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Friday, June 20, 2003


VATICAN CITY, JUN 19, 2003 (VIS) - For the 25th time in his pontificate, Pope John Paul presided at Mass for the feast of Corpus Christi this evening in front of St. John Lateran Basilica, the cathedral church of the bishop of Rome, following which he processed to St. Mary Major Basilica with the Eucharist in an open vehicle. Cardinal Vicar Camillo Ruini celebrated Mass and the Pope delivered the homily.

The Holy Father referred several times to his encyclical on the Eucharist, dated Holy Thursday of this year, saying that the feast of Corpus Christi reminds us of the "evocative celebration" of the Last Supper and the institution of the Eucharist. "This evening, with profound gratitude to God, we remain in silence before the mystery of the faith - 'mysterium fidei'. We contemplate it with that intimate feeling that, in the encyclical, I called 'Eucharistic awe'. ... We contemplate the face of Christ, as did the Apostles and, following them, the saints throughout the centuries."

He remarked that "the bishop of Rome, the Successor of Peter, his brothers in the episcopacy and priesthood, all religious, consecrated lay people and all the baptized live by the Eucharist. And in a special way Christian families are nourished by the Eucharist. ... Dear families of Rome! The living Eucharistic presence of Christ nourishes in you the grace of marriage and allows you to progress on the path of conjugal and family holiness."

"After Mass," said John Paul II, "we will proceed, praying and singing, to the basilica of St. Mary Major. With this procession, we intend to symbolically express our being as pilgrims, 'viatores', towards the heavenly kingdom. We are not alone on our pilgrimage: Christ, the bread of life, walks with us."

The Prayers of the Faithful included petitions for Pope John Paul, for the Church in Rome, for families, "especially those living moments of fatigue and difficulty," and for "the peoples of the Holy Land and for all those who, in various parts of the world, are living the drama of war, oppression, and social injustice; May the Lord uproot hatred, calm dissent, and inspire in governments farsightedness and the will to seek solutions that respect the dignity of every man."

St. Juliana of Mont Cornillon, born near Lieges, Belgium in 1193, was an Augustinian nun who during her years at the Mont Cornillon convent learned in repeated visions that the Lord wanted a feast to honor the institution of the Eucharist. She worked indefatigably to persuade Bishop Robert de Thorete of Liege to institute such a feast, which he did decree in 1246, stating that it should be celebrated locally on the Thursday after the octave of the Trinity. St. Juliana died in 1258.

Pope Urban IV (1261-1264), who had been archdeacon in Liege, knew of this feast and formally extended it to the entire Church when he published the Bull "Transiturus" on September 8, 1264. He ordered the feast to be celebrated on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday and granted many indulgences to the faithful who attended Mass and recited the Office. Urban IV had asked St. Thomas Aquinas, a friend of St. Juliana's, to compose the Office, which is still used today. The Council of Vienna confirmed Urban IV's Bull in 1312 and from that time on this feast became general.

The processions that take place today on this feast sprung up spontaneously centuries ago in various European villages and towns. The procession In Rome between the basilicas of St. John Lateran and St. Mary Major began in the late 1400's. Its current itinerary began in 1575 when the road that now directly links the two churches was built on the orders of Pope Gregory XIII. This route was followed for more than 300 years until the procession fell into disuse. It was resumed in 1979 by Pope John Paul II.

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VATICAN CITY, JUN 20, 2003 (VIS) - Made public today was the June 5th Letter from Cardinal Angelo Sodano, secretary of State, to United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan, in which he expressed "the Holy See's support for the fundamental role of the U.N. at the present time."
"The recent Security Council Resolution 1483 (2003) regarding the rebuilding of the institutions and the economy of Iraq," the Letter began, "can be considered the beginning of a reconfirmation of the validity of the mission of the United Nations Organization as stipulated by the Charter of 1945.

"As you know," wrote Cardinal Sodano, "the Popes have spoken on various occasions of the need for an international and independent authority capable of serving not only as a mediator in potential conflicts but also as a guide for all humanity, leading the human family in peace towards the rule of law."

He added that "the Holy See is confident that the United Nations Organization will be able to develop more efficient and concerted forms of cooperation which will enable world leaders to join in combatting situations of injustice and oppression, leading to hostility between peoples, (and in) building that 'family of nations' of which Pope John Paul II spoke in 1995."

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VATICAN CITY, JUN 20, 2003 (VIS) - Archbishop Celestino Milgiore, permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, spoke yesterday in New York to the Ad Hoc Committee on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

"The person with disabilities has every right to be a subject and an active agent in the everyday affairs of human existence. These persons are rich in humanity. Each has rights and duties like every other human being."

The permanent observer to the U.N. emphasized that "solidarity with the disabled will also ensure furthering of the common good. And it is the common good which fosters a proper relationship among all peoples so that true justice may be achieved."

After recalling that 27 years have passed since the U.N.'s Declaration on the Rights of the Disabled, the archbishop stated that "much has changed and there have been many advances in science, access, acceptance, health care, understanding and hope."

At the end of his speech, Archbishop Migliore recalled John Paul II's words during the Jubilee of the Disabled in December of 2000: "In a society rich in scientific and technical knowledge it is possible and necessary to do more in the various ways required by civil coexistence: from biomedical research for preventing disabilities, to treatment, assistance, rehabilitation and new social integration."

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VATICAN CITY, JUN 20, 2003 (VIS) - Today the Holy Father received in separate audiences:

- Archbishop Renzo Fratini, apostolic nuncio in Indonesia.

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

- Archbishop Raphael Cheenath, S.V.D., of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar.

- Bishop Thomas Thiruthalil, C.M., of Balasore.

- Bishop Alphonse Bilung, S.V.D., of Rourkela.

- Bishop Lucas Kerketta, S.V.D., of Sambalpur.

- Bishop Joseph Das of Berhampur.

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VATICAN CITY, JUN 20, 2003 (VIS) - On June 24 at noon in the Holy See Press Office, a press conference will take place in which the Vatican Museums' internet site will be presented. Among those who will participate in the conference: Cardinal Edmund Casimir Szoka, president of the Governorate of the Vatican City State, Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, secretary of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, and Francesco Buranelli, director of the Vatican Museums.



VATICAN CITY, JUN 20, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office has confirmed that Archbishop Michael Sheehan of Santa Fe in New Mexico, U.S.A., became the apostolic administrator of the diocese of Phoenix upon the resignation on June 18 of Bishop Thomas O'Brien. Phoenix is a suffragan diocese of the archdiocese of Santa Fe.

Canon 421 of the Code of Canon Law states:

"Para 1. Within eight days of receiving the notice of the vacancy of the episcopal see, the diocesan administrator, that is, he who governs the diocese in the interim, must be elected by the college of consultors, with due regard for the prescription of can. 502, para 3.

"Para 2. If within the prescribed time the diocesan administrator for any reason at all has not been legitimately elected, the choosing of the same devolves upon the metropolitan, and if the vacant see is itself the metropolitan church or the metropolitan church is vacant as well as the suffragan, it devolves upon the senior suffragan bishop in terms of promotion."



VATICAN CITY, JUN 20, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Appointed Bishop Giuseppe Mani, military ordinary for Italy, as metropolitan archbishop of Cagliari (area 4,041, population 551,708, Catholics 530,000, priests 382, permanent deacons 32,religious 1096), Italy. He accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese presented by Archbishop Ottorino Pietro Alberti upon having reached the age limit.

- Appointed Archbishop Angelo Bagnasco of Pesaro, Italy as military ordinary for Italy.

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