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The Vatican Information Service is a news service, founded in the Holy See Press Office, that provides information about the Magisterium and the pastoral activities of the Holy Father and the Roman Curia...[]

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Wednesday, October 29, 2003


VATICAN CITY, OCT 29, 2003 (VIS) - Made public today was a message from the Holy Father addressed to Fr. John Corriveau, general minister of the Friars Minor Capuchins, and to the religious who are celebrating the Chapter "of the Mats." The theme upon which they are reflecting is: "Reciprocal love between brothers, love for evangelical poverty, love for the Church."

"Being brothers," writes the Pope in the message dated October 22, "must characterize your conduct toward God, each other, others and all creatures. ... This particular fraternal style must reflect and favor the meaning of each one of you belonging to a big family without borders."

Referring to the second theme of reflection, "love for poverty in light of the 'minorite'," which derives from their being "friars minor," the Holy Father says that the "'minorite' requires a free heart, detached, humble, gentle and simple, as Jesus proposed to us, and as St. Francis lived."

John Paul II writes at the end that "faithful love for the Church," the third point of meditation, requires "an outlook of faith and obedience. ... May your obedience bear witness to the Church with the heart and style of your founder. It is a commitment without rest which will make you happy and conscious of giving your life for the Kingdom of God in the name of Jesus."

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VATICAN CITY, OCT 29, 2003 (VIS) - Due to inclement weather, today's general audience was moved from St. Peter's Square to St. Peter's Basilica and the Paul VI Hall. The Pope first greeted pilgrims in the basilica and then proceeded to the Paul VI Hall.

John Paul II affirmed that "with the month of October, the Year of the Rosary," which he proclaimed from October 2002 to October of 2003, "comes to a close."

"I am so grateful to God for this time of grace in which the entire Church community has been able to explore the value and importance of the rosary, which is a Christological and contemplative prayer."

After recalling the "motto" of the Year of the Rosary, "Contemplating the face of Christ with Mary," John Paul II said that these words, taken from the apostolic letter "'Rosarium Virginis Mariae', concisely express the authentic meaning of this prayer, both simple and profound. At the same time, they highlight the continuity between the proposal of the rosary and the path indicated to the People of God in my previous apostolic letter 'Novo millennio ineunte'."

"If at the beginning of the third millennium, Christians are called to grow as 'contemplators of Christ's face', and the ecclesiastical communities are called to become 'genuine schools of prayer', the rosary is the privileged 'Marian way,' in order to reach this dual objective."

The Pope recalled that during this year he wanted "to entrust two great prayer intentions to the People of God: peace and the family. The 21st century, born under the sign of the great jubilee year reconciliation, has unfortunately inherited from the past numerous and enduring acts of war and violence. The disconcerting attacks of September 11, 2001 and the events that followed in the world have peaked tensions on a global level. Despite these alarming situations, praying the rosary is not a retreat inside oneself, but a decision of responsible faith, a conscious choice of faith: contemplating the face of Christ, our peace and our reconciliation, we want to implore God for the gift of peace through the intercession of Mary, Most Holy. We ask her for the necessary strength to be builders of peace, beginning in our daily family life."

Referring to the family, the Holy Father emphasized that it should be "the first environment in which Christ's peace is embraced, cultivated and fostered. In our time, however, without prayer it becomes more and more difficult for the family to realize this vocation. This is why it would be very useful to take up again the beautiful custom of praying the rosary at home, as it was done in past generations. 'The family that prays together, stays together'."

"I entrust these intentions," he concluded, "to the Virgin, so that she may protect the family and obtain peace for each person and the world. I hope that all believers, accompanied by Our Lady, set out decisively on the path of sanctity, their gaze fixed on Jesus while they meditate, with the rosary, the mysteries of salvation. This will be the most precious fruit of this year dedicated to the rosary."

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VATICAN CITY, OCT 29, 2003 (VIS) - According to a declaration made today by Holy See Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro-Valls, "the Holy Father, in his paternal solicitude for the venerable Chaldean Church and in consideration of Canon 72, para 2 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, has convoked for December 2-3 2003 in the Vatican the Synod of Bishops of that Church for the election of the Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans." The former patriarch, His Beatitude Raphael I Bidawid, died July 7, 2003 at the age of 81.

Paragraph 2 of Canon 72 says: "If an election is not successful within 15 days from the opening of the Synod of Bishops of the patriarchal Church, the matter devolves to the Roman Pontiff."

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VATICAN CITY, OCT 29, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience Archbishop Antonio Arcari, apostolic nuncio in Honduras.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2003


VATICAN CITY, OCT 28, 2003 (VIS) - Archbishop John Foley, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, is in Brussels, Belgium, where today he addressed the World Federation of Advertisers on the occasion of the federation's 50th anniversary. His talk was entitled "A Good Name is the Best Advertisement."

Noting the positive contributions that advertisers make to economic, social and even moral progress, he said that nonetheless he wished to underscore "several principles and concerns." The first, he said, is "Being is better than having," saying our God-given dignity depends on the former, not the latter. He exhorted advertisers "not to put poor people down, even subconsciously. Emphasize quality, emphasize efficiency, emphasize even better grooming and cleanliness and good appearance - but please do not suggest that a possession is going to make one person better than another person."

"A second principle," affirmed Archbishop Foley, "is: Each person must be treated with respect. ... We resent it as employees if we are treated as factors of production rather than as persons; we can resent it in advertising if individuals depicted are portrayed as objects rather than as persons and, indeed, if we -- the audience of consumers -- are treated as so many numbers to be reached instead of as persons to whom an important message is to be communicated."

"A third principle of ethics in communications," he remarked, "is the common good. A growing concern in democratic societies is the ethical aspect of political campaigning" when, for example, "the costs of advertising limit political competition to wealthy candidates or groups," thus obstructing the democratic process.

"As you know," concluded Archbishop Foley, "advertising profoundly affects the values and the morals in society - and not just people's buying habits. I hope you realize your own power - and that you continue to use it responsibly, as so many of you do."



VATICAN CITY, OCT 28, 2003 (VIS) - Today the Holy Father received in audience seven prelates from the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines on their "ad limina" visit:

- Archbishop Edmundo M. Abaya of Nueva Segovia.

- Bishop Leo M. Drona, S.D.B., of San Jose.

- Bishop Luis Antonio G. Tagle of Imus.

- Bishop Ernesto A. Salgado of Laoag.
- Bishop Florentino F. Cinense of Tarlac.

- Archbishop Ramon C. Arguelles, military ordinary.

- Bishop Pedro D. Arigo, apostolic vicar of Puerto Princesa.

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Monday, October 27, 2003


VATICAN CITY, OCT 25, 2003 (VIS) - Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the Holy See permanent observer to the United Nations, spoke yesterday in New York before the Second Committee of the U.N. General Assembly on Agenda Item 93(E): External Debt Crisis and Development.

"From the second decade of this Organization's existence," he noted, "the international community started witnessing the increasing spread of the chronic debt crisis affecting almost all developing countries around the world. ... The total external debt of developing countries increased from $1.5 billion in 1990 to $2.4 billion in 2001.
"The HIPC (Heavily Indebted Poor Countries) program," added the archbishop, "has yet to find a lasting solution to their debt and debt-servicing problems. ... This recurrent debt crisis has caused an overall outflow of financial resources over the years, which divested those nations of their vital resources essential to their basic development, even to minimum levels of healthcare and education." He affirmed that "it is imperative ... to reverse this trend."

Archbishop Migliore remarked that "the international community faces two challenges: (1) the need to find a solution to all outstanding debt problems, and (2) the need to create a lasting financial system suitable for the development of all countries."

In conclusion the nuncio stressed that "financing for development is not just a technical task. Since human beings are endowed with the inherent capacity for moral choice, no human activity takes place outside the sphere of moral judgment. Therefore, those activities that have enduring consequences on the life of an entire population, particularly on its poorer segments, deserve particular attention and moral scrutiny."



VATICAN CITY, OCT 24, 2003 (VIS) - Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, presided this afternoon at a Mass for the beginning of the academic year of the Roman ecclesiastical universities.

Cardinal Grocholewski read the homily prepared by the Pope who was not present. In his talk, he urged rectors, professors and students to "accompany the effort of study with prayer, meditation with the constant search for the Lord's will."

He commented on the first reading in which St. Paul says "I do not do the good I wish, but the evil I do not wish," noting that this speaks about "the incapacity of human beings to do good and avoid evil. There is, however, a way out: victory over evil comes to us from the benevolence of God, All merciful, which is manifested in Christ. ... Christ, who died and rose from the dead, has overcome evil and has freed us from sin. He is our salvation."

"This news of salvation resounds incessantly also in our time and is the heart of the mission of the ecclesiastical community. Man is looking for - today, as in the past - satisfying answers to questions on the significance of life and death. During the period of theological formation, dear young people, you prepare yourselves to be able to provide answers about the faith in a way which is appropriate for the language and mentality of our time. May everything, therefore, be oriented to this dignified mission: to proclaim Christ and the liberating strength of His gospel."

The Pope recalled what Vatican Council II said about the "permanent duty of the Church 'to examine the signs of the time and to interpret them in the light of the Gospel so that, in a way suitable to each generation, it may respond to the perennial questions of men on the meaning of the present and future life and on their reciprocal relationship'." In concluding, the Holy Father urged that "this be the spirit" with which professors and students dedicate themselves to their studies during these years of "theological and pastoral formation."



VATICAN CITY, OCT 25, 2003 (VIS) - Made public today was a Message from the Holy Father to Msgr. Walter Brandmuller, president of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences on the occasion of the 14th centenary of the death of St. Gregory the Great. In the days to follow, the committee as well as the National Academy of the Lincei will be commemorating the life of this successor of Peter.

"An attentive seeker of truth," writes the Pope in the message dated October 22, St. Gregory "understood that the patrimony of classical antiquity, in addition to Christian antiquity, constituted a precious foundation for all successive scientific and human development. This intuition continues to be of value currently in view of the future of humanity and especially of Europe. The future cannot be built without considering the past. This is why on many occasions I have urged the appropriate authorities to fully value the rich classical and Christian roots of European civilization, in order to pass on this lifeblood to the new generations."

John Paul II highlights another characteristic of St. Gregory the Great, "his commitment to underscoring the supremacy of the human person, considered not only in his physical, psychological and social dimension but also in constant reference to his eternal destiny."

At the end of the message, the Pope emphasizes that "in order to build a peaceful future in solidarity, we must turn our gaze toward this authentic disciple of Christ and follow his teaching, proposing again the saving message of the Gospel to the modern world with courage."



VATICAN CITY, OCT 25, 2003 (VIS) - Today in the Paul VI Hall, the Pope received a group of pilgrims who came to Rome on the occasion of the fourth centenary of the birth of St. Joseph of Cupertino who was a disciple of St. Francis of Assisi. Among the participants in the audience was Fr. Joachim Giermek, general minister of the Friars Minor Conventuals.

In his speech, the Pope said St. Joseph "is a teacher of prayer. The celebration of the Mass was at the center of his day, followed by long hours of adoration in front of the tabernacle. According to the most authentic Franciscan tradition, he was fascinated and moved by the mysteries of the Incarnation and Our Lord's Passion."

"Secondly, the saint from Cupertino continues to speak to young people, in particular to students who venerate him as their patron. He advises them to fall in love with the Gospel, 'to take off' in the vast ocean of the world and of history, remaining firmly anchored in the contemplation of Christ's face."

John Paul II said that St. Joseph of Cupertino is a "model of exemplary holiness for his brothers of the Franciscan Order of the Friars Minor Conventuals. ... For those who have embraced the ideas of a life of consecration, he represents a loud call to always live in search of the values of the spirit, totally consecrated to the Lord, and a necessary service of charity toward their brothers and sisters."

"Like all saints," he concluded, "St. Joseph of Cupertino never goes out of style! Four centuries later, his testimony continues to represent for everyone an invitation to be saints. Even if he belongs to another age, in certain aspects so different from ours, he shows us an itinerary of spirituality valid for all times; remember the supremacy of God, the need for prayer and contemplation, ardent and faithful adhesion to Christ, the commitment of the missionary proclamation, the love of the Cross."

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VATICAN CITY, OCT 27, 2003 (VIS) - Made public today was the speech given by Archbishop Celestino Migliore, Holy See permanent observer to the United Nations, on October 21 in New York on Item 172 of the agenda of the 58th General Assembly: "International Convention Against the Cloning of Human Beings." His focus was the serious dangers that cloning involves for human dignity and the need for international agreements that regulate all aspects of cloning.

"My delegation," he stated, "wishes to reaffirm its view that the matter before us can be resolved through the earliest ban on human embryonic cloning. It must be clear that the position my delegation takes is not, in the first instance, a religious one. It is a position informed by the process of reason that is in turn informed by scientific knowledge."

"We have heard," the nuncio continued, "a number of statements from a variety of delegations that this is a 'complex' issue. ... The science may be complex, but the issue for us is simple and straightforward. The matter of human cloning that involves the creation of human embryos is the story of the beginning of human life ... (and is) a universal issue because an embryo is a human being regardless of its geography. If reproductive cloning of human beings contravenes the law of nature - a principle with which all delegations appear to agree - so does the cloning of the human embryo that is slated for research purposes. A cloned embryo (for this purpose) ... is destined for pre-programmed destruction."

"In closing," affirmed Archbishop Migliore, "my delegation wants to remind this distinguished assembly that one of the fundamental missions of the United Nations is to uphold the rights of all human beings. If the United Nations were to ban reproductive cloning without banning cloning for research, this would, for the first time, involve this body in legitimizing something extraordinary: the creation of human beings for the express purpose of destroying them."

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VATICAN CITY, OCT 26, 2003 (VIS) - Pope John Paul appeared at his study window today to pray the Angelus with the thousands of faithful gathered below in St. Peter's Square.
"Still very much alive in my heart," he told the pilgrims, "are the intense emotions I have felt these days, during which so many people gathered close to me on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of my pontificate. I renew my thanks above all to God, rich in mercy, for these 25 years of ministry in service to the Church. I wish above all to express my deep gratitude to my brother cardinals, patriarchs and bishops who wished to participate in such great numbers in this silver jubilee, witnessing in this way to their deep communion with the See of Peter."

"I would also like to thank the heads of State and the government leaders from so many countries, who extended their congratulations to me.

"And lastly, I extend a heartfelt thank you to priests, to consecrated persons and to all the faithful who spiritually joined me with their wishes and with the precious gift of prayer. I am thinking in a special way of the sick who have been very close to me by offering their sufferings. There were also testimonials from Christians of other denominations, as well as from the followers of other religions. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart."

"I ask the Lord," concluded the Holy Father, "to reward you, dear brothers and sisters, for the affection and the support you have shown me. I entrust once again my life and my ministry to the Virgin Mary, mother of the Redeemer and mother of the Church. To her I repeat with filial abandonment: 'Totus tuus!"

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VATICAN CITY, OCT 25, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Filomeno do Nascimento Vieira Dias, vice rector of the Catholic University of Angola and rector of the Major Seminary of the archdiocese of Luanda, Angola as auxiliary bishop of the same archdiocese (area 34,000, population 4,890,000, Catholics 3,011,000, priests 134, religious 546). The bishop-elect was born in Luanda in 1958 and was ordained a priest in 1983.

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VATICAN CITY, OCT 27, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience:

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

- Archbishop Paciano B. Aniceto of San Fernando.

- Archbishop Diosdado A. Talamayan of Tuguegarao.

- Bishop Jesus C. Galang of Urdaneta.

- Bisho Honesto P. Ongtioco of Cubao.

- Bishop Gabriel V. Reyes of Antipolo.

- Bishop Antonio R. Tobias of San Fernando de la Union.

On Saturday October 25 the Holy Father received in separate audiences:
- Bishop Francisco C. San Diego of Pasig, the Philippines, on his "ad limina" visit.

- Bishop Jesse E. Mercado of Paranque, the Philippines, on his "ad limina" visit.

- Ambassador Mbaya Boaz Kidiga of Kenya on his farewell visit.

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VATICAN CITY, OCT 27, 2003 (VIS) - Today at midday in the Clementine Hall, the Pope received members of the "Pro Petri Sede" and "Etrennes Pontificales" Associations from Belgium who offer their financial help annually for the needs of the Holy See.

In his speech in French, the Pope said: "I am grateful to you for the generous and faithful help that your associations contribute to the Church so that she can pursue, in her communities and in the world, her spiritual and material activities in favor of everyone, and principally in favor of the poorest of our brothers and sisters, so that their dignity be ever-more respected. I ask you to transmit to all the members of your associations my great gratitude for your gifts and your commitment. May they know how to always be attentive to the needy in their everyday life in order to express to them the love of God 'who shows no partiality'!"


Friday, October 24, 2003


VATICAN CITY, OCT 24, 2003 (VIS) - A conference organized by the Italian foreign ministry and entitled "Do not be Afraid: John Paul II, Prophet of Dialogue," was held on October 22 in Jerusalem at the Notre Dame Pontifical Institute to celebrate the Holy Father's 25 years of pontificate.

At the end of the conference, which was attended by representatives of both the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority, Archbishop Pietro Sambi, apostolic nuncio in Israel, read a Message from Pope John Paul. In it, the Pope repeated the appeal he made 25 years ago to all people of good will: "Do not be afraid to serve the human person. Do not be afraid to open borders with States, to open economic and political systems, the vast fields of culture, civilization and development to the power of divine grace."



VATICAN CITY, OCT 24, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father accepted the resignation to the office of auxiliary of the archdiocese of Detroit, U.S.A., presented by Bishop Moses B. Anderson upon having reached the age limit.

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Thursday, October 23, 2003


VATICAN CITY, OCT 23, 2003 (VIS) - This morning in the Paul VI Hall, the Pope received the cardinals who were created in the consistory on October 21 and their family members.

After greeting everyone present in different languages, John Paul II said: "Upon renewing my fraternal greetings to you and my fervent desire for the mission that has been given to you in service of the Church, I entrust you and your ministry to the heavenly protection of the Blessed Virgin."

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VATICAN CITY, OCT 23, 2003 (VIS) - The Program of Activities of the International Decade of the World's Indigenous Peoples was the item under discussion yesterday before the Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly. Holy See observer to the U.N., Archbishop Celestino Migliore, was one of the speakers who addressed this topic.

"I wish to reaffirm," began the nuncio, "three convictions in which my delegation firmly believes: First, the right to development is inherent in every person, group or nation and the world's 370 million indigenous people have the same claim to development as all the rest; Second, development, for it to be truly human, should be integral, comprising all its multidimensional aspects: economic and social, political and cultural, moral and spiritual; it has to be both individual and collective, personal and shared; ... Third, the indigenous people themselves must be architects of their own development."
Archbishop Migliore said these convictions should be guided by "firm principles," notably "refraining from using criteria foreign or unacceptable to the identity of those concerned" and "involving the indigenous people in the various stages of the projects, from feasibility studies to implementation, from evaluation to readjustments."

Noting that the decade for indigenous peoples ends in 2004, the archbishop said "the Holy See remains committed to the cause" of "enabling the indigenous people to regain their distinct place."



VATICAN CITY, OCT 23, 2004 (VIS) - Pope John Paul II today welcomed the bishops of England and Wales as they conclude their "ad limina" visit and focussed his talk to them on the urgent need for an evangelization of culture in view of the increasing secularization of society.

"England and Wales," he remarked, "despite being steeped in a rich Christian heritage, today face the pervasive advance of secularism. At the root of this situation is the attempt to promote a vision of humanity apart from God and removed from Christ. It is a mentality which exaggerates individualism, sunders the essential link between freedom and truth, and consequently destroys the mutual bonds which define social living. This loss of a sense of God is often experienced as 'the abandonment of man'. Social disintegration, threats to family life, and the ugly specters of racial intolerance and war, leave many men and women, and especially the young, feeling disoriented and at times even without hope. Consequently it is not just the Church which encounters the disturbing effects of secularism but civic life as well."

He affirmed that "the phenomena of secularism and widespread religious indifference, the decline in vocations to the priesthood and Religious life, and the grave difficulties experienced by parents in their attempts to catechize their own children, all attest to the vital need for Bishops to embrace their fundamental mission to be authentic and authoritative heralds of the Word."

The Holy Father reiterated his "profound conviction that the new millennium demands a 'new impetus in Christian living', saying that "no effort can be spared in finding effective pastoral initiatives to make Jesus Christ known."

He highlighted the need to "make the Church the home and school of communion" where there is "authentic pedagogy on prayer, persuasive catechesis on the meaning of liturgy and the importance of the Sunday Eucharist, and promotion of the frequent practice of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. ... The Church needs humble and holy priests, ... models of holiness for the people" they are called to serve.
The Pope commended the bishops for their "recent endeavors to promote a 'culture of vocation'" and for their "resolute efforts to bring further energy to youth ministry."

He then underscored the importance of the evangelization of culture, especially with regard to Church teachings on marriage, relations with the media and on Catholic schools. "Of particular concern is the need to uphold the uniqueness of marriage as a lifelong union between a man and a woman in which as husband and wife they share in God's loving work of creation. Equating marriage with other forms of cohabitation obscures the sacredness of marriage and violates its precious value in God's plan for humanity."

Regarding the mass media, John Paul II said that "the fundamental moral requirement of all communication is that it should respect and serve the truth." Invite the media, he urged, "to join you in breaking down barriers of mistrust and in striving to bring peoples together in understanding and respect."

The Pope then turned to "the fine contribution of your Catholic schools, both to enriching the faith of the Catholic community and to promoting excellence within civic life in general. ... Religious education, the heart of any Catholic school, is today a challenging and taxing apostolate" for which "we need teachers with a clear and precise understanding of the specific nature and role of Catholic education. ... Here I would make a special appeal to your Religious not to abandon the school apostolate and indeed to renew their commitment to serve also in schools situated in poorer areas."

In concluding remarks, the Holy Father told the prelates that "the message of hope which you proclaim will not fail to evoke fresh fervor and a renewed commitment to Christian life. United in our love of the Lord and inspired by the example of the newly beatified Mother Teresa of Calcutta, let us go forward in hope!"

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VATICAN CITY, OCT 23, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences eleven prelates from the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales on their "ad limina" visit:

- Bishop John Patrick Crowley of Middlesbrough.
- Bishop Terence John Brain of Salford.

- Archbishop Michael George Bowen of Southwark, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishops Howard George Tripp and John Hine, and Auxiliary Bishop emeritus Charles Joseph Henderson.

- Bishop Kieran Thomas Conry of Arundel and Brighton.

- Bishop Hugh Christopher Budd of Plymouth.

- Bishop Roger Francis Crispian Hollis of Portsmouth.

- Archbishop Thomas Matthew Burns, S.M., military ordinary.

- Bishop Paul Patrick Chomnycky, O.S.B.M., apostolic exarch for the faithful of the Byzantine rite resident in Great Britain.

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VATICAN CITY, OCT 23, 2003 (VIS) - The Office of the Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff announced today that on Sunday, October 26, at 11 a.m. Cardinal Marc Ouellet, P.S.S., metropolitan archbishop of Quebec, Canada, will take possession of the Title of St. Mary in Traspontina, Via della Conciliazione.



VATICAN CITY, OCT 23, 2003 (VIS) - Archbishop Francisco Javier Lozano, apostolic nuncio in Croatia, spoke yesterday at the Conference of European ministers of Cultural Affairs which took place in Opatija, Croatia from October 20 to 22.

The head of the delegation of the Holy See said that "the tragic start of the new millennium shows us the evident danger of isolating ourselves, and invites the ministers of Cultural Affairs - this is the great merit of the project that we are discussing - to develop a culture of dialogue among civilizations in all spheres of culture."

"As you know," continued Archbishop Lozano, "Pope John Paul II, from the start of his pontificate, has not stopped travelling the world, inviting men to dialogue and peace, with respect for freedom of conscience and sharing the riches of the spirit."

After emphasizing the "need for dialogue among civil institutions and different religions," the nuncio concluded: "In particular, the Holy See greatly desires that a necessary collaboration with representatives of religions is maintained in order to present them in a just and balanced way in educational programs. One can imagine what the harmful effects would be on younger generations of a presentation that is tendentious or disparaging of religions."



VATICAN CITY, OCT 23, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Jesus Sanz Montes, O.F.M., director of the Secretariat of the Episcopal Commission for Consecrated Life of the Spanish Episcopal Conference, as bishop of Huesca and Jaca, Spain, joining the two dioceses "in persona Episcopi" (total area 10,624, population 125,780, Catholics 124,442, priests 170, permanent deacons 2, religious 303). The bishop-elect was born in Madrid, Spain in 1955 and was ordained a priest in 1986.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2003


VATICAN CITY, OCT 22, 2003 (VIS) - Archbishop Celestino Migliore, permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, spoke yesterday before the U.N. General Assembly on Item 40: Strengthening the Coordination of Humanitarian and Disaster Relief Assistance of the U.N., including special economic assistance.

He stated that "the world has advanced to such a degree that it is often possible to foresee natural disasters, thereby helping reduce harm to people and damage to property." Yet, he added, "emergencies are so numerous, intense and varied that the Secretary-General has quite fittingly noted that because of the severity and suddenness of these 'loud emergencies', others are reduced into 'forgotten' or 'silent' ones. This situation worsens when assistance is colored by partiality and incoherent policies, not to mention when crises are ignored or even put aside because of misrule and misguided politics."

Archbishop Migliore stated that the vastness of the problem, however, "should not paralyze us into inaction. ... Simple gestures of giving, oftentimes combined with rapidity and coordination will make a difference and bear fruit. ... The Holy See has taken an active role in this regard. More than 30 years ago, it established the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum" to harmonize and encourage the activities of church organizations, associations, NGOs and other groups involved in the field of social and charitable assistance to people in countries hit by natural disasters and wars. In particular, the Pontifical Council has been engaged in intensifying its humanitarian action in favour of the victims of almost all types of natural catastrophes, especially in developing countries." The Church also, he noted, works through such agencies as Caritas Internationalis and Catholic Relief Services.

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VATICAN CITY, OCT 22, 2003 (VIS) - This morning in St. Peter's Basilica, John Paul II, who today commemorates the 25th anniversary of the beginning of his petrine ministry, presided at a Eucharistic concelebration with 30 of the 31 new cardinals, created in yesterday's consistory. The name of the "in pectore" cardinal will not be made public until the Pope wishes.

During the Mass, the Pope bestowed upon each of the new cardinals the cardinal's ring as a sign of dignity, pastoral solicitude and ever more solid communion with the See of Peter.

In the homily, which was read by Archbishop Leonardi Sandri, substitute for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State, the Pope said: "Unity and openness, communion and mission: this is the life breath of the Church. This is the two-fold dimension of the petrine ministry: service to unity and missionary service. The Bishop of Rome has the joy of sharing this service with the other successors of the Apostles, bound to him in the one episcopal college."

"Following an ancient tradition," he continued, "in this service, the Successor of Peter is aided in a special way by the collaboration of the cardinals. In the college, the universality of the Church is reflected, the Church which is one People of God rooted in the multiplicity of the nations."

After expressing gratitude for the "valid help" that the cardinals provide him, he said: "The ring that I will bestow on you shortly, dear brothers, is a symbol of the renewed bond that joins you closely to the Church and to the Pope, its visible head."

John Paul II emphasized that in the face of fear or suffering, there is the "consoling promise of the Divine Master: 'In the world you will have tribulation but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world!'"

"How much courage does the sustenance of the unanimous prayer of the Christian people provide! I myself have experienced the comfort of prayer. It is our strength, dearest brothers. And it is also one of the reasons why I wanted to dedicate the 25th year of my pontificate to the Holy Rosary: to highlight the supremacy of prayer, especially contemplative prayer, in spiritual union with Mary, Mother of the Church."

The Holy Father's homily concluded by inviting all to be close to "Christ, the living rock. ... Let us begin with Him, from Christ, in order to proclaim to all the wonders of His love. Without fear and doubts, because He assures us: 'Trust in me, I have overcome the world!"

As of yesterday, October 21, the College of Cardinals is composed of 195 cardinals, including one "in pectore." There are 135 electors: 66 are from Europe, 14 from North America, 24 from South America, 13 from Africa, 13 from Asia and five from Oceania. John Paul II has created 175 of the 195 cardinals. Of the 135 current cardinal electors, all but 5 have been named by him.

Following Mass in St. Peter's Basilica, the Pope went to the Paul VI Hall where a very large number of pilgrims awaited him. In a brief appearance, he imparted his apostolic blessing and joined them in singing "Salve Regina."

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Tuesday, October 21, 2003


VATICAN CITY, OCT 21, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Manfred Scheuer, professor of dogmatic theology of the Faculty of Theology of Trier, Germany, as bishop of Innsbruck (area 10,097, population 462,323, Catholics 412,871, priests 396, permanent deacons 54, religious 470), Austria. The bishop-elect was born in Hailbach ob der Donau, Austria in 1955 and was ordained a priest in 1980.

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VATICAN CITY, OCT 21, 2003 (VIS) - Following are the names of the 30 cardinals created by John Paul II in this morning's consistory as well as the titular or diaconate churches that were assigned to them:

1. Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran: Diaconate of St. Apollinaris alle Terme Neroniane-Alessandrine.

2. Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace: Diaconate of the St. Francis of Paola ai Monti.

3. Cardinal Francesco Marchisano, archpriest of the Vatican Basilica: Diaconate of St. Lucy of Gonfalone.

4. Cardinal Julian Herranz, president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts: Diaconate of St. Eugene.

5. Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers: Diaconate of St. Michael the Archangel.

6. Cardinal Stephen Fumio Hamao, president of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People: Diaconate of St. John Bosco in Via Tuscolana.

7. Cardinal Attilio Nicora, president of APSA (Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See: Diaconate of St. Philip Neri in Eurosia.

8. Cardinal Angelo Scola, patriarch of Venice, Italy: Title of the Seven Most Holy Apostles.

9. Cardinal Anthony Olubunmi Okogie, archbishop of Lagos, Nigeria: Title of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mt. Carmel of Mostacciano.

10. Cardinal Bernard Panafieu, archbishop of Marseille, France: St. Gregory Barbarigo alle Tre Fontane.

11. Cardinal Gabriel Zubeir Wako, archbishop of Khartoum, Sudan: Title of St. Anthanasius in Via Tiburtina.

12. Cardinal Carlos Amigo Vallejo, O.F.M., archbishop of Seville, Spain: Title of St. Mary of Monserrat of the Spanish.

13. Cardinal Justin Francis Rigali, archbishop of Philadelphia, U.S.A.: Title of St. Prisca.

14. Cardinal Keith Michael Patrick O'Brien, archbishop of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh, Scotland: Title of Sts. Joachim and Anne at the Tuscolano.

15. Cardinal Eusebio Oscar Scheid, S.C.I., archbishop of Sao Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Title of Sts. Boniface and Alexis.

16. Cardinal Ennio Antonelli, archbishop of Florence, Italy: St. Andrew delle Fratte.

17. Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B., archbishop of Genoa, Italy: Title of St. Mary, Helper in Via Tuscolana.

18. Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, archbishop of Cape Coast, Ghana: Title of St. Liborius.

19. Cardinal Telesphore Placidus Toppo, archbishop of Ranchi, India: Title of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Agony at Vitinia.

20. Cardinal George Pell, archbishop of Sydney, Australia: Title of St. Mary Dominic Mazzarello.

21. Cardinal Josip Bozanic, archbishop of Zagreb, Croatia: Title of St. Jerome of the Croatians.

22. Cardinal Jean-Baptiste Pham Minh Man, archbishop of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam: Title of St. Justin.

23. Cardinal Rodolfo Quezada Toruno, archbishop of Guatemala City, Guatemala: Title of St. Saturnius.

24. Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, archbishop of Lyon, France: Title of the Most Holy Spirit al Monte Pincio.

25. Cardinal Peter Erdo, archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, Hungary: Title of St. Balbina.

26. Cardinal Marc Ouellet, P.S.S., archbishop of Quebec, Canada: St. Mary in Traspontina.

27. Cardinal Georges Marie Martin Cottier, O.P., theologian of the Pontifical Household, from Switzerland: Diaconate of Sts. Dominic and Sixtus.

28. Cardinal Gustaaf Joos of the diocese of Ghent, Belgium: Diaconate of St. Peter Damian ai Monti di San Paolo.

29. Cardinal Tomas Spidlik, S.J., of the Czech Republic: Diaconate of St. Agatha of Goti.

30. Cardinal Stanislas Nagy of the Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, (Dehonians), Poland: Diaconate of St. Mary of the Stairs.

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VATICAN CITY, OCT 21, 2003 (VIS) - During a ceremony celebrated in St. Peter's Square this morning, John Paul II created 30 new cardinals from 23 countries in what was the ninth such consistory of his pontificate.

At the beginning of the ceremony, the Pope read the formula for the creation of the new cardinals of the Holy Roman Church. Then newly created Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran thanked the Pope on behalf of all the cardinals. Later the liturgy of the Word was celebrated and the homily was read by Archbishop Leonardi Sandri, substitute for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State. The Holy Father began by noting that in this consistory he will impose the beret upon 30 "worthy churchmen, keeping 'in pectore' the name of another."

"Enriched by its new members, the College of Cardinals reflects the diversity of races and cultures that characterizes the Christian people, and highlights once again the unity of every part of the flock of Christ with the Seat of the Bishop of Rome."

The Pope affirmed that "in carrying out his ministry, the Successor of the Fisherman of Galilee counts on your faithful cooperation; he asks you to accompany him in prayer, while he invokes the Holy Spirit so that the communion among those whom the Lord 'has elected vicars of His son and has made pastors' may never be broken."

"The deep red of the cardinal's robe evokes the color of blood and recalls the heroism of the martyrs. It is the symbol of love for Jesus and for His Church, a love which knows no limits: love even to the point of sacrificing one's life, 'usque ad sanguinis effusionem'."

"For this reason, the gift that you receive is great, as is the responsibility that it comes with it." After underscoring the duty of "preaching with word and example," the Pope added that "this applies to every pastor, but especially to you, dear and venerated members of the College of Cardinals."

Pointing to the example of Jesus Christ Who became the servant of those around him, the Holy Father emphasized that this "logic" of service is "in clear contrast with that of the world: to die unto oneself in order to become humble and detached servants of your brothers and sisters, rejecting ever temptation to advance your career or benefit personally."

"Only if you become servants to all around you will you fulfill your mission and help the Successor of Peter to be the 'servant of the servants of God,' as my beloved predecessor Gregory the Great loved to call himself."

At the end of the homily, John Paul invited the new cardinals to make a profession of faith and to swear fidelity and obedience to the Holy Father and his successors. Then each cardinal, according to the order of creation, approached the Pope who imposed the biretta on him and handed him the Bull of Creation as cardinal and assignment of the title or diaconate church in Rome, as a sign of participation in the pastoral solicitude of the Pope in the city. After exchanging a sign of peace with the Pope, each new cardinal greeted all the others.

Prayers were offered for the Holy Father, the Church, the new cardinals and for peace during the universal prayer. John Paul II imparted the apostolic blessing upon all and at the end sang the Marian antiphon "Sub tuum praesidium."

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Monday, October 20, 2003


VATICAN CITY, OCT 17, 2003 (VIS) - A Holy See delegation, led by Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto, apostolic nuncio in Ireland, was present at the Ministerial Conference on "New Challenges for Drug Policy in Europe," which was held in Dublin October 16-17.

Archbishop Lazzarotto, in his address to the assembly, stated that "there is no doubt that the phenomenon of drug abuse is connected to a crisis of civilization and with great dejection. One of the most important factors leading to drug abuse is the lack of clear motivation, the absence of values, the conviction that life is not worth living."

"Faced with the many suggestions ... for resolving the problem," the nuncio said, "the Holy See does not agree with the proposal to legalize the circulation and distribution of drugs, not even so-called light drugs. ... The State must not assist its most vulnerable citizens to alienate themselves from society and ruin their lives. Rather, the Holy See encourages above all the promotion of preventive information and education, and the possibility of the proper treatment and reintegration into society of those who unfortunately fall prey to drug addiction."



VATICAN CITY, OCT 17, 2003 (VIS) - In celebration of the 25th anniversary of his election to the pontificate, this afternoon in the Paul VI Hall John Paul II attended a concert offered by the choir and symphonic orchestra of Leipzig, Germany which performed Beethoven's entire Ninth Symphony, including the Ode to Joy. Cardinals, bishops, prelates of the Roman Curia and ambassadors were present.

At the end of the concert, the Pope thanked the members of the orchestra and chorus, saying: "The Ninth Symphony, Ludwig van Beethoven's last, has invited us to meditate on the richness and drama of human life. In the grand finale, the Ode to Joy has guided our thoughts, beyond humanity in its entirety, to the new Europe, that is extending its borders to other countries. Drawing on the heritage of the human and Christian values of its past, may the European continent be able to contribute to building a future rich in hope and peace for all of humanity."

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VATICAN CITY, OCT 18, 2003 (VIS) - Pope John Paul will hold an Ordinary Public Consistory in St. Peter's Square on Tuesday, October 21 at 10:30 for the creation of 31 new cardinals, including one "in pectore." That afternoon, from 4:30 to 6:30 in the Paul VI Hall, Fabbrica di San Pietro and the Apostolic Palace, friends may pay courtesy calls on the new cardinals.

Guests must use the Sant'Uffizio entrance to greet the cardinals who will be in the Paul VI Hall and the Fabbrica di San Pietro. To greet the cardinals in the Apostolic Palace, entrance is through the Bronze Gate (Portone di Bronzo).

Following is a list of the rooms to which the new cardinals have been assigned:


- Cardinal Carlos Amigo Vallejo, O.F.M.

- Cardinal Keith Michael Patrick O'Brien

- Cardinal George Pell

- Cardinal Josip Bozanic

- Cardinal Peter Erdo

- Cardinal Bernard Panafieu

- Cardinal Philippe Barbarin

- Cardinal Gustaaf Joos


- Cardinal Angelo Scola

- Cardinal Ennio Antonelli

- Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B.

- Cardinal Justin Francis Rigali

- Cardinal Marc Ouellet, P.S.S.

FABBRICA DI SAN PIETRO (ST. PETER'S FABRIC)- Cardinal Francesco Marchisano


- Cardinal Julian Herranz
- Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan


- Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran


- Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino


- Cardinal Attilio Nicora


- Cardinal Stephen Fumio Hamao


- Jean-Baptiste Pham Minh Man


- Cardinal Stanislas Nagy, S.C.I.


- Cardinal Anthony Olubunmi Okogie

- Cardinal Gabriel Zubeir Wako

- Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson

- Cardinal Telesphore Placidus Toppo


- Cardinal Eusebio Oscar Scheid, S.C.I.

- Cardinal Rodolfo Quezada Toruno


- Cardinal Georges Marie Martin Cottier, O.P.

- Cardinal Tomas Spidlik, S.J.

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VATICAN CITY, OCT 18, 2003 (VIS) - At the end of the four-day meeting celebrated in the Vatican for the 25th anniversary of his pontificate, the Pope addressed the participants, the members of the College of Cardinals, patriarchs and presidents of the episcopal conferences.

The Holy Father thanked them for their message read by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, dean of the College of Cardinals, on behalf of all those who attended the symposium.
Upon recalling the twenty-five years that have passed since the beginning of his pontificate, John Paul II specifically referred to the numerous times that the cardinals have helped him with their advice in order "to understand better the important questions regarding the Church and humanity."

"The profound changes that have come about in the last 25 years," he continued, "involve our ministry as pastors. ... The courage to proclaim the Gospel should never diminish; on the contrary, up to our last breath it must be our principal commitment, confronted with ever-renewed dedication."

The Pope emphasized that "Christ's commandment is this: to announce the one Gospel with one heart and one soul. ... For this reason, we must cultivate among ourselves deep unity which is not limited to an affective fraternity, but which is based on complete doctrinal agreement and translates into a harmonious understanding from an operative point of view."

"How can we be authentic teachers for humanity and credible apostles of the new evangelization if we allow the seed of division to enter into our hearts? ... God sent us to the world as one, undivided college that must bear witness with a unanimous voice to His person, His word, His mystery. Our credibility depends on it! How much more effective our work will be the more we know how to make the face of the Church radiate, the Church that loves the poor, that is humble and is on the side of the weakest of society. Mother Teresa who tomorrow I will have to joy to inscribe in the book of Blesseds, gave us an emblematic example of this evangelical attitude."

John Paul II concluded by assuring them of prayers "for each one of you. ... I ask you to continue to pray for me so that I may faithfully fulfill my service to the Church as long as the Lord wishes."

In their message to the Holy Father, the cardinals write: "As a pilgrim of the Gospel, you, like the apostles, have put yourself on the path and have traversed continents to proclaim Christ, the Kingdom of God, forgiveness, love and peace. You have tirelessly ... announced the Gospel and in its light you have called everyone back to the fundamental human values: respect for the dignity of man, the defense of life, the promotion of justice and peace. You have especially reached out to young people."

"You have reached out to men of other religions in order to reawaken in everyone the desire for peace and the willingness to become an instrument of peace. In this way, you have become, for all of humanity, above all barriers and divisions, a great messenger of peace."

After the encounter, the Pope invited the cardinals to have lunch at the Casa Santa Marta in the Vatican. John Paul II thanked the entire College of Cardinals for the "generous gift" of 700,000 Euro that they gave him, saying "it will go to Christian communities in the Holy Land that are suffering so much."

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VATICAN CITY, OCT 19, 2003 (VIS) - Shortly after 8 this evening, Pope John Paul II, to the surprise of the thousands of pilgrims assembled in St. Peter's Square, appeared at his study window to watch the firework display organized by the city of Rome as part of the celebrations in honor of his silver jubilee as Pope.

At the end of the pyrotechnic display, the Holy Father told the crowd that he "greatly enjoyed the fireworks" for which he thanked the mayor of Rome and "the beloved city of Rome for the affection that even in this manner it wishes to show me. For this I bless all the citizens. May Christ bless you all!" The public continued to applaud and wave handkerchiefs, prompting the Pope to "wish everyone a beautiful evening. Good night," he said, as he left the window, having appeared for almost a half hour.

The fireworks were accompanied by and synchronized to the music of "Missa pro Pace," which was composed for Pope John Paul by the Polish musician, Kilar Wojciech, and performed in the Vatican, in the presence of the Holy Father, on December 7, 2001 by the chorus and National Philharmonic Orchestra of Warsaw.

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VATICAN CITY, OCT 19, 2003 (VIS) - Today in St. Peter's Square, before 300,000 people, including members of twenty-seven official delegations who were in Rome for the ceremony, John Paul II beatified Servant of God Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Sr. Nirmala Joshi, superior general of the Congregation of the Missionaries of Charity, the order founded by Mother Teresa, attended the Mass, accompanied by thousands of sisters. Three thousand poor and destitute occupied seats close to the altar.

In the homily which was read by Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, substitute for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State, and Cardinal Ivan Dias, archbishop of Bombay, the Pope noted that the foundress of the Congregation of the Missionaries of Charity became a servant to all. "I am personally grateful to this courageous woman," he said, "whom I always felt alongside me. An icon of the Good Samaritan, she went everywhere to serve Christ in the poorest of the poor. Not even conflicts and wars held her back."

The Pope recalled what Mother Teresa said when she received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979: "If you know of any woman who does not want to keep her baby and wants to abort, try to convince her to bring that child to me. I will love that child, seeing in him or her the sign of the love of God."

"Is it not significant that her beatification takes place on the day in which the Church celebrates World Mission Day? With the witness of her life Mother Teresa reminds us that the evangelizing mission of the Church is transmitted through charity, nourished in prayer and listening to the word of God. ... Mother Teresa proclaims the Gospel with her life completely dedicated to the poor, but at the same time, full of prayer."

Referring to Jesus' words on the cross, "I am thirsty," the Holy Father indicated that "satiating Jesus' thirst for love and for souls in union with Mary, the mother of Jesus, had become the sole aim" of the new blessed.

"Mother Teresa," he continued, "shared in the passion of the Crucifixion especially during the long years of 'interior darkness'. It was a trial, at times excruciating, welcomed as a singular 'gift and privilege'. In the darkest hours she relied more on prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament. This spiritual tribulation made her identify even more with those whom she served every day, experiencing sorrow and even rejection. She liked to say that the greatest poverty is to be unwanted, to not have anyone to take care of you."

John Paul II concluded by asking that "we give praise for this small women in love with God, humble messenger of the Gospel and tireless benefactor of humanity. We honor in her one of the most relevant personalities of our time. Let us welcome her message and let us follow our example."

At the end of the Mass, before the Angelus, the Pope saluted those present in English, Macedonian, Albanian and Italian. He then circled St. Peter's Square in the open white jeep to greet the faithful who had filled both the square and the broad street leading up to it, Via della Conciliazione.

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VATICAN CITY, OCT 20, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Bishop Henry Joseph Mansell of Buffalo, U.S.A., as metropolitan archbishop of Hartford (area 5,926, population 1,863, 384, Catholics 719,953, priests 499, permanent deacons 308, religious 1,191), U.S.A. The archbishop-elect was born in 1937 in New York, U.S.A., and was ordained a priest in 1962. The Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese presented by Archbishop Daniel Anthony Cronin upon having reached the age limit.
It was made public on Saturday October 18 that the Holy Father:

- Appointed Fr. Luis Alberto Parra Mora, vicar general of the diocese of Yopal, Colombia, as bishop of Mocoa-Sibundoy (area 25,282, population 264,400, Catholics 175,000, priests 38, religious 104), Colombia. The bishop-elect was born in Tenza, Colombia in 1944 and was ordained a priest in 1971. The Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese presented by Bishop Fabio De Jesus Morales, C.SS.R., in accordance with Canon 401, para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.

- Appointed Bishop Victor Tonye Backot of Edea, Cameroon, as metropolitan archbishop of Yaounde (area 4,964, population 1,545,300, Catholics 680,235, priests 302, religious 270), Cameroon.

- Appointed Fr. Jonas Ivanauskas, vicar general of the archdiocese of Kaunas, Lithuania, as auxiliary bishop of the same archdiocese (area 8,750, population 750,000, Catholics 506,000, priests 133, religious 327). The bishop-elect was born in Alytus, Lithuania in 1960 and was ordained a priest in 1985.

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VATICAN CITY, OCT 20, 2003 (VIS) - This morning the Pope received in audience the pilgrims who participated yesterday in the beatification of Mother Teresa of Calcutta to whom, he said, "he was bound by great esteem and sincere affection."

Speaking about the foundress of the Missionaries of Charity, John Paul II affirmed that "there is no doubt that the new blessed was one of the greatest missionaries of the 20th century. The Lord made a chosen instrument of this simple woman, who came from one of the poorest areas of Europe, in order to announce the Gospel to the whole world, not with preaching but with daily gestures of love toward the poor. Missionary with the most universal language: charity without limits and exclusions, without preferences even toward to most abandoned."

The Holy Father indicated that Mother Teresa also was "a missionary of charity, a missionary of peace and a missionary of life. ... She always spoke out in defense of human life, even when her message was unwelcome. Mother Teresa's whole existence was a hymn to life. ... Her very smile was a 'yes' to life, a joyful 'yes', born of profound faith and love, a 'yes' purified in the crucible of suffering. She renewed that 'yes' each morning, in union with Mary, at the foot of Christ's Cross."

"Teresa of Calcutta," he continued, "was really a mother. Mother of the poor, mother of children. Mother of so many young girls and boys who had her as their spiritual guide and who shared her mission. From a small seed, the Lord made a big tree grow, full of fruit."

Addressing her spiritual sons and daughters, the Pope said: "You are the most eloquent signs of this prophetic fecundity. Preserve her charisma and follow her example, and she, from heaven, will always sustain you on your path every day."

"Mother Teresa's message is more than ever an invitation directed at everyone. Her whole life reminds us that to be Christian means to be witnesses to charity. These are the instructions of the new blessed. Echoing her words, I urge each one of you to follow with generosity and courage the footsteps of this genuine disciple of Christ. Mother Teresa walks alongside you on the path of charity."

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Friday, October 17, 2003


VATICAN CITY, OCT 16, 2003 (VIS) - Late this afternoon, during a solemn Mass attended by 50,000 faithful and concelebrated by members of the College of Cardinals, archbishops and bishops, and pastors of Roman parishes, John Paul II relived with emotion the moment of his election 25 years ago today. Among the prominent personalities in attendance were Carlo Azeglio Ciampi and Aleksander Kwasniewski, respectively presidents of Italy and Poland, and members of official delegations from 17 countries.

In St. Peter's Square, decorated with flowers and plants from Holland, the Pope confessed that 25 years ago he had "experienced divine mercy in a special way." Recalling the moment in which the cardinals elected him to succeed Peter, he said: "How could I not tremble, humanly speaking? How could such a big responsibility not weigh on me? It was necessary to rely on divine mercy so that when asked, do you accept?, I could answer ...: I accept."

"Today, dear brothers and sisters, I am happy to share with you an experience that has extended to a quarter of a century. Every day the same dialogue between Jesus and Peter takes place within my heart. ... God, even though He is aware of my human fragility, encourages me to respond with faith like Peter: 'Lord, you know all things, you know that I love you'. He then invites me to assume responsibilities that He has entrusted to me."

The Holy Father emphasized that since the beginning of his pontificate, his "thoughts, prayers and actions have been inspired by one desire: to bear witness that Christ, the Good Shepherd, is present and operates in His Church." The Pope reiterated the call of 25 years ago: "Do not be afraid to welcome Christ and to accept His authority! Today I repeat with vigor: Open, open wide the doors to Christ! Let yourselves be guided by Him! Trust in His love!"

After giving thanks to God for these 25 years, John Paul II said he also wanted to thank the faithful from around the world for their prayers in response to his petition to help and sustain him from the beginning of the pastoral ministry, and he urged them not to "interrupt this great work of love by the Successor of Peter. I ask you once again: help the Pope, and all those who want to serve Christ, to serve man and all of humanity!"

In conclusion, he invoked the Lord, saying: "Forgive the evil committed and multiply the good: everything is Your work and only to You is glory due. ... I renew, through the hands of Mary, Beloved Mother, the gift of myself, of the present and of the future: may everything be done according to Your will. Supreme Pastor, stay with us, so that we may proceed safely with You to the house of the Father."

At the beginning of the Eucharistic celebration, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, dean of the College of Cardinals, congratulated the Pope on everyone's behalf. "As the apostle Paul," he said, "you can say that you have never sought to praise with words, nor have you sought honor from men, rather you have taken care of your sons and daughters like a mother. ... You have endured criticism and insults, provoking nevertheless gratitude and love, and breaking down the walls of hate and distrust. We can say today how you have put yourself wholeheartedly at the service of the Gospel. ... Like Paul, you bear suffering in order to complete in your earthly life, through the body of Christ which is the Church, what is lacking in Christ's afflictions."

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VATICAN CITY, OCT 17, 2003 (VIS) - On Sunday, October 19, World Mission Day, Pope John Paul II will celebrate the Eucharist in St. Peter's Square at 10 a.m. during which he will beatify Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Mother Teresa died in Calcutta on September 5, 1997. The Office of Liturgical Celebrations for the Supreme Pontiff prepared the following biography of the future Blessed.

"By blood, I am Albanian. By citizenship, an Indian. By faith, I am a Catholic nun. As to my calling, I belong to the world. As to my heart, I belong entirely to the Heart of Jesus." Small of
stature, rocklike in faith, Mother Teresa of Calcutta was entrusted with the mission of proclaiming God's thirsting love for humanity, especially for the poorest of the poor. "God still loves the world and He sends you and me to be His love and His compassion to the poor.' She was a soul filled with the light of Christ, on fire with love for Him and burning with one desire: 'to quench His thirst for love and for souls."

This luminous messenger of God's love was born on August 26, 1910 in Skopje, Albania, a city situated at the crossroads of Balkan history. The youngest of the children born to Nikola and Drane Bojaxhiu, she was baptised Gonxha Agnes, received her First Communion at the age of five and a half and was confirmed in November 1916. From the day of her First Holy Communion, a love for souls was within her. Her father's sudden death when Gonxha was about eight years old left the family in financial straits. Drane raised her children firmly and lovingly, greatly influencing her daughter's character and vocation. Gonxha's religious formation was further assisted by the vibrant Jesuit parish of the Sacred Heart in which she was much involved.

At the age of eighteen, moved by a desire to become a missionary, Gonxha left her home in September 1928 to join the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, known as the Sisters of Loreto, in Ireland. There she received the name Sister Mary Teresa after St. Therese of Lisieux. In December, she departed for India, arriving in Calcutta on January 6, 1929. After making her First Profession of Vows in May 1931, Sister Teresa was assigned to the Loreto Entally community in Calcutta and taught at St. Mary's School for girls. On May 24, 1937, Sister Teresa made her Final Profession of Vows, becoming, as she said, the "spouse of Jesus" for "all eternity." From that time on she was called Mother Teresa. She continued teaching at St. Mary's and in 1944 became the school's principal. A person of profound prayer and deep love for her religious sisters and her students, Mother Teresa's twenty years in Loreto were filled with profound happiness. Noted for her charity, unselfishness and courage, her capacity for hard work and a natural talent for organization, she lived out her consecration to Jesus, in the midst of her companions, with fidelity and joy.

On September 10, 1946 during the train ride from Calcutta to Darjeeling for her annual retreat, Mother Teresa received her "inspiration," her "call within a call." On that day, in a way she would never explain, Jesus' thirst for love and for souls took hold of her heart and the desire to satiate His thirst became the driving force of her life. Over the course of the next weeks and months, by means of interior locutions and visions, Jesus revealed to her the desire of His heart for "victims of love" who would "radiate His love on souls." "Come be My light," He begged her. "I cannot go alone."

He revealed His pain at the neglect of the poor, His sorrow at their ignorance of Him and His longing for their love. He asked Mother Teresa to establish a religious community, Missionaries of Charity, dedicated to the service of the poorest of the poor. Nearly two years of testing and discernment passed before Mother Teresa received permission to begin. On August 17, 1948, she dressed for the first time in a white, blue-bordered sari and passed through the gates of her beloved Loreto convent to enter the world of the poor.

After a short course with the Medical Mission Sisters in Patna, Mother Teresa returned to Calcutta and found temporary lodging with the Little Sisters of the Poor. On December 21 she went for the first time to the slums. She visited families, washed the sores of some children, cared for an old man lying sick on the road and nursed a woman dying of hunger and TB. She started each day in communion with Jesus in the Eucharist and then went out, rosary in her hand, to find and serve Him in "the unwanted, the unloved, the uncared for." After some months, she was joined, one by one, by her former students.

On October 7, 1950 the new congregation of the Missionaries of Charity was officially established in the Archdiocese of Calcutta. By the early 1960s, Mother Teresa began to send her Sisters to other parts of India. The Decree of Praise granted to the Congregation by Pope Paul VI in February 1965 encouraged her to open a house in Venezuela. It was soon followed by foundations in Rome and Tanzania and, eventually, on every continent. Starting in 1980 and continuing through the 1990s,
Mother Teresa opened houses in almost all of the communist countries, including the former Soviet Union, Albania and Cuba.

In order to respond better to both the physical and spiritual needs of the poor, Mother Teresa founded the Missionaries of Charity Brothers in 1963, in 1976 the contemplative branch of the Sisters, in 1979 the Contemplative Brothers, and in 1984 the Missionaries of Charity Fathers. Yet her inspiration was not limited to those with religious vocations. She formed the Co-Workers of Mother Teresa and the Sick and Suffering Co-Workers, people of many faiths and nationalities with whom she shared her spirit of prayer, simplicity, sacrifice and her apostolate of humble works of love. This spirit later inspired the Lay Missionaries of Charity. In answer to the requests of many priests, in 1981 Mother Teresa also began the Corpus Christi Movement for Priests as a "little way of holiness" for those who desire to share in her charism and spirit.

During the years of rapid growth the world began to turn its eyes towards Mother Teresa and the work she had started. Numerous awards, beginning with the Indian Padmashri Award in 1962 and notably the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, honored her work, while an increasingly interested media began to follow her activities. She received both prizes and attention "for the glory of God and in the name of the poor."

The whole of Mother Teresa's life and labor bore witness to the joy of loving, the greatness and dignity of every human person, the value of little things done faithfully and with love, and the surpassing worth of friendship with God. But there was another heroic side of this great woman that was revealed only after her death. Hidden from all eyes, hidden even from those closest to her, was her interior life marked by an experience of a deep, painful and abiding feeling of being separated from God, even rejected by Him, along with an ever-increasing longing for His love. She called her inner experience, "the darkness." The "painful night" of her soul, which began around the time she started her work for the poor and continued to the end of her life, led Mother Teresa to an ever more profound union with God. Through the darkness she mystically participated in the thirst of Jesus, in His painful and burning longing for love, and she shared in the interior desolation of the poor.

During the last years of her life, despite increasingly severe health problems, Mother Teresa continued to govern her Society and respond to the needs of the poor and the Church. By 1997, Mother Teresa's Sisters numbered nearly 4,000 members and were established in 610 foundations in 123 countries of the world. In March 1997 she blessed her newly-elected successor as Superior General of the Missionaries of Charity and then made one more trip abroad. After meeting Pope John Paul II for the last time, she returned to Calcutta and spent her final weeks receiving visitors and instructing her Sisters. On September 5 Mother Teresa's earthly life came to an end. She was given the honor of a state funeral by the government of India and her body was buried in the Mother House of the Missionaries of Charity. Her tomb quickly became a place of pilgrimage and prayer for people of all faiths, rich and poor alike. Mother Teresa left a testament of unshakable faith, invincible hope and extraordinary charity. Her response to Jesus' plea, "Come be My light," made her a Missionary of Charity, a "mother to the poor", a symbol of compassion to the world, and a living witness to the thirsting love of God.

Less than two years after her death, in view of Mother Teresa's widespread reputation of holiness and the favors being reported, Pope John Paul II permitted the opening of her Cause of
Canonization. On 20 December 2002 he approved the decrees of her heroic virtues and miracles.

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VATICAN CITY, OCT 17, 2003 (VIS) - Archbishop Celestino Migliore, Holy See permanent observer to the United Nations, spoke yesterday at the plenary of the U.N.'s 58th General Assembly on Agenda Item 40a: New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), Progress in Implementation and International Support.

The archbishop affirmed that "in the present world order, the African nations seem to be among the most disadvantaged. In the face of the current marginalization of Africa, we have a duty in solidarity to maintain the commitments we have collectively made to move forward with a new pattern of solidarity and cooperation between the wealthier nations and the peoples of Africa. This requires a rapid and definitive solution to the external debt overhang of African countries."

"The sum total of African external debt is small by global standards," he underscored. "Hence, not only in terms of justice, but also of effective economic possibilities, the burden of external debt necessitates a comprehensive and expeditious solution. ... This relief process should not drag on long under the yoke of technical and bureaucratic requirements."

Archbishop Migliore noted that "for external trade to become an essential factor of African development, the international community should uphold and apply aptly the true values of trade by eliminating all types of unfair competition against African countries." In addition, he said, "Africa needs to develop a family-based diversified agrarian economy, capable of responding to multiple challenges, such as excessive urban migration, lack of food security, welfare of the family and rural communities, protection of the environment, and greater economic growth."

In concluding remarks, the nuncio affirmed that "without peace in Africa, it is impossible to think of just structures of economic and social development."

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VATICAN CITY, OCT 17, 2003 (VIS) - Made public yesterday afternoon was Pope John Paul's Message to Jacques Diouf, director general of FAO, the Food and Agricultural Organization, on the occasion of World Food Day 2003. The theme this year is "International Alliance Against Hunger."

The Pope opens the Message by noting that "the celebration of World Food Day invites us to reflect on the fact that hunger and malnutrition threaten the survival of many of our brothers and sisters daily. This harsh reality is a cause of division between individuals, social groups, communities and countries: indeed, it epitomizes the gap existing between levels of development and life-expectancy in different regions of the world."

"People are becoming increasingly aware," he writes, "of the need to unify aims and actions, as is the Church, which shares the hopes and sufferings of humanity. She is anxious to make her contribution to a solution that meets the expectations of each person. This prompts me, on the occasion of this World Food Day, to make a new appeal on behalf of the 'Alliance Against Hunger', an 'alliance' that must draw strength from a renewed understanding of multilateralism, ... founded on the idea of the international community as a 'family of nations' committed to pursuing the universal common good."

The Holy Father remarks that some of the elements at the basis of "the distressing phenomenon of poverty" include a "lack of management (and) the expansion of ideological and political systems far removed from the concept of solidarity. ... My thoughts go especially to Africa, where the situation continues to be quite alarming" with food shortages, conflicts, epidemics and constant displacements.

John Paul II states that "the Church, with her various institutions and organizations, wishes to play her role in this world 'Alliance Against Hunger' ... through her commitment to promote solidarity." He asks "the Christian communities, believers and all men and women of good will to live and work increasingly in the service of the poor and hungry, so that true reconciliation among individuals and peoples may come about."

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VATICAN CITY, OCT 17, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

- Aleksander Kwasniewski, president of the Republic of Poland, accompanied by his wife and an entourage.

- Seven prelates from the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales on their "ad limina" visit:

- Archbishop Vincent Gerard Nichols of Birmingham, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Philip Pargeter.

- Bishop Declan Ronan Lang of Clifton.

- Bishop Brian Michael Noble of Shrewsbury.

- Archbishop Peter Smith of Cardiff.

- Bishop Mark Jabale, O.S.B., of Menevia.

- Bishop Edwin Regan of Wrexham.

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VATICAN CITY, OCT 17, 2003 (VIS) - Following are excerpts from a statement released today by the Bishop's Conference of England and Wales, which is meeting in Rome:

"During this week the BBC, mainly through its Religious Affairs Department, is giving good coverage to the celebations of the twenty-five years of the Pontificate of John Paul II and to the life of Mother Teresa of Calcutta. This is much appreciated.

"In this same week, however, BBC News and Current Affairs, have broadcast two programmes which have been biased against and hostile to the Catholic Church. In doing so they have given offence to many Catholics.

"The first was a BBC Panorama programme, on Sunday 12 October, entitled 'Sex and the Holy City'" which maintained that "while the Pope preaches peace and life, his teachings and the actions of the Catholic Church (in opposing abortion and contraception) bring about widespread poverty and death."

The statement says the second programme "Kenyon Confronts" on October 15 "focussed on past cases of the abuse of children involving two priests over twenty years ago" and, while it contained "significant disclosures, ... they were set alongside contentious and biased reporting of the Church's actions, both past and present."

"For many decades the BBC has deserved and enjoyed a world-wide reputation for fairness and objectivity, especially in its News and Current Affairs. This reputation is increasingly tarnished. In England and Wales there is considerable concern that elements within the BBC are simply hostile to religious belief and to any traditional sense of the sacred.

"Furthermore, the decision to broadcast both of these programmes in the week when Catholic people throughout the world are celebrating the Silver Jubilee of the Pope and the life of Mother Teresa is a distressing sign of this insensitivity."

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

- Bishop Joseph Mitsuaki Takami, P.S.S., auxiliary of the archdiocese of Nagasaki, Japan, as metropolitan archbishop of the same archdiocese (area 4,192, population 1,511,890, Catholics 68,551, priests 152, permanent deacons 1, religious 948).

- Msgr. Luigi Moretti, secretary prelate of the vicariate of Rome, as vice-gerent of the diocese of Rome, elevating him to the dignity of archbishop.

- Msgr. Mauro Parmeggiani, director of the service for the youth ministry in the diocese of Rome, as prelate secretary of the vicariate of Rome.

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Thursday, October 16, 2003


VATICAN CITY, OCT 16, 2003 - Yesterday, October 15, at the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Rome, Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran and Franco Frattini, Italian minister of Foreign Affairs, exchanged the instruments of ratification of the Social Security Convention between the Holy See and the Italian Republic, signed in the Vatican on June 16, 2000.

According to a communique made public yesterday afternoon, "in the course of the conversation preceding the act, Archbishop Tauran and Minister Frattini acknowledged the fruitful collaboration between the Holy See and Italy concerning bilateral relations as well as international problems."

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VATICAN CITY, OCT 16, 2003 (VIS) - Made public today was the Postsynodal Apostolic Exhortation "Pastores Gregis" written by Pope John Paul in conclusion to the Tenth Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the theme "The Bishop, Servant of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the Hope of the World." The synod was held in the Vatican from September 30 to October 28, 2001.

Pope John Paul signed the document in the Paul VI Hall this morning at 11 in the presence of the College of Cardinals and members of the Roman Curia.

The 196-page document is divided into an Introduction, seven Chapters and a Conclusion.

The Introduction has four sections: the Tenth Assembly of the Synod of Bishops; a hope founded on Christ; Hope, when hopes are dashed; Servants of the Gospel for the hope of the world (which was the synod's theme).

Chapter One is entitled "The Mystery and Ministry of the Bishops" and has five parts: "... and He chose from them Twelve" (Lk 6:13); The Trinitarian Foundation of the episcopal ministry; The collegial nature of the episcopal ministry; the missionary character and the unitary nature of the episcopal ministry; and "He called to Him those whom He desired" (Mk 3:13-14).

The Holy Father divided Chapter Two, "The Spiritual Life of the Bishop," into 15 sections: "And He appointed Twelve that they might be with Him" (Mk 3:14); The call to holiness in the Church in our time; The Bishop's spiritual journey; Mary, Mother of Hope and teacher of the spiritual life; Entrusting oneself to the word; Drawing nourishment from the Eucharist; Prayer and the Liturgy of the Hours; The way of the evangelical counsels and the Beatitudes; The virtue of obedience; The spirit and practice of poverty in Bishops; With chastity at the service of a Church which reflects the purity of Christ; The proponent of a spirituality of communion and mission; a journey undertaken in everyday life; The permanent formation of Bishops; and The example of sainted bishops.

In Chapter Three, he writes of the Bishop as "Teacher of the Faith and Herald of the Word." There are six parts: "Go into all the world and preach the Gospel" (Mk 16:15); Christ at the heart of the Gospel and of humanity; The Bishop, hearer and guardian of the word; Authentic and authoritative service of the word; Episcopal ministry for the inculturation of the Gospel; Preaching by word and example.

"Minister of the Grace of the High Priesthood" is the title of Chapter Four. It has ten sections: "Sanctified in Jesus Christ, called to be saints" (1 Cor 1:2); The source and summit of the life of the particular Church; The importance of the Cathedral Church; The Bishop, moderator of the liturgy as a pedagogy of faith; The centrality of the Lord's Day and the liturgical year; The Bishop as minister of the Eucharistic celebration; The Bishop's responsibility for Christian initiation; The Bishop's responsibilities in the discipline of penance; Attention to popular piety; Promoting holiness for all the faithful.

John Paul II entitles Chapter Five "The Pastoral Governance of the Bishops." Its thirteen sections are: "I have given you an example" (Jn 13:15); The Bishop's authority as pastoral service; Pastoral style of governance and diocesan communion; The elements of the particular Church; The Pastoral Visit; The Bishop with his presbyterate; The formation of candidates for the priesthood; The Bishop and permanent deacons; The Bishop's concern for persons of consecrated life; The lay faithful in the pastoral care of the Bishops; The Bishop's concern for the family; Young people, a pastoral priority for the future; The promotion of vocations.

Chapter Six is entitled "In the Communion of the Churches" and it looks at: "Anxiety for all the Churches" (2 Cor 11:28); The Diocesan Bishop in relation to the Church's Supreme Authority; Visits "ad limina Apostolorum"; The Synod of Bishops; Communion between the Bishops and the Churches at the local level; The Eastern Catholic Churches; The Patriarchal Churches and their Synods; The organization of the Metropolitan See and of Ecclesial Provinces; Episcopal Conferences; The Church's Unity and ecumenical dialogue; Missionary Spirit in the episcopal ministry.

Pope John Paul calls Chapter Seven "The Bishop Before the Challenges of the Present." In it he addresses: "Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world" (Jn 16:33); The Bishop, Promoter of justice and peace; Interreliguious dialogue, especially on behalf of world peace; Civil, social and economic life; Respect for the Environment and the protection of creation; The Bishop's ministry in the field of health; The Bishop's pastoral care of migrants.

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VATICAN CITY, OCT 16, 2003 (VIS) - At 11 this morning in the Paul VI Hall, in the presence of the College of Cardinals and members of the Roman Curia, Pope John Paul II signed the Postsynodal Apostolic Exhortation "Pastores Gregis." The College of Cardinals began a four-day meeting yesterday in the Vatican.

As the Pope entered the Hall, the Sistine Choir sang "Tu es Petrus" (You are Peter). He was joined by Cardinal Jan Pieter Schotte, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops, by presidents delegate Cardinals Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, Bernard Agre, archbishop of Abidjan, Ivory Coast and Ivan Dias, archbishop of Bombay, and by relators general Cardinals Edward Egan, archbishop of New York, U.S.A. and Jorge Mario Bergoglio, archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Also present was the special secretary Bishop Marcello Semeraro of Oria, Italy.

Following an introduction by Cardinal Schotte, Pope John Paul signed the apostolic exhortation, the Sistine Choir sang "Alma Redemptoris Mater" and the Holy Father then addressed the assembly.

The Pope affirmed that in the document "the synodal fathers emphasized the great importance of the episcopal service for the life of the People of God. They underscored the collegial nature of the episcopate. They also stressed that the functions of teaching, sanctifying and governing must be exercised in hierarchal communion and fraternal unity with the Head and other members of the episcopal college."

Referring to the characteristics of the episcopal ministry, the Holy Father highlighted "the love for everyone and the attention to each person, mercy and the search for the lost sheep. ... In addition," he continued, the bishop "is called to be a father, teacher, friend and brother to everyone following Christ's example. Faithfully following this path, he will be able to attain sanctity, a sanctity that must grow not with the ministry but through the ministry."

"In terms of being a herald of the divine Word, teacher and doctor of the faith, a bishop has the task of teaching the Christian faith with apostolic clarity, proposing it again and again in an authentic way. ... As guide of the Christian people ... a bishop must concern himself with promoting the participation of all the faithful in the edification of the Church. ... He will be a prophet of justice and peace, defender of the rights of the helpless and those who are ostracized. He will proclaim to all the Gospel of life, truth and love. He will look upon the multitude of the poor that inhabit the earth with compassion. ... Recalling Christ's desire 'ut omnes unum sint', he will sustain the ecumenical way ... and will become a promoter of interreligious dialogue."

The Holy Father said that "the office to which we are called is difficult and serious. Where will we find the strength to carry it out according to Christ's wishes? Undoubtedly only in Him. Being shepherds of his flock is especially difficult and demanding. However, we must be hopeful 'contra spem in spem.' Christ walks with us and sustains us with His grace."

Upon concluding his discourse, as the choir sang the "Cantate Domino," the Pope handed a copy of the apostolic exhortation to the cardinals present, the general relators and five prelates who represented the five continents. The ceremony ended with the singing of the Our Father and the apostolic blessing.

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VATICAN CITY, OCT 16, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Rouen, France, presented by Archbishop Joseph Duval upon having reached the age limit.

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VATICAN CITY, OCT 16, 2003 (VIS) - Yesterday afternoon the Holy Father received in separate audiences:

- Eight prelates from the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales on their "ad limina" visit:

- Archbishop Patrick Altham Kelly of Liverpool, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishops Vincent Malone and Thomas Anthony Williams.

- Bishop John Rawsthorne of Hallam.

- Bishop Michael Ambrose Griffiths, O.S.B., of Hexham and Newcastle.

- Bishop Patrick O'Donoghue of Lancaster.

- Bishop David Every Konstant of Leeds, accompanied by Coadjutor Bishop Arthur Roche.

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VATICAN CITY, OCT 16, 2003 (VIS) - At 4:45 in the afternoon of October 14, 1978, ten days after the funeral of Pope John Paul I, 110 cardinal electors, and 88 persons selected to assist them, entered into conclave, sealed off from the world, to elect his successor.

At 6:18 p.m., on October 16, white smoke appeared from the small chimney of the Sistine Chapel, thus signalling that the cardinal electors had chosen a new Roman Pontiff. Twenty-seven minutes later, Cardinal Pericle Felici appeared on the central loggia of St. Peter's Basilica and announced the election of Pope John Paul II to the See of Peter with the words: "Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum Habemus Papam Carolum Wojtyla, qui sibi nomen imposuit Ioannem Paulum II."

At 7:15 p.m. the new pontiff, clad in the traditional papal white, appeared on the same balcony and spoke in Italian the words now familiar to tens of millions of people around the world: "Praised be Jesus Christ!"

"Dear brothers and sisters," he continued, "we are still all very saddened by the death of the very dear Pope John Paul I. And now the most eminent cardinals have called a new bishop of Rome. They called him from a far-away country, ... far, but always near in the communion of faith and the Christian tradition. I was afraid in receiving this nomination, but I did it in the spirit of obedience to Our Lord and with total trust in his Mother, the Most Holy Madonna.

"I don't know if I can express myself well in your - in our - Italian language. But if I make a mistake, you will correct me. And so I introduce myself to you all, to confess our common faith, our hope, our trust in the mother of Christ and of the Church, and also to begin again on this path of history and of the Church with the help of God and with that of men."

John Paul II, Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, archbishop of Krakow, was elected as the 264th Pope on the second ballot of the second day of the second conclave of 1978, just five months after his 58th birthday. Six days later, on October 22, 1978, his pastoral ministry was inaugurated.

Today, October 16, 2003 marks day 9,125 of his pontificate, calculating from October 22, 1978.

His is the 4th longest pontificate in the history of the papacy. The longest was that of St. Peter (precise dates unknown), followed by Pope Pius IX (1846-78: 31 years, 7 months, 17 days), and his successor, Leo XIII (1878-1903: 25 years, 4 mos. and 17 days).

In his 25 years as Pope, John Paul II has held eight consistories in which he has created 201 cardinals. He announced the ninth such consistory on September 28, naming 31 new cardinals, of whom one is "in pectore." The consistory will be held on October 21, 2003, and will bring the number of members of the College of Cardinals to 194 (not including the "in pectore"), of whom 135 will be under the age of 80 and thus cardinal electors. On that day John Paul II will have created 232 cardinals during his papacy.

From the start of his pontificate to today, the Holy Father has named over 3,300 of the world's nearly 4,200 bishops. He has met each of them a number of times over the years, particularly when they fulfill their quinquennial obligation of a visit "ad limina Apostolorum."

He has written 14 encyclicals, 14 apostolic exhortations, 11 apostolic constitutions, 42 apostolic letters and 28 Motu proprio in addition to hundreds of other messages and letters. In preparation for the Jubilee Year 2000, Pope John Paul wrote the Apostolic Letter "Tertio Millennio Adveniente," dated November 10, 1994, and published four days later. He also created the Committee for the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000.

The 83 year-old Pope has also presided over 15 synods of bishops: six ordinary (1980, 1983, 1987, 1990, 1994, 2001), one extraordinary (1985) and eight special assemblies (1980, 1991, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998 (two synods) and 1999).

Over the years, the Holy Father has undertaken 102 pastoral visits outside Italy, the latest of which was September 2003 to Slovakia. He has made 143 trips within Italy and nearly 700 within the city and diocese of Rome, including visits to 301 of the 325 parishes of the diocese of which he is bishop, in addition to religious institutes, universities, seminaries, hospitals, rest homes, prisons and schools.

With his 245 foreign and Italian pastoral visits, Pope John Paul II has reached the 1,163,865 kilometer mark (698,310 miles), that is, just over 28 times the earth's circumference or 3 times the distance between the earth and moon.

While in Rome, the Pope welcomes an average of one million people per year, including between 400-500,000 who attend the weekly general audiences in addition to those who come for special liturgical functions such as Christmas and Easter Masses, beatifications and canonizations. He also receives approximately 150-180,000 people per year in audiences granted to particular groups, heads of state and governments.

Including yesterday's general audience (October 15, 2003), Pope John Paul II has held 1,106 Wednesday general audiences, welcoming more than 17 million faithful from every part of the world. Other audiences, including heads of State and heads of government, number over 1,500.

At the start of John Paul's pontificate the Holy See had diplomatic relations with 85 countries. It now has relations with 174 countries, as well as with the European Union and the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. It has relations of a special nature with the Russian Federation and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

According to the Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff, over the past 25 years the Pope has proclaimed 1,324 Blesseds in 140 ceremonies and 477 Saints in 51 ceremonies, including the canonization ceremony on October 5, 2003.

He founded the John Paul II Institute for the Sahel in February of 1984, and the "Populorum Progressio" Foundation for the Indigenous Peoples of Latin America in February of 1992. He also founded the Pontifical Academies for Life and for Social Sciences. In addition, he instituted the World Day of the Sick (celebrated annually on February 11) and World Youth Day (WYD). The 17th youth day was celebrated in Toronto, Canada in July 2002. The Pope himself chooses the theme and develops its contents in an annual Message to the Youth of the World.

Karol Jozef Wojtyla, known as Pope John Paul II since his election 25 years ago, was born in Wadowice, a small city 50 kilometers from Krakow, on May 18, 1920. He was the second of two sons born to Karol Wojtyla and Emilia Kaczorowska. His mother died giving birth to a third child - stillborn - in 1929. His eldest brother Edmund, a doctor, died in 1932 and his father, a non-commissioned army officer, died in 1941.

He made his First Holy Communion at age 9 and was confirmed at age 17. Upon graduation from Martin Wadowita high school in Wadowice, he enrolled in Krakow's Jagiellonian University in 1938 and in a school for drama.

The Nazi occupation forces closed the university in 1939 and young Karol had to work in a quarry and then in a chemical factory in Solvay to earn his living and to avoid being deported to Germany.

In 1942, aware of his call to the priesthood, he began courses in the clandestine seminary of Krakow, run by Cardinal Adam Stefan Sapieha, archbishop of Krakow. At the same time, Karol Wojtyla was one of the pioneers of the "Rhapsodic Theater," also clandestine.

After the Second World War, he continued his studies in the major seminary of Krakow, once it had re-opened, and in the faculty of theology of the Jagiellonian University, until his priestly ordination in Krakow on November 1, 1946.

Soon after, Cardinal Sapieha sent him to Rome where he worked under the guidance of the French Dominican, Garrigou-Lagrange. He finished his doctorate in theology in 1948 with a thesis on the topic of faith in the works of St. John of the Cross. At that time, during his vacations, he exercised his pastoral ministry among the Polish immigrants of France, Belgium and Holland.

In 1948 he returned to Poland and was vicar of various parishes in Krakow as well as chaplain for the university students until 1951, when he took up again his studies on philosophy and theology. In 1953 he defended a thesis on "Evaluation of the Possibility of Founding a Catholic Ethic on the Ethical System of Max Scheler" at Lublin Catholic University. Later he became professor of moral theology and social ethics in the major seminary of Krakow and in the Faculty of Theology of Lublin.

On July 4, 1958, he was appointed auxiliary bishop of Krakow by Pope Pius XII, and was consecrated September 28, 1958, in Wawel Cathedral, Krakow, by Archbishop Baziak.

On January 13, 1964, he was named archbishop of Krakow by Pope Paul VI, who elevated him to the cardinalate on June 26, 1967.

Besides taking part in Vatican Council II with an important contribution to the elaboration of the Constitution "Gaudium et Spes," Cardinal Wojtyla participated in every assembly of the Synod of Bishops since it was created by Paul VI in 1967.

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