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Monday, June 30, 2003


VATICAN CITY, JUN 28, 2003 (VIS) - Today, as is customary on or near the June 29 feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles, the Pope received a delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, representing Patriarch Bartholomaios I. It is also a tradition for the Vatican to send a delegation to the patriarchate for the November 30 celebrations of their patron, St. Andrew.

In his address this morning in English, the Holy Father told the delegation that their presence "is a sign of the common love for Christ and an act of ecclesial fraternity, by which we reaffirm the legacy of love and unity which the Lord left to His Church, built on the Apostles. These yearly meetings nurture our fraternal relationship and they sustain our hope as we proceed step by step along the way to full communion and the overcoming of our historical divisions."

"The rapid changes taking place in today's world," he continued, "call for all Christians to show how the Gospel of Jesus Christ can shed light on the critical ethical issues facing the human family, including the urgent need to promote interreligious dialogue, to work for an end to the injustice which creates conflict and enmity between peoples, to safeguard God's creation and to meet the new challenges posed by advances in science and technology. Here in Europe, the Lord's followers especially need to cooperate in acknowledging and giving new life to the spiritual roots at the heart of this continent's history and culture."

John Paul II thanked Patriarch Bartholomaios "for the kind words and prayerful good wishes His Holiness recently offered at two conferences marking the approaching 25th anniversary of my pontificate."

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VATICAN CITY, JUN 28, 2003 (VIS) - This evening, the vigil of the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles, the Apostolic Exhortation "Ecclesia in Europa" was promulgated by the Holy Father during first vespers in St. Peter's Basilica.

The full title of the document, dated today, is Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation "Ecclesia in Europe" of His Holiness Pope John Paul II to the Bishops, Men and Women in the Consecrated Life and All the Lay Faithful on Jesus Christ, Alive in His Church, the Source of Hope for Europe.

The 130-page document, published in Italian, English, French, Spanish, German and Portuguese, is divided into an introduction, six chapters and a conclusion. Following are extracts from "Ecclesia in Europa."


"From the outset, a deeper appreciation of the theme of hope was the principal goal of the Second Special Assembly for Europe of the Synod of Bishops."

"The preceding Synod for Europe ... was held in 1991, following the collapse of the walls, on the theme: 'That we may be witnesses of Christ Who has set us free'. That first Special Assembly emphasized the urgent need for a 'new evangelization'.

"The (second) synodal Assembly, which met from 1 to 23 October 1999, was a precious opportunity for encounter, listening and dialogue."

"The Synod experience, lived with evangelical discernment, also led to a growing awareness of the unity that, without denying the differences derived from historical situations and events, links the various parts of Europe. It is a unity which, rooted in a common Christian inspiration, is capable of reconciling diverse cultural traditions."

"The Synod Fathers saw that possibly the most urgent matter Europe faces, in both East and West, is a growing need for hope, a hope which will enable us to give meaning to life and history and to continue on our way together."


"I. Challenges and signs of hope for the Church in Europe.

"This message is also addressed today to the Churches in Europe, often tempted by a dimming of hope. ... There are many troubling signs which at the beginning of the third millennium are clouding the horizon of the European continent."

"I would like to mention in a particular way the loss of Europe's Christian memory and heritage, accompanied by a kind of practical agnosticism and religious indifference whereby many Europeans give the impression of living without spiritual roots and somewhat like heirs who have squandered a patrimony entrusted to them by history. It is no real surprise, then, that there are efforts to create a vision of Europe which ignores its religious heritage, and in particular, its profound Christian soul, asserting the rights of the peoples who make up Europe without grafting those rights on to the trunk which is enlivened by the sap of Christianity."

"In many social settings it is easier to be identified as an agnostic than a believer. The impression is given that unbelief is self-explanatory, whereas belief needs a sort of social legitimization which is neither obvious nor taken for granted.

"This loss of Christian memory is accompanied by a kind of fear of the future. ... The signs and fruits of this existential anguish include, in particular, the diminishing number of births, the decline in the number of vocations to the priesthood and religious life, and the difficulty, if not the outright refusal, to make lifelong commitments, including marriage.

"We find ourselves before a widespread existential fragmentation. A feeling of loneliness is prevalent; divisions and conflicts are on the rise."

"In connection with the spread of individualism, we see an increased weakening of interpersonal solidarity."

"At the root of this loss of hope is an attempt to promote a vision of man apart from God and apart from Christ. This sort of thinking has led to man being considered as 'the absolute centre of reality, a view which makes him occupy'falsely'the place of God and which forgets that it is not man who creates God, but rather God who creates man. ... A vast field has opened for the unrestrained development of nihilism in philosophy, of relativism in values and morality, and of pragmatism'and even a cynical hedonism'in daily life."
"This is the context for those attempts, including the most recent ones, to present European culture with no reference to the contribution of the Christian religion which marked its historical development and its universal diffusion."

"Yet, as the Synod Fathers made clear, 'man cannot live without hope: life would become meaningless and unbearable."

"If we look at Europe as a civil community, signs of hope are not lacking. ... the Synod Fathers described these signs in the following way: ... the growing openness of peoples to one another, the reconciliation between countries, ... the progressive opening up to the countries of Eastern Europe, ... mutual recognition, forms of cooperation and exchanges of all sorts are being developed, a European consciousness, is being created. ... We sincerely hope that, in creative fidelity to the humanist and Christian traditions of our continent, there will be a guarantee of the primacy of ethical and spiritual values.

"I want to point out to everyone, so that it will never be forgotten, that great sign of hope represented by the many witnesses to the Christian faith who lived in the last century, in both East and West. They found suitable ways to proclaim the Gospel amid situations of hostility and persecution, often even making the supreme sacrifice by shedding their blood."

"The Gospel continues to bear fruit in parish communities, among consecrated persons, in lay associations, in groups devoted to prayer and the apostolate and in various youth communities, as well as through the presence and growth of new movements and ecclesial realities."

"In today's Europe too, both in the post-Communist countries and in the West, the parish, while in need of constant renewal, continues to maintain and to carry out its particular mission."

"The different apostolic associations and organizations ... are a cradle for different vocations. .. They favour the holiness of the people. ... Frequently they promote the journey of ecumenism. ...They are an antidote to the spread of sects and an invaluable aid to the spread of joy and life in the Church.

"II. Returning to Christ, the source of all hope.

"From the synodal Assembly there emerged the clear and passionate certainty that the Church has to offer Europe the most precious of all gifts, a gift which no one else can give: faith in Jesus Christ, the source of the hope that does not disappoint; a gift which is at the origin of the spiritual and cultural unity of the European peoples and which both today and tomorrow can make an essential contribution to their development and integration."

"Many are the spiritual roots underlying the recognition of the value of the human person and his inalienable dignity, the sacredness of human life and the centrality of the family, the importance of education and freedom of thought, speech and religion, the legal protection of individuals and groups, the promotion of solidarity and the common good, and the recognition of the dignity of labor. These roots have helped lead to the submission of political power to the rule of law and to respect for the rights of individuals and peoples. Here we should mention the spirit of ancient Greece and Rome, the contributions of the Celtic, Germanic, Slav and Finno-Ugric peoples and the influence of Jewish and Islamic culture. Yet it must be acknowledged that these inspiring principles have historically found in the Judeo-Christian tradition a force capable of harmonizing, consolidating and promoting them. This is a fact which cannot be ignored; on the contrary, in the process of building a united Europe there is a need to acknowledge that this edifice must also be founded on values that are most fully manifested in the Christian tradition. Such an acknowledgment is to everyone's advantage."

"The Particular Churches in Europe are not simple agencies or private organizations. Rather, they carry out their work with a specific institutional dimension that merits legal recognition, in full respect for just systems of civil legislation."

"The mission of each Particular Church in Europe is to take note of every person's thirst for truth and the need for authentic values which can enliven the people living on the continent, ... demonstrating by action and by convincing arguments how the new Europe needs to rediscover its ultimate roots."


"I. The Lord calls to conversion.

"Europe has been widely and profoundly permeated by Christianity. 'There can be no doubt that, in Europe's complex history, Christianity has been a central and defining element, established on the firm foundation of the classical heritage and the multiple contributions of the various ethnic and cultural waves which have succeeded one another down the centuries. The Christian faith has shaped the culture of the Continent and is inextricably bound up with its history, to the extent that Europe's history would be incomprehensible without reference to the events which marked first the great period of evangelization and then the long centuries when Christianity, despite the painful division between East and West, came to be the religion of the European peoples."

"Down the centuries the Church has been closely linked to our continent, so that Europe's spiritual face gradually took shape thanks to the efforts of great missionaries, the witness of saints and martyrs, and the tireless efforts of monks and nuns, men and women religious and pastors. From the biblical conception of man Europe drew the best of its humanistic culture, found inspiration for its artistic and intellectual creations, created systems of law and, not least, advanced the dignity of the person as a subject of inalienable rights. The Church, as the bearer of the Gospel, thus helped to spread and consolidate those values which have made European culture universal.
"The Church in Europe is called to grow in the certainty that the Lord, through the gift of his Spirit, is ever present and at work in her midst and in all human history."

"In the face of recurring impulses to division and opposition, the different Particular Churches in Europe, strengthened also by their bond with the Successor of Peter, must be committed to being a true locus and means of communion for the whole People of God in faith and love."

"If communion in the Church is to be experienced more fully, there is a need to make the most of the variety of charisms and vocations which increasingly converge on unity and can enrich it. In this regard, the new movements and the new ecclesial communities must 'abandon every temptation to claim rights of primogeniture and every mutual incomprehension', advance along the path of more authentic communion between themselves and, with all other ecclesial realities, 'live with love in full obedience to the Bishops'.

"In order to respond to the Gospel's call to conversion, 'we must join in making a humble and courageous examination of conscience, in order to acknowledge our fears and our mistakes, sincerely confess our slowness to believe, our omissions, our infidelities and our faults'."

"Finally, the Gospel of hope is also a forceful summons to conversion in the field of ecumenism, ... essential today for greater credibility in evangelization and the growth of European unity."

"Dialogue must continue with firm resolve, undaunted by difficulties and hardship."

"We may not halt on this journey nor may we turn back!"

"I ask everyone to acknowledge and appreciate, in love and fraternity, the contribution which the Eastern Catholic Churches can offer for a more genuine building up of unity. ... At the same time I wish to assure once more the pastors and our brothers and sisters of the Orthodox Churches that the new evangelization is in no way to be confused with proselytism, without prejudice to the duty of respect for truth, for freedom and for the dignity of every person."

"II. The whole Church is sent on mission

"In a special way priests are called by virtue of their ministry to celebrate, teach and serve the Gospel of hope."

"In this context priestly celibacy also stands out as the sign of hope put totally in the Lord. Celibacy is not merely an ecclesiastical discipline imposed by authority; rather it is first and foremost a grace, a priceless gift of God for his Church."

"Celibacy is esteemed in the whole Church as fitting for the priesthood, obligatory in the Latin Church and deeply respected by the Eastern Churches. ... A revision of the present discipline in this regard would not help to resolve the crisis of vocations to the priesthood being felt in many parts of Europe."

"Together with priests I also wish to mention deacons, who share, albeit to a different degree, in the one Sacrament of Holy Orders."

"Particularly eloquent is the witness of consecrated persons. In this regard, acknowledgment must first be made of the fundamental role played by monasticism and consecrated life in the evangelization of Europe and in the shaping of its Christian identity."

"In an atmosphere poisoned by secularism and dominated by consumerism, consecrated life, as a gift of the Spirit to the Church and for the Church, becomes an ever greater sign of hope to the extent that it testifies to life's transcendent dimension."

"Some mention must be made of the disturbing shortage of seminarians and aspirants to religious life, especially in Western Europe. This situation calls for everyone to be involved in an effective pastoral programme of promoting vocations."

"The contribution of the lay faithful to the life of the Church is essential: they have an irreplaceable role in the proclamation and the service of the Gospel of hope."

"Europe yesterday and today has experienced the presence of important and illustrious examples of such lay persons."

"Equal esteem is due to the work carried out by Christian lay persons, often in the hiddenness of daily life, ... their fearless witness of charity and forgiveness, values which bring the Gospel to the vast frontiers of politics, social life, the economy, culture, ecology, international life, family life, education, professional life, the world of labor and the caring professions."

"The Church is very much aware of the specific contribution of women in service of the Gospel of hope.... Mention must be made of how much they have done, often in silence and obscurity, to receive and pass on the gift of God through physical and spiritual motherhood, education, catechesis, the accomplishment of great charitable works, through the life of prayer and contemplation, and through mystical experiences and writings rich in the wisdom of the Gospel."

"The dignity of women must be promoted above all in the Church, inasmuch as woman and man enjoy equal dignity, for both have been created in the image and likeness of God and each has been given proper and specific gifts."

"The Church has not failed to raise her voice in denunciation of injustice and the violence perpetrated against women wherever and however this occurs. She demands that laws protecting women be enforced, and that effective measures be taken against the demeaning portrayal of women in advertising and against the scourge of prostitution. She also expresses the hope that the domestic work done by mothers will be considered, like that of fathers, as a contribution to the common good, even through forms of financial retribution."


"I. Proclaiming the mystery of Christ

"Church in Europe, the 'new evangelization' is the task set before you! Rediscover the enthusiasm of proclamation. ... Let the proclamation of Jesus, which is the Gospel of hope, be your boast and your whole life."

"In various parts of Europe a first proclamation of the Gospel is needed: the number of the unbaptized is growing, both because of the significant presence of immigrants of other religions and because children born into families of Christian tradition have not received Baptism, either as a result of the Communist domination or the spread of religious indifference."

"On the 'old' continent too, there are vast social and cultural areas which stand in need of a true 'missio ad gentes'."

"A renewed proclamation is needed even for those already baptized. Many Europeans today think they know what Christianity is, yet they do not really know it at all. ... The great certainties of the faith are being undermined in many people by a vague religiosity lacking real commitment; various forms of agnosticism and practical atheism are spreading: ... some people have been affected by the spirit of an immanentist humanism, which has weakened the faith and often, tragically, led to its complete abandonment."

"Proclaiming the Gospel of hope calls for steadfast fidelity to the Gospel itself. The Church's preaching, in all its forms, must be increasingly centered on the person of Jesus and increasingly converge on him. Vigilant care must be taken that Christ is presented in his fullness."

"Europe calls out for credible evangelizers, whose lives, in communion with the Cross and Resurrection of Christ, radiate the beauty of the Gospel. Such evangelizers must be properly trained."

"Our contemporaries 'listen more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if they do listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses'."

"Christians are therefore 'called to have a faith capable of critically confronting contemporary culture and resisting its enticements; of having a real effect on the world of culture, finance, society and politics, ... of joyfully passing on the faith to new generations."

"II. Bearing witness in unity and dialogue
"The individual Particular Churches cannot face alone the challenge before them. There is need for genuine cooperation between all the Particular Churches of the Continent as an expression of their essential communion."

"The duty of fraternal and committed ecumenical cooperation also emerges as an irrevocable imperative."

"So too proclaiming the Gospel of hope calls for the establishment of a profound and perceptive interreligious dialogue, particularly with Judaism and with Islam."

"It is necessary to encourage dialogue with Judaism, knowing that it is fundamentally important for the self-knowledge of Christians and for the transcending of divisions between the Churches, and to work for the flowering of a new springtime in mutual relations. ... This engagement also implies that 'acknowledgment be given to any part which the children of the Church have had in the growth and spread of antisemitism in history; forgiveness must be sought for this from God, and every effort must be made to favour encounters of reconciliation and of friendship with the sons of Israel'."

"A proper relationship with Islam is particularly important. ... This 'needs to be conducted prudently, with clear ideas about possibilities and limits, and with confidence in God's saving plan for all his children. It is also necessary to take into account the notable gap between European culture, with its profound Christian roots, and Muslim thought."

"In this regard, Christians living in daily contact with Muslims should be properly trained in an objective knowledge of Islam and enabled to draw comparisons with their own faith. ... It is on the other hand understandable that the Church ... should feel the need to insist that reciprocity in guaranteeing religious freedom also be observed in countries of different religious traditions, where Christians are a minority."

"In this context, 'one can understand the astonishment and the feeling of frustration of Christians who welcome, for example in Europe, believers of other religions, giving them the possibility of exercising their worship, and who see themselves forbidden all exercise of Christian worship' in countries where those believers are in the majority and have made their own religion the only one admitted and promoted. The human person has a right to religious freedom, and all people, in every part of the world, should be immune from coercion on the part of individuals, social groups and every human power."

"III. Evangelizing the life of society

"The proclamation of Jesus Christ must also reach contemporary European culture. ... Pastoral practice must undertake the task of shaping a Christian mentality in ordinary life: in families, in schools, in social communications, in cultural life, in the workplace and the economy, in politics, in leisure-time, in health and in sickness."
"An important part of any program for the evangelization of culture is the service rendered by Catholic schools."

"Nor should we overlook the positive contribution made by the wise use of the cultural treasures of the Church."

"I encourage the Church in Europe to give greater attention to the training of young people in the faith. As we look to the future, we cannot but think of them: we need to make contact with the minds, the hearts and the character of the young in order to provide them with a sound human and Christian formation."

"To this end, there is need for a renewed youth ministry, organized by age groups and attentive to the varying situations of children, adolescents and young adults. It will also be necessary to provide this ministry with a more organic structure and consistency, and to be patiently concerned with the questions raised by young people, in order to make them protagonists of the evangelization and the building of society."

"Given the importance of the means of social communication, the Church in Europe must necessarily pay particular attention to the multi-faceted world of the mass media. This would include, among other things: the adequate training of Christians who work in the field of communications and of those who make use of the media, for a better understanding of the new kinds of language employed in the media.

"As I stepped through the Holy Door at the beginning of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, I held high the Book of the Gospels, showing it to the Church and to the world. This same ritual action, carried out by all the Bishops in the different cathedrals of the world, points to the task awaiting the Church of our Continent now and for ever.

"Church in Europe, enter the new millennium with the Book of the Gospels! ... May the Holy Bible continue to be a treasure for the Church and for every Christian."

"Let us take up this book! Let us receive it from the Lord who continually offers it to us through his Church. Let us devour it so that it can become our very life. Let us savour it deeply."


"Church of God dwelling in Europe, you too are called to be a community which prays, celebrating your Lord in the Sacraments, in the liturgy and in your whole life."

"I. Rediscovering the Liturgy

"Despite the dechristianization of vast areas of the European Continent, there are signs which suggest an image of a Church which, in believing, proclaims, celebrates and serves her Lord."

"Together with the many examples of genuine faith, there also exists in Europe a vague and at times deviant religiosity. ... There are evident signs of a flight to spiritualism, of religious and esoteric syncretism, of a frantic search for extraordinary events, even to the point of making aberrant decisions, such as joining dangerous sects or engaging in pseudo-religious experiences."

"I urgently invite you, the Church living in Europe: be a Church that prays, praises God, recognising his absolute primacy, magnifying him with joyful faith. Rediscover the sense of mystery: .... Celebrate the salvation which comes from Christ."

"It is, therefore, urgent that the authentic sense of the liturgy be revived in the Church."

"This involves experiencing the liturgy as a work of the Trinity."

"The liturgy must be lived as proclamation and anticipation of our future glory."

"Although in the period following the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council real progress has been made towards experiencing the authentic meaning of the liturgy, much remains to be done. Continual renewal and constant training are needed for everyone: the ordained, consecrated persons and the laity."

"II. Celebrating the Sacraments

"A prominent place needs to be given to the celebration of the sacraments, as actions of Christ and of the Church ordered to the worship of God, to the sanctification of people and to the building up of the ecclesial community. ... The Synod Fathers have stressed the need for this in order to respond to two dangers: on the one hand, certain sectors of the Church seem to have lost sight of the genuine meaning of the sacraments and might trivialize the mysteries being celebrated; while on the other hand, many of the baptized, following customs and traditional practices, continue to have recourse to the Sacraments at significant moments of their life, yet do not live in accordance with the Church's teaching."

"Faced with the widespread loss of the sense of sin and the growth of a mentality marked by relativism and subjectivism in morality, every ecclesial community needs to provide for the serious formation of consciences. The Synod Fathers have insisted on the recognition of the reality of personal sin and the necessity of personal forgiveness by God through the ministry of the priest. Collective absolutions are not an alternative way of administering the Sacrament of Reconciliation."

"Together with the celebration of the Eucharist, there is also a need to promote other forms of community prayer. ... In particular, in fidelity to the tradition of the Latin Church, different forms of Eucharistic worship outside of Mass should be promoted: private adoration, Eucharistic exposition and processions, which should be seen as an expression of faith in the continuing real presence of the Lord in the Sacrament of the Altar."
"Special consideration also needs to be given to popular piety."

"With regard to popular piety, constant vigilance is needed in order to prevent ambiguities in certain of its manifestations, to preserve them from secularizing influences, crass commercialization or even the risk of superstition, and to keep them within sound and authentic forms."

"Consequently I renew my encouragement to 'recover the deepest meaning of the day of the Lord. Sunday should be sanctified by sharing in the Eucharist and by rest enriched with Christian joy and fellowship. ... There should be no fear, then, of defending the Lord's day against every attack and making every effort to ensure that in the organization of labor it is safeguarded, so that it can be a day meant for man, to the benefit of all society."


"In order to serve the Gospel of hope, the Church in Europe is also called to follow the path of love."

"I. The service of charity

"By its very nature the witness of charity must extend beyond the confines of ecclesial communities and reach out to every person, so that love for everyone can become a stimulus to authentic solidarity in every part of society."

"II. Serving men and women in society

"Preferential love for the poor is a necessary dimension of Christian existence and service to the Gospel."

"There is a need, then, to confront the challenge of unemployment, which in many nations of Europe represents a grave blight on society. To this can be added the problems connected with the increase in migration."

"Due importance must also be given to the pastoral care of the sick. Since sickness is a situation which raises fundamental questions about the meaning of life, 'in a prosperous and efficient society, in a culture characterized by idolatry of the body, dismissal of suffering and pain and by the myth of perennial youth, the care of the sick is to be considered a priority'."

"The Church in Europe at every level must faithfully proclaim anew the truth about marriage and the family. ... The value of marital indissolubility is increasingly denied; demands are made for the legal recognition of de facto relationships as if they were comparable to legitimate marriages; and attempts are made to accept a definition of the couple in which difference of sex is not considered essential.

"In this context the Church is called to proclaim with renewed vigour what the Gospel teaches about marriage and the family, in order to grasp their meaning and value in God's saving plan."

"With respect to young people and engaged couples, particular attention must be given to providing education in love."

"The faithful who are divorced and civilly remarried ... are not excluded from the community; rather, they are encouraged to share in its life, while undertaking a journey of growth in the spirit of the Gospel's demands."

"The (ageing population) and the declining population in various European countries cannot fail to be a cause of concern."

"Together with the decline in the birthrate, ... mention should be made of other factors. ... Sadly, among these factors must be numbered, first of all, the spread of abortion, also through the use of chemical-pharmaceutical preparations which make abortion possible without the involvement of a physician and in a way detached from any form of social responsibility. This is favored by the fact that the legal systems of many European countries contain legislation permitting an act which remains an 'abominable crime' and which always constitutes a grave moral disorder. Mention must also be made of attacks involving 'forms of intervention on human embryos'."

"We must also mention the presence of a tendency in certain parts of Europe to consider it permissible to make a conscious decision to end one's own life or that of another human being: the result is the spread of covert, or even openly practiced euthanasia, the legalization of which is often sought and, tragically, at times achieved.

"Given this state of affairs, it is necessary 'to serve the Gospel of life' through 'a general mobilization of consciences and a united ethical effort to activate a great campaign in support of life'."

"The challenges presently facing our service of the Gospel of hope include the growing phenomenon of immigration, which calls on the Church's ability to welcome each person regardless of the people or nation to which he or she belongs. This phenomenon is also prompting European society and its institutions as a whole to seek a just order and forms of coexistence capable of respecting everyone, as well as the demands of legality, within a feasible process of integration."

"The phenomenon of migration challenges Europe's ability to provide for forms of intelligent acceptance and hospitality."

"Everyone must work for the growth of a mature culture of acceptance which, in taking into account the equal dignity of each person and need for solidarity with the less fortunate, calls for the recognition of the fundamental rights of each immigrant. Public authorities have the responsibility of controlling waves of migration with a view to the requirements of the common good. The acceptance of immigrants must always respect the norms of law and must therefore be combined, when necessary, with a firm suppression of abuses."
"III. Let us commit ourselves to charity!

"To you, the Church of Christ in Europe. The joys and hopes, the sorrows and anxieties of contemporary Europeans, especially the poor and the suffering, must also be your joys and your hopes, your sorrows and your anxieties. May nothing which is genuinely human lack an echo in your heart."


"I. Europe's spiritual vocation. The history of the European continent has been distinctively marked by the life-giving influence of the Gospel."

"There can be no doubt that the Christian faith belongs, in a radical and decisive way, to the foundations of European culture. Christianity in fact has shaped Europe, impressing upon it certain basic values. Modern Europe itself, which has given the democratic ideal and human rights to the world, draws its values from its Christian heritage."

"In the process of transformation which it is now undergoing, Europe is called above all to rediscover its true identity."

"In the process of the continent's integration, it is of capital importance to remember that the union will lack substance if it is reduced to its merely geographic and economic dimensions; rather, it must consist above all in an agreement about the values which must find expression in its law and in its life. "

"More recent ethnic conflicts, which have again led to bloodshed on the continent of Europe, have once more demonstrated to everyone how fragile peace is, how it requires an active commitment on the part of all, and how it can be ensured only by opening up new prospects of exchange, forgiveness and reconciliation between individuals, peoples and nations.

"In this state of affairs, Europe, with all its inhabitants, needs to work tirelessly to build peace within its borders and throughout the world."

"II. The Building Up of Europe

"Together with the Synod Fathers, I ask these same European institutions and the individual states of Europe to recognize that a proper ordering of society must be rooted in authentic ethical and civil values shared as widely as possible by its citizens; at the same time I would note that these values are the patrimony, in the first place, of the various social bodies. It is important that the institutions and the individual states recognize that these social bodies also include Churches and Ecclesial Communities and other religious organizations."

"In the light of what I have just emphasized, I wish once more to appeal to those drawing up the future European constitutional treaty, so that it will include a reference to the religious and in particular the Christian heritage of Europe. While fully respecting the secular nature of the institutions, I consider it desirable especially that three complementary elements should be recognized: the right of Churches and religious communities to organize themselves freely in conformity with their statutes and proper convictions; respect for the specific identity of the different religious confessions and provision for a structured dialogue between the European Union and those confessions; and respect for the juridical status already enjoyed by Churches and religious institutions by virtue of the legislation of the member states of the Union."

"For Europe to be built on solid foundations, there is a need to call upon authentic values grounded in the universal moral law written on the heart of every man and woman."

"I repeat to you again today: Europe, as you stand at the beginning of the third millennium, 'Open the doors to Christ! Be yourself. Rediscover your origins. Relive your roots'."

"Do not be afraid! The Gospel is not against you, but for you. This is confirmed by the fact that Christian inspiration is capable of transforming political, cultural and economic groupings into a form of coexistence in which all Europeans will feel at home and will form a family of nations from which other areas of the world can draw fruitful inspiration."

"Be confident! In the Gospel, which is Jesus, you will find the sure and lasting hope to which you aspire."

"Be certain! The Gospel of hope does not disappoint!

"CONCLUSION. Entrustment to Mary

"Church in Europe! Continue to contemplate Mary, in the knowledge that she is 'maternally present and sharing in the many complicated problems which today beset the lives of individuals, families, and nations' and is 'helping the Christian people in the constant struggle between good and evil, to ensure that it 'does not fall', or, if it has fallen, that it 'rises again'."

"To her, Mother of hope and consolation, we confidently lift up our prayer: to her we entrust the future of the Church in Europe and the future of all the women and men of this continent."

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VATICAN CITY, JUN 28, 2003 (VIS) - Today at noon in the Holy See Press Office, there was the presentation of the Post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation "Ecclesia in Europa." Cardinals Jan P. Schotte, C.I.C.M., and Antonio Maria Ruoco Varela, respectively secretary general of the Synod of Bishops and archbishop of Madrid, Spain, spoke during the press conference, as did Archbishops Vincent Gerard Nichols of Birmingham, England and Jozef Miroslaw Zycinski of Lublin, Poland.

Cardinal Schotte recalled that the Synod of Bishops' Special Assembly for Europe, which took place from October 1 to 23, 1999 on the theme "Jesus Christ Alive in His Church, Source of Hope for Europe," was the second synod celebrated for this continent. The first one took place in 1991, shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Cardinal Ruoco Varela emphasized that the main theme of the document is hope. Along with the shadows, he said, "there are also signs of hope in Europe. The Church is convinced that it has a treasure to offer to Europe, really its only treasure and hope: Jesus Christ. It is the best and most specific contribution that can be made for the building of Europe. It knows from experience, since she has contributed to shaping Europe's identity in a decisive way. If the values that have given a place to the humanist culture of Europe have many roots, these influences have historically found in Christianity the strength to harmonize, consolidate and promote them."

Archbishop Nichols spoke of the significance of the post-syndol exhortation for the Catholic communities of Western Europe, which can be presented under three headings: "The clear statement of a vision and expectations for our European venture, and the part the Christian faith plays in it; The call to conversion and renewal, in communion and mission, for the Catholic Church; and the relationship it envisages between the shared public and political life of Europe and the faith - or faiths - of its people."



VATICAN CITY, JUN 28, 2003 (VIS) - During vespers this evening in St. Peter's Basilica, Pope John Paul II signed and promulgated the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation "Ecclesia in Europa," noting that the document was the result of what had emerged during the October 1999 synod for Europe.

Repeating the synod's theme - "Jesus Christ, Living in His Church, Source of Hope for Europe" - the Holy Father said "that Christ is alive in His Church emerges from the two millennia-old history of Christianity. From the Eastern shores of the Mediterranean, the Gospel message was spread throughout the Roman empire, then became part of the many ethnic and cultural branches present on the European continent. To all of these the Church - precisely named 'catholic' - communicated the one and universal message of Christ."

The Pope added that "the Good News has been and continues to be a source of life for Europe. If it is true that Christianity, which does not belong to any particular culture, but dialogues with each one to orient it to express the best of itself in every field of human knowledge and action, its Christian roots are for Europe the principal guarantee of its future. Can a tree without roots survive and develop? Europe, don't forget your history!"

"The purity of the essence of the Gospel has unfortunately experiences, over the centuries, some pollution due to the limits and sins of several members of the Church. For this reason I felt the need, during the Great Jubilee Year 2000, to become the interpreter of the call for pardon, especially for several painful divisions that happened precisely in Europe and which wounded the Mystical Body of Christ."

In closing, John Paul II said that the Apostolic Exhortation "is an invitation (to everyone in Europe) to renew without reservations their adhesion to Christ and His Gospel. Only You, Jesus Christ, living in Your Church, are the source of hope!"



VATICAN CITY, JUN 29, 2003 (VIS) - At 6 p.m. today in St. Peter's Square, the Pope presided at a Eucharistic celebration during which he blessed and imposed the palliums on 40 metropolitan archbishops from different countries who were appointed in the last year. A delegation of the ecumenical patriarchate from Constantinople headed by His Eminence Demetrios, Greek-Orthodox archbishop of America, was present.

In his homily, the Pope invited those present to think about the "vocation and the personal history of the apostles Peter and Paul, whose apostolic duty and mission was proportional to the depth of their conversion. Tried by the bitter experience of human misery, they were freed by the Lord."

Addressing the 40 metropolitan archbishops (two other archbishops will receive the pallium in their respective sees), the Holy Father said: "Imitating the Good Shepherd, take care of the faithful of your communities. Convey to them my cordial greetings, and assure them that the Pope prays for everyone, especially for those undergoing harsh trials and great difficulties."

"The joy of today's feast," he continued, "becomes more intense due to the presence of the delegation sent this year by His Holiness Bartholomaios I, ecumenical patriarch. The Lord, who knows our weaknesses and doubts, promises us His help to overcome the obstacles that impede the concelebration of one Eucharist. For this reason, beloved brothers and sisters, to welcome you and to have you alongside us in this solemn liturgical gathering makes our hope more firm and gives specific shape to that desire that induces us to full communion."

"As bishop of Rome and successor of Peter, in the significant setting of this feast, I renew today my full availability to put my person at the service of communion among all disciples of Christ. Help me, dear brothers and sisters, with the incessant help of your prayer. Invoke for me the heavenly intercession of Mary, Mother of the Church, and the apostle saints Peter and Paul."

The Pope concluded by saying: "May God help us to fulfill the mission which he has entrusted to us in complete fidelity to the last day, in order to form one heart and one soul in the bond of his love."

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VATICAN CITY, JUN 29, 2003 (VIS) - At noon today, Pope John Paul appeared at the window of his study overlooking St. Peter's Square and, in remarks made before praying the Angelus, noted that "we are celebrating the solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul whom we venerate as the 'pillars' of the Church."

"The diocese of Rome is especially festive today as its very roots are in the witness given by the two great Apostles. Peter, chosen by Christ as the 'rock' on which He built His Church, was crucified not far from here on the Vatican hill, and his tomb is the symbolic center of the Catholic faith. Paul, decapitated at the gates of Rome, was a model of evangelization and his Letters, a notable part of the New Testament, never cease to attract to Christ men and women of today."

"As I do every year," said the Holy Father, "at 6 this evening in St. Peter's Square, I will preside at a Eucharistic celebration and bestow on numerous metropolitan archbishops the sacred pallium, a sign of communion with the Holy See."

"According to a long tradition which is reason for great joy," he concluded, "a delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarch, His Holiness Bartholomaios I, will be present this evening. The exchange of delegations by Rome and Constantinople for the feasts of their respective patrons, goes well beyond an act of ecclesial courtesy. It mirrors the deep and well-rooted intention of reestablishing full communion between the East and West. I thank Patriarch Bartholomaios who entrusted to his delegation the duty of representing him."

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VATICAN CITY, JUN 30, 2003 (VIS) - Today in the Holy See Press office, Archbishops Jean-Louis Tauran, secretary for Relations with States, and Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, presented the book "Words That Matter," which gathers in one volume speeches by representatives of the Holy See to international institutions between 1970 and 2000. The book was edited by Archbishop Andre Dupuy, apostolic nuncio in Venezuela. He also spoke during the presentation.

Archbishop Tauran said he hoped that leaders and diplomats will be inspired by this book "in their search for reasonable, peaceful, fair and impartial resolutions, capable of solving conflicts and of banning force from international life. May this book help (people) to better understand the basic reason for the presence of the Holy See in the midst of the community of Nations: to be the voice that human consciences await!"

Archbishop Martino affirmed that the volume, nearly 800 pages long, covers topics that go from "the right to religious freedom to social development, from the right to peace to the right to life, from the rights of women and children to the rights of refugees."

For his part, Archbishop Dupuy made it clear that this "is a work instrument meant for experts in international law, a text for diplomats to consult and for whoever wishes to better know the Holy See's position on certain international questions."

"Words That Matter," he added, "contains speeches given by Holy See delegations before international organizations and during international conferences and meetings that took place over a period of 30 years, from 1970 to 2000. There are 1,310 documents. The speeches given by the Holy Father John Paul II in the context of bilateral and multilateral diplomacy will be part of another volume in the future."
The nuncio in Venezuela concluded by noting that "a CD-ROM published with the book contains the complete text of the majority of the speeches cited in the sources. In fact, for several of them, a very small number, there are only summaries."



VATICAN CITY, JUN 30, 2003 (VIS) - This morning in the Paul VI Hall, the Holy Father welcomed the 40 metropolitan archbishops who received the pallium last evening, accompanied by their relatives and friends. He addressed those present in their native languages, including Italian, French, English, German, Spanish. Portuguese, Hungarian and Russian, and named each of the individual sees represented.

"Your presence reflects the universality of the Church," he told the archbishops. "Wearing the pallium, which symbolizes the very close bond that links you to the See of Peter, promote the spirit of communion of your particular Churches, announcing and giving witness of the Risen Jesus Christ through ecclesial action that infuses hope and animates charity."

"In naming your sees," the Pope stated, "we have touched upon numerous and diverse regions of the world. It is the world that God so loved that He sent His only Son to save it. It is to this world, through the same love, that the Church in which you are pastors is sent. Armed with the pallium, a sign of communion with the Apostolic See, go forth! Put out into the deep. May the saintly Apostles Peter and Paul always watch over your ministry, and may Mary Most Holy, Queen of the Apostles, protect you!"

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VATICAN CITY, JUN 30, 2003 (VIS) - Today the Holy Father received in audience three prelates from the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India:

- Archbishop Ignatius Paul Pinto of Bangalore.

- Bishop Joji Govindu of Nalgonda.

- Bishop Doraboina Moses Prakasam of Cuddapah.

On Saturday June 28 the Holy Father received in separate audiences:

- Members of the Presidency of the Latin American Episocopal Council (CELAM):

- Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz Ossa, archbishop of Santiago de Chile, Chile, president.

- Bishop Carlos Aguiar Retes of Texcoco, Mexico, first vice-president.

- Bishop Geraldo Lyrio Rocha, archbishop of Vitoria da Conquista, Brazil, second vice-president.

- Cardinal Pedro Rubiano Saenz, archbishop of Bogota, Colombia, president of the Economic Committee.

- Bishop Ramon Benito de la Rosa y Carpio of Nuestra Senora de la Altagracia en Higuey, Dominican Republic, secretary general.

- Two prelates from the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India:

- Bishop Johannes Gorantla of Kurnool.

- Bishop Paul Maipan of Khammam.

- Professor Carl Albert Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus.

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

- Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Macao, China presented by Bishop Domingos Laam Ka Tseung upon having reached the age limit. Coadjutor Bishop Jos‚ Lai Hung-Seng succeeds him.

- Appointed Fr. Datus Hilarion Lega, director of Caritas in Indonesia, as bishop of Manokwari-Sorong (area 111,835, population 556,583, Catholics 54,567, priests 25, religious 81), Indonesia. The bishop-elect was born in 1956 in Kupang, Indonesia and was ordained a priest in 1984. He suceeds Bishop Francis Xavier Sudartana Hadisumarta, O. Carm, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted in accordance with Canon 401, para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.

It was made public on Saturday June 28 that the Holy Father:

- Appointed Bishop Rolando J. Tria Tirona, O.C.D., of Malolos, Philippines, as bishop of the Prelature of the Infant (area 7,189, population 430,734, Catholics 387,660, priests 37, permanent deacons 1, religious 40), Philippines. He succeeds Bishop Julio X. Labayen, O.C.D., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same prelature the Holy Father accepted upon having reached the age limit.

- Erected the diocese of Cubao, the Philippines, with territory taken from the archidiocese of Manila, the Philippines, making it a suffragen of the same metropolitan Church.

- Appointed Bishop Honesto F. Ongtioco of Balanga, the Philippines, as bishop of Cubao (area 76, population 1,238,760, Catholics 1,090,108, priests 15, religious 1,587), Philippines.

- Erected the diocese of Kalookan, the Philippines, with territory taken from the archdiocese of Manila, making it a suffragen of the same metropolitan Church.

- Appointed Bishop Deogracias S.Iniguez of Iba, the Philippines, as bishop of de Kalookan (area 55, population 1,221,412, Catholicss 1,099,270, priests 26, religious 47), the Philippines.

- Erected the diocese of Pasig, the Philippines, with territory taken from the archdiocese of Manila, making it a suffragen of the same metropolitan Church.

- Appointed Bishop Francisco C. San Diego of San Pablo, the Philippines, as bishop of Pasig (area 67, population 1,156,000, Catholics 1,040,400, priests 36, religious 104), the Philippines.

- Appointed Fr. Heriberto Andres Bodeant Fernandez, pastor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in Paysandu, Uruguay, as auxiliary bishop of Salto (area 50,248, population 320,000, Catholics 290,000, priests 37, religious 107), Uruguay. The bishop-elect was born in 1955 in Young, Uruguay and was ordained a priest in 1986.

- Appointed as members of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches: Archbishops Lucian Muresan of Fagaras and Alba Iulia, Romania and Cyril Baselios Malancharuvil of Trivandrum of the Syro-Malankars, India.

- Appointed Archbishop Berhaneyesus Demerew Souraphiel of Addis Abeba, Ethiopia as consultor of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.

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Friday, June 27, 2003


VATICAN CITY, JUN 27, 2003 (VIS) - Today the Holy Father received in separate audiences:

- Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, archbishop major of Lviv of the Ukrainians, Ukraine.

- Cardinal Antonio Maria Ruoco Varela, archbishop of Madrid and president of the Spanish Episcopal Conference, and an entourage.

- Archbishop Pietro Sambi, apostolic nuncio in Israel and Cyprus and apostolic delegate in Jerusalem and Palestine.

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

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VATICAN CITY, JUN 27, 2003 (VIS) - Every year on the June 29th solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles, the Roman Pontiff, during a solemn Eucharistic concelebration, bestows the pallium on new metropolitan archbishops.

The pallium is a white woolen circular band embroidered with six black crosses which is worn over the shoulders and has two hanging pieces, in front and in back. Worn by metropolitan archbishops and by the Pope himself, the pallium symbolizes authority and expresses a particular bond of union with the Roman Pontiff. Palliums are made from the wool shorn from lambs that are blessed by the Pope on the feast of St. Agnes.

In the 1978 document, "De Sacrii Pallii" (Inter Eximia Episcopalis), Pope Paul Vl restricted use of the pallium to the Pope and metropolitan archbishops. In 1984 John Paul II decreed that it would be conferred on the metropolitans by the Pope on the June 29 feast of Sts. Peter and Paul. Archbishops wear the pallium only in their own archdiocese and only on those days and occasions specified in the 'Pontificale' (a liturgical book which contains the rites for the performance of episcopal functions, with the exception of Mass and Divine Office) or otherwise decreed by the Holy Father. Palliums are worn over the chasuble.

Pope John Paul has, in past ceremonies, spoken of the meaning of the pallium: "The communion of faith is expressed in today's solemn celebration, also through the meaningful gesture of the imposition of the sacred pallium" on the metropolitan archbishops. "The pallium that you receive today is an expression of that unity with the See of Peter and of that witness in agreement with the Christian faith, which must characterize your episcopal ministry."

Every year on the January 21 liturgical memory of the virgin-martyr St. Agnes, for whom the traditional symbol is a lamb, the Pope blesses several baby lambs whose wool will be used to make the palliums. The centuries-old tradition is celebrated annually on the feast of St. Agnes who died about 350 and is buried in the basilica named after her on Rome's Via Nomentana. The lambs are raised by the Trappist Fathers of the Abbey of the Three Fountains and the palliums of the newly-shorn wool are made by the sisters of St. Cecilia. Usually in attendance at the ceremony, which takes place in the Pope's private apartments, are two Trappist fathers, two canons of the Chapter of St. John, the dean of the Roman Rota, two "sediari" (former papal chair bearers and now ceremonial officials) and two officials from the Office of the Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff.

The new palliums are blessed each year by the Pope on the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul. They are then put into a coffer below the Altar of the Confessional, where they remain for a year, at which time they are removed and bestowed on the new metropolitans.

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VATICAN CITY, JUN 27, 2003 (VIS) - Today, Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Pope received participants in the national congress promoted by the Italian National Federation of the Apostolic Union of the Clergy and representatives of the new Apostolic Union of Lay people.

After mentioning the theme on which they are reflecting, "In local Churches in the way of Trinitarian Communion: diocesan spirituality is spirituality of communion," the Holy Father said that "the mystery of Trinitarian Communion is the high model of reference of ecclesial communion."

John Paul II recalled that in the Apostolic Letter "Novo millennio ineunte" he wrote: "To make the Church the home and school of communion: that is the great challenge facing us in the millennium now beginning." This involves, in the first place, 'promoting a spirituality of communion" which requires, he added, "a radical conversion to Christ, docile openness to the action of the Holy Spirit and a sincere acceptance of our brothers and sisters."

"The World Day of Prayer for the sanctification of the clergy, which by happy coincidence is celebrated today, constitutes a propitious occasion to implore the Lord for the gift of holy and zealous ministers for His Church."

The Pope underlined that "in order to realize this ideal of sanctity all priests must follow the example of the divine Master. ... Jose Maria Escriva, a saint of our times, writes that 'the Lord uses us as torches, to make the light shine out. Much depends on us; if we respond many people will remain in darkness no longer, but will walk instead along paths that lead to eternal life'."

"But," the Pope concluded, "where do we light these torches of light and of sanctity if not in Jesus' heart, inexaustable font of love?"

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VATICAN CITY, JUN 27, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

- Bishop Ismael Rueda Sierra, auxiliary of Cartagena, Colombia, as bishop of Socorro y San Gil (area 11,711, population 439,479, Catholics 429,279, priests 142, religious 232), Colombia.

- Msgr. Patrick Pinder, vicar general of the archdiocese of Nassau, Bahamas, as auxiliary bishop of the same archdiocese (area 13,872, population 310,000, Catholics 47,688, priests 28, permanent deacons 14, religious 43). The bishop-elect was born in Nassau in 1953 and was ordained a priest in 1980.

- Fr. Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., member of the Divine Vocations Society and pastor of St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Newark, U.S.A., as auxiliary bishop of the same archdiocese (area 1,328, population 2,809,267, Catholics 1,319,558, priests 339, permanent deacons 248, religious 1,633). The bishop-elect was born in Riachao do Jacuipe Bahia, Brazil in 1957 and was ordained a priest in 1975.

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Thursday, June 26, 2003


VATICAN CITY, JUN 26, 2003 (VIS) - The Pope this morning welcomed the bishops of the ecclesiastical provinces of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar, Patna and Ranchi in India and, in his talk to them in English, highlighted the task of evangelization and the need for constant interreligious dialogue.

Noting that all baptized persons are charged with the task of evangelization, of "preaching the Gospel to the whole creation," the Holy Father said: "How unfortunate it is then that even today in many places in India unnecessary obstacles still impede the teaching of the Gospel. Citizens of a modern democracy should not suffer because of their religious convictions. Nor should anyone feel compelled to hide his or her religion in order to enjoy fundamental human rights, such as education and employment."

In particular the Pope underscored the challenge of "first evangelization," saying that the initial contact with those who have not yet heard the Good News "demands of us all an intelligent and credible expression of the faith." He urged the bishops to ensure that they have "well-trained laity equipped and ready to be teachers of the faith." Nothing must erode the good rapport that exists between bishops and catechists, he added. "At the same time, personal views originating from caste or tribal affinity should never be allowed to cloud the authentic teaching of the Church."

Turning to interreligious dialogue, John Paul II pointed out that the Church is always respectful of differing cultures and people of different religions. "Interreligious dialogue will not only increase mutual understanding and respect for one another, but will also help to develop society in harmony with the rights and dignity of all." Remarking that the Church attempts to "dialogue" also through her institutions, schools, hospitals and dispensaries, he stated: "It is unfortunate that some of the Church's honest attempts towards interreligious dialogue at its most basic level have sometimes been hindered by a lack of cooperation from the government and by harassment from certain fundamentalist groups. India has strong traditions of respect for religious differences."

Telling the bishops he is "keenly aware of the trials" they face, the Holy Father affirmed: "It is disheartening to see the work of the Church often compromised by a lingering tribalism in certain parts of India. At times this tribalism has been so strong that some groups have even refused to receive bishops and priests not from their clans, thus crippling the proper functioning of Church structures and obscuring the essential nature of the Church as communion. Tribal or ethnic differences must never be used as a reason for rejecting a bearer of God's word."

The Pope said that he hoped bishops, priests and religious would not lose zeal for their ministries because of the hardships they face. "It is my hope that you will all continue to work closely together. In today's circumstances there is an even greater need for mutual relations. Some difficult and painful conflicts regarding the management of institutes and the ownership of property have arisen in your region. These issues, however, are not insurmountable for those who live the Gospel in a spirit of fraternal love and service."

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VATICAN CITY, JUN 26, 2003 (VIS) - The Pope's Message was published today for the 24th World Tourism Day which will take place on September 27 on the theme: "Tourism: a driving element in the fight against poverty, for the creation of employment and for social harmony."

In the Message, written in Italian and dated June 11, the Holy Father writes that "the next World Tourism Day will focus on tourism in relation to pockets of poverty on every continent. The drama of poverty is one of the greatest present-day challenges, while the gap between different areas of the world continues to grow, despite the availability of the necessary means to provide relief, humanity having achieved extraordinary scientific development and technology."

"It is not possible," continues John Paul II, "to remain indifferent and inert to poverty and underdevelopment. We cannot close ourselves off in our own selfish interests, abandoning innumerable sisters and brother in misery, and, even more serious, allowing many of them to die an inexorable death."

The Pope emphasizes that "tourist activity can play a relevant role in the fight against poverty, from an economic, social and cultural point of view. Travel allows one to get to know places and different situations, and one realizes how great the gap is between rich countries and poor countries. Furthermore, one can evaluate better the resources and local activities, promoting the involvement of the poorest segments of the population."

"We must make an effort," he continues, "never to allow the well-being of a few privileged to be achieved to the detriment of the quality of life of many others."

The Holy Father concludes by expressing the desire that "tourist activity become ever more an effective instrument to reduce poverty, to promote the personal and social growth of individuals and peoples, to consolidate participation and cooperation among nations, cultures and religions."

Today at noon, Archbishops Stephen Fumio Hamao and Agostino Marchetto and Fr. Michael Blume, S.V.D, respectively president, secretary and undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples, presented the Message in the Holy See Press Office.

Archbishop Fumio indicated that "despite the high figures in tourism - for example last year there were 715 million international trips for this reason alone - we must always note that a considerable part of humanity encounters grave limitations in ... enjoying free time."

For his part, Archbishop Marchetto referred to the duty to "promote the ethics of tourism," as the Holy Father indicated in his Message for World Tourism Day in 2001. "This is," he said, "an indispensable condition if we want tourism to put its energies to the service of the fight against poverty, and to promote the creation of dignified job possibilities and social harmony among individuals and peoples. All these elements are considered very important for the social doctrine of the Church."



VATICAN CITY, JUN 26, 2003 (VIS) - Seventy participants in the annual meeting of ROACO, the Works of Assistance to the Oriental Churches, were welcomed by the Pope this morning. He thanked them for their generous aid to and support of the Christian Churches of the Orient, mentioning in particular their assistance in the Holy Land and Iraq.

ROACO, under the auspices of the Congregation for Oriental Churches, is composed of 19 different organizations throughout the world including the Catholic Near East Welfare Association, the Pontifical Mission for Palestine, Misereor, Aid to the Suffering Church, the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, and Work of the East, to name but a few. Members provide financial as well as spiritual assistance.

The Pope said that ROACO's help to these churches is "even more appreciated, bearing in mind the dramatic events of recent times. I am thinking of the recent war in Iraq, the conflict in the Holy Land which, unfortunately, is never-ending, and also of the continual famine in Eritrea and Ethiopia." Not only must economic assistance be intensified, he said, but "it is necessary to make the spirit of divine charity grow."

The Holy Father noted that "the Holy Land continues to be a theater of conflicts and violence and the Catholic communities there are suffering and need to be supported and helped in their many urgent situations. A heartfelt cry arises from those populations, invoking a stable and lasting peace."

He expressed his gratitude to ROACO for "the thoughtful solidarity you showed towards the Christians so very tried by the recent conflict in Iraq. I pray God that peace will quickly be consolidated in that country and that the populations, so tried because of a lengthy international isolation, can finally live in harmony."

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VATICAN CITY, JUN 26, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience six prelates from the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India on their "ad limina" visit:

- Bishop Michael Minj, S.J., of Gumla.

- Bishop Joseph Minj of Simdega.

- Bishop Gabriel Kujur, S.J., of Daltonganj.

- Bishop Julius Marandi of Dumka.

- Bishop Felix Toppo of Jamshedpur, S.J., accompanied by Bishop emeritus Joseph Robert Rodericks.

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VATICAN CITY, JUN 26, 2003 (VIS) - Forty metropolitan archbishops will receive the pallium from the hands of Pope John Paul II on Sunday June 29, Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, at 6 p.m. in St. Peter's Square. The new metropolitans are:
1. Archbishop Timothy Michael Dolan of Milwaukee, U.S.A.

2. Archbishop Ludwig Schick of Bamberg, Germany.

3. Archbishop Jose Carlos Melo of Maceio, Brazil.

4. Archbishop Hugo Barrantes Urena of San Jose de Costa Rica, Costa Rica.

5. Archbishop Joao Braz de Aviz of Maringa, Brazil.

6. Archbishop Juan Francisco Sarasti Jaramillo of Cali, Colombia.

7. Archbishop Braulio Rodriguez Plaza of Valladolid, Spain.

8. Archbishop Fulgence Rabemahafaly of Fianarantsoa, Madagascar.

9. Archbishop Stanislaus Fernandes of Gandhinagar, India.

10. Archbishop Antonio Canizares Llovera of Toledo, Spain.

11. Archbishop Marc Ouellet of Quebec, Canada.

12. Archbishop Werner Thissen of Hamburg, Germany.

13. Archbishop Alois Kothgasser of Salzburg, Austria.

14. Archbishop Peter Erdo of Esztergom-Budapest, Hungary.

15. Archbishop Bernard Panafieu of Marseille, France.

16. Archbishop Hippolyte Simon of Clermont, France.

17. Archbishop Michel Coloni of Dijon, France.

18. Archbishop Guy Thomazeau of Montpellier, France.

19. Archbishop Albert Rouet of Poitiers, France.

20. Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone of Genova, Italy.

21. Archbishop Flavio Calle Zapata of Ibague, Colombia.

22. Archbishop Francisco Robles Ortega of Monterrey, Mexico.

23. Archbishop Antonio Ciliberti of Catanzaro-Squillace, Italy.

24. Archbishop Francisco Chimoio, O.F.M.Cap., of Maputo, Mozambique.

25. Archbishop Hector Gonzalez Martinez of Durango, Mexico.

26. Archbishop Jose Maria Arancedo of Santa Fe de la Vera Cruz, Argentina.

27. Archbishop Peter Fernando of Madurai, India.

28. Archbishop Vincent Coulibaly of Conakry, Guinea.
29. Archbishop Guillermo Jose Garlatti of Bahia Blanca, Argentina.

30. Archbishop Francisco Javier Martinez Fernandez of Granada, Spain.

31. Archbishop Raul Eduardo Vela Chiriboga of Quito, Ecuador.

32. Archbishop Yannis Spiteris of Corfu, Greece.

33. Archbishop Murphy Nicholas Xavier Pakiam of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

34. Archbishop Antonio Arregui Yarza of Guayaquil, Ecuador.

35. Archbishop Mario Luis Bautista Maulion of Parana, Argentina.

36. Archbishop Charles Bo, S.D.B., of Yangon, Myanmar.

37. Archbishop Paul Grawng of Mandalay, Myanmar.

38. Archbishop Tomasz Peta of Astana, Kazakhstan.

39. Archbishop Giuseppe Mani of Cagliari, Italy.

40. Archbishop John Ha Tiong Hock of Kuching, Malaysia.

In addition, two metropolitan archbishops will receive the pallium in their respective metropolitan sees: Archbishops Alapati Mataeliga of Samoa-Apia, Samoa and Florentinus Sului Hajang Hau, M.S.F., of Samarinda, Indonesia.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2003


VATICAN CITY, JUN 25, 2003 (VIS) - In today's general audience, celebrated in St. Peter's Square, the Pope spoke about his predecessor, Servant of God Paul VI, who was elected forty years ago to the See of St. Peter on June 21, 1963.

After recalling that his petrine ministry lasted 15 years (1963-1978) "and was characterized especially by Vatican Council II and by a great openness to the demands of the modern age," the Holy Father said: "I too had the grace to take part in the work of the Council and to live through the post-conciliar period. I was able to personally appreciate Paul VI's constant commitment to the necessary 'aggiornamento' or renewal of the Church according to the demands of the new evangelization. As his successor to the See of Peter, it has been my concern to continue the pastoral care that he began, inspired by him like a 'father' or a 'teacher'."

"A strong and humble apostle, Paul VI loved the Church and worked for its unity and to intensify its missionary activity. In this way, the innovative initiative of apostolic trips that today constitutes an integral part of the ministry of the Successor of Peter is fully understood."

The Holy Father emphasized that Paul VI "wanted the ecclesial community to open up to the world, without giving in to the spirit of the world. With prudent wisdom, he knew how to resist the temptation of 'conforming' to the modern mentality, sustaining difficulties and misunderstandings, and sometimes even hostility, with evangelical strength. Even in the most difficult moments he did not cease to bring God's illuminating word to His People."

"Let us give thanks to God," concluded John Paul II, "for the gift of his pontificate, a solid and sage guide for the Church. ... In the light of our eternal goal we understand better how urgent it is to love Christ and to serve His Church with joy. May Mary, whom Paul VI wanted to proclaim Mother of the Church with filial love, obtain this grace for us. And may she be the one to embrace in her arms this devoted son in the eternal happiness that is reserved for those who faithfully serve the Gospel."

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VATICAN CITY, JUN 25, 2003 (VIS) - The Post-synodal Council of the General Secretariat for the Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops met for the 11th time in the secretariat's office in Rome. For the first time all members of the council were present, according to the communique published this morning.

Joining Secretary General, Cardinal Jan Schotte, C.I.C.M., were 4 cardinals, 6 archbishops, 2 bishops and 4 members of the staff of the Synod of Bishops.

Following the opening prayer, Cardinal Schotte reviewed the activity of the General Secretariat since the council's last meeting in June of 2002. Members then gave both oral and written reports, notes the communique, "on matters in their individual countries or in entire regions, underscoring the political, civil, economic, and health emergencies that are weighing on the presence of the Church, as she brings her message and witnesses to respect for human dignity in the spirit of the new evangelization."

Council members also highlighted the continual application of the Post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation "Ecclesia in Africa" and its promotion by both national and regional episcopal conferences.

This post-synodal council will meet again in June 2004.

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VATICAN CITY, JUN 25, 2003 (VIS) - At the end of the catechesis of today's general audience in St. Peter's Square, Pope John Paul briefly reflected on his one-day trip last Sunday to Bosnia-Herzegovina, where he beatified a native layman, Ivan Merz.

"Divine Providence," said the Pope, "allowed me to undertake a new apostolic trip to Bosnia-Herzegovina, six years after my pastoral trip to Sarajevo. It was a brief trip, but intense and filled with hope for that country which has been so tried by recent conflicts." He said he "sensed in everyone the will to overcome the painful experiences of the past in order to build, in truth and reciprocal pardon, a society worthy of man and acceptable to God."

The Holy Father remarked that "the high point of this pilgrimage was the solemn Eucharistic liturgy with the beatification of Ivan Merz, whom I proposed as a model for the Catholics, especially young people, of that land."

"I ask God," he said in closing, "to help the peoples of that land, supported by the international community, to be able to resolve the complex issues that are still open and to realize the legitimate aspiration to live in peace and to be part of a united Europe."

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VATICAN CITY, JUN 25, 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, JUN 25, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Jaboticabal, Brazil, presented by Bishop Luiz Eugenio Perez upon having reached the age limit. Coadjutor Bishop Antonio Fernando Brochini, C.S.S., succeeds him.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2003


VATICAN CITY, JUN 24, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father this morning blessed a marble bust of his predecessor, Servant of God Paul VI, in the atrium of the Paul VI Hall, in the presence of members of the Roman Curia, the sculptor Floriano Bodini, Paul VI's secretary, Archbishop Pasquale Macchi, and members of the late Pope's family. He underscored that Paul VI wished the hall bearing his name to be "the seat of the Pope's catechesis."

Pope John Paul noted that today is the feast of St. John the Baptist, the name the former Pope received at baptism. He also recalled that "forty years have passed since he was elected to the Chair of Peter, on June 21, 1963, and 25 years since his death which occurred at Castelgandolfo on August 6, the feast of the Transfiguration."

"On June 29, 1978," said the Holy Father, "in the last public celebration for the 15th anniversary of his election as Supreme Pontiff, (Paul VI) gave a talk that had the solemn and heartfelt tone of a last will and testament. I would like to re-read a meaningful passage: 'We look in a comprehensive way - he said -on what has been the period during which the Lord has entrusted us with His Church. ... Even if we consider ourselves as the least and most unworthy Successor of Peter, we feel on this threshold comforted and supported by the awareness of having tirelessly repeated, before the Church and the world: 'You are Christ, the Son of the Living God!' We too, like Paul, feel able to say: 'I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith...'.

"Let us pray," said John Paul II in closing, "that we too, like him, will be able to work tirelessly for the Kingdom of God."

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VATICAN CITY, JUN 24, 2003 (VIS) - On Thursday June 26 at 11:30 p.m. in the Holy See Press Office Archbishop Stephen Fumio Hamao, president of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples, will present the Holy Father's Message for the 24th World Tourism Day (September 27, 2003) on the theme: "Tourism: driving element in the fight against poverty, for the creation of employment and for social harmony." Archbishop Fumio will be accompanied by Archbishop Agostino Marchetto and Fr. Michael Blume, S.V.D., respectively secretary and subsecretary of the same dicastery.

On Saturday June 28 at 11:30 a.m. the presentation of the Post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation "Ecclesia in Europe" will take place. Cardinals Jan P. Schotte and Antonio Maria Rouco Varela, respectively secretary general of the Synod of Bishops and Archbishop of Madrid, Spain, will participate in the press conference, as well as Archbishops Vincent Gerard Nichols of Birmingham, England and Jozef Miroslaw Zycinski of Lublin, Poland.



VATICAN CITY, JUN 24, 2003 (VIS) - Today at noon in the Holy See Press Office the Internet site of the Vatican Museums was presented during a press conference, presided over by Cardinal Edmund Szoka, president of the Governorate of Vatican City State, under whose auspices the museums fall.

Also present were Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, secretary of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, which oversees the Vatican's Internet Office, and Francesco Buranelli, director of the Vatican Museums. The Museum site is accessed through: www.vatican.va

Cardinal Szoka noted that the new Internet site of the Vatican Museums "further enriches the Holy See web site, created years ago and in continual and progressive expansion. For some time, the Church has paid great attention to the means of social communication, in order to more efficaciously perform her universal mission. The Internet, with its enormous potential, allows us to approach an ever greater number of people and to spread throughout the world our message of evangelization."

The universal language of culture and art, he added, "allows for contact with persons of different cultures, languages and religions." The Internet site will make the collections of the Vatican Museums available to tourists, collectors, scholars amd the general public, permitting everyone to "become acquainted with many masterpieces, their history and their meaning."

Cardinal Szoka noted that, when Pope John Paul inaugurated the new entrance to the Vatican Museums on February 7, 2000, he called the Museums "one of the most meaningful doors that the Holy See opens to the world," through which is expressed "the renewed will of the Church to dialogue with mankind through art and culture, making available to everyone the patrimony entrusted to her by history."

Nicola Aliperti, a representative of Hewlitt Packard Italy, remarked that "in the future the patrimony presented in the Vatican Museums, which UNESCO defined as 'the patrimony of mankind', will be accessible through the wireless means of palm pilots." This patrimony will thus be available not only through personal computers but also through pocket PCs and the latest generation cell phones.

Archbishop Celli, secretary of APSA and head of the web site, said that the Internet Office is responsible for the entire implementation and "hardening" of the web site and its security.

Francesco Buranelli, director of the Museums of the Vatican City State, affirmed that the site "will allow the public to access the inestimable artistic heritage that these museums have preserved and protected for centuries."

For the realization of the site, he said, "we took advantage of the great experience and precious collaboration of the Holy See Internet Office and the technical support of Hewlett Packard S.r.l. for the servers." For the scientific content, directors of the various sectors of the administration of the Museums collaborated. "Two-hundred and fifteen complete files were written for certain works, accompanied by 120 images of high resolution and 95 images of medium resolution." In addition, he added, the site "can be easily consulted thanks to the texts that have been fully translated into Italian, French, English, Spanish and German."

After the press conference, a demonstration was conducted on how to access the web site from a desk top computer, a lap top, palm pilot and the latest-model mobile phones.

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VATICAN CITY, JUN 24, 2003 (VIS) - Bishop Giampaolo Crepaldi, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, headed the Holy See's delegation to the 91st International Conference on Work which took place in Geneva from June 3 to 19 on the theme "Freeing Oneself from Poverty Through Work."

In his speech, given on June 16 and published today, Bishop Crepaldi affirmed that "a human being who is deprived of the necessities of life is a humiliated human being who is denied his economic and social rights, and in extreme cases, the right to life. But poverty," he exclaimed, "is not a destiny!"

"It is necessary," he concluded, "that those responsible for the orientation of work policies, nationally and internationally, turn their attention to the fundamental problem of unemployment which affects young people."

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

- Archbishop Felix del Blanco Prieto, apostolic nuncio in Malta, as apostolic nuncio in Libya.

- Archbishop Renzo Fratini, apostolic nuncio in Indonesia, as apostolic nuncio in East Timor.

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VATICAN CITY, JUN 24, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

- Three prelates from the Catholics Bishops' Conference of India on their "ad limina" visit:

- Bishop Aleixo das Neves Dias of Port Blair.

- Bishop Stephen M. Tiru of Khunti.

- Bishop Charles Soreng, S.J., of Hazaribag.

- Prince Fra'Andrew Bertie, grand master of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, and an entourage.

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Monday, June 23, 2003


VATICAN CITY, JUN 22, 2003 (VIS) - When Pope John Paul landed this morning at Banja Luka International Airport in Bosnia-Herzegovina, he began his 101st international pastoral trip and his second visit to this Balkan country, having travelled to Sarajevo, the capital, on April 12 and 13, 1997.

Formerly part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Bosnia declared its independence on January 9, 1992. Shortly afterwards, war broke out among the three ethnic groups - Croatian, Bosnian-Muslim and Serb - and ended only with the intervention of United Nations and NATO forces.

On November 21, 1995 the Dayton Accords approved the integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, even though it was divided into two entities, each having its own parliament and government: the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina (Croatian-Muslim: 50 percent of the territory) and the Serbian Republic or Srpska (49 percent).

The Federation is led by a president and vice-president, alternatively Croatian and Muslim. Legislative power is in the hands of Parliament, which has a Chamber of Deputies (140 members) and a Peoples' Chamber (74 members). From an administrative standpoint the Federation is divided into 10 totally autonomous cantons. The Serbian Republic is also led by a president and vice-president and its National Assembly has 140 members.

Brcko is a special administrative unit that does not belong to either of the above governments but rather is under the jurisdiction of the central government of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The Collegial Presidency of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina is composed of three members elected for four-year terms who represent the three ethnic groups: 1 Croat, 1 Muslim, 1 Serb. Each of the three members presides on a rotating basis of 8 months. The central parliament is formed of two chambers: the Chamber of Deputies (42 directly elected deputies: two-thirds Croat-Muslim, one-third Serb) with its central offices in Sarajevo, and the Peoples' Chamber (5 delegates elected for each ethnic group), which meets in Lukavica. The central executive branch is composed of a Council of Ministers, named by the presidency, which is comprised of six members, each of whom occupies the position of prime minister for eight months on a rotating basis.

The capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina is Sarajevo whose population is approximately 360,000 people. Banja Luka is the second largest city with a population of 143,079. The national language is Serbian-Croatian. Bosnians are 43.7 percent of the populace, Serbs 31.4, Croats 17.3 and the remaining 7.6 percent are other ethnic groups. Sunni Muslims comprise 43 percent of the population, Orthodox 30, Catholics 11.3 and others are 15 percent.

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VATICAN CITY, JUN 22, 2003 (VIS) - After meeting with three members of the Collegial Presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina in the airport at Banja Luka, the Pope went by popemobile to the convent of the Most Holy Trinity on Petricevac Hill, where he celebrated the Eucharist and beatified Servant of God Ivan Merz in the presence of 50,000 people.

Among those present at the Mass were three members of the Collegial Presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the president of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia, political and civil authorities, Cardinal Vinko Puljic, archbishop of Vrhbosna, Sarajevo and the bishops of Bosnia.

The Gospel was sung in Ukrainian as a large group of Catholics of the Byzantine rite, born in the Ukraine, live in the region of Banja Luka.

In the homily, the Pope sent a "fraternal greeting" to His Beatitude Patriarch Pavle and to members of the Holy Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church. He also greeted the faithful of the Jewish and Islamic communities as well as pilgrims from different parts of the world and neighboring nations.

"From this city," said the Pope, "marked in the course of history by so much suffering and bloodshed, I ask Almighty God to have mercy for the sins committed, also by the sons and daughters of the Catholic Church, against humanity, human dignity and freedom, and to foster in all the desire for mutual forgiveness. Only in a climate of true reconciliation will the memory of so many innocent victims and their sacrifice not be in vain, but will encourage everyone to build new relationships of fraternity and understanding."

Speaking about Blessed Ivan Merz, a layman who was born in Banja Luka in 1896 and died in 1928, John Paul II affirmed: "A gifted young man, he made a good return on his rich natural talents and obtained great human success." The reason why he is part of "the choir of the Blesseds," he added, "is his success in God's eyes. The great aspiration of his whole life was 'never to forget God, to desire always to be one with him'."

After emphasizing that Blessed Merz was "one of the principal promotors of the liturgical renewal in his country," the Pope indicated that by participating in the Holy Mass "he drew the inspiration to become an apostle of young people. It was not by chance that he chose as his motto 'Sacrifice, Eucharist, Apostolate'."

"The name Ivan Merz has meant in the past a program of life and of activity for an entire generation of young Catholics. Today too it must do the same! Your country and your Church, dear young people, have experienced difficult times and now there is a need to work together so that life on all levels will fully return to normal." The Holy Father then invited them "not to yield to the temptation to become discouraged, but rather to multiply initiatives which will make Bosnia-Herzegovina once more a land of reconciliation, encounters and peace."

"The future of this land depends also on you!" exclaimed John Paul II. "Do not seek a more comfortable life elsewhere, do not flee from your responsibilities and expect others to resolve problems, but resolutely counter evil with the power of good. Like Blessed Ivan, strive for a personal encounter with Christ which sheds new light on life. May the Gospel be the great ideal guiding your approaches and your decisions!"

The Pope closed by affirming: "May the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, keep your heart and your spirit in the knowledge and love of God and of his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ! This is the prayer and the wish which, through the intercession of Blessed Ivan Merz, the Pope today offers for you and for all the peoples of Bosnia-Herzegovina."

At the end of the Mass, before praying the Angelus, the Holy Father greeted the faithful present in German, Hungarian, Italian, Serbian and Croatian and asked Our Lady to obtain from her Son "the grace of preserving the integrity of your faith, the firmness of your hope, and at all times the fervor of your charity."

After the beatification, the Pope went to the bishop's residence in Banja Luka where he ate lunch with the bishops of Bosnia-Herzegovina and cardinals and bishops from his entourage.



VATICAN CITY, JUN 22, 2003 (VIS) - After a trip of almost 90 minutes, Pope John Paul's plane landed this morning at 9:40 a.m. at Banja Luka International Airport, where he was welcomed by civil and religious officials at the start of his one-day trip to Bosnia-Herzegovina. He greeted the authorities present, the Catholic lay faithful and "our brothers and sisters of the Serbian Orthodox Church, of the other ecclesial communities, and the followers of Islam and Judaism."

"Knowing that I am entering your homes through radio and television," said the Holy Father, "I greet and embrace all of you, dear people living in the different parts of Bosnia-Herzegovina. I know the long ordeal you have endured, the burden of suffering which is daily a part of your lives, the temptations to discouragement and resignation which you experience. I stand beside you in asking the international community, which has already done so much, to continue to be close to you and to help you reach quickly a situation of full security in justice and harmony."

"You yourselves must be the primary builders of your future!" the Pope told them, adding that he knew that "starting afresh is not easy ... but it is nevertheless possible."

John Paul II remarked that "if society is to take on a truly human face and everyone is to look to the future with confidence, it is necessary to rebuild man from within, healing wounds and achieving a genuine purification of memory through mutual forgiveness. The root of every good and, sadly, of every evil is in the depths of the heart. It is there that change must occur, making it possible to renew the fabric of society and to establish human relationships, which favor cooperation between the vital forces of the country."

Of elected officials who "democratically govern the nation," he said: "May they not renounce this indispensable task because of present difficulties, nor should they let themselves be pressured by partisan interests." He added that the Catholic Church would do its part "through her various initiatives in the areas of education, aid and human development, in the free exercise of her specific mission."

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VATICAN CITY, JUN 21, 2003 - The Holy Father received in separate audiences today:

- Six prelates from the Catholics Bishops' Conference of India on their "ad limina" visit:

- Archbishop Telesphore Placidus Toppo of Ranchi.

- Bishop Benedict John Osta, S.J., of Patna.

- Bishop John Baptist Thakur, S.J., of Muzaffarpur.

- Bishop Thomas Kozhimala of Bhagalpur.

- Bishop Victor Henry Thakur of Bettiah.

- Bishop Vincent Barwa of Purnea.

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

On Friday afternoon, June 20, the Holy Father received in audience Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

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