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Wednesday, March 24, 2004


VATICAN CITY, MAR 24, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Accepted the resignation from the office of Auxiliary of the archdiocese of Fortaleza, Brazil, presented by Bishop Adalberto Paulo da Silva, O.F.M.Cap., upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Bishop Helio Adelar Rubert, auxiliary of Vitoria, Brazil, as bishop of Santa Maria (area 21,316, population 486,000, Catholics 383,600, priests 107, permanent deacons 18, religious 636), Brazil.  He succeeds Bishop Jose Ivo Lorscheiter whose resignation the Pope
 accepted upon having reached the age limit.
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VATICAN CITY, MAR 24, 2004 (VIS) - The latest book written by John Paul II, entitled "Rise, Let Us Be Going," will be published in Italian on May 18th which is the Pope's 84th birthday. Mondadori Publishers announced at a press conference in Rome this morning that they expected the book to also be available on that date time in English, French, Spanish and German.

  The title of the book is taken from Jesus' words in the Gospel according to Mark (14:42) and refers to the passage in which He speaks to Peter, James and John in the Garden of Gethsemane prior to being arrested. The book is 200 pages long and contains 40-50 short chapters. The Pope, who wrote part of the book by hand and dictated part of it, narrates the twenty years of his ministry as bishop, from his ordination in 1958 up to his election to the pontificate in 1978.  "It is a collection of memories and reflections on the events of that period," said Joaquin Navarro-Valls, director of the Holy See Press Office, during the conference.

  Navarro-Valls affirmed that John Paul II wrote this book between March and August of 2003. A heavy work load for the Holy Father, leaving him little time to review it and make any revisions or additions, as well as demands of the editorial process, delayed its publication until this year.
  After the publication of the book on priesthood on the 50th anniversary of his ordination as a priest, the Pope welcomed suggestions, according to Navarro-Valls, that he write another book about his pastoral experience as a bishop.

  A representative of Mondadori Publishers, which is responsible for the Italian edition of the book, recalled the success of the Pope's book, "Crossing the Threshold of Hope," which sold 20 million copies.
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VATICAN CITY, MAR 24, 2004 (VIS) - During today's general audience, celebrated in St. Peter's Square, the Pope reminded the pilgrims that tomorrow is the feast of the Annunciation "which allows us to contemplate the Incarnation of the Eternal Word made man in Mary's womb."

  Our Lady's "fiat" or "yes" in the moment of the Annunciation, said the Pope, "echoes that of the Word Incarnate" to which we must add "our 'yes' with respect to God's mysterious plans. Only through full adhesion to the divine will do true joy and peace flourish, which we all hope for ardently for our times."

  John Paul II recalled three moments in his pontificate when he entrusted the Church, the world and mankind to Mary: December 8, 1978 when he entrusted the Church and world to her; June 4, 1979, renewing this vow at the shrine of the Black Madonna in Poland and again in 1984. "I remember especially March 25, 1984, the Holy Year.  Twenty years have gone by since that day when in spiritual union with all the bishops of the world I entrusted all of mankind to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in response to Our Lady's plea in Fatima."

  After emphasizing that "in those moments humanity was living difficult times of great apprehension and uncertainty," he added. "Twenty years later, the world is still marred by hatred, violence, terrorism and war. Among the many victims that make the news every day, there are so many innocent people who are killed while they carry out their work. Today, which is dedicated to commemoration and prayer for the 'martyr missionaries', we must also commemorate the priests, consecrated persons and lay faithful who died in mission territory in 2003. So much blood continues to be shed in many regions around the world. It is still urgent that men open their hearts to a courageous effort of reciprocal understanding. The wait for justice and peace becomes longer and longer in every part of the world. How can we respond to this thirst for hope and love if not with Christ through Mary?"

  The Pope concluded by repeating his petition to Our Lady in 1984:  "Mother of Christ, may the infinite saving power of the Redemption, power of divine love, reveal itself once again in the history of the world! May it stop evil! May it transform our consciences! May the light of hope in your Immaculate heart be revealed to us all!"
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