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Wednesday, June 16, 2004


VATICAN CITY, JUN 16, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Accepted the resignation from the office of Auxiliary of the archdiocese of Brasilia, Brazil, presented by Bishop Joao Evangelista Martins Terra, S.J., upon having reached the age limit.

- Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Larantuka, Indonesia, presented by Archbishop Darius Nggawa, S.V.D., upon having reached the age limit. Coadjutor Bishop Franciscus Kopong Kung succeeds him.
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VATICAN CITY, JUN 16, 2004 (VIS) - Made public today was a letter in German from Pope John Paul to Bishop Gebhard Furst of Rottenburg-Stuttgart, Germany extending his greetings and encouragement to the prelates, bishops, religious and lay  faithful participating in the 95th German Katholikentag, that is being held in the city of Ulm in this diocese. The theme of this encounter is "Living through God's strength."


VATICAN CITY, JUN 16, 2004 (VIS) - Yesterday afternoon Pope John Paul welcomed the participants in the 12th meeting of the Post-synodal council of the Special Assembly for Africa of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops, which took place in 1994 in the Vatican.

  The Pope noted how the council had, since 1994, "so often encouraged the bishops of Africa in their efforts to put into practice the conclusions of the synod which were contained in the Apostolic Exhortation 'Ecclesia in Africa'. In regular meetings, you have been able to verify the realizations, projects and progress of the local African Churches. These Churches are worthy of praise and admiration, especially when the political and socio-economic situations are for the most part tragically unfavorable, even if there are a few signs of comfort."

  "This continent" the Holy Father stated, "seems to know neither truces nor peace. To international conflicts must be added the hotspots of fighting that sow terror and devastation among the populations, so very anxious to live in a serenity that is finally re-discovered." He spoke of the other "scourges that afflict Africa and Africans": poverty, great problems in the health and educations sectors, AIDS, insecurity due to conflicts and widespread corruption.

  John Paul II underscored that all of society, and especially the Church, must act cohesively to overcome these problems. He said the Universal Church has many times reminded world leaders of "the five priorities to give Africans what has been taken from them, often violently: respect for life and for religious diversity, the eradication of poverty, an end to arms trafficking, an end to conflicts and concrete action with a view to development motivated by solidarity."

  "Has the moment not come," asked the Pope in concluding, "to deepen this African synod experience? The exceptional growth of the Church in Africa, the rapid exchange of pastors, the new challenges that the continent must face, demand answers" that can only be found in putting into act "Ecclesia in Africa."
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VATICAN CITY, JUN 16, 2004 (VIS) - In today's general audience, which took place in St. Peter's Square, the Pope spoke about Psalm 45, "God, our refuge and strength."

  This Psalm, said the Holy Father, "celebrates the holy city of Jerusalem, 'a sacred place where the Most High dwells,' but above all it expresses total faith in God Who 'is our refuge and strength, and Who is always near us in our suffering.'  The psalm evokes the most tremendous trials in order to affirm with greater force the victorious intervention of God who provides total security."

  "The first part of the hymn," he said, "focuses on the symbol of water and presents a  double, contrasting meaning. On the one hand, there are tempestuous waters, which in biblical language are a symbol of disaster, chaos and evil. ... On the other hand, the waters which satisfy thirst ... are a sign of the life that prospers in the holy city, of its spiritual fecundity and of its regenerating strength. Therefore, despite the circumstances of history which make peoples sigh and kingdoms shake, the faithful find the peace and serenity that come from communion with God in Zion."

  John Paul II indicated that the second part of the Psalm refers to "a world transformed.  The Lord intervenes with great strength from his throne in Zion against wars and establishes the peace that everyone hopes for. ... The prophet Isaiah praised the end of the arms race and the transformation of the instruments of war into means of development for the people: 'They shall beat their swords into ploughshares, their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."

  "With this psalm," he concluded, "Christian tradition exalts Christ, 'our peace' and our deliverer from evil, through His death and resurrection."

  During his remarks to the crowd of 10,000, the Holy Father recalled that on Friday we will celebrate the solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. "This feast," he said, "evokes the mystery of God's love for mankind in all ages." Addressing young people in particular, he invited them to prepare themselves "in the school of Christ's heart, in order to confront life's commitments with faith."
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