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Friday, December 5, 2003


VATICAN CITY, DEC 5, 2003 (VIS) - This morning John Paul II received participants in the 32(nd) Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations which is taking place from November 29 to December 10 in Rome. Among those who attending the conference are Jim Sutton, New Zealand minister of Agriculture, and Jacques Diouf, general director of the FAO.

In his greetings, the Pope expressed the 'appreciation of the Catholic Church for the important service which FAO renders to humanity' and emphasized that 'today this service is more urgently needed than ever. Hunger and malnutrition, aggravated by growing poverty, represent a grave threat to the peaceful coexistence of peoples and nations. By its efforts to combat the nutritional insecurity which affects vast areas of our world, FAO makes a significant contribution to the advancement of world peace.'

'Given this close relationship between hunger and peace, it is clear that economic and political decisions and strategies must increasingly be guided by a commitment to global solidarity and respect for fundamental human rights, including the right to adequate nourishment. Human dignity itself is compromised wherever a narrow pragmatism detached from the objective demands of the moral law leads to decisions which benefit a fortunate few while ignoring the sufferings of large segments of the human family. At the same time, in conformity with the principle of subsidiary, individuals and social groups ' religious confessions, governments and international institutions are all called to ' share in this commitment to solidarity in promoting the common good of humanity.'

At the end of his remarks, the Pope expressed confidence that the International Alliance Against Hunger, organized by the FAO, 'will bear fruit in practical choices. The world may not remain deaf to the plea of those who demand the food they need in order to survive!'

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VATICAN CITY, DEC 5, 2003 (VIS) - Israel's Delegation for Relations with the Catholic Church and the Holy See's Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews signed a joint declaration on the theme, 'The Relevance of Central Teachings of the Holy Scriptures which we share for Contemporary Society and the Education of Future Generations,' during a meeting in Jerusalem on December 1-3.

This meeting was preceded by two other meetings which took place in Jerusalem in 2002 and in Grottaferrata, Italy in 2003. Cardinal Jorge Mejia led the Holy See Delegation and Rabbi Shear Yashuv Cohen headed the Jewish Delegation. The declaration says: 'The participants expressed their profound appreciation for the forthright statements emanating from the Holy See, condemning violence against innocents and denouncing the current resurgent manifestations of anti-semitism.'

'The presentations,' continues the text, 'focused on the foundational teaching in the Holy Scriptures which we share, which declare the faith in the One Creator and Guide of the Universe who has formed all human beings in His Divine Image with free will. Humankind is thus one family with moral responsibility for one another. Awareness for this reality leads to the religious and moral duty that may serve as a true charter for human rights and dignity in our modern world.'

The declaration goes on to say: 'In particular, religious leaders and educators have the special duty to instruct their communities to pursue the paths of peace for the well-being of society at large. We issue this appeal especially to the family of Abraham and we call upon all believers to put aside weapons of war and destruction. ' As religious leaders, we share in the pain and sorrow of all who suffer in the Holy Land today ' and express our fervent hope and prayers for an end to the trials and tribulations in the Land that is holy to us all.'
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VATICAN CITY, DEC 5, 2003 (VIS) - This afternoon, an apostolic letter by John Paul II was made public on the occasion of the 40(th) anniversary of the constitution 'Sacrosanctum Concilium' on sacred liturgy. The document, which is divided into 15 sections and a conclusion, is dated December 4, 2003, the anniversary of the constitution's promulgation and is available in Italian at the following address: http://www.vatican.va/news_services/bulletin/news/14087.php?index=14087& lang=en.
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VATICAN CITY, DEC 5, 2003 (VIS) - Made public today was a message from the Holy Father on the occasion of the 41(st) World Day of Prayer for Vocations which traditionally falls on the fourth Sunday of Easter.

In the message, dated November 23, the Pope expresses his joy that in 'many local Churches prayer groups for vocations are formed. ' Yes! The vocation to the exclusive service to Christ in the Church is an invaluable gift of divine benevolence, a gift that must be asked for with insistence and confident humility,' he exclaims.

John Paul II emphasizes 'the special value of prayer united to sacrifice and suffering. ' So many sick people in every part of the world unite their sorrows to the cross of Jesus in order to implore holy vocations! They also accompany me spiritually in the petrine ministry that God entrusted to me and they make an inestimable contribution to the cause of the Gospel, although it is often never seen.'

'At the center of all prayer initiatives is the Eucharist. The sacrament of the Altar has a decisive value for the birth of vocations and for their perseverance, because those who are called can draw the strength to dedicate themselves completely to the proclaiming the Gospel from the redeeming sacrifice of Christ. It is good that the celebration of the Eucharist is united to adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.'

The Holy Father asks that 'all Christian communities be 'authentic schools of prayer,' where they pray for progress in the vast field of apostolic work. It is then necessary that the Church accompany those who God has called with constant spiritual care' so that they 'may be faithful to their vocation and reach the highest possible level of evangelical perfection.'

'The strength of the testimony, which is capable of attracting other people and encouraging them to entrust their lives to Christ, depends on the holiness of those who are called. This is the way to contrast the drop in vocations to consecrated life which threatens the existence of many apostolic works especially in mission countries.'

John Paul II concludes his message with a prayer in which he asks God through the intercession of Mary that vocations to the Church may never be lacking and that He help those who have received a call to follow through so that they 'may respond with joy to the wonderful mission that you entrust them with for the good of the people and all of mankind.'

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VATICAN CITY, DEC 5, 2003 (VIS) - In recent weeks, the following prelates died:

- Bishop Fernando Ariztia Ruiz, emeritus of Copiapo, Chile, on November 25 at age 78.

- Bishop Izidor Istva Marosi, emeritus of Vac, Hungry on November 14, at age 87.

- Bishop Braulio S nchez Fuentes, S.D.B., prelate emeritus of Mixes, Mexico on November 18 at age 81.

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VATICAN CITY, DEC 5, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

- Fr. Ulises Antonio Guti‚rrez Reyes, O. of M., rector of Mercedario Seminary in Palmira-Tachira, Venezuela, as bishop of Carora (area 11,708, population 251,681, Catholics 237,956, priests 218, permanent deacons 2, religious 40), Venezuela. The bishop-elect was born in Pedregon, Venezuela in 1951 and was ordained a priest in 1977. He succeeds Bishop Eduardo Herrera Riera whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted upon having reached the age limit.

- Fr. Ram¢n Jos‚ Viloria Pinz¢n of the Fraternity of Working Diocesan Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, archpriest of La California in Caracas, Venezuela, as bishop of Puerto Cabello (area 729, population 300,000, Catholics 270,000, priests 15, religious 25), Venezuela. The bishop-elect was born in 1959 in San Felipe, Venezuela, and was ordained a priest in 1990.

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VATICAN CITY, DEC 5, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father received in separate audiences:

- Bishop Jean-Claude Boulanger of Sees, France on his 'ad limina' visit.

- Fr. Christian Nourrichard, diocesan administrator of Rouen, France, on his 'ad limina' visit.

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VATICAN CITY, DEC 5, 2003 (VIS) - Please note that there will no be V.I.S. service on Monday, December 8, Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, a holy day and holiday in the Vatican. Service will resume on Tuesday, December 9.

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