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Thursday, March 11, 2004


VATICAN CITY, MAR 11, 2004 (VIS) - Pope John Paul, in a letter published today and dated February 22, feast of the Chair of Peter, has appointed Archbishop Domenico Umberto D'Ambrosio of Manfredonia-Vieste-San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy as his Delegate for the Shrine and Works of St. Pio of Pietrelcina.

In the Letter, the Holy Father speaks of the life, death and works of St. Pio of Pietrelcina, his charisms "in the Franciscan and Capuchin traditions of contemplative prayer and active charity," especially for the ill, and the results of that spiritual legacy as expressed in the two works he founded: the Prayer Groups and the House for the Relief from Suffering. Noting the vast numbers of people in the world who are devoted to St. Pio, "with growing clarity, the opportunity for closer ties between the Shrine and the Holy See became more evident."

"As Delegate for the Shrine," the Pope underscores, "you will above all dedicate special care to this place of worship where so many pilgrims of many nationalities come annually" and "you will safeguard the charisms that the Spirit awakened and continues to awaken in this beloved part of the Holy Church of God." The Pope quoted his own words last March 25 to the archbishop: "You will be the custodian of Father Pio of Pietrelcina."

"Under your authority, will take place," said John Paul II, citing "Christus Dominus," Pope Paul VI's 1965 Decree on the Pastoral Office of Bishops in the Church "all that regards 'the public exercise of divine worship, saving the diversity of rites; the care of souls; preaching to the people; the religious and moral education of the faithful, and especially children; catechetical instruction and liturgical formation; the decorum of the clerical state; and, lastly, the various works relative to the exercise of the sacred apostolate'." He also noted that the archbishop will take care "to harmonize the pastoral activity of the Shrine with other activities of the diocesan pastoral ministry.

In closing the Pope pointed out that Archbishop D'Ambrosio, as Delegate for the Shrine, is also president of the House for the Relief of Suffering and general director of the International Association of Prayer Groups.

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