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Wednesday, April 16, 2003


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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