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Wednesday, April 14, 2004


VATICAN CITY, APR 14, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Accepted the resignation to the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Vitoria, Brazil, presented by Archbishop Silvestre Luis Scandian, S.V.D., in conformity with Canon 401, para 2 of the Code of Canon Law. He is succeeded by Coadjutor Archbishop Luiz Mancilha Vilela, SS. CC.

- Appointed Msgr. Melchor Sanchez de Toca y Alameda, bureau chief of the Pontifical Council for Culture, as under-secretary of the same council. 

  On Tuesday, April 13, it was announced that the Pope elevated to the dignity of bishop Dom Fabio Bernardo D'Onorio, abbot ordinary of Montecassino, Italy. Bishop-elect D'Onorio was born in Veroli, Italy in 1940, took his religious vows in 1962 and was ordained a a priest in 1966.

  On Thursday, April 8, it was made public that the Holy Father appointed:

- Bishop Juan Jose Omella Omella of Barbastro-onzon, Spain as Bishop of Calahorra y La Calzada-Logrono (area 5,033, population 296,097, Catholics 266,119, priests 339, permanent deacons 1, religious 985), Spain.

- Fr. Chibly Langlois of the clergy of Jacmel, Haiti, director of the diocesan center for pastoral ministry of the diocese of Fort-Liberte, as bishop of the same diocese (area 1,600, population 425,000, Catholics 310,250, priests 36, religious 75), Haiti. Bishop-elect Langlois was born in 1958 in La Vallee, Haiti and was ordained a priest in 1991.

-  Msgrs. Carlo Roberto Maria Redaelli, vicar general of the archdiocese of Milan, Italy, and Luigi Stucchi, episcopal vicar for the Varese area of the archdiocese of Milan, as auxiliaries of the archbishop of Milan (area 4,217, population 5,116,686, Catholics 4, 903,686, priests 3,128, permanent deacons 54, religious 8,013), Italy. Bishop-elect Redaelli was born in Milan in 1956 and ordained a priest in 1980. Bishop-elect Stucchi was born in Sulbiate, Italy in 1941 and ordained a priest in 1966.
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VATICAN CITY, APR 14, 2004 (VIS) - "'The Lord of Life was dead, but now He lives and triumphs!' These words guide the reflections of our encounter today, which takes place within the octave of Easter," the Pope told the 25,000 pilgrims present for the Wednesday general audience in St. Peter's Square.

   Pope John did not read the catechesis for today's today audience but he did read the numerous greetings in different languages for the pilgrims present. The press office had announced that, "following the advice of his personal physician, the Holy Father, given the lengthy commitments of Holy Week, will not personally read the text of the general audience."
  "Christ triumphs over evil and death," said John Paul II. "The Gospels tell us, with richness of detail, of the Risen Lord's encounters with the women who ran to the tomb and, afterwards, with the Apostles. As eyewitnesses they are the first to proclaim the Gospel of His death and Resurrection. ... The Church, who is the deposit of this universal mystery of salvation, passes this on from generation to generation, to the men and women of all times and all places."

  In order to pass this mystery on, he added, "Christians must have their own personal encounter with Christ Crucified and Risen, and allow themselves to be transformed by the power of His love. When that happens, sadness becomes joy, fear gives way to the path of missionary ardor."

  "'Christ my hope is risen'. With these words the (Easter) sequence underlines an aspect of the Easter mystery that mankind today needs to understand more deeply. Marked by impending threats of violence and death, men are looking for something that gives them serenity and certainty. But where can they find peace, if not in Christ, the innocent one, Who reconciled sinners with the Father?"

  "On Calvary," said the Pope in closing, "divine mercy showed its face of love and pardon for everyone. ... Saint Faustina Kowalska in her humility was chosen to announce this message of light especially apt for today's world."
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VATICAN CITY, APR 13, 2004 (VIS) - The Office of Liturgical Ceremonies of the Supreme Pontiff announced today that Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, metropolitan archbishop of Cape Coast, Ghana will take possession of the title of San Liborio in Via Tino Buazelli in Rome on Sunday, April 18 at 10:30 a.m.


VATICAN CITY, APR 12, 2004 (VIS) - Pope John  Paul appeared at his study window today an noon to pray the Regina Coeli with the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square. He noted that the Angelus is replaced at Eastertime by this prayer "which expresses Mary's joy for the resurrection of her divine Son. Mary thus becomes a model of the Christian community which 'rejoices' in the Easter of its Lord, the source of authentic joy for all believers."

  "Dear brothers and sisters," the Pope continued, "on this Monday of the Angel, a prolongation of Easter Sunday, each of us pauses near the empty sepulchre to meditate on the supreme wonder of the resurrection of Christ. The Virgin Mary, a silent witness of this mystery, confirms us in personal cohesion to the One Who died and rose for the salvation of every individual. May she be our teacher and guide in the faith; may she support us in moments of doubt and temptation; may she obtain for us inner serenity that no fear can dispel because it is rooted in the certainty that Christ has truly risen."
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VATICAN CITY, APR 11, 2004 (VIS) - John Paul II concelebrated the Easter Mass of the Resurrection of the Lord at 10:30 this morning in St. Peter's Square, which was beautified, as has become traditional, by tens of thousands of flowers, shrubs and flowering plants from Holland. Following the Eucharistic celebration the Pope read his annual Easter Message, imparted his "Urbi et Orbi" blessing and expressed Easter wishes in 62 languages.
  "Resurrexit! Today you, O Redeemer of mankind, rise victoriously from the tomb to offer to us, troubled by many threatening shadows, your wish for joy and peace. ... On this day of your victory over death, may humanity find in you, O Lord, the courage to oppose in solidarity the many evils that afflict it. In particular, may it find the strength to face the inhuman, and unfortunately growing, phenomenon of terrorism, which rejects life and brings anguish and uncertainty to the daily lives of so many hard-working and peaceful people. May your wisdom enlighten men and women of good will in the required commitment against this scourge."

  "May the work of national and international institutions hasten the overcoming of the present difficulties and favour progress towards a more effective and peaceful world order. May world leaders be confirmed and sustained in their efforts to resolve satisfactorily the continuing conflicts that cause bloodshed in certain regions of Africa, Iraq and the Holy Land. You, firstborn of many brothers, grant that all who consider themselves children of Abraham may rediscover the brotherhood that they share and that prompts in them designs of cooperation and peace.

  "Take heed all of you who have at heart mankind's future! Take heed men and women of good will!  May the temptation to seek revenge give way to the courage to forgive; may the culture of life and love render vain the logic of death; may trust once more give breath to the lives of peoples. If our future is one, it is the task and duty of all to build it with patient and painstaking far-sightedness."

  The Holy Father invoked "comfort for the families of the many victims of violence. Help us to work ceaselessly for the coming of a more just and united world. ...You, O Mother of the Crucified One now risen, ... teach us also to be, amongst the incongruities of passing time, convinced and joyful witnesses of the eternal message of life and love brought to the world by the Risen Redeemer."

  After imparting the "Urbi et Orbi" blessing, the Holy Father noted that, "by happy concidence, Christians of the East and West celebrate Easter on the same day. ... I pray the Lord that all of us who are baptized might soon reach the point of celebrating on the same day this fundamental date of our faith ."
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VATICAN CITY, APR 10, 2004 (VIS) - At 7 this evening in St. Peter's Basilica, the Pope presided over the solemn Easter vigil during which he administered Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist to seven catechumens from Italy, Togo and Japan.

  The vigil began in the atrium of the basilica where the Holy Father blessed the new fire and lit the Easter candle. After the procession to the altar with the candle and the singing of the Exultet there was the Liturgy of the Word, of Baptism and of the Eucharist.

  In his homily, John Paul II said that "the light of the One Who 'has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep' makes this memorable night, which is rightly considered the 'heart' of the liturgical year, 'bright as the day'. On this night the entire Church keeps watch and recalls, in meditation, the significant stages of God's saving intervention in the universe."

  The Holy Father noted that "there is a twofold significance to this solemn Easter Vigil, so rich with symbols accompanied by an extraordinary abundance of biblical texts.  On the one hand, it is the prayerful memory of the 'mirabilia Dei', in the representation of key texts from the Sacred Scriptures, from creation to the sacrifice of Isaac, to the passage through the Red Sea, to the promise of the New Covenant. On the other hand, it is the trusting expectation of the complete fulfillment of the ancient promises. The memory of God's work reaches its climax in the resurrection of Christ and is projected onto the eschatological event of the 'parusia'."

  Then, addressing the catechumens about to receive the sacrament of Christian initiation, the Pope said: "Thanks to the sacrament of Baptism you will come to be a part of the Church, which is an immense people on pilgrimage, without limits of race, language or culture. ... Be faithful to the One Who has chosen you, and to Him entrust your entire lives with generous commitment.

  "If this mission may sometimes seem difficult, call to mind the words of the Risen Lord: 'I am with you always, to the close of the age'. Certain of His presence, you shall fear no difficulty and no obstacle.  His word will enlighten you; His Body and his Blood will nourish you and sustain you on your daily journey to eternity. At the side of each of you there will always be Mary, as she was present among the Apostles, frightened and confused at the time of trial.  And with her faith she will show you, beyond the night of the world, the glorious dawn of the resurrection."
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VATICAN CITY, APR 9, 2004 (VIS) - As is customary on Good Friday, John Paul II heard confessions this morning,  presided at the celebration of the Lord's Passion in St. Peter's Basilica in late afternoon, and in the evening lead the Way of the Cross at the Colosseum.

  Continuing a tradition he inaugurated at the start of his pontificate, the Holy Father, at 12 noon, came to St. Peter's Basilica where, behind a specially built screen built to accommodate his mobile chair, he heard the confessions of 10 people from Poland, Italy, the United States, Spain, Ukraine and Slovakia who knelt on a kneeler in front of the screen.

   At 5 p.m. in St. Peter's Basilica, which was filled to capacity with pilgrims, members of the diplomatic corps, the College of Cardinals and bishops, the Pope presided at the celebration of the Lord's Passion, along with Cardinals Joseph Ratzinger, Francesco Mario Pompedda and Julian Herranz. After the reading of the Passion, Father Cantalamessa offered a reflection on how the Bible, especially the Old Testament, deals with the theme of violence. He then reflected on violence in our days, especially that which is inflicted in the name of God.

  Following the homily were the prayers of the faithful which included a prayer for Pope John Paul, "that God, Who chose him to be bishop, may give him health and strength to guide and govern God's holy people." There was also, as there is every year, a prayer for the Jews: "May our God Who chose them before all other people to accept His Word, help them always move forward in the love of His name and faithfulness to His covenant."

  When the Cross was brought forward for veneration, Pope John Paul, whose arthritis has been especially painful, knelt for some time in prayer.

  Later that evening, at 9:15, the Pope went to the Colosseum for the traditional Good Friday Way of the Cross. Seated on the Palatine Hill overlooking this monument, the Pope, sitting under a canopy and in front of a huge candlelit Cross, presided at the celebration in the presence of tens of thousands of faithful who carried candles and followed the liturgy with booklets distributed by the Vatican as they stood under gray and occasionally rainy skies.

  The Via Crucis meditations were written by Fr. Andre Louf of Belgian, a Cistercian monk, who after 35 years as abbot of the monastery of Notre Dame de Mont-des-Cats, France, retired to a hermitage in the south of France where he currently resides.

  For the first 13 stations, the Cross was carried by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, vicar of Rome, the Franciscan Custos of the Holy Land, a Roman family, a lay woman from the island of Grenada, a priest from the diocese of Orange in California, a woman religious from India, a layman from Jordan, a religious from Burundi and a young girl from Madrid. John Paul II held the cross during the 14th and final station.

  The Holy Father briefly addressed the faithful who had gathered for this liturgy at the evocative setting of the Colosseum. "'Venit hora! The hour has come! The hour of the Son of man. ... 'Venit hora crucis'. 'The hour to pass from this world to the Father'. The hour of the agonizing suffering of the Son of God, a suffering that, even 20 centuries later, continues to move us intimately and to summon us. The Son of God reached this hour precisely to give His life for His brothers. This is the hour of offertory - the hour of the revelation of infinite love."

  "The hour for the Son of man to be glorified has also come," said the Pope. "Is it not our duty in this hour to give glory to God the Father Who did not spare his own Son, but Who gave Him for all of us? Is it not time to glorify the Son Who 'humbled Himself and became obedient right up to death, death on the Cross'?"
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VATICAN CITY, APR 8, 2004 (VIS) - Today, Holy Thursday, at 9:30 a.m. in the Vatican Basilica, John Paul II presided at the Chrism Mass, which is celebrated on this day in all the cathedral churches of the world. Concelebrants included the cardinals, bishops and priests who are in Rome for Easter. Following the Pope's homily, there was the renewal of priestly vows and the blessing of the oil used for catechumens, the sick and  those being confirmed.

  In his homily, the Pope underscored "the deep link that exists between the Eucharist and the ministerial priesthood. Christ is the High Priest of the New Covenant. ... If the Mass of the Lord's Supper underlines the mystery of the Eucharist and the giving of the new commandment of love, what we are now celebrating, the Chrism Mass, underlines the gift of the ministerial priesthood."

   "Shortly we will renew our vows," said the Holy Father, "giving thanks to God for the gift of our priesthood. We will also repeat the firm promise to be images ever more faithful to Christ, the High Priest. He, the Good Shepherd, calls us to follow His example and to offer, day after day, our lives for the salvation of the flock entrusted to our care."

  "How can we not return," exclaimed the Pope, "with our thoughts filled with emotion, to the enthusiasm of that first 'yes', pronounced on ordination day? 'Here I am', we answered the One Who called us to work for is kingdom. ... How truly extraordinary is the 'gift and mystery' that we have received." A priestly vocation, he added, "must be nourished by constant prayer. Christians want to see us above all as 'men of prayer'."

  Later today, at 5:30 p.m., John Paul II concelebrated the Mass of the Lord's Supper in St. Peter's Basilica. Cardinals Joseph Ratzinger and Angelo Sodano washed the feet of 12 priests as is customary on Holy Thursday. During the presentation of the gifts, the Holy Father received an offering that will be used for sick children in Rwanda and Burundi.
  The Pope emphasized in his homily that Jesus, in washing the feet of the Apostles, performed an act "that normally would be done by a servant, thus wishing to impress on the minds of the Apostles the meaning of what would shortly happen. In fact, the passion and death are the fundamental service of love by which the Son of God freed mankind from sin. "

  "The memorial of this, in the fullest sense, is the Eucharist: the Bread and Wine, though the action of the Holy Spirit, become really and truly the Body and Blood of Christ, Who gave Himself as nourishment to man during his life's journey on earth."

  "As we fix our eyes on Christ, Who instituted the Eucharist, we become newly aware of the importance of priests in the Church and of their bond with the Eucharistic sacrament. In the Letter I wrote to priests for this holy day I repeated that the sacrament of the altar is gift and mystery, the priesthood is gift and mystery. ... Only a Church in love with the Eucharist will generate, in turn, holy and numerous priestly vocations. It will do so through prayer and a witness to holiness, offered in a special way to the new generations."
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