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Wednesday, March 9, 2005


VATICAN CITY, MAR 9, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

 - Bishop Jose Maria Pinheiro, auxiliary of Sao Paulo, Brazil, as bishop of Braganca Paulista (area 4,400, population 1,000,000, Catholics 750,000 priests 74, permanent deacons 1, religious 177), Brazil.

 - Fr. Tome Ferreira da Silva of the clergy of Campanha, Brazil, pastor of the parish of the Holy Family and diocesan assessor for liturgical pastoral ministry, as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Sao Paulo (area 1,645, population 8,950,800, Catholics 6,713,100, priests 838, permanent deacons 3, religious 3,240), Brazil. The bishop-elect was born in Cristina, Brazil, in 1961 and ordained a priest in 1987.
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VATICAN CITY, MAR 9, 2005 (VIS) - Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and dean of the College of Cardinals, will write the meditations for Good Friday's Via Crucis (Way of the Cross), which is traditionally celebrated in Rome's Colosseum.

  Last year, the Holy Father entrusted this task to Fr. Andre Louf, a Belgian 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.

  John Paul II wrote the text of the meditations himself in 2003, for the 25th anniversary of his pontificate; in 2000, for the Great Jubilee; and in 1984, for the extraordinary Holy Year of the Redemption.
.../VIA CRUCIS/RATZINGER                            VIS 20050309 (140)


VATICAN CITY, MAR 9, 2005 (VIS) - The new ambassador from Georgia to the Holy See, Princess Khetevane Bagration de Moukhrani, presented her Letters of Credence this morning to Cardinal Angelo Sodano, secretary of State, who received her in the Vatican, in the name of the Holy Father, whose speech of welcome he read. "I am very sorry," began the Pope's remarks, "that, because of my convalescence, I am not able to receive you personally to express my best wishes at the moment you are starting your mission."

  John Paul II highlighted his pastoral trip to Georgia in 1999 and the nation's "rich Christian patrimony. ... I firmly believe that the spiritual and cultural values present in the tradition of the Georgian people will not fail to play an important role in promoting a new flourishing of civilization on the roots of Georgia's Christian past and in favoring the consolidation of a society worthy of your noble nation."

  The Pope said that "on the path to independence and national rebuilding, Georgia has had to face many and often difficult challenges. ... In addition to the difficult task of setting up robust political and economic structures, Georgians have had to face the duty of keeping firm the sense of unity, while also being open to the broader European and international community" He said that meeting these challenges is only possible "thanks to a wise and prudent equilibrium between the exigencies of unity and respect for legitimate diversity."

  What is needed, said the Pope, "is to develop a solid model of unity in diversity, firmly anchored in the historical experience that is proper to the country, but open at the same time to the enrichment that comes from dialogue and cooperation with others."

  He underscored that the Catholic Church, even though a minority in Georgia, is anxious "to make her own contribution to the spiritual rebirth of the Nation and to the progress of the common good, not only in realizing her specific religious mission but also through her involvement in works of charity and in promoting cultural exchanges and educational opportunities that favor young people, who are the future of Georgia."

  "Today, more than ever," concluded the Pope's message to the ambassador, "believers are called to join forces to lay solid bases for an authentic social renewal, thus contributing to forming consciences on the paths of peace and respect for the inviolable dignity and the rights of every person."


VATICAN CITY, MAR 9, 2005 (VIS) - Just before midday, at the end of the Mass he concelebrates every day in the Gemelli Polyclinic in the presence of his doctors, the Holy Father appeared at the window of his room, wearing the purple chasuble used in the liturgical time of Lent.

   As he has done on the last two Sundays, the Pope today blessed several times the hundreds of people gathered in the area in front of the hospital, where they had been waiting for some hours, acclaiming him with cheers and songs.

  The large numbers of faithful at the hospital was due to the fact that today is traditionally the day of the Pope's weekly general audience which, usually held in the Vatican, has been suspended for the last two weeks.
.../PAPAL GREETING/...                            VIS 20050309 (150)

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