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Monday, May 12, 2003


VATICAN CITY, MAY 10, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father this morning welcomed Bishop Rene Sejour of Saint-Flour, France and a delegation of diocesan pilgrims who are in Rome to celebrate the millennium of the death of Pope Sylvester II, who died on May 12, 1003.

Calling Sylvester II "the Pope of the Year 1000" and "the most cultured man of his time," John Paul II underscored that "Gerbert d'Aurillac dominated his century in a singular way by his knowledge and his erudition, his moral uprightness and his spiritual sense. He was at one and the same time an intellectual and a man of action, a diplomat and a man of the Church. If today's questions are different from those he had to face, his spiritual and intellectual attitude remains a call to seek human truth, which is never opposed to the truths of faith. 'Always unite,' he used to say, 'science and faith'."

The Pope noted that Sylvester II belonged to the Benedictine Order "whose different houses contributed to fashioning Europe. Archbishop of Reims, then of Ravenna, in 999 he became the first Pope of French origin. ... In the year 1000 he created in Gniezno the first metropolitan Church in Poland, among whose suffragans was the diocese of Krakow where I was pastor."

"Gerbert contributed to the intellectual renaissance and vitality of the continent," noted the Holy Father. "His example helps us to understand that Europe can only be built if it assumes, with lucidity, its Christian roots, ... an essential dimension of its identity, having left their imprint on the cultural, artistic, juridical and philosophical production of the continent."

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 11, 2003 (VIS) - At 9 a.m. today, the fourth Sunday of Easter, the Pope celebrated Mass in the Vatican Basilica and conferred priestly ordination on 31 deacons from the diocese of Rome.

Commenting on today's Gospel in which "Jesus defines himself as the Good Shepherd who offers his life for his flock," John Paul II said: "A sublime example of loving abandonment, Jesus invites His disciples, in particular priests, to follow in His footsteps. He calls each priest to be a good shepherd of the flock which Providence entrusts to him."

"Priests," he affirmed, "are men of the Word who have the duty to spread the Gospel message to the men and women of their time. They must do so with a great sense of responsibility, committing themselves to always be in full agreement with the Magisterium of the Church. They are also men of the Eucharist through which they penetrate the heart of the paschal mystery. Especially in the Mass they realize the urgency of forming themselves with ever-more intimacy to Jesus the Good Shepherd, supreme and eternal Priest."

"Nourish yourself therefore," he went on, "with the Word of God; engage yourselves every day with Christ, truly present in the sacrament of the altar. Let yourselves be touched by the infinite love of His Heart, spend more time in Eucharistic adoration in the most important moments of your life, when making difficult personal and pastoral decisions, at the beginning and at the end of your days. I can assure you that 'I have had this experience and from it I have gained strength, consolation and support!'"

John Paul II reminded the newly-ordained priests that from now on they will be "ministers of divine mercy. Administer the sacrament of reconciliation. ... You will be witnesses of so many miracles and marvels carried out through the mercy of God in the confessional!"
"But in order to worthily carry out your mission that today has been entrusted to you, you will have to be in constant union with God in prayer, and you yourselves must have an experience of His merciful love through the regular practice of Confession, allowing yourselves to be guided by expert spiritual counsellors, especially in those moments when you encounter difficulties."

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 10, 2003 (VIS) - Archbishop Renato Martino, upon his arrival in Medellin, Colombia on May 8 to address the archdiocesan clergy, deplored "the execrable attack" that killed the governor of the Department of Antioquia, the minister of defense and eight other officials who had been prisoners of FARC, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

In a communique dated May 8 and published today, the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, repeated the words of John Paul II in a speech he gave to the Roman Curia in 2001: "Every form of terrorist violence dishonors the sanctity of God and the dignity of man."

"(Everyone) may count on my humble and constant prayer," he wrote, "by which I ask God to grant eternal repose to the souls of the victims of this act of terrorism, to give consolation to their families, to give freedom to those who are deprived of it and to show Colombia the paths that lead to forging a fraternal coexistence for the present and an ever more luminous and just future."



VATICAN CITY, MAY 10, 2003 (VIS) - Made public today was a Letter by Pope John Paul, written in Latin and dated March 22, in which he names Cardinal Mario Francesco Pompedda as his special envoy to the May 16-18 celebrations in Treguier, France for the seventh centenary of the death of St. Ivo, patron saint of lawyers.

Accompanying the cardinal prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura will be Archbishop Francois Saint-Macary of Rennes, Dol and Saint-Malo, Msgr. Santo Gangemi, nunciature counsellor in Paris and Canon Jean Basset of the clergy of the diocese of Saint-Brieuc and Treguier, dean of the cathedral chapter and judicial vicar of Brittany.



VATICAN CITY, MAY 12, 2003 (VIS) - This morning in the Clementine Hall, the Pope welcomed Cardinal Ignace Moussa I Daoud, prefect of the Congregation for Oriental Churches, and the superiors, teachers, students and staff of the Pontifical colleges and communities of students of the Oriental Catholic Churches in Rome.

"Turning to the many countries you come from," he began his talk, "I must strongly repeat the hope that peace will be ever more consolidated in that region; that fair and peaceful solutions will restore harmony and good living conditions to the populations so sorely tried by tensions and unjust oppression. May the Lord illuminate the leaders of nations so that they will courageously work, with respect for law, for the good of everyone and for the freedom of every religious community."

The Holy Father underscored the "praiseworthy activity" of the various pontifical institutions, which includes "Oriental studies, that of the liturgy proper to each ritual traditional, permanent formation at all levels, and a constant updating of pastoral experiences."

The Pope noted that the College of St. Ephraim was inserted into the congregation programs this past academic year and "offers priests of diverse rites but who speak the Arab language a place suited to prayer, ecclesiastical studies and a full apostolic activity."

"In 'Orientale Lumen," affirmed the Holy Father, "I noted that it is indispensable to promote reciprocal knowledge to help reciprocal understanding and unity to grow. ... I intended to remark in particular on the knowledge of the liturgy of the Oriental Churches and the spiritual traditions of the Fathers and Doctors of the Christian East.

"We must use as an example the Churches of the East in inculturating the Gospel message; to avoid tensions among Latins and Orientals and to stimulate the dialogue among Catholics and Orthodox. It would also be useful to form, in institutions specializing in the East, Christian theologians, liturgists, historians and canonists able to spread, in turn, knowledge about Oriental Churches."

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 11, 2003 (VIS) - Following the Mass in St. Peter's Basilica during which he ordained 31 new priests for the diocese of Rome, Pope John Paul recited the Regina Coeli with the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square. Before the prayer he reflected on this morning's ordinations and on vocations to the priesthood and religious life.

Addressing the pilgrims from his study window, the Pope noted that today is the "40th World Day of Prayer for Vocations, whose theme is 'Behold my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved with whom I am well pleased'. On this meaningful day I had the joy of ordaining 31 new priests. Let us thank God for such a precious gift to the Church and the world! I renew my cordial greetings to the newly ordained, to their family members and friends and all who helped form them."

"Let us pray," said the Holy Father, "so that these new priests and all priests of the world will be ever more conformed to Christ, servant of the Lord, Who came not to be served but to serve."

"I am happy," stated John Paul II, "to address a special greeting to the many young people gathered in the cathedral of Chieti, where the national celebration for the Day for Vocations took place. Dear ones, by virtue of Baptism and Confirmation, every Christian is called to be a witness of the Gospel. But, with a special calling, God has always invited some to a more total giving of self in the cause of the Kingdom. He has certainly looked upon today's young men and women. I ask all who hear His voice in their hearts to answer Him with a generous 'yes' and to nourish it, day after day, with prayer, remaining united to Jesus as branches to the vine."

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 12, 2003 (VIS) - Today the Holy Father received in separate audiences:
- Three prelates from the Syro-Malabar rite from India on their "ad limina" visit:

- Bishop Mathew Arackel of Kanjirapally.

- Bishop Mathew Anikuzhikattil, eparch of Idukki.

- Msgr. George Njaralakatt, vicar general of Mananthavady.

- Archbishop Cyril Baselios Malancharuvil of Trivandrum of the Syro-Malankars, India, on his "ad limina" visit, accompanied by auxiliary Bishops Joshuah Ignathios Kizhakkeveettil and Isaac Cleemis Thottunkal.

On Saturday, May 10, the Pope received in separate audiences:

- Archbishop Francois Bacque, apostolic nuncio in the Netherlands.

- Archbishop Timothy Paul Andrew Broglio, apostolic nuncio in the Dominican Republic, with the charge of apostolic delegate in Puerto Rico.

- Four prelates of the Syro-Malabar rite in India on their "ad limina" visit:

- Bishop Sebastian Vadakel of the Missionary Society of St. Thomas Apostle, of Ujjain.

- Bishop Lawrence Mukkuzhy of Belthangady.

- Bishop Joseph Kunnath, C.M.I. of Adilabad.

- Bishop Mathew Vaniakizhakel, C.V. of Satna.

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 12, 2003 (VIS) - The Council of the General Secretariat for the Second Special Assembly for Europe of the Synod of Bishops held its third meeting on May 6 in the Vatican offices, according to a communique made public today.

Under the direction of the synod's secretary general, Cardinal Jan P. Schotte, C.I.C.M., two cardinals, six archbishops and four staff members of the secretariat participated in the meeting.

During the encounter, a report was presented on the General Secretariat's activity after the second meeting, which took place in November 2000. Afterward, there was an exchange of observations on the future post-synodal exhortation of this synod, which was held in October 1999 on the theme "Jesus Christ, alive in His Church, source of hope for Europe."

The fourth meeting will take place on May 14, 2004.

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 12, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Urgell, Spain and Andorra, presented by Bishop Joan Marti Alanis upon having reached the age limit. He is succeeded by Coadjutor Bishop Joan Enric Vives Sicilia.

On Saturday, May 12 it was made known that the Pope named the following as members of the councils of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops: Cardinal Ignace Moussa I Daoud, prefect of the Congregation for Oriental Churches as a member of the Special Council for Lebanon; Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education as a member of the Special Council for Oceania; Archbishop Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk of Seoul, Korea as a member of the Special Council for Asia; Archbishop Anselme Titianma Sanon of Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso, as a member of the special council for Africa

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