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Monday, December 1, 2003


VATICAN CITY, NOV 30, 2003 (VIS) - Before praying the Angelus today at noon with the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square, the Pope indicated that today was the beginning of Advent, 'a journey of spiritual renovation in preparation for Christmas. The voices of the prophets in the liturgy, who announce the Messiah and invite all to conversion of heart and to prayer, resound.'

'Christ, the Prince of peace, is coming!' exclaimed the Holy Father. 'Preparing ourselves for His birth means reawakening the hope for peace in ourselves and in the entire world. Especially peace in our hearts which is built by putting down the weapons of rancor, vengeance and every form of selfishness.'

John Paul II emphasized that the 'world greatly needs peace. I am thinking especially, with profound sadness, of the latest episodes of violence in the Middle East and Africa, as well as in so many other parts of the world reported in the daily news. I renew my appeal to the leaders of the great religions: let us join forces in preaching non-violence, forgiveness and reconciliation!'

'On this journey of anticipation and hope that is Advent,' he added, 'the Church community identifies herself more than ever with Our Lady. May Our Lady of Hope help us so that we may open our hearts to Him who bestows the priceless gift of peace on all of humanity by coming among us.'

After the Angelus, the Pope recalled that tomorrow is World AIDS Day and that the 'disease ' is unfortunately still spreading, especially in the poorest countries. While I pray for those who are afflicted by this scourge, I encourage all those in the Church who offer the inestimable service of acceptance, healing and spiritual support to these brothers and sisters of ours.'

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VATICAN CITY, DEC 1, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father's general intention for the month of December is: 'That the members of all religions may cooperate to alleviate the human sufferings of our time.'

His mission intention is: 'That the Church in the countries where totalitarian regimes still reign, may be given full freedom to carry out her own spiritual mission.'



VATICAN CITY, DEC 1, 2003 (VIS) - During these days, the Pontifical French Seminary in Rome is celebrating the 150(th) anniversary of its founding. On this occasion, the Holy Father received this morning in audience a group of professors and students from the institution to whom he said, 'The formation of future priests is a special duty in the Church.'

'It is the primary responsibility of the bishops,' he continued, 'to whom the call to holy orders pertains, after having discerned with the priests charged with this task.'

'Take advantage of this time to let yourselves be directed by the Lord, with great docility to the Spirit and profound obedience to the Church and Her shepherds,' he said. He concluded by saying, 'your integral formation is a human, spiritual, moral and intellectual maturation ' in the light of Christ and in contact with pastoral realities, accepting with trust the help of teachers in the heart of the community.'



VATICAN CITY, DEC 1, 2003 (VIS) - This morning John Paul II received members of the European section of the Simon Wiesenthal Center of Paris, an institution founded in 1977 in order to preserve the memory of the Holocaust, while promoting tolerance and understanding through creating awareness and education. Members of the Wiesenthal Center visited the Pope in order to wish him for the 25(th) anniversary of his pontificate.

After expressing gratitude for the visit, the Pope spoke to the members of the center: 'In these difficult times, let us pray that all peoples everywhere will be strengthened in their commitment to mutual understanding, reconciliation and peace.'

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VATICAN CITY, NOV 30, 2003 (VIS) - A delegation from the Holy See, led by Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, is in Istanbul, Turkey for the liturgical celebrations of the feast of St. Andrew, patron of the ecumenical patriarchate, which is commemorated both in the East and West. Every year the patriarchate sends a delegation to Rome on June 29, the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul.

This morning the delegation attended a solemn liturgy presided by His Holiness Bartholomew I in the Church of St. George in Fanar. At the end of the ceremony, Cardinal Kasper delivered a special message to the ecumenical patriarch from John Paul II. This afternoon, members of the Holy See delegation visited other Churches in Istanbul. Tomorrow, December 1, the delegation will hold a meeting with members of the synodal commission of the ecumenical patriarchate charged with relations with the Catholic Church.
In his message, written in French, John Paul II says that during the celebration of the 25(th) anniversary of his pontificate on October 16, he was thinking about 'the many events that have contributed to my commitment so that the one Church of Christ may breath more deeply with its two lungs.'

The Holy Father recalls that his predecessor Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Atenagoras 'began the dialogue of charity which led to the dialogue of truth.' Over the years, he continues, 'our relations have demonstrated the spirit of family that unites us and that, despite difficulties, allows us to progress toward the goal that Christ gave us and that our predecessors committed themselves vigorously to reach.'

'We can say,' he continues, 'that we live under the sign of the Cross and in hope for peace. We are full of hope that the Lord will carry out the work of re-establishing the unity that He inspired. For her part, the Church of Rome will maintain the irreversible decision of Vatican Council II which embraced this cause and duty. We are certain that the Lord will give us one day, when He wants, the joy of being in full communion and in the visible unity that He wants for His holy Church.'



VATICAN CITY, DEC 1, 2003 (VIS) - On the occasion of World AIDS Day, which is celebrated today, Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry, wrote a message in which he says that he wishes to join the efforts and initiatives that will take place around the world in the area of prevention and assistance to the sick. In addition, on behalf of the Catholic Church, he sends 'a message of love and hope for the families and people who are afflicted by this terrible evil' to the international organizations, institutions and Catholic agencies that are committed to fighting against the 'dreadful scourge.'

On behalf of the Holy Father, Cardinal Lozano urges everyone 'to study and search together for new ways and ideal means of helping the people and especially the youth to adopt morals and a style of life that respects the authentic values of life and love.'

After recalling that at the end of 2002, according to official statistics, 42 million people were living with HIV/AIDS, of which 19.2 million were women and 3.2 million were children under 15 years of age, the president of the council writes that 'the commitment and action of the Church on different continents involves prevention, education, and multiform assistance to patients and families.'

'The pastoral action of the Church mainly involves ' formation of health care workers' prevention through health education; health care and assistance ' charity towards the patients in hospitals and health centers ' contributing to the improvement of the physical, psychological and spiritual conditions of the patients; ' pastoral accompanying of sick people ' through the specific programs for psycho-social and health care assistance, caring for orphans, ' people in institutions of detention and social reintegration.'

'If the main risk behaviors are pan-sexualism and drug addition, then poverty, urbanization, unemployment, mobility, immigration and mass media are major contributing factors in the spread of the disease. The teaching of John Paul II treats the nature of the phenomenon (pathology of the spirit); prevention based on the sacredness of life and responsible sexuality ' is particularly addressed to health professionals ' civil authorities who have to provide correct information to the population and aid to the poor and to scientists and researchers who are ' doing all they can to advance their biomedical research on HIV/AIDS, so that they may discover new effective medications that are capable of stemming the phenomenon.'
'On the personal level, the Church invites each and every one to step up prevention according to the doctrine of the Church, ' to revisit the sacrament of reconciliation, to reawaken in the patients the Christian meaning of life. On the community level, the following actions are suggested: to support parish activities or initiatives in the fight against HIV/AIDS ' , to pay attention to the government policies on AIDS ' to give financial support to the initiatives and projects on AIDS.'

The document concludes by inviting the international community, governments and the Church in particular to 'promote the campaign for sensitizing and educating the population '; to take care of the humanitarian, social and health needs of orphans; to be committed to the globalization of the universal common good of health; to avoid every form of exclusion or discrimination ' of people who are HIV positive or AIDS patients ' ; to facilitate the patients' access to general medicine ' as much as possible to the antiretroviral medicine so as to stop the scandalous death rate in poor countries that cry to God for vengeance; to pastorally and spiritually assist and accompany those afflicted by HIV/AIDS '; to see in sick people the face of Christ.'
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VATICAN CITY, DEC 1, 2003 (VIS) - Cardinal Angelo Sodano, secretary of State, sent a telegram of condolence on behalf of the Holy Father to Jose Maria Aznar, president of the Spanish government, for the terrorist attack on Saturday, November 29 in Iraq in which seven Spanish intelligence agents died:

'Upon learning of the sad news of the abominable terrorist attack in the Iraqi locality of Swaira, where seven Spaniards died while fulfilling generously their mission of peace, His Holiness John Paul II reiterates his firmest reproach for this new act of unjustifiable violence, in addition to so many cruel gestures perpetrated in that tormented nations.

'In his prayer, the Pope asks the Lord for the eternal repose of the souls of the victims and assures his closeness to the families, afflicted by great sorrow as they mourn the loss of their loved ones, and conveys his deepest condolences to you.

'In addition, the Holy Father invites everyone to pray and to work so that in that region of the world which is so distressed, conditions of normalcy and peace may be achieved as soon as possible.'

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VATICAN CITY, DEC 1, 2003 (VIS) - Today the Holy Father received in audience three prelates from the French Episcopal Conference on their 'ad limina' visit:

- Archbishop Francois Saint-Macary of Rennes.

- Bishop Jean-Louis Brugues, O.P., of Angers.

- Bishop Armand Maillard of Laval.

On Saturday November 29, the Holy Father received in separate audiences:

- Archbishop Agostino Marchetto, secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples.

- Archbishop Pier Luigi Celata, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue.

- Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto, apostolic nuncio in Ireland.

- Archbishop Marco Dino Brogi, apostolic nuncio in Egypt and Holy See delegate to the Organization of the League of Arab States.

- Archbishop Antonio Nagnoni, apostolic nuncio.

- Bishop Barnaba El-Soryany of the Coptic Orthodox in Italy.

- Cardinal Jan Pieter Schotte, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops.

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VATICAN CITY, DEC 1, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Bishop Giovanni Giudici, auxiliary of the archdiocese of Milan, Italy, as bishop of Pavia (area 782, population 168,379, Catholics 157,226, priests 167, religious 262), Italy. He succeeds Bishop Giovanni Volta whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese he accepted upon having reached the age limit.

On Saturday November 29, it was made public that the Holy Father appointed:

- Archbishop Jose Paulino Rios Reynoso, of Huancayo, Peru, as metropolitan archbishop of Arequipa (area 26,306, population 909,829, Catholics 818,846, priests 190, religious 512), Peru. He succeeds Archbishop Luis Sanchez-Moreno Lira whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted upon having reached the age limit.

- Bishop Juan Antonio Ugarte Perez, prelate of Yauyos, Peru, as metropolitan archbishop of Cuzco (area 23,807, population 1,300,000, Catholics 1,284,000, priests 187, religious 324), Peru. He succeeds Archbishop Alcides Mendoza Castro whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted upon having reached the age limit.

- Fr. Fabio Duque Jaramillo, O.F.M., undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture, as bishop of Armenia (area 1,928, population 445,000, Catholics 390,000, priests 91, permanent deacons 1, religious 182), Colombia. The bishop-elect was born in 1950 in Armenia and was ordained a priest in 1975.

- Fr. Gabriel Justice Yaw Anokye, professor and vice-rector of St. Peter regional seminary in Pedu, Cape Coast, as auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese of Kumasi (area 5,188, population 1,600,000, Catholics 350,000, priests 77, 66 religious), Ghana. The bishop-elect was born in Emenaa, Ghana in 1960 and was ordained a priest in 1988.

- Archbishop Giuseppe De Andrea, apostolic nuncio in Kuwait, Bahrain and Yemen, as apostolic nuncio in Qatar.

- Appointed Msgr. Anselmo Guido Peorari, counselor to the apostolic nunciature in Solvenia, as apostolic nuncio in Rwanda, elevating him to the dignity of archbishop. The archbishop-elect was born in Sermide, Italy in 1946 and was ordained a priest in 1970.

- Msgr. Renato Boccardo, chief of protocol with special duties to the Secretariat of State, as secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications. The archbishop-elect was born in Torino, Italy in 1952 and was ordained a priest in 1977.

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