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Monday, February 7, 2005


VATICAN CITY, FEB 7, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Mariannhill, South Africa, presented by Bishop Paul Themba Mngoma, in accordance with Canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.

  On Saturday, February 5, it was made public that he:

 - Appointed Cardinal Francesco Marchisano, archpriest of the Vatican Basilica, as president of the Labor Office of the Apostolic See. At the same time, and in view of the new commitment requested of the archpriest of the basilica, the Holy Father granted him a coadjutor in the person of Archbishop Angelo Comastri, archbishop-prelate of the Shrine of Loreto, Italy, and pontifical delegate to the same shrine, also appointing him as vicar general for Vatican City State and president of the Fabric of St Peter's.

 - Appointed Archbishop J. Michael Miller, secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education, and Msgr. Ruperto Cruz Santos, rector of the Pontifical Filipino College in Rome, as members of the Pontifical Commission for International Eucharistic Congresses.
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VATICAN CITY, FEB 7, 2005 (VIS) - Archbishop John P. Foley, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications is in Lviv, Ukraine where he is giving a series of talks on communications.

  On Saturday, February 5, he spoke at a meeting of representatives of Catholic mass media and talked to them on "The Role of the Mass Media in the Church." That same day he met with seminarians from eight Catholic seminaries at Holy Ghost Greek Catholic seminary where the focus of his speech was "The Priest and Communication."

  Today Archbishop Foley spoke before the community of the Ukrainian Catholic University on "Communication as a Way of Life." Tomorrow he is scheduled to address a gathering of mass media and publishers and to present the Ukrainian translation of the Church's documents on communications.


VATICAN CITY, FEB 7, 2005 (VIS) - Joaquin Navarro-Valls, director of the Holy See Press Office, appeared at noon today in the press office and read a bulletin to journalists which gave an update on the Holy Father's health.

   "The Holy Father's condition continues to improve. He no longer has a fever, eats regularly and spends several hours a day in an armchair next to his bed.

  "For obvious reasons of prudence, the Pope has been advised to remain at Gemelli Hospital for several more days. The next communique will be issued Thursday, Feb 10 at 12 noon."

  In remarks following the reading of the communique, Navarro-Valls noted that "numerous get-well messages and letters continue to arrive daily for the Pope. Many people are offering up their sufferings for the Pope, who is keeping everyone in his prayers, as was mentioned yesterday during the Angelus. The messages come from all over the world, and many from within the hospital. Most are very moving."

  He added that "the Pope celebrates Mass daily in his room to which members of the medical staff are invited." Navarro-Valls also said that "the Holy Father glances at the newspapers to - as he says - 'follow the evolution of my health'."
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VATICAN CITY, FEB 6, 2005 (VIS) - Pope John Paul appeared at the window of his hospital room today at noon for the recitation of the Angelus and to bless the faithful gathered in the courtyard of Gemelli hospital as well as in St. Peter's Square where four massive television screens transmitted the Marian prayer. Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, substitute of the Secretariat of State, read the Pope's message and led the Angelus, following which the Holy Father imparted his apostolic blessing.

   "Today I address you from Agostino Gemelli Polyclinic," began the Pope's message, "where, for several days, I have been cared for with loving solicitude by doctors, nurses and health personnel, whom I thank with all my heart.

  "I hope that the expression of my thanks for your sincere affection, which I have felt so intensely during these days, reaches you dear brothers and sisters, and everyone around the world who has been close to me."

   The Holy Father assured the faithful of his prayers for them "according to your intentions, as well as for the needs of the Church and the great causes of the world. Thus, even here in the hospital, in the midst of other sick people, to whom I send affectionate thoughts, I continue to serve the Church and all of humanity."

  Noting that Italy today celebrates the Day for Life, he said that the message of Italian bishops for this occasion "accented the mystery of life as a association which calls for trust. We need to trust life! Unborn children silently ask for trust in life. Children who, for diverse reasons are without a family, wish to trust life and hope that they will find a home that will welcome them through adoption or temporary custody.

  "With special consideration," conclude the Pope's Angelus reflections, "I am thinking of the beloved Italian people and everyone who has at heart the defense of nascent life. I am especially close to the Italian bishops; may they continue to exhort Catholics and all people of good will to defend the basic right to life, in respect for the dignity of every human person."
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VATICAN CITY, FEB 5, 2005 (VIS) - Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, spoke this morning in Bologna, Italy at the School of Formation to Social Commitments of the Veritatis Splendor Institute where he presented the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, which was published by the council last October.

  A communique from the council summarizing the cardinal's talk noted that he termed the Compendium "a manifesto of a new humanism in the sense that, in it one can find inspiration and programs, ideal and historical, for a new society." For Cardinal Martino, says the communique, "an integral and solidary humanism is achieved only through projects that are planned and actuated by force of  social culture and common policies." 

  The council president underscored "the need for a unified action to show the effectiveness of projects inspired by ... the content of the truth of the Church's social doctrine. He notes that "if once widespread Christianity" was the source for a "common cultural perspective, as well as for faith ... today this needs to be built with greater efforts." He concludes by stating that "the realization of common projects would facilitate a social and political commitment by Catholics, not only on the level of faith and values, but also in social culture and politics."


VATICAN CITY, FEB 5, 2005 (VIS) - On February 9, Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent, Cardinal James Francis Stafford, major penitentiary of the Apostolic Penitentiary will preside in the Pope's name at the celebration of the Word during which he will bless and impose the ashes.

  According to a communique issued by the Office for Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff, the ceremony, which will take place in the Vatican Basilica, will substitute the traditional Wednesday general audience. The introductory rites will be followed by the liturgy of the Word, a homily, the blessing and imposition of the ashes, the prayer of the faithful and the concluding rites.

  Cardinal Jozef Tomko, president of the Pontifical Commission for International Eucharist Congresses and titular of the Basilica of St Sabina on Rome's Aventine hill will celebrate Mass in that church at 5 p.m. on the same day.
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VATICAN CITY, FEB 5, 2005 (VIS) - This evening in the Paul VI Hall, members of the community of the Pontifical Major Seminary of Rome participated in their traditional meeting for the feast of their patroness, Our Lady of Trust. During the gathering, the choir and orchestra of the diocese of Rome played a piece inspired by the title of John Paul II's Apostolic Letter, "Mane nobiscum Domine."

  Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, substitute for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State, read the address prepared by the Pope who followed the ceremony from his room in Rome's Gemelli Polyclinic.

  "For me," the Pope writes, "you are a reason for consolation, because you represent a privileged sign of the Lord's love for His cherished Church which is in Rome."

  "'To contemplate the face of Christ, and to contemplate it with Mary, is the 'program' which I have set before the Church at the dawn of the third millennium, summoning her to put out into the deep on the sea of history with the enthusiasm of the new evangelization.' You have chosen to take these words of mine as the theme for reflection for your feast day."

  The Holy Father goes on to affirm that "in the year of the Eucharist, celebrating Mary means, for you, putting the sacrifice of her divine Son at the center of attention, a sacrifice that becomes sacramentally present whenever Mass is celebrated."

  After recalling Jesus' words to St John before His death on the Cross: "behold, your mother!" John Paul II writes: "I also repeat to you today: behold, your mother, who must be loved and imitated with complete trust, so that you become priests capable of pronouncing, not once but always, the decisive word of faith: 'here I am,' 'Fiat.' May the prayer, 'Mater mea, fiducia mea!' be the profound and simple synthesis of your days, days you pass contemplating Christ with Mary!"

  The Pope concludes his address by expressing this desire to all the young people present, especially to those considering the priestly vocation, to altar boys and parish youth groups. "Dear young people, the Lord passes and calls, be ready to collaborate with Him."
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