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Thursday, April 24, 2003


VATICAN CITY, APR 24, 2003 (VIS) - On Sunday, April 27, Divine Mercy Sunday, Pope John Pope will beatify six Servants of God during a Eucharistic celebration starting at 10 a.m. in St. Peter's Square.

The future Blesseds are: Giacomo Alberione, priest, founder of the Pauline family; Marco D'Aviano, priest, of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin; Maria Cristina Brando, virgin, foundress of the Congregation of Sisters, Victims Expiators of Jesus of the Sacrament; Eugenia Ravasco, virgin, foundress of the Congregation of the Daughters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary; Maria Domenica Mantovani, virgin, co-foundress of the Institute of Little Sisters of the Sacred Family; Giulia Salzano, virgin, foundress of the Congregation of Sisters, Catechists of the Sacred Heart.

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VATICAN CITY, APR 24, 2003 (VIS) - Pope John Paul this morning at 10:30 in St. Peter's Basilica, presided at the funeral Mass for Cardinal Aurelio Sabattani, who died Holy Saturday, April 19, at the age of 90. In his long years of service to the Holy See, the cardinal had been prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, archpriest of the Vatican Basilica, vicar general for Vatican City and president of the Fabric of St. Peter's.

"'Blessed'!" said the Pope in his homily, referring to today's Gospel of the Beatitudes. "Jesus proclaimed as blessed those who followed him, day after day, going against the current with respect to the logic of the world. It seems that, even in the limits of every human existence, our brother, who gave a multi-faceted and generous service to the Church, belongs to this large group of Jesus' faithful disciples."

The Holy Father noted that "our ultimate home and our 'recompense', as Jesus recalls in the Gospel, are not of this earth, but of heaven. Our dearly beloved cardinal was well aware of this as, in his spiritual testament, he recommended to those close to him to 'live in the faith and grace of God, the only thing that has definitive value. Indeed, he knew well that, precisely in conforming one's own will to that of Christ, especially in life's difficult and agonizing moments, the believer becomes worthy of the Gospel Beatitudes."

In his spiritual testament, the Pope went on, Cardinal Sabattani, "recognizing that he had been blessed by God with continuous and singular advantages, has now presented himself for judgment, after having personally exercised the office of judge in the Church. He presented himself with serene trust, as he declared, aware of having always been motivated by the desire to serve Christ and the Church."

After mentioning Cardinal Sabattani's "final years marked by much suffering," John Paul II reviewed his long life and years of faithful service to the Holy See.

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

- Appointed the following people as members of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum": Fr. Massimo Cenci, P.I.M.E., undersecretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples; Msgr. Frank J. Dewane, undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace; Fr. Salvador Lopez Mora of "Caritas" in Mexico; Fr. Michael Yeung of "Caritas" in Hong Kong; Jose Sanchez Faba, president of "Caritas" in Spain.

- Appointed Fr. Ladislav Hucko, spiritual director of the Major Seminary in Kosice, Slovakia, as apostolic eparch for Catholics of the Byzantine rite resident in the Czech Republic (Catholics 250,000, priests 10, religious 21). The eparchial bishop-elect was born in 1948 in Presov, Slovakia and was ordained a priest in 1996. The Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the same apostolic eparchy presented by Bishop Ivan Ljavinec upon having reached the age limit.

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VATICAN CITY, APR 24, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience Bishop Frantisek Tondra of Spis, Slovakia.

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