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Monday, September 22, 2003


VATICAN CITY, SEP 20, 2003 (VIS) - Today at Castelgandolfo, the Pope welcomed the bishops of Uganda who have been in Rome since September 10 on their quinquennial "ad limina" visit. "The last time the Ugandan Bishops were here as a body," he remarked, "there was but one ecclesiastical province in your country; now there are four metropolitan sees counting a total of 19 dioceses. This is a very positive sign of the work being done for Christ, the building up of His Church in your country."

The Pope then noted that "sadly, parts of your country are currently embroiled in situations of armed conflict and anarchy. In the north especially, the bane of warfare is bringing untold misery, suffering and death, striking out even at the Church and targeting her ministers and her children. In the west and the northeast too, episodes of violence and hostility afflict the land, draining the life and energies of your people. Assuring you and your people of my spiritual closeness in these dire circumstances, I join you in condemning every act of bloodshed and destruction."

"As Bishops," John Paul II continued, "you have a serious duty to address issues of particular importance for the social, economic, political and cultural life of your country, to make the Church ever more effectively present in those areas. Working out the implications of the Gospel for Christian life in the world and applying it to new situations is crucial to your ecclesial leadership."

He encouraged their work in health care, education, and development, saying "these serve to show clearly the Church's commitment to the integral well-being of her sons and daughters and of all Ugandans regardless of religious creed. Worthy of particular mention are the various HIV/AIDS initiatives that, in complete harmony with the Church's teaching, seek to assist those affected by this disease and to keep the public duly informed about it."

The Pope underscored that "if the Church is to assume her proper place in Ugandan society, suitable formation of the laity must be a priority in your mission as preachers and teachers," particularly their involvement "in the life of the parish and diocese, in pastoral and administrative structures. ... Especially important in this same context are efforts aimed at overcoming tribal conflicts and ethnic tensions; for such rivalries have no place in the Church of Christ and serve only to weaken the overall fabric of society."

The Holy Father encouraged "a renewal of the Christian community and of society that passes by way of the family," because a strong "communion of persons in the family is the great antidote to the self-indulgence and sense of isolation so prevalent today."

He added that "in seeking to meet the challenges of the future, attention to young people remains of paramount importance. ... A strong commitment to Catholic schools is a particularly effective way of ensuring the proper formation of Ugandan youth. ... It is important also to continue to seek ways to bring sound moral and religious teaching to the public schools as well, and to promote in public opinion a consensus regarding the importance of such training."

"We cannot fail," said Pope John Paul, "to give thanks for the vocations with which you are blessed." He commented on the work done by priests, the bishops' "closest co-workers. ... With regard to the loneliness that can sometimes accompany the pastoral ministry, your priests should be encouraged, as much as the local situation permits, to live in common and direct their efforts entirely towards the sacred ministry." He also had praise for the communities of men and women religious in Uganda, as well as the numerous catechists.

"Walk always," the Holy Father concluded, "with those entrusted to your pastoral care, showing them a father's love, especially those suffering the scourge of violence, the pain of AIDS, the affliction of any other of a host of situations bringing hardship and difficulty."

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VATICAN CITY, SEP 20, 2003 (VIS) - Msgr. Leo Boccardi, permanent observer to the Office of the United Nations and Specialized Institutions in Vienna, participated in the 47th Session of the General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) which took place in the Austrian capital from September 15-19.

In his speech in English, delivered on September 17, Msgr. Boccardi said that "the present moment in history brings about new challenges and new opportunities for the IAEA which has been dedicated since its foundation to the realization and promotion of a vision of 'Atoms for Peace' with the aim to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons, their eventual elimination, and to share safe and secure nuclear weapons technologies, in peaceful applications for the benefit of humankind."

"In this decisive moment of history, the spirit of legitimacy must be recuperated on the international scene. The return to the value of the law and to the institutions which should be in the position to secure its validity is the best way for preventing conflicts."

Msgr. Boccardi emphasized that "the past year has been very challenging for the Agency in the field of verification. ... It is important that verification is done through impartial, international inspections, because only such activities can generate credibility and bring about good results. However, to make the world more secure, verifying the actual situation in the nuclear weapons area is not enough: we need to reinvigorate the nuclear disarmament process including real progress in nuclear weapons dismantlement."

It has been a tradition since 1957 that, during the IAEA general conference, the permanent mission of the Holy See in Vienna invite ambassadors and accredited delegates to the international organizations with headquarters in the city, and top IAEA officials to a Mass. This year the ceremony was especially solemn as it commemorated the 25th anniversary of John Paul II's pontificate.



VATICAN CITY, SEP 20, 2003 - Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran, secretary for Relations with States, made the following declaration today:

"As I leave Georgia, I would like to express the gratitude of the Holy See delegation for the hospitality shown to us during these two days.

"I regret, however, that the objective of my visit - the signing of a bilateral accord between Georgia and the Holy See - was not able to be realized, due to the Georgian authorities having second thoughts at the last moment.

"It is mainly the Catholic community in this country that will suffer this failed pledge, a community which continues to be deprived of every juridical guarantee and to whom we express our solidarity.

"In addition, the Holy See delegation felt gravely hurt by the conduct of the Georgian Orthodox Church which has spread news that does not correspond to the truth, notwithstanding the fact that it has been shown many times (our) willingness to provide information about how the talks were going.

"These events will undoubtedly be the cause of great suffering for His Holiness John Paul II who, on the occasion of his visit in November of 1999, invited all citizens of this country, and in particular Christians, to collaborate together in the moral rebuilding of this great nation.

"The Holy See hopes that Georgia, which takes part in important international conventions on human rights, will know how to remedy such a regrettable situation."

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VATICAN CITY, SEP 21, 2003 (VIS) - Pope John Paul, on his last scheduled Sunday at Castelgandolfo, recited the Angelus with the pilgrims who had come to the summer papal residence. He continued his spiritual pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary of Pompeii which he will visit on October 7, saying that today he wished to meditate on the five Mysteries of Light, which he added to the Rosary last October 16.
These mysteries, he said, highlight the "public life" of Jesus, "the time in which Jesus, through the power of words and works, reveals in a completed way the 'face' of our heavenly Father, inaugurating His reign of love, justice and peace. His baptism in the Jordan, the wedding feast at Cana, the proclamation of the Kingdom, the Transfiguration on Mount Tabor and the institution of the Eucharist: these are all moments of revelation, 'luminous' mysteries which allow the splendor of the divine nature of God in Jesus Christ to shine through."

The Holy Father underscored that "Mary's presence in these mysteries is for the most part in the background. Except in one: the wedding feast of Cana where the role of 'the Mother of God' is determining. It is she who tells her Son that there is no more wine; and when He answers that 'His hour' has not yet come, she entreats Him with maternal urgency, telling the servants: 'Do what He tells you'.

Mary thus shows, affirmed the Pope, "that she has understood better than anyone else the inmost intentions of Jesus. Her heart knows His heart because from the beginning she has borne within her and meditated on His every gesture and every word. She is thus the very first and the principal teacher of Christian prayer."

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VATICAN CITY, SEP 20, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio, apostolic nuncio in Rwanda, as apostolic nuncio in Thailand, Singapore and Cambodia and apostolic delegate in Myanmar, Laos, Malaysia and Brunei.

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VATICAN CITY, SEP 20, 2003 (VIS) - The program of events scheduled in the Vatican to mark the 25th anniversary of Pope John Paul II's election to the papacy was made public today. It includes a four-day meeting of the 164 members of the College of Cardinals, Mass on the day of the anniversary and a concert in the Pope's honor.

At 5 p.m. on Wednesday, October 15, the College of Cardinals will gather in the New Synod Hall for a four-day meeting, during which six cardinals will reflect on themes of great importance to the Church. Cardinal Bernardin Gantin, former dean of the College, will speak on "The Petrine Ministry and Communion in the Episcopacy"; Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger on "Priests, the Consecrated Life and Vocations"; Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo on the family; Cardinal Nasrallah Pierre Sfeir on ecumenism; Cardinal Ivan Dias on missions and Cardinal Angelo Sodano on "The 25 years of Pontificate in Service to Peace."

The cardinals, who where invited by the Holy Father to Rome for this anniversary, will be joined by the presidents of episcopal conferences, the heads of dicastery of the Roman Curia and by patriarchs.

Pope John Paul will not be present at the opening session but he will attend on the morning of October 16, the 25th anniversary of his election in 1978, during which he will sign the post-synodal apostolic exhortation for the 2001 synod held on the theme of the episcopal ministry. He will do so in the Clementine Hall. At 6 p.m. that same day there will be a Mass in St. Peter's Square to commemorate this jubilee.

On Friday, October 17, the College of Cardinals will meet again. At 6 p.m. in honor of John Paul II, there will be a concert in the Paul VI Hall offered by the choir and orchestra of Leipzig who will perform Beethoven's Ninth Symphony and Bruckner's "Ecce Sacerdos Magnus."

The Pope will address the meeting of the cardinals during their final session on Saturday, October 18. His talk will follow the presentation of a Message to him from the entire College of Cardinals. At 1 p.m. The Holy Father has invited the cardinals, heads of dicastery, episcopal conference presidents and patriarchs to lunch. At 5:30 there will be a missionary vigil in the Paul VI Hall, though the Poe is not scheduled to be present.

At 10 a.m. in St. Peter's Square on Sunday, October 19, World Mission Sunday, Pope John Paul will preside at Mass during which he will beatify Mother Teresa of Calcutta.



VATICAN CITY, SEP 21, 2003 (VIS) - Made public today was a Message from the Holy Father to Bishop Gastone Simoni of Prati, Italy on the 350th anniversary of the institution of the same diocese on September 22, 1653 by Pope Innocent X.

In the Message, dated September 8, feast of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary, the Pope recalls that this year also marks the 500th anniversary of the founding of the monastery of the Dominican Sisters of Sts. Vincent and Catherine of Ricci. May the memory of this "great mystic of the 16th century," St. Catherine, in addition to that of other saints and blesseds "who have enriched the Church in Prato, continue to be an example for the entire diocesan community and a stimulus for those who are looking for truth and also for those, too worried about worldly matters, who do not know how to raise their gaze to the heavens."

"In the current social and cultural context," he continues, "the affluence of material goods, the exasperated care of self, and the needs created by a consumeristic society risk obscuring the interior voice of God Who constantly invites us to keep strong our personal alliance with Him. Today there is the danger of reducing the faith to a religious sentiment lived out only in private, and forgetting that being Christian means accepting the commitment to be apostles of Christ in the world."

John Paul II concludes by expressing the desire that this anniversary be "a providential occasion to understand better that the vocation to sanctity is for everyone and that we must propose it with courage and patience to the younger generations."
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 22, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

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

- Bishop Juan de Dios M. Pueblos of Butuan.

- Bishop Honesto Pacana, S.J., of Malaybalay.

- Bishop Antonieto D. Cabajob of Surigao.

- Bishop Nereo P. Odchimar of Tandag.

- Archbishop Orlando B. Quevedo, O.M.I., of Cotabato.

- Bishop Romulo G. Valles of Kidapawan.

- Bishop Dinualdo D. Gutierrez of Marbel.

- Archbishop Francesco Pio Tamburrino of Foggia, Italy, with family members.

On Saturday September 20, the Holy Father received in audience 15 prelates from the Uganda Episcopal Conference on their "ad limina" visit:

- Archbishop Paul K. Bakyenga of Mbarara, accompanied by Bishop Emeritus John Baptist Kakubi.

- Bishop Egidio Nkaijanabwo of Kasese.

- Bishop Deogratias Muganwa Byabazaire of Hoima, accompanied by Bishop Emeritus Albert Edward Baharagate.

- Bishop Robert Muhiirwa of Fort Portal, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop John Magenyi Sabiiti and Bishop Emeritus Paul L. Kalanda.

- Bishop Callistus Rubaramira of Kabale, accompanied by Bishops Emeritus Robery Gay, M.Afr., and Barnabas R. Halem 'Imana.

- Archbishop John Baptist Odama of Gulu.

- Bishop Frederick Drandua of Arua.

- Bishop Martin Lulunga of Nebbi.

- Bishop Joseph Oyanga of Lira.

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