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Wednesday, January 7, 2004


VATICAN CITY, JAN 7, 2004 (vis) - "the divine maternity of mary" was the theme of john paul ii's first catechesis of 2004, given during this wednesday's general audience celebrated in the paul vi hall.

"Mary, mother of god!," exclaimed the pope. "this truth of faith which is deeply linked to the feast of christmas is particularly clear in the liturgy of the first day of the year, the solemnity of mary, mother of god. mary is the mother of the redeemer; she is the woman chosen by god to carry out the project of salvation centered on the mystery of the incarnation of the divine word."

"Mary's entire life is closely tied to jesus' life. at christmas it is she who offers jesus to mankind. on the cross, at the supreme moment of carrying out the mission of redemption, it will be jesus to make a gift for every human being of his mother, such a precious heritage of redemption. the words of the lord on the cross to the faithful disciple john are his testament. he entrust his mother to john and at the same time he entrusts the apostle and all believers to the love of mary."

"At the end of christmas season, let us stop to contemplate in the manger the silent presence of our lady beside the child jesus. the same love, the same care that she had for her divine son, she reserves for us. therefore, let us allow her to guide our steps in the new year."
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VATICAN CITY, JAN 6, 2004 (vis) - today at noon on the solemnity of the epiphany of our lord, the pope appeared at the window of his study overlooking st. Peter's square to pray the angelus with the faithful gathered below.

John paul ii said that on the feast of the epiphany, the gospel of st. Matthew talks about "a mysterious 'star' that guided the magi to jerusalem and then to bethlehem where they adored the child jesus. ... The star reminds us of the rich symbol of light, very present on christmas. God is light and the word made flesh is the 'light of the world,' the light that guides the way of the people: 'lumen gentium'."

"This great truth moved my venerated predecessor paul vi when he made his historic pilgrimage to the holy land, exactly forty years ago. On january 6, 1964 in bethlehem in the basilica of the nativity, he made some memorable remarks. Among them, he said: "we look at the world with great sympathy. If the world feels extraneous to christianity, christianity does not feel extraneous to the world. And from that place which saw the birth of the prince of peace, he urged the leaders of nations to a ever-closer collaboration to ' establish peace in truth, justice and freedom and in fraternal love'."

"I now make these words of the servant of god paul vi my own. ... With the maternal help of our lady, may every man and woman reach christ, light of truth, and may the world continue on the path of justice and peace."

After the marian prayer, the holy father greeted "our brothers and sisters of the eastern churches who celebrate christmas during these days, following the julian calendar."

At the end, the pope greeted participants in the folkloric parade, "viva la befana," dedicated this year to the traditions of the city of agnani and its region.
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VATICAN CITY, JAN 7, 2004 (VIS) - the holy father:

- Accepted the resignation of bishop howard george tripp from the office of auxiliary of the archdiocese of southwark, england upon having reached the age limit.

- Appointed bishop gil antonio moreira, auxiliary of sao paulo, brazil, bishop of the diocese of jundiai (area 2,299, population 962,214, catholics 769,771, priests 85, permanent deacons 63, religious 226), brazil. he succeeds bishop amaury castanho whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the holy father accepted upon having reached the age limit.

- Appointed bishop joseph f. naumann, auxiliary of st. louis, u.s.a. as coadjutor archbishop of the archdiocese of kansas city in kansas (area 32,425, population 1,174,500, catholics 197,752, priests 159, religious 756), u.s.a.

- Approved the election canonically carried out by the synod of bishops of the church armenian catholic church, which met in bzommar, lebanon from september 1-9, 2003, of fr. Kricor-okosdinos coussa, pastor of holy cross parish in alep, syria and of holy martyrs parish in rakka, syria, as bishop of the eparchy of alexandria of the armenians (catholics 1,276, priests 1, religious 5), egypt. The bishop-elect was born in alep in 1953 was ordained a priest in 1980.
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