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Thursday, March 27, 2003


VATICAN CITY, MAR 27, 2003 (VIS) - Today at noon John Paul II received participants in the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America during which, he noted, they had examined the situation of the Church in that part of the world and offered some guidelines to confront current challenges.

The Pope said that in order "to announce Christ better to the men and women of today, thus illuminating with the wisdom of the Gospel the challenges and problems that the Church and society experience in Latin America at the beginning of the millennium, the Church needs many qualified evangelizers who speak 'more and more of Jesus Christ' with new ardor, renewed enthusiasm, refined ecclesial spirit and filled with faith and hope."

"The originality and fecundity of the Gospel, a continuous font of creativity, always inspire new expressions and initiatives in ecclesiastical life and help to identity new ways to evangelize that, in complete fidelity to the Magisterium and tradition of the Church, are necessary to announce the Gospel in faraway places to all men and women, to every ethnicity and every social class, including the most difficult sectors or those who are opposed."

The Holy Father made reference to the phenomena of sects, which they discussed during the plenary, and indicated that confronting "in a decisive way this grave and insidious problem" requires "in-depth evangelization, the continuous and active presence of pastors, bishops and priests among their parishioners, and a personal relationship of the faithful with Christ."

Other areas such as "young people and families and especially priestly vocations need special attention from pastors, with ample synergy, that is, with a group effort, stressing unity and communion: it is ever-more necessary 'to make the Church a home and a school of communion: this is the great challenge that awaits us in the new millennium'." The Pope concluded by recalling the "great importance of the evangelizing activity of religious, as well as that of ecclesiastical movements" for this challenge.



VATICAN CITY, MAR 27, 2003 (VIS) - This morning the Holy Father received in audience their Royal Highnesses, the Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg. The Pope asked them to convey his greetings to Grand Duke Jean and Grand Duchess Josephine-Charlotte, assuring the duchess of his prayers for her health.

John Paul II focused his speech on the transmission to future generations of "the patrimony of values that have shaped our societies and that must continue to give them a soul."

"The building of the European Union," he went on, "cannot be limited to the fields of the economy and the organization of the market. It must promote a model for society that honors the fundamental dignity of the whole person and ... that favors relations based on justice, mutual respect and peace among human beings and peoples."

Later he emphasized that the "religious dimension, ... whose importance cannot be ignored, allows people to express their profound being, to recognize their origin in God and to understand the meaning of their actions in terms of mission and responsibility."

"We have the duty," said the Pope at the end of his speech, "to make everyone who lives on our continent and enjoys economic wealth and the benefits of peace, recognize the inalienable value of our common humanity and the responsibility we have for the plight of every human being, especially those who suffer from poverty, disrespect of dignity or those who know the trial of war. I am happy that today many European youths thirst for the spirit of the Beatitudes and are ready to accept them more and more in their life."

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VATICAN CITY, MAR 27, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Vac, Hungary, presented by Bishop Ferenc Keszthelyi, O.Cist. upon having reached the age limit.

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VATICAN CITY, MAR 27, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience two prelates from the Episcopal Conference of Indonesia on their "ad limina" visit:

- Bishop Cosmas Michael Angkur, O.F.M., of Bogor.

- Bishop Agustinus Agus of Sintang.

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