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Thursday, February 19, 2004


VATICAN CITY, FEB 19, 2004 (VIS) - The Pontifical Academy for Life opened its Tenth General Assembly this morning in the Vatican with a Mass to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the academy's founding by Pope John Paul II. The assembly, which will end on February 22, has scheduled morning and afternoon sessions during which 26 Roman Curia officials, doctors and experts in genetics, bioethics, medical ethics, human reproduction, moral theology and psychology will make presentations. An audience with the Holy Father is also scheduled.

The theme of this year's meeting is "The Dignity of Human Procreation and Reproductive Technologies: Anthropological and Ethical Aspects."

Each work day will start with Mass in the chapel of the St. Martha Residence in the Vatican. Today's morning session focussed on the spiritual and moral figure of the academy's first president, Prof. Jerome LeJeune, who died shortly after being named to this position, and on the teachings of Pope John Paul II on human life. A concert is scheduled for the afternoon.

Friday, February 20, participants will study the biblical and theological meaning of human procreation, artifical procreation in all its implications and fatherhood and motherhood faced with the technologies of artificial procreation: anthropological considerations.

Saturday morning, February 21, will be dedicated to the psychological and spiritual repercussions of artificial procreation for women and families and alternative anthropological approaches, and to the juridical aspects in the making of right-to-life laws in a pluralistic society. Six round table discussions are scheduled for the afternoon.

The final day of the plenary assembly, Sunday, February 22, will feature communications by the academy's president, Prof. Juan de Dios Vial Correa, and vice president, Bishop Elio Sgreccia, a general discussion on and proposals for the theme for the 2005 meeting and the presentation of the draft of the Final Document.


VATICAN CITY, FEB 19, 2004 (VIS) - An Ordinary Public Consistory presided over by the Holy Father took place this morning in the Clementine Hall in the Apostolic Palace, during which it was decided that the following Blesseds will be canonized on May 16:

- Blessed Luigi Orione, priest and founder of the Little Work of Divine Providence and of the Congregation of the Little Sisters, Missionaries of Charity.

- Blessed Annibale Maria di Francia, priest and founder of the Congregation of the Rogationist Fathers of the Heart of Jesus and of the Religious Daughters of Divine Generosity.

- Blessed Jose Manyanet y Vives, priest and founder of the Congregation of the Sons of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph and the Missionary Daughters of the Holy Family of Nazareth.

- Blessed Nimatullah Al Hardini, priest of the Lebanese Maronite Order.

- Blessed Paola Elisabetta, nee Costanza Cerioli, widow Busecchi-Tassis, foundress of the Institute of Religious of the Holy Family.

- Blessed Gianna Beretta Molla, mother.


VATICAN CITY, FEB 19, 2004 (VIS) - The following telegram was sent by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, secretary of State, in the Holy Father's name, to government authorities in Iran following yesterday's train disaster in this country which claimed hundreds of victims:

"Having been informed of the tragic accident that took place in Iran, the Holy Father expresses his deepest sympathy to the authorities and to the Iranian people, once again in mourning for this railroad disaster. He entrusts the many victims to the mercy of the All Powerful and hopes that the families which have been so tried by this drama may benefit from the comfort of the solidarity of the authorities and those around them. The Pope invokes on all persons touched by this terrible accident, especially the wounded and those who saved them, blessings from on high."


VATICAN CITY, FEB 19, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Archbishop Dominique Francois Joseph Mamberti, apostolic nuncio in Sudan, as apostolic nuncio in Eritrea.
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VATICAN CITY, FEB 19, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
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VATICAN CITY, FEB 19, 2004 (VIS) - In recent weeks the following prelates died:

- Cardinal Opilio Rossi on February 9 at age 93.

- Bishop Guido Maria Casullo, emeritus of Candido Mendes, Brazil on January 10 at age 94.

- Bishop Noel Desmond Daly, emeritus of Sandhurst, Australia on January 14 at age 74.

- Bishop Walter Jansen, former auxiliary of Cologne, Germany on January 29 at age 80.

- Archbishop Denis Eugene Hurley, O.M.I., emeritus of Durban, South Africa on February 13 at age 88.

- Bishop Paul Mukanga Mambe of Kindu, Democratic Republic of Congo on January 26 at age 74.

- Bishop Gabriel Marie Joseph Matagrin, emeritus of Grenoble, France on February 2, 2004 at 85.

- Bishop Francis Xavier Mugadzi of Gweru, Zimbabwe on February 6, 2004 at age 72.

- Bishop Timothee Pirigisha Mukombe, emeritus of Kasongo, Democratic Republic of Congo on February 12 at age 83.

- Bishop Angel Adolfo Polachini Rodr¡guez, emeritus of Guanare, Venezuela on January 10 at age 84.

- Bishop Maurice J.A. Pourchet, emeritus of Saint-Flour, France on January 2 at age 97.

- Archbishop Candido Genaro Rubiolo, emeritus of Mendoza, Argentina on February 9 at age 83.

- Bishop George Henry Speltz, emeritus of Saint Cloud, U.S.A. on February 1 at age 91.

- Bishop Leonce Albert Van Peteghem, emeritus of Gent, Belgium on January 7 at age 87.

- Bishop Franz Zak, emeritus of Sankt Polten, Austria on January 28 at age 86.
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