monti, Italian, lay religious and founder of the Sons of the Immaculate Conception (1825-1900).

- Venerable Servant of God Matilde of the Sacred Heart, nee Matilde Tellez Robles, Spanish, foundress of the Congregation of the Daughters of Mary, Mother of the Church (1841-1902).

- Venerable Servant of God Piedad de la Cruz, nee Tomasa Ortiz Real, Spanish, foundress of the Congregation of the Salesian Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (1842-1916).

- Venerable Servant of God Rosalie Rendu, nee Jeanne-Marie, French, of the Company of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent of Paul (1786-1856).

- Venerable Servant of God Maria Candida dell'Eucharistia, nee Maria Barba, Italian, professed religious of the Order of the Discalced Carmelites (1884-1949).


- Servant of God Luigi Boccardo, Italian, priest of the archdiocese of Turin, founder of the Sisters of Jesus, King, contemplative branch of the Congregation of the Poor Sisters of St. Gaetano (1861-1936).

- Servant of God Mose Tovini, Italian, priest of the diocese of Brescia (1877-1930).

- Servant of God Basile Antoine Marie Moreau, French, priest, founder of the Congregation of the Religious Sisters and Brothers of Holy Cross (1799-1873).

- Servant of God Filippo Bardellini, Italian, priest of the Congregation of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri, founder of the Holy Society of the Poor Sisters of the House of Nazareth (1878- 1956).

- Servant of God Eustace Van Lieshout, Dutch, professed priest of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary (Picpus) (1890-1943).

- Servant of God Luigi della Consolata, ne Andrea Bordino, Italian, professed monk of the Congregation of the Brothers of St. Joseph Benito of Cottolengo (1922-1977).

- Servant of God Anna Maria Fiorelli, Italian, widow Lapini, of the Third Order of St. Francis, foundress of the Congregation of the Poor Daughters of the Holy of St. Francis of Assisi (Stigmatines) (1809-1860).

- Servant of God Ascension del Corazon de Jesus, nee Florencia Nicol Goni, Spanish, co-foundress and first superior general of the Dominican Missionary Sisters of the Holy Rosary (1868-1940).

- Servant of God Charles of Austria, Austrian, emperor and king (1887-1922).

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VATICAN CITY, APR 11, 2003 (VIS) - Cardinal Angelo Sodano, secretary of state, presided at ceremony this evening at the Pontifical Lateran University to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the publication of Blessed John XXIII's Encyclical "Pacem in terris." Archbishop Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, addressed the assembly.

Cardinal Sodano, in his opening remarks stated that "this very same day, 40 years ago, another message of hope for the entire world came from Rome." After the meeting he was interviewed by journalists about the situation in Iraq and the posture of the Holy See in the current international phase.

"The Holy See," said the cardinal, "continues on its usual course; the course of the Magisterium on the one hand and the diplomatic path on the other hand. Before the war we tried everything to see that it did not break out. Once it broke out, we worked for it to end as soon as possible and now there is the hope that the civilian population recover quickly, that interreligious dialogue is never interrupted."

Asked if the U.N. still had a role to play, Cardinal Sodano said, "Certainly, the Pope said so," adding that "we are a family of nations and we must cooperate: this is the destiny of peoples." Asked if this is true for Iraq, he replied, "Even in Iraq."

Regarding the Holy See's fears for other conflicts in the Middle East, he said: "We are not prophets of doom. Certainly we hope that the U.N. resumes its role, as you heard in the speeches here during this symposium on the teachings of Pope John XXIII."

A communique from the pontifical council summarized the remarks of Archbishop Martino who, until recently was the Holy See permanent observer for 16 years at the U.N. "The crisis situation of the United Nations," said the communique, "following the decision for war in Iraq, does not contradict but rather reinforces and makes more urgent the calls of Pacem in terris for a world political authority able to assure peace and the development of peoples."

Instead of "a world super-State," and "for the U.N. to completely fulfill its irreplaceable role," says the communique, for Archbishop Martino "there is need to favor multilateral action, not only at the diplomatic level but also within the sphere of plans for development." In his words: "the weakening of international organisms could mean a weakening of the awareness of being one family, but they will not be strengthened if their capacity to express a moral order and articulate a subsidiary system of authority for a world governance with realistic courage is not consolidated."

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VATICAN CITY, APR 14, 2003 (VIS) - This morning in the Paul VI Hall, the Pope received participants in the annual UNIV international university congress who came from 30 countries around the world. The theme of this year's congress is "Building Peace in the 21st Century."

John Paul II affirmed that the congress' theme "is more timely than ever in these months in which we are so worried about the situation in Iraq, as well as so many violent and war-ridden situations which have erupted on other continents. All this makes a true education to peace more urgent."

"For believers," he continued, "the first and fundamental action in favor of peace is prayer, because peace is a gift of love from God. ... In order to be architects of peace it is especially necessary to live in the truth. Young people," he exclaimed, "have the courage to ask yourselves sincere questions on the meaning of truth; form yourselves with a clear rectitude of thought and action, of respect and dialogue with others. Maintain in the first place an authentic relationship with God, which requires personal conversation and an openness to His mystery."

The Holy Father emphasized that "justice is connected to truth, as well as to respect of the dignity of each person. We know however that without sincere love and disinterest, justice cannot assure peace for the world. True peace blooms when hatred, rancor and envy are vanquished in our hearts; when we say no to selfishness and to everything that causes man to retreat within himself and to defend his own interest."

He went on to say that if love "is translated into gestures of free and disinterested service, into words of understanding and forgiveness, the peaceful wave of love will grow and extend even to interest the entire human community. In this way it is easier to understand the fourth pillar of peace, that is, liberty, the recognition of the rights of individuals and peoples and the free gift of self in the responsible fulfillment of the duties that correspond to all in their state in life."

"If you try to follow this way," concluded John Paul II, "you will be able to offer an effective contribution to the construction of a 'peaceful' and 'reconciling' world. Your holy Founder, St. Josemaria Escriva, writes: 'The task for a Christian is to drown evil in an abundance of good. It is not a question of negative campaigns, or of being against something. On the contrary, we should live positively, full of optimism, with youthfulness, joy and peace. We should be understanding with everybody."

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VATICAN CITY, APR 13, 2003 (VIS) - Speaking after Mass today, World Youth Day, in St. Peter's Square, in the presence of 50,000 pilgrims, Pope John Paul noted that the Youth Day Cross was about to be given by a delegation of young Canadians to a number of German youth whose country is preparing for World Youth Day 2005.

"I entrusted this Cross," the Pope remarked, "to young people in the Holy Year 1984. At the end of each pilgrimage it makes, it is received into Rome's St. Lawrence Youth Center, which this year is celebrating its 20th anniversary. I thank Cardinal Stafford, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, for the care he and his collaborators give the center, as well as the movements, associations and communities, coordinated by the Emmanuel Community, which animate the center."

He pointed out that the youth day Cross "now resumes its pilgrimage: it will first travel through the countries of Eastern and Central Europe, then, starting with Palm Sunday next year, will visit the dioceses of Germany, eventually reaching Cologne," where the 2005 World Youth Day will take place.

"I also entrust," he concluded," to the delegation that has come from Germany, the icon of Mary. From now on, together with the Cross, she will accompany World Youth Days. The icon will be a sign of Mary's maternal presence with young people, who are called, like the Apostle John, to welcome her in their lives."

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VATICAN CITY, APR 14, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Matthew Gyamfi, rector of the Minor Seminary of Sunyani and chancellor of the diocesan curia, as bishop of Sunyani (area 30,500, population 1,609,000, Catholics 144,905, priests 63, religious 65), Ghana. The bishop-elect was born in 1957 in Wamanafo, Ghana and was ordained a priest in 1985.

It was made public on Saturday April 12 that the Holy Father:

- Appointed Archbishop Santos Abril y Castello, apostolic nuncio in Slovenia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, as apostolic nuncio in the Republic of Macedonia (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia).

- Appointed Msgr. Oscar Domingo Sarlinga, vicar general of the archdiocese of Mercedes-Lujan, Argentina, as auxiliary bishop of the same archdiocese (area 19,330, population 691,000, Catholics 677,300, priests 112, permanent deacons 1, religious 257). The bishop-elect was born in Buenos Aires in 1963 and was ordained a priest in 1990.

- Appointed the following prelates as members of the Council of the Central Office of Pastoral Coordination of Military Ordinariates, formed within the Congregation for Bishops: Archbishops Jose Manuel Estepa Llaurens (Spain), Christian Werner (Austria), Gonzalo De Jesus Maria del Castillo Crespo, O.C.D. (Bolivia), Pablo Lizama Riquelme (Chile), and Juraj Jezerinac (Croatia).

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VATICAN CITY, APR 14, 2003 (VIS) - Today the Holy Father received in separate audiences:

- Yosef Neville Lamdan, ambassador of Israel, accompanied by his wife, on his farewell visit.

- Mitsuhiro Nakamura, ambassador of Japan, on his farewell visit.

- Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo, apostolic nuncio in the United States of America.

On Saturday April 12 the Holy Father received in separate audiences:

- Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, prefect of the Congregation of the Causes of Saints.

- Cardinal Joachim Meisner, archbishop of Cologne, Germany, and an entourage.

- A delegation of young people from different dioceses in Canada.
- Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.

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Friday, April 11, 2003


VATICAN CITY, APR 10, 2003 (VIS) - This afternoon, in a rain-soaked St. Peter's Square, thousands of young people from the diocese of Rome participated in a get-together with the Pope which included prayer and celebration in preparation for the 18th World Youth Day which will take place this Sunday.

Before the Pope's arrival, several youths offered testimony and sang.

Throughout his speech, John Paul II was interrupted many times by applause as he joked with the young people especially about the inclement weather. Referring to the theme of this year's World Youth Day, "Behold your Mother", the Holy Father said that "to welcome Mary in one's home, in one's life, is the privilege of every one of the faithful. Especially in difficult moments, which at times you young people experience in this period of your life."

"Today, for these reasons," he went on, "I entrust you to Mary. Dear young people, I tell you from experience, open the doors of your life to her! And do not be afraid to throw open the doors of your heart to Christ."

"I entrust you to Mary while you are already on your way to World Youth Day in Cologne" which will be celebrated in 2005. "I also would like for this World Youth Day to be prepared, starting today, with constant prayer which should be offered by the whole Church and, in particular, in Italy from four significant places: the Marian shrines of Loreto and Our Lady of the Rosary of Pompeii; here in Rome at the St. Lawrence Youth Center, ... and at the Church of St. Agnes in Agony."

The Pope indicated that "in this difficult moment in history, while terrorism and wars threaten harmony among men and religions, I wish to consecrate you to Mary so that you may be promoters of the culture of peace which today is more necessary than ever."

He then underscored that "tomorrow, April 11, is the 40th anniversary of the publication of Blessed John XXIII's Encyclical 'Pacem in terris'. By committing ourselves to building peace on the four pillars of truth, justice, love and freedom - as he taught us in 'Pacem in terris' - it will be possible to re-establish cooperation among nations and to harmonize the diverse and contrasting interests of cultures and institutions."

"In order to implore God for the gift of peace through prayer, I would like to give you a rosary this afternoon. ... Carry it with you at all times! The rosary, prayed with intelligent devotion, will help you to absorb the mystery of Christ in order to learn from Him the secret of peace and how to make it a life-long project." Each young person received a rosary as they entered St. Peters Square this afternoon.

In conclusion, the Holy Father performed a solemn act of consecration of the young people to Mary, during which the youth raised their rosaries in unison. He then blessed and handed out 18 rosaries to a group of young people from the 18 dioceses of the Italian region of Lazio, which includes the Pope's diocese of Rome.

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VATICAN CITY, APR 11, 2003 (VIS) - Today the program of the Pope's apostolic trip to Spain, scheduled for May 3 - 4, was made public.

After a two and a half hour plane ride from Rome's Fiuimicino Airport, the Holy Father will land at Barajas International Airport in Madrid at noon where he will speak during a welcome ceremony. At 5:30 p.m., he is scheduled to meet with the president of the government at the apostolic nunciature and at 6:45 p.m. to participate in a gathering with young people at the 'Cuatro Vientos' Air Base.

On Sunday May 4 at 10 a.m., he will celebrate Mass in the Plaza de Colon (Columbus Square) and will canonize Blesseds Pedro Poveda Castroverde, Jose Maria Rubio y Peralta, Genoveva Torres Morales, Angela de la Cruz and Maria Maravillas de Jesus. At 1:45 p.m. the Pope will have lunch with the cardinals and members of the Spanish Episcopal Conference, as well as cardinals and bishops from his entourage. At 5 p.m. he is scheduled to meet with the king and queen in the nunciature and at 6:15 p.m. a farewell ceremony will take place. The papal plane will leave Madrid at 6:45 p.m. and it is scheduled to arrive in Rome at 8:15 p.m.

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VATICAN CITY, APR 11, 2003 (VIS) - The International Conference for World Youth Day, which has brought together over 280 youth leaders from around the world, representing dioceses, and ecclesial movements and associations, began its second day of meetings this morning in Rome's Domus Mariae residence and conference center. Last evening the youth leaders joined Rome's young people in pre-World Youth Day festivities with Pope John Paul in St. Peter's Square. The 18th World Youth Day (WYD) is this coming Palm Sunday.

Following a Eucharistic celebration this morning, the plenary session was held which focussed in World Youth Day 2005 which will be held in Germany. Bishop Stanislaw Rylko, secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, the conference organizer, gave an introduction to Germany. He spoke on the Catholic Church in Germany, the archdiocese of Cologne, and the significance of WYD for Germany.

At 11:15 there were various workshops according to language groups. Participants exchanged ideas and made suggestions about the pastoral and spiritual preparation for the 2005 WYD.

This afternoon the first plenary session will be dedicated to presentations by the work groups. During a second plenary, the German organizing committee will be introduced and information and plans for the 2005 WYD, as they have been developed so far, will be presented. Tonight at 7, a reception is planned at the German Embassy to the Holy See.

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VATICAN CITY, APR 11, 2003 (VIS) - Archbishop Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, this morning welcomed Poupeh Mahdvinader to the Rome offices of the council. Mahdvinader is a 29-year old Muslim social worker from Iran, who is travelling around the world, via bicycle and on foot, to bring to the people of the nations she visits a message of peace and friendship among peoples. She is also collecting funds to use for orphans.
A communique from the council notes that the Iranian cyclist hopes to leave St. Peter's Square next week and to travel by bicycle through Italy, France and England. She intends to fly to the United States, cross it on a bike, fly to Japan, where she will travel on foot and then, via plane and ship, travel to New Zealand, China, India, and Oman. She will conclude her pilgrimage in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

The council communique adds that Mahdvinader, whose work in Iran is dedicated to assisting orphans, is undertaking this "humanitarian adventure," expected to last one year, as a personal and private initiative. Her motto is "Love, friendship and global peace."

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VATICAN CITY, APR 11, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father this morning received the Sisters of the Poor of St. Catherine of Siena, who are meeting in their General Chapter on the theme "A Gift to Give, the Charismatic Face of the Sister of the Poor."

The Pope said that "the rich charismatic legacy that Blessed Savina Petrilli left you represents a providential 'talent' to be made fruitful in the Church and the world. Your foundress, whom the Lord allowed me to beatify 15 years ago, consecrated herself to God and to the neediest of our brothers, having been inspired by the four great loves of St. Catherine of Siena: the Eucharist, the Crucifix, the Church and the poor. Always ready to answer the needs of our brothers, she did not hesitate, 100 years ago, to go to Latin America. Following in her luminous wake, her spiritual daughters have extended their presence to include Asia."

The Holy Father remarked that their theme "underlines the urgency of pursuing this spiritual and missionary action, without ever losing sight of the charismatic intuition of Blessed Savina Petrilli. Being sisters of the poor - she observed - involved the commitment to never abandon 'the poor whom God gave us as brothers'."

"Seeing Christ in the face of every needy person: this is the teaching that your Foundress repeats to you today, recalling, as she often did with the first Sisters, that 'everything is too little for Jesus'.

The Pope urged the Sisters of the Poor to educate hearts to love, to be heroic in charity, and to be "available to welcome every person, whatever poverty they represent. Joining 'contemplation to action', pursue, dear Sisters, your ecclesial service, which flourishes in prayer as "the flower from the root'. In our time it is more than ever necessary to reaffirm the primacy of listening to God and of contemplation."

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VATICAN CITY, APR 11, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Msgr. Antonio Marino, spiritual director of the Major Seminary in Buenos Aires, Argentina, as auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese of La Plata (area 4,652, population 763,115, Catholics 648,647, priests 142, permanent deacons 5, religious 476), Argentina. The bishop-elect was born in Buenos Aires in 1942 and was ordained a priest in 1971.

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VATICAN CITY, APR 10, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

- Rev. Christian Krause, bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Germany and president of the World Lutheran Federation, accompanied by his wife and an entourage.

- Bishop Elio Sgreccia, vice-president of the Pontifical Academy for Life.

- Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

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VATICAN CITY, APR 11, 2003 (VIS) - Joaquin Navarro-Valls, director of the Holy See Press Office, stated today at noon that "The Holy Father John Paul II will make an apostolic trip to Croatia from June 5 to 9 and will visit the cities of Rijeka, Dubrovnik, Osijek and Djakovo, and Zadar."


Thursday, April 10, 2003


VATICAN CITY, APR 10, 2003 (VIS) - The following declaration was released early this afternoon:

"The Secretariat of State, having been informed of the latest developments in Baghdad, which mark an important turning point in the Iraqi conflict and a significant opportunity for the future of the people, hopes that the military operations underway in the rest of the country will soon end, with the aim of sparing further victims, civilian or military, and further suffering for those populations.

"Given that the material, political and social reconstruction of the country are on the horizon, the Catholic Church is ready, through her social and charitable institutions, to lend the necessary assistance. The dioceses of Iraq are likewise available to offer their structures to contribute to an equitable distribution of humanitarian aid.

"The Secretariat of State hopes once again that, with the silencing of weapons, the Iraqis and the international community will know how to meet the compelling present challenge which is to definitively bring an era of peace to the Middle East."

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VATICAN CITY, APRIL 10, 2003 (VIS) - Today the Holy Father received in separate audiences:

- Giuliano Urbani, Italian minister for Cultural Affairs, and an entourage.

- Archbishop Antonio Canizares Llovera of Toledo, Spain.

- Bishop Tommaso Ghirelli of Imola, Italy.

- Bishop Milan Sasik, apostolic administrator "ad nutum Sanctae Sedis" of Mukacheve of the Byzantine Rite, Ukraine, and an entourage.

- Cardinal Camillo Ruini, vicar general for the diocese of Rome and president of the Italian Episcopal Conference, with Bishop Giuseppe Betori, secretary general of the same conference.

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VATICAN CITY, APR 10, 2003 (VIS) - Made public yesterday afternoon was a communique from the management of Vatican Radio regarding the latest developments in the case against the radio for the alleged electromagnetic contamination produced by the transmitting station of Santa Maria di Galeria, a few kilometers outside Rome.

A year ago the sentence issued by Rome's penal court established that proceedings should not continue due to the "lack of jurisdiction" over the three directors of Vatican Radio accused over the alleged electromagnetic contamination of the transmitters.

Yesterday's communique from Vatican Radio noted the "annulment" of the earlier sentence. The communique reads as follows:

"In today's sentence the Supreme Court of Cassation, First Penal Section, annulled the sentence of February 19, 2002 handed down by the Penal Court of Rome, First Section, which declared a 'lack of jurisdiction' with regard to the three directors of Vatican Radio relative to the electromagnetic emissions produced by the transmitting center at Santa Maria in Galeria, and it sent the new judgement to the Rome court.

"Vatican Radio lawyers, who opposed the request to annul the above-mentioned sentence, have already shown the unfounded nature of the motives of impugnment adopted by the Public Prosecutor and by the civil side, on the basis of the nature of the pontifical transmitter as a 'central office of the Catholic Church' and as such it is exempt from 'every interference on the part of the Italian State', according to Article 11 of the Lateran Treaty of 1929.

"Vatican Radio takes note of the Court's decision and is waiting to learn the motivation of the sentence which will be filed.

"Vatican Radio repeats in any case that it has always taken into account the international recommendations for protecting the population in the matter of electromagnetic emissions and has faced in a constructive manner the problems linked with the new Italian norms in the office of the bilateral commission between the Italian State and the Holy See, as shown by the results of the repeated joint measurements undertaken by Italian and Vatican technicians.

"Vatican Radio therefore hopes that the unjust accusations in its regard may soon be removed from the horizon, and that its activity may continue with serenity in the context of a responsible and correct relation with Italian authorities and the neighboring population, reassured about the absence of health risks."

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VATICAN CITY, APR 10, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Guillermo Patricio Vera Soto, pastor of the Cathedral of the diocese of Melipilla, Chile, as bishop prelate of Calama (area 43,000, population 159,532, Catholics 132,411, priests 11, permanent deacons 3, religious 11), Chile. The bishop-elect was born in Isla de Maipo, Chile in 1958 and was ordained a priest in 1982.

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