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Monday, May 26, 2003


VATICAN CITY, MAY 24, 2003 (VIS) - Today at midday the Holy Father received participants in the plenary assembly of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples during which they are reflecting upon "Formation in mission territories."

The Pope affirmed that "thorough formation is necessary, capable of preparing competent and holy evangelizers who are up to the level of their mission. This implies a long and painstaking process in which every biblical, theological, philosophical and pastoral examination finds its strength in one's personal relationship with Christ "the Way, the Truth and the Life."

"The Church, especially in mission countries," he continued, "needs people who are prepared to serve the Gospel freely and generously, ready for this reason to promote the values of justice and peace, breaking every cultural, racial, tribal and ethnic barrier, able to read the 'signs of the times' and to discover 'seeds of the Word', without indulging in curtailment or relativism."

"For this," John Paul II continued, "these persons must be in the first place 'experts' and they must be 'in love' with God. ... Along with personal intimacy with Christ, it is necessary to foster constant growth in love and service of the Church." For this reason, he added, a priest, "in his spiritual life, is called to relive the love of Christ, Spouse of the Church which is His bride."

The Holy Father thanked those who "are dedicated to the task of education in missionary territories." He concluded by recalling the numerous "seminarians, priests, nuns, religious and lay people from missionary territories who are completing their plan of formatiion here in Rome in colleges and centers, many of whom depend on your dicastery."

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 25, 2003 (VIS) - This afternoon in the Basilica of St. Mary Major Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, president of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei", celebrated Mass according to the St. Pius V rite. Faithful from several countries participated in the Eucharistic celebration. Prior to the Eucharistic celebration, they prayed the Glorious mysteries of the Rosary.

In the homily, Cardinal Castrillon spoke about "three figures that attract our attention as believers: Mary, the Peter of today and St. Pius V.

"We turn to her, the Mother of God, happy to be welcomed in her house in the context of this Year of the Rosary, proclaimed by the Holy Father." In this temple, "the entire life of Holy Mary is introduced into the prayerful contemplation of the believer. It is the mystery of our whole life."

Later referring to the Holy Father, he affirmed: "Our thoughts, prayer and our profound and affectionate sense of ecclesial communion are directed to our beloved Pope John Paul II. In these 25 years his life and his supreme apostolic ministry have been characterized by the tireless defense of the Truth, total dedication to the cause of unity in the Church and prophetic and brave pastoral work for the promotion of an authentic and just peace among nations and all human beings."

The president of "Ecclesia Dei" stressed that it was a "providential coincidence" to celebrate the Eucharist according to the Rite of St. Pius V in the place where "his mortal remains rest."

"The Rite of St. Pius V," he emphasized, "cannot be considered defunct and the authority of the Holy Father has shown his warm welcome to the faithful who continue to be united to the previous rite and who find in it valid spiritual nourishment on their path to sanctification, while recognizing the legitimacy of the Roman rite renewed according to the indications of the Vatican Council II. ... Therefore, the ancient Roman rite," he concluded, "preserves in the Church their right to citizenship in the variety of Catholic rites, Latin or Eastern."

In a letter addressed to Cardinal Castrillon, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, secretary of State, conveyed to the participants in the Eucharistic celebration the Pope's gratitude for their "cordial loyalty to the Successor of Peter and prayers for the 25th anniversary of his pontificate." Cardinal Sodano writes: "His Holiness is spiritually united to the devoted homage to Holy Mary, asking her to intercede before her Son Jesus so that all Christians may be leaven of sanctity and of spiritual renewal in today's world."

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

- Appointed Murphy Nicholas Xavier Pakiam, auxiliary of the archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur, as archbishop of the same diocese (area 63,763, population 7,944,600, Catholics 91,951, priests 52, permanent deacons 1, religious 154), Malaysia. He succeeds Archbishop Antony Soter Fernandez whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father received in accordance with Canon 401, para. 2, of the Code of Canon Law.

- Bishop Charles Maung Bo, S.D.B, of Pathein, Myanmar as metropolitan archbishop of Yangon (area 66,535, population 14,700,000, Catholics 85,000, priests 80, religious 270), Myanmar.

- Appointed Bishop Paul Grawng of Myitkyina, Myanmar as metropolitan archbishop of Mandalay (area 212,407, population 15,000,000, Catholics 22,809, priests 31, religious 174), Myanmar.
- Appointed of Bishop John Hsane Hgyi, auxiliary of diocese of Pathein, Myanmar, as bishop of the same diocese (area 25,328, population 4,745,378, Catholics 69,588, priests 59, religious 168).

- Appointed Bishop Ricardo Valenzuela Rios, auxiliary of Asuncion, Paraguay, as military ordinary bishop for Paraguay.

- Appointed the following people as members of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples: Fr. Joseph Gyetin of the archdiocese of Koupela, Burkina Faso, national director of the Pontifical Missionary Works for Burkina Faso and Niger; Fr. Jan Piotrowski of the diocese of Tarnow, Poland, national director of the Pontifical Missionary Works for Poland and Fr. Ignace Siluvai of the diocese of Tuticorin, India, national director for the Pontifical Missionary Works for India.

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 25, 2003 (VIS) - Today at noon, John Paul II appeared at his study window to recite the Regina Coeli with the faithful gathered below in St. Peter's Square.

John Paul II recalled that the month of May, which in the northern hemisphere marks the full bloom of nature, is also a "time of the paschal 'alleluia' that resounds in the entire Church, a very propitious time to offer new generations the gifts of the Risen Christ: Baptism, First Communion and Confirmation."

He then noted that during the upcoming week, the Novena of Pentecost begins with the feast of the Ascension. "Christian communities," he said, "will be able to re-live the original experience of the Cenacle where the disciples gathered ... in prayer with Jesus' Mother. The maternal presence of Mary among the Apostles was for them the memory of Christ ... she watched over the mysteries of the Annunciation, Resurrection and Ascension, throughout Jesus' public life, passion and death. In this sense, it can be said that in the Cenacle the prayer of the Rosary was born because the first Christians began to contemplate Christ's face with Mary, remembering the various moments of His earthly life."

"I would like to indicate," concluded the Holy Father, "two prayer intentions for this year which is dedicated to the Rosary: the family, whose fundamental principles and values are being seriously threatened unfortunately, and peace in the world, especially in the Holy Land. Despite the fierce violence which continues to rage, and which offends God and man, may the Lord reinforce the search for fair, negotiated solutions in order to ensure serenity and peace for all peoples."

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 26, 2003 (VIS) - Today John Paul II received a delegation of the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church of Bulgaria, headed by Metropolitan Kalinik. Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and several bishops were also present.

The Pope asked members of the delegation to convey to His Beatitude Maxim, patriarch of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, his "spiritual closeness, in the hope that full unity between Catholic and Orthodox Christians is achieved as soon as possible."

"While Bulgaria opens up to change, on its way to an expanded Europe," he said, "it is necessary to revive the rich patrimony of faith and culture that the Church and the Bulgarian nation share, and which constitutes the miracle of the work of evangelization carried out by the two brother saints from Thessalonica, Cyril and Methodius, whose legacy stills exists and continues to be for the Slavs deeper and stronger than any other division, after eleven centuries of Christianity among them."

After recalling St. Cyril's words before his death, which were an appeal for unity in the Church, the Holy Father affirmed: "This message of faith, so rooted in your culture and in your Church community, is and continues to be the goal which we must reach in order that Eastern and Western Christians can fully unite and together make the 'plenitude' of the universality of the Church shine better."

John Paul II noted that the Bulgarian delegation came to Rome to commemorate the first anniversary of his apostolic trip to Sofia and "the unforgettable encounter with His Beatitude Maxim" as well as to inaugurate the liturgical use of Sts. Vincent and Anastatius Church near the Trevi Fountain in Rome.

"This experience of fraternal sharing and of reciprocal respect for our legitimate differences," he concluded, "can serve as encouragement to get to know each other better and to collaborate also in other contexts and circumstances, every time that we have the opportunity. May this be a good sign for the future of our relations! I thank the Lord and I ask him to bless our steps on the path which we are on."

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 26, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

- Five prelates from the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India on their "ad limina" visit:

- Cardinal Ivan Dias, archbishop of Bombay, accompanied by auxiliary Bishops Bosco Penha, Percival Joseph Fernandez, Agnelo Rufino Gracias.

- Bishop Ferdinand Joseph Fonseca, former auxiliary of Bombay.

- Bishop Valerian D'Souza of Poona.

- Archbishop Juliusz Janusz, apostolic nuncio in Hungary.

On Saturday May 24, the Holy Father received in separate audiences:

- Simeon Saxe Coburg-Gotha, prime minister of the Republic of Bulgaria, and an entourage.

- Grzegorz W. Kolodko, vice prime minister and minister of Finance of the Republic of Poland.

- Hyun-seop Seo, ambassador of Korea, accompanied by his wife, on his farewell visit.

- Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.

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