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Monday, February 14, 2005


VATICAN CITY, FEB 13, 2005 (VIS) - The annual spiritual exercises for the Holy Father and the Roman Curia began this evening at 6 p.m. in the Redemptoris Mater Chapel with Eucharistic exposition, the celebration of Vespers, an introductory meditation, adoration and Eucharistic benediction. Bishop Renato Corti of Novara, Italy, is preaching the retreat on the theme "The Church at the service of the new and eternal covenant."

  On the occasion of the Year of the Eucharist, the conclusion of the spiritual exercises will take place in the Vatican Basilica at 10 a.m. on Saturday, February 19 with a Eucharistic concelebration, followed by a period of adoration. Members of the Roman Curia, the vicariate of Rome and employees of the Holy See are all invited to attend.

  As is customary during the retreat for the curia, all audiences, including the Wednesday general audience, are suspended.
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VATICAN CITY, FEB 13, 2005 (VIS) - At midday today, the Pope appeared at the window of his private study to pray the Angelus with thousands of people gathered below in St Peter's Square.

  Prior to the Marian prayer, Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, substitute of the Secretariat of State, read a text prepared by the Holy Father.

  "I would like to thank you all," the Holy Father writes, "including those who are following us on radio and television, for your closeness, affection and, above all, your prayers during the days I spent in the Gemelli Polyclinic. I always feel the need for your help before the Lord, in order to carry out the mission that Jesus has entrusted to me."

  After recalling that Lent began last Wednesday with the imposition of ashes, John Paul II affirms that this liturgical time "reminds us of a fundamental truth: we do not enter eternal life without carrying our cross together with Christ. We do not achieve happiness and peace without courageously facing the interior struggle. This struggle is won with the arms of penitence: prayer, fasting and works of mercy. And all must be done secretly, without hypocrisy, in a spirit of sincere love towards God and our brothers and sisters."

  Before closing, the Pope asks the faithful to pray for him and his collaborators in the Roman Curia during their week of spiritual exercises which begins this evening. "In silence and meditation I will pray to the Lord for all the needs of the Church and of the world."

  Following the Angelus, Archbishop Sandri added in the Pope's name: "As I continue to pray for peace in the Middle East, I make a heartfelt appeal for the liberation of the Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena, and of all those kidnapped in Iraq."

  The Holy Father pronounced the blessing and added before leaving: "I wish everyone a happy Sunday. Thank you."
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VATICAN CITY, FEB 12, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father:
 - Appointed Bishop Ernesto Antolin Salgado of Laoag, the Philippines, as metropolitan archbishop of Nueva Segovia (area 2,570, population 617,460, Catholics 524,999, priests 68, religious 167), the Philippines. The archbishop-elect was born in Santa Lucia, the Philippines, in 1936, and was ordained a priest in 1961 and a bishop in 1987. He succeeds Metropolitan Archbishop Edmundo M. Abaya, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese was accepted by the Holy Father, upon having reached the age limit.

- Appointed Msgr. Mylo Hubert Claudio Vergara of the clergy of Cubao, the Philippines, pastor of the Parish of Holy Sacrifice in the University of the Philippines in Quezon City, as bishop of San Jose (area 2,540, population 642,377, Catholics 546,021, priests 37, religious 113), the Philippines. The bishop-elect was born in Manila, the Philippines, in 1962 and ordained a priest in 1990.

 - Appointed Fr. Pedro Hernandez Cantarero C.M.F., head of the Claretian formation center for seminarians in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, as apostolic vicar of Darien (area 16,780, population 60,000, Catholics 48,000, priests 9, religious 19), Panama. The bishop-elect was born in Jinotepe, Nicaragua, in 1954 and ordained to the priesthood in 1986.

  On Friday, February 11, it was made public that the Holy Father:

 - Appointed Archbishop Andre Vingt-Trois of Tours, France, as metropolitan archbishop of Paris (area 105, population 2,116,000, Catholics 1,270,000, priests 1,339, permanent deacons 95, religious 3,826), France. He succeeds Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese was accepted by the Holy Father, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Bishop Filomeno do Nascimento Vieira Dias, auxiliary of Luanda, Angola, as bishop of Cabinda (area 7,120, population 300,627, Catholics 225,150, priests 27, religious 42), Angola. He succeeds Bishop Paulino Fernandes Madeca, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese was accepted by the Holy Father, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Msgr. Jose Antonio Fernandez Hurtado, vicar general of  Tula, Mexico, as bishop of Tuxtepec (area 6,000, population 689,000, Catholics 630,000, priests 40, permanent deacons 17, religious 41), Mexico. The bishop-elect was born in Morelia, Mexico, in 1952 and ordained to the priesthood in 1978. He succeeds Bishop Jose de Jesus Castillo Renteria M.N.M., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese was accepted by the Holy Father, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Fr. Julio Hernando Garcia Pelaez of the clergy of Pereira, Colombia, and pastor of the cathedral, as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Cali (area 2,602, population 2,264,256, Catholics 1,924,618, priests 288, permanent deacons 17, religious 969), Colombia. The bishop-elect was born in Anserma, Colombia, in 1958 and ordained a priest in 1985.

 - Appointed Frs. Pierre-Andre Fournier, episcopal vicar for pastoral care in Quebec, Canada, and Gilles Lemay, pastor of the parish of "Saint-Etienne de Lauzon, Saint-Nicholas e Tres-Saint-Redempteur," as auxiliaries of the archdiocese of Quebec (area 35,180, population 1,098,212, Catholics 1,047,425, priests 860, permanent deacons 93, religious 4,269), Canada. Bishop-elect Fournier was born in Plessisville, Canada, in 1943 and ordained a priest in 1967. Bishop-elect Lemay was born in Sainte-Emmelie, Canada, in 1948 and ordained a priest in 1972.
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VATICAN CITY, FEB 12, 2005 (VIS) - Made public today was a Letter from Pope John Paul II to Archbishop Jean-Pierre Ricard of Bordeaux, president of the Conference of Bishops of France, and to all the bishops of France. It focused on a topic the Pope discussed with the bishops during their "ad limina" visits during 2003 and 2004, that is, the question of relations between the Church and French civil authorities in the perspective of this year's 100th anniversary of the law of separation between Church and State in France.

  In the 3,200-word document, the Holy Father starts by noting that the 1905 law, "which denounced the 1804 Concordat, was a painful and traumatic event for the Church in France," ruling that the way of life in France "would be according to the principle of secularity" and "relegating the religious factor to the  private sphere and not recognizing a place in society for religious life and the ecclesial institution."

   The Pope notes that, since 1920 "the French government itself has recognized in a certain manner the place for religion in social life." During the past century, there has been a dialogue between Church and State, diplomatic ties were reestablished and an entente was signed in 1924, all of which has allowed "a certain number of difficulties to be overcome."

  "The principle of secularity to which your country is very attached, if it is well understood also belongs to the social doctrine of the Church. It recalls a just separation of powers which echoes Christ's invitation to His disciples: 'Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's and unto God what is God's'. ... The Church has no vocation to administer temporal affairs, ... but at the same time it is important that everyone work in the general interest and for the common good."

  "Christianity has played and still plays an important role in French society, be it in the political, philosophical, artistic or literary domains," John Paul II emphasized, pointing to great French theologians, pastors and educators. "One cannot forget the important place of Christian values in building Europe and in the lives of the peoples of the continent. Christianity in great part formed the face of Europe and it is up to the men and women of today to build a European society on the values which presided at its birth and which are part of its richness."

  France "can only rejoice" at having men and women "who draw upon the Gospel ... to serve their brothers in humanity, ...and to spread harmony, peace, justice, solidarity and good understanding among everyone." He urged the bishops to focus on teaching the Church's social doctrine to the faithful, especially the young of today who are the future of tomorrow.

  The Holy Father turns to "the crisis of values and the lack of hope that one sees in France, and largely in the West," saying "this is part of an identity crisis modern societies are going through. ... The Church questions such a situation and hopes that religious, moral and spiritual values, which are part of France's patrimony, which have fashioned its identity and forged generations of persons from the first centuries of Christianity, do not fall into oblivion."

  He invites the faithful of France to "draw from their spiritual and ecclesial life the strength to participate in public affairs" and urges collaboration, not antagonism or separation, between the religious and civil domains. He tells the bishops that "by reason of your mission, you are called to intervene regularly in public debate on the great questions of society."

  John Paul II says he knows the bishops "are very attentive to the Church's presence in places where the great and formidable questions about human existence are asked,"  especially in hospitals, health centers and schools. On education, he writes that "the State must guarantee to those families who wish it the possibility to have their children receive the catechesis they need."

  The Pope closes by expressing his "confidence in the future for a good understanding between all components of French society. ... May no one be afraid of the religious path of people and special groups! If it is lived in respect for a healthy secularity, it can only be the source of dynamism and the promotion of man."


VATICAN CITY, FEB 12, 2005 (VIS) - Made public today was the speech given yesterday at the United Nations to the 43rd session of the Commission for Social Development by Bishop Giampaolo Crepaldi, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

  Addressing the commission in French, he noted that, almost ten years ago at the summit for development in Copenhagen, the final Declaration underscored the "commitment to promote a concept of social development that is 'political, economic, ethical and spiritual'."  Since then, he said, this concept "has lost the quality of being an all-embracing idea. Leaders of nations and specialists have turned to an approach of eradicating poverty that is based rather on the realization of measurable economic results."

  Acceleration in uprooting poverty is necessary, stated Bishop Crepaldi, for many peoples and nations are living this scourge. "For their development to be finally able to take off, they are undergoing what has been defined as 'a big push' in public investment." He gave several examples of innovative mechanisms employed by some countries and groups and added: "In effect, this big push, urgently needed by the economies of poor countries, must be additional, concessionary, sure and regular, four inescapable exigencies respected by the mechanisms I have just mentioned.

  The true challenge we now face," he went on, "is that of working concretely for the realization of positive economic results to eliminate poverty and to safeguard, at the same time, the concept of social development as expressed in Copenhagen. ... In addition, if it is true ... that the eradication of poverty has become a moral imperative,  we could arrive, with its realization, at effectively considering it as a primary global public good." He said "this challenge can only be met if a moral condition is fulfilled: the creation, at an international level, of the sense of social justice which seems at the moment to be lacking."


VATICAN CITY, FEB 12, 2005 (VIS) - Made public today was the Holy Father's Message to Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, president of the Pontifical Council for the Health Care Ministry, on the occasion of yesterday's celebration of the 13th World Day of the Sick, whose principal celebration took place in Yaounde, Cameroon from February 9 to 11. The Message to the cardinal, the Pope's special envoy, was written in French and is dated February 1.

  John Paul II thanks the president of Cameroon for hosting this world day, and he also greets the bishops, priests, deacons and men and women religious and, "in particular, all the health care personnel because it is due to their generous commitment that the sick receive attention and assistance. My thoughts join in a special way you, dear brothers and sisters, who are sick and who carry in your bodies the signs of suffering and fragility and you, their families, who are closest to them in their daily lives: I am close to you with my heartfelt affection."

  "This year," writes the Holy Father, "the celebration of the World Day of the Sick takes place once again in Africa, a continent marked by many and serious problems, but also a continent rich in extraordinary human and spiritual resources, and animated by an intense desire for authentic peace and progress. Africa suffers because of the many sick people who, on her soil, silently invoke the solidarity of the entire world.

  "Dear brothers and sisters of Africa, Jesus is 'a man Who knows suffering'. In this year consecrated to the Eucharist, I invite you to unite yourselves in your thoughts and in your heart to the sacrifice of the Mass, an endless source of hope for all of life's trials."
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VATICAN CITY, FEB 11, 2005 (VIS) - Today, liturgical memory of Our Lady of Lourdes, Cardinal Camillo Ruini, vicar general for the diocese of Rome, celebrated Mass at 4:30 p.m. in the Vatican Basilica for the sick and for pilgrims of Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi and UNITALSI (the Italian National Union for Transport of the Sick to Lourdes and International Shrines) on the occasion of the 13th World Day of the Sick.

  During the Eucharistic celebration, Cardinal Ruini read a Message from Pope John Paul - who returned last evening to the Vatican following a ten-day stay in Gemelli Hospital - to the sick assembled in St. Peter's.

   The Holy Father began the Message by referring to the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, who first appeared to St. Bernadette Soubirous on February 11, 1858 in a grotto at Massabielle. "From that grotto," he says, "which became a place of prayer and hope for many pilgrims from throughout the world, Immaculate Mary continues to invite us to prayer, penitence and conversion. ... When the sick and suffering run to the feet of Mary, that is a ceaseless exhortation to trust Christ and His heavenly Mother, who never abandon those who turn to them in times of pain and trials."

  "Dear sick people," the Pope adds, "if you add your pain" to the suffering of Christ Who died on the Cross to redeem us, "you can be His privileged cooperators in the salvation of souls. This is your duty in the Church, which is always aware of the role and value of sickness illuminated by faith. Your suffering, dear sick friends, is not useless! Rather, it is precious because it is sharing in the mysterious but real salvific mission of the Son of God.

  "For this reason," concludes John Paul's Message, "the Pope counts so much on the value of your prayers and your sufferings: offer them for the Church and for the world; offer them also for me and for my mission as universal pastor of the Christian people."
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