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Monday, May 16, 2005


VATICAN CITY, MAY 16, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences four prelates from the Conference of Catholic bishops of Rwanda, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Archbishop Thaddee Ntihinyurwa of Kigali.

    - Bishop Philippe Rukamba of Butare.

    - Bishop Servilien Nzakamwita of Byumba.

    - Bishop Jean Damascene Bimenyimana of Cyangugu.

  On Saturday, May 14, he received in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy.

 - Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins C.M.F., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

 - Archbishop Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity

 - Cardinal Eduardo Martinez Somalo, camerlengo of Holy Roman Church.

 - Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 16, 2005 (VIS) - Made public today was the annual Message  sent by the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue to Buddhists on the occasion of the feast of Vesakh 2005. The Message, written in English, is signed by Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, president of the pontifical council. Vesakh is a moveable feast which marks important events in the life of Gautama Buddha.

  Archbishop Fitzgerald points to this year's 40th anniversary of "Nostra Aetate," the Vatican Council II document on the relationship of the Church to other religions, which states that 'the Catholic Church rejects nothing of what is true and holy in these religions'. Accordingly, Buddhists and Catholics are able to meet together, in a spirit of openness, sincerity and mutual respect, engaging in many different forms of dialogue."
  Where they live and work side by side, says the Message, "the resulting 'dialogue of life' allows them, while witnessing to their own beliefs, to deepen their understanding of one another, to foster goodwill and to promote a spirit of neighbourliness. In fact, a particular bond has developed between many Buddhist and Catholic monks and nuns."

  Archbishop Fitzgerald underscores that "nowhere has the need for collaboration been felt more keenly than in the countries of South and Southeast Asia which were affected by the earthquake and the ensuing tsunami of December 26, 2004. ... The long-term requirements of reconstruction call, however, for a continuation of these inter-religious expressions of solidarity" as do "many other situations which require cooperation among people of good will."
  "This year's feast of Vesakh," he concludes, "will find many families missing some of their members. I wish to assure them that their loved ones will not be forgotten but will be remembered in our prayers."


VATICAN CITY, MAY 16, 2005 (VIS) - Made public today was a Letter from Benedict XVI to Cardinal Camillo Ruini, vicar of Rome and president of the Italian Episcopal Conference, confirming his nomination by John Paul II in January as special envoy to the 24th Italian Eucharistic Congress to be held in Bari, Italy from May 21 to 29. The Pontifical Letter was dated May 13, 2005.

  The Holy Father, noting that his "venerated predecessor John Paul II" had received a pressing invitation last October to preside at the concluding celebrations of the Congress, called this "a very significant event for the Italian Church which takes place within the special context of the Year of the Eucharist, during which Catholics throughout the world are stimulated to have a renewed awareness of the great gift left by Christ at the Last Supper." The Pope also noted that the theme of the Congress, whose closing celebrations he will preside on May 29,  is "Without Sundays, We Cannot Live."

  Made public with the Letter were the names of the Pontifical Mission that will accompany Cardinal Ruini: Msgrs. Domenico Ciavarella, vicar general of the archdiocese of Bari-Bitonte and Piergiuseppe Vacchelli, under-secretary of the Italian Episcopal Conference.
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 16, 2005 (VIS) - This morning, the Pope received pilgrims who participated in Saturday's ceremony for the beatification of Mothers Ascension del Corazon de Jesus Nicol Goni, and Marianne Cope. "Exemplary witnesses of Christ's charity," said the Holy Father, "these two new Blesseds help us to better understand the meaning and the value of our Christian vocation."

  Addressing himself particularly to the Dominican Missionary Sisters of the Rosary "who, following the example of their Blessed Foundress help us to experience, in our own time, the spirit of St. Dominic," the Pope said: "Keep alive the experience of the closeness of God in missionary life - 'how close God feels,' Mother Ascension used to say. And keep alive the spirit of fraternity in your communities, always ready to go where the Church most needs you, with the same pioneering spirit that took Mother Ascension to the wild lands of the Vicariate of Puerto Maldonado."

  The Holy Father then greeted pilgrims from that apostolic vicariate and from other areas of Peru, "who saw a precious fruit of genuine evangelization come into bloom, cultivated with special care by female hands." He also greeted pilgrims from Navarre, the area of Spain in which the new Blessed was born, and from other parts of Spain.

  Speaking about Blessed Marianne Cope, he recalled how "in 1862 she entered the Congregation of the Franciscan Sisters of Syracuse where she imbibed the particular spirituality of St. Francis of Assisi, dedicating herself wholeheartedly to spiritual and corporal works of mercy."

  After explaining how Mother Cope accepted an invitation from the bishop of Honolulu, Hawaii, to work among lepers, Benedict XVI affirmed: "For 35 years, until her death in 1918, our new Blessed dedicated her life to the love and service of lepers on the islands of Maui and Molokai."

  "Undoubtedly the generosity of Mother Marianne was, humanly speaking, exemplary," said the Pope. "Good intentions and selflessness alone, however, do not adequately explain her vocation. It is only the perspective of faith which enables us to understand her witness - as a Christian and as a religious - to that sacrificial love which reaches its fullness in Jesus Christ. All that she achieved was inspired by her personal love of the Lord which she in turn expressed through her love of  those abandoned and rejected by society in a most wretched way."
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 15, 2005 (VIS) - Appearing at his study window almost 20 minutes late for the noon Regina Coeli prayer, Pope Benedict, in unscripted remarks, asked the estimated 40,000 faithful in St. Peter's Square "to please excuse me for the great delay. I had the grace to ordain 21 priests and such a harvest for God lasts quite a bit of time, therefore, thank you for your understanding."

  He went on to say that the ordination Mass "marks a moment of important growth for our community. It receives life, in fact, from these ordained ministers, above all through the service of  the Word of God and the Sacraments. This therefore is a festive day for the Church of Rome And for the new priests this is in a special way their Pentecost: I repeat my greetings to them and pray that the Holy Spirit will always accompany their ministry."

  The Holy Father noted that "the happy coincidence between Pentecost and the priestly ordinations invites me to underscore the indissoluble tie that exists, in the Church, between the Spirit and the institution. I referred to this last Saturday when I took possession of the chair of the bishop of Rome at St. John Lateran. The chair and the Spirit are intimately linked in reality, as are the charism and the ordained ministry. Without the Holy Spirit the Church would be reduced to a merely human organization, weighed down by her very structures. But in turn, in the plans of God, the Spirit habitually uses human mediation to act in history. Precisely for this reason, Christ, Who constituted His Church on the foundation of the Apostles gathered around Peter, also enriched her with the gift of His Spirit so that, over the centuries. He could comfort her and lead her to the full truth.

  "May the ecclesial community," he said in closing remarks, "remain always open and docile to the action of the Holy Spirit in order to be among men a credible sign and effective instrument of God's action!"

  After the Regina Coeli prayer, Benedict XVI made brief remarks in German and Italian to the pilgrims in the square.
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 15, 2005 (VIS) - In the Vatican Basilica today, Solemnity of Pentecost, Benedict XVI presided at Mass during which he ordained 21 deacons of the diocese of Rome. The Mass was concelebrated by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, vicar general for the diocese of Rome, Archbishop Luigi Moretti, vicegerent, the auxiliary bishops, the superiors of the seminaries where the deacons were formed, and their pastors.

   Eleven of the new priests are from Italy, two from Bolivia, and one each from Uruguay, Costa Rica, Peru, Ireland, Romania, Kenya, Angola and Nigeria.

  In his homily, the Pope recalled how on the day of Pentecost, "the Holy Spirit, under the signs of the mighty wind and the fire, broke in upon the praying community of Jesus' disciples, and so gave origin to the Church."

  "The Church," said the Holy Father, "must always become anew that which she already is: she must open the frontiers between peoples and break down the barriers between classes and races. In her, no one can be forgotten or scorned. ... The wind and the fire of the Holy Spirit must ceaselessly open the frontiers that we human beings continue to build between ourselves."

  Addressing the new priests, Benedict XVI said that in the Risen Lord's greeting to the Apostles - "peace be with you," which is mentioned in today's Gospel - "we may also see a call to the great mystery of faith, to the Holy Eucharist, in which He continues to give Himself to us and, in that way, continues to give us true peace."

  In Jesus' name, the Pope went on, "you can say, this is My body, this is My blood. Always allow yourselves to be drawn back to the Holy Eucharist, to communion of life with Christ. Consider the worthy celebration of the Eucharist as the center of each day. Always lead men back again to this mystery. Help them, on the foundation of the Eucharist, to bring Christ's peace into the world."

  The Pope also referred to a priest's "power of forgiveness." He said: "The Sacrament of Penance is one of the Church's precious treasures, because only in forgiveness is true renewal of the world achieved. Nothing can improve in the world, if evil is not overcome. And evil can be overcome only through forgiveness. Of course, this must be efficacious forgiveness, but this forgiveness can only be given to us by the Lord. A forgiveness that does not overcome evil only with words, but that truly transforms it."
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 14, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

  - Msgr. Francesco Alfano of the clergy of Nocera Inferiore-Sarno, Italy, pastor and episcopal vicar for clergy, as archbishop of Sant'Angelo dei Lombardi-Conza-Nusco-Bisaccia (area 1,290, population 85,000, Catholics 84,500, priests 67, permanent deacons 2, religious 128), Italy. The archbishop-elect was born in Nocera Inferiore in 1956 and ordained a priest in 1982.

 - Msgr. Michele Castoro of the clergy of the diocese of Altamura-Gravina-Acquaviva delle Fonti, Italy, bureau chief of the Congregation for Bishops, as bishop of Oria (area 921, population 181,694, Catholics 178,700, priests 121, permanent deacons 6, religious 295), Italy. The bishop-elect was born in Altamura in 1952 and ordained a priest in 1977.
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 14, 2005 (VIS) - This evening at the altar of the Cathedra in the Vatican Basilica, Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins C.M.F., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, presided at Mass for the beatification of Servants of God Ascension Nicol Goni and Marianne Cope.

  At the beginning of the ceremony, by order of Benedict XVI, Cardinal Saraiva read out the Apostolic Letter by which the Supreme Pontiff inscribed the two Servants of God in the Book of Blesseds.

  In his homily, the cardinal spoke of the Solemnity of Pentecost, highlighting how the Apostles "experienced the Holy Spirit and became witnesses of Christ, Who died and rose again, missionaries along the paths of the world. The same experience is repeated in all those who, by accepting Christ, open themselves to God and to humanity; it is repeated above all in the saints, both in the anonymous saints and in those who have been raised to the glory of the altars. Saints are the masterpieces of the Spirit, Who molds the face of Christ, and infuses God's charity in their hearts."

  Speaking of the Spanish Blessed, Ascension del Corazon de Jesus, the cardinal described her as "one of the great missionaries of the last century" who "wished to belong exclusively to God, consecrating herself as a Dominican nun in the Santa Rosa monastery in Huesca, Spain." After recalling that when she was 45, the Lord called her to be a missionary in Peru, Cardinal Saraiva affirmed: "With youthful enthusiasm and complete trust in Providence, she left her homeland and dedicated herself to the task of evangelization, extending her zeal to the entire world, beginning with the American continent. Her generous, far-reaching and effective work left a profound impression in the missionary history of the Church.

  "She collaborated with the Dominican Bishop Ramon Zubieta in founding the Dominican Missionary Sisters of the Most Holy Rosary, a congregation of which she was the first superior general. Her missionary life abounded in sacrifice, renunciation and apostolic fruits. ... Supported by a living faith and a fervent devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and to Our Lady of the Rosary, she committed herself to the salvation of souls, completely forgetting herself. She frequently exhorted her daughters to do likewise, affirming that souls cannot be saved without personal sacrifice."

  As for Marianne Cope, who was born in Germany but emigrated to the United States while still very young, the prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints pointed out that her encounter "with those suffering from leprosy took place when she was far along on her journey to Christ. For 20 years she had been a member of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis of Syracuse in New York."

   God, said the cardinal, called her "to a more difficult missionary service," that of caring for lepers on the Island of Molokai, Hawaii. "She left everything and abandoned herself completely to the will of God. ... She willingly worked with Blessed Damian De Veuster," known as the apostle of lepers, and "she loved those suffering from leprosy more than she loved her very self. She served them, educated them, and guided them with wisdom, love and strength. She saw in them the suffering face of Jesus. Like the Good Samaritan, she became their mother."

  At the end of his homily, Cardinal Saraiva highlighted how the two new Blesseds "brought into the world the fruits and signs of the presence of the Holy Spirit, they spoke the language of truth and love, the only language capable of breaking down the barriers of culture and race, and of rebuilding the unity of the human family, which has been lost through pride, the thirst for power, and the refusal of God's sovereignty."
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