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Wednesday, April 9, 2003


VATICAN CITY, APR 9, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Appointed Archbishop Santos Abril y Castello, apostolic nuncio in Argentina, as apostolic nuncio in Slovenia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

- Appointed Archbishop Juliusz Janusz, apostolic nuncio in Mozambique, as apostolic nuncio in Hungary.
- Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Joacaba, Brazil presented by Bishop Osorio Bebber, O.F.M.Cap., in accordance with Canon 401, para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law. He is succeeded by Coadjutor Bishop Walmir Alberto Valle, I.M.C.

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VATICAN CITY, APR 9, 2003 (VIS) - Continuing with the catechesis on the psalms in today's general audience celebrated in St. Peter's Square, the Pope spoke about the first part of Psalm 134, "Praise the Lord Who works wonders."

John Paul II told the 15,000 pilgrims present that Psalm 134 begins with an invitation to praise God. "The call to sing the alleluia is directed to the 'servants of the Lord'," who are joined by all faithful, and God is recognized as "good and loving."

The Holy Father continued, saying the psalmist "proceeds with a profession of solemn faith," in which "God's work in the entire universe is especially exalted" as well as the history of salvation. "God the creator is recognized as the Lord Redeemer, recalling the fundamental events of Israel's liberation from slavery in Egypt. The psalmist cites the 'plague' of the first-born children which summarizes all the signs and marvels performed by God, liberator during the epic of Exodus. ... At the end, the promised land, which Israel inherits from the Lord, appears on the horizon ."

"Following this profession of faith, we also raise up our praise to God," affirmed the Pope. "The Creator and Lord of the universe - writes St. Clement I in his letter to the Corinthians - arranged it so that all things were in peace and harmony, beneficial to everything and especially to us who seek His mercy through Our Lord Jesus Christ."

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VATICAN CITY, APR 8, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Appointed Archbishop Buti Joseph Tlhagale, O.M.I. of Bloemfontein, South Africa as bishop of Johannesburg (area 14,517, population 6,000,000, Catholics 700,000, priests 164, permanent deacons 39, religious 613), South Africa.
- Appointed Fr. Wojciech Polak, rector of the Primatial Seminary in Gniezno, Poland as auxiliary bishop of the same archdiocese (area 8,530, population 1,023,352, Catholics 995,003, priests 741, 250 religious). The bishop-elect was born in Inowroclaw, Poland in 1964 and was ordained a priest in 1989. The Holy Father accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the same archdiocese presented by Bishop Szczepan Wesoly upon having reached the age limit. At the same time he accepted his resignation as delegate for the pastoral care of Polish migrants.

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VATICAN CITY, APR 9, 2003 (VIS) - Following is the schedule of Holy Week activities to be presided over by John Paul II:

SUNDAY, April 13: Palm Sunday and Our Lord's Passion. 18th World Youth Day on the theme: "Behold your mother." At 10:00 a.m. in St. Peter's Square, the Holy Father will bless palms and olive branches and, at the end of the procession, will celebrate the Mass of the Lord's Passion.

THURSDAY, April 17: Holy Thursday. In St. Peter's Basilica at 9:30 a.m., the Holy Father will preside at the concelebration of the Chrism Mass with cardinals, bishops, diocesan and religious priests present in Rome. The Easter Triduum of the Lord's Passion and Resurrection begins in the Vatican Basilica at 5:30 p.m. with the Mass of Our Lord's Last Supper. The Holy Father will preside at the concelebration of the Mass. After the homily, the rite of the washing of the feet of 12 priests will take place. During this rite, those present will be invited to contribute to a collection for the people affected by the war in Iraq. The sum collected will be given to the Holy Father at the presentation of the gifts. At the end of the celebration the Blessed Sacrament will be transferred to the chapel of reposition.

FRIDAY, April 18: Good Friday. The Holy Father will preside at the celebration of the Passion of Our Lord in the Vatican Basilica at 5 p.m. He will lead the Stations of the Cross at the Colosseum at 9:15 p.m. and, in conclusion, will speak to the faithful and will impart his apostolic blessing.

SATURDAY, April 19: The Easter Vigil will begin at 8:00 p.m. in St. Peter's Basilica, when the Pope will bless the new fire in the atrium of the Church. After the entrance procession with the Easter candle and the singing of the Exsultet, he will preside at the Liturgy of the Word and the baptismal and eucharistic liturgies, which he will concelebrate with the cardinals.

SUNDAY, April 20. At 10:30 a.m., John Paul II will celebrate Mass in St. Peter's Square, after which he will impart the "Urbi et Orbi" ("to the city and the world") blessing.

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VATICAN CITY, APR 9, 2003 (VIS) - Holy See Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro-Valls made the following statement this afternoon:

"Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran, secretary for Relations with States, received in audience this morning John Bolton, under-secretary of the government of the United States for arms control and international security.

"Mr. Bolton explained the danger represented by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in various parts of the world. On the Iraqi crisis, he repeated his government's commitment to respect the 'ius in bello' and appreciation for the availability of the Catholic Church to collaborate in the humanitarian field to alleviate the sufferings of the Iraqi people. Lastly, he made reference to what U.S. President George Bush recently affirmed in Belfast about the need for a rapid solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in order to give the entire Middle East region the possibility for peace."



VATICAN CITY, APR 9, 2003 (VIS) - Pope John Paul, at the end of today's general audience catechesis, and multi-language greetings to the pilgrims present in St. Peter's Square, appealed for an end to the massacres and summary executions in the Great Lakes Region of Africa, asking for dialogue among leaders and for peace in the region.

"While in Baghdad and in other places in Iraq the clashes continue with destruction and death, news which is no less worrying comes from the African continent, from which in the past few days we have received news about massacres and summary executions. These crimes have taken place in the tormented region of the Great Lakes, and in particular in an area of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

"In raising a fervent prayer to God for the repose of the souls of the victims, I direct a heartfelt appeal to the politicians in charge, as well as to all men and women of good will, so that they commit themselves to bring an end to the violence and abuse, putting aside personal selfishness and group interests, with the active collaboration of the international community."

"For this reason, every effort at reconciliation among the Congolese, Ugandan and Rwandan peoples must be encouraged, as well as similar efforts that are in underway in Burundi and in the Sudan, with the hope that from these efforts peace which is so desired, can bloom."

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VATICAN CITY, APR 9, 2003 (VIS) - Last evening in Padua, Italy, Archbishop Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace participated in a ceremony commemorating the 40th anniversary of John XXIII's Encyclical "Pacem in Terris."

"It would be absolutely detrimental," affirmed Archbishop Martino, "if current international conflicts were to provoke paralysis or even a crisis in important international organisms, especially the United Nations."

The president of Justice and Peace indicated that "as in the time of 'Pacem in terris', also in the hours that we are living humanity suffers trials, wars and divisions in international organisms. ... International conflicts, which sadden and worry us so much, require once again that the Church offer humanity the same heart of its eternal message, that of the Gospel of peace."

He concluded: "We would have all liked the 40th anniversary of 'Pacem in terris', which will be commemorated on April 11, to have been celebrated in an international climate marked with fewer tensions. Even more so today, its message acquires particular importance, provided that we know how to grasp in depth all the elements of the current times, among them, the relation between peace and terrorism, peace and the new world order, peace and the unity of the human family."

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VATICAN CITY, APR 9, 2003 (VIS) - Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, apostolic nuncio and Holy See permanent observer to the United Nations Office in Geneva, is the head of the Holy See delegation to the 59th session of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. The meeting, currently underway in this Swiss city, began on March 17 and ends on April 25.

Archbishop Martin has spoken to the assembly on three occasions since the meeting began. On March 25 he addressed Item 6 on the agenda: Racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and all forms of discrimination. He noted that since the 2001 Durban World Conference on this subject, "the community of nations still seems to have difficulty in addressing racism. It is as if some deep-seated fear or social inhibition prevents us from addressing this widely pervasive phenomenon with serenity and objectivity." He said that "new forms of division and exclusion, intolerance and hatred have emerged," adding that the best way to fight these is through education. "The racist hatred of today must not be passed on, not even one generation further. We must find ways to educate future generations to a different vision of human relations, one which corresponds to the truth concerning the unity of mankind."

On April 7 the nuncio spoke to the Human Rights Commission on Agenda Item 10, Economic, Social and Cultural Rights - Extreme Poverty in the Era of Globalization. He remarked that "the concentration and intensity of extreme poverty in certain regions of the world are among the most potent symbols of the unacceptable inequalities which still exist in our world today. Inclusion should be a distinguishing mark of a human rights approach to poverty reduction, an approach which stresses the indivisibility and universality of human rights, through placing the integral dignity of each human person and the unity of the family of humankind at its center."

Archbishop Martin's third address focussed on Item 11, Civil and Political Rights - Religious Intolerance. He observed that the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion and Belief had drawn attention to Pope John Paul's call for dialogue among religions in the service to peace, and to the signing of the Assisi Decalogue for Peace on January 24, 2002. The archbishop recalled that "this Decalogue sets out some basic components which should belong to a dialogue among religions, including affirmation of the fact that violence and terrorism are opposed to all true religious spirit; education about respect and mutual esteem among members of different ethnic groups, cultures and peoples; recognition of the fact that facing difference can become an occasion for greater reciprocal understanding; pardon for errors and prejudices of the present and the past; promotion of a culture of dialogue, open to understanding and trust."

"Religious leaders," he stated, "have a special responsibility to strongly reaffirm ' whenever possible together ' that attempts to use religious sentiments to generate division, or to use religion as an excuse for violence or terrorism cannot be reconciled with any true religious spirit. A precondition for this affirmation will be to ensure that believers avoid any temptation to stereotype or misrepresent other religions and their beliefs."

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