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Monday, May 23, 2005


VATICAN CITY, MAY 23, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Bishop Martin Drennan, auxiliary of Dublin, Ireland, as bishop of Galway and Kilmacduagh (area 2,610, population 105,079, Catholics 102,425, priests 113, religious 277), Ireland. He succeeds Bishop James McLoughlin whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

  On Saturday, May 21, it was made public that he appointed Fr. Juan Jose Pineda Fasquelle C.M.F., professor at the major national seminary of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, director of pastoral care at the Catholic University of Honduras and secretary of the archbishop of Tegucigalpa, as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Tegucigalpa (area 23,106, population 2,135,516, Catholics 1,601,637, priests 165, permanent deacons 1, religious 503). The bishop-elect was born in Tegucigalpa in 1960 and ordained to the priesthood in 1988.
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 23, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Georgi Parvanov, president of the Republic of Bulgaria, accompanied by his wife and an entourage.

 - Two prelates from the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Burundi, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Archbishop Simon Ntamwana of Gitega.

    - Bishop Jean Ntagwarara of Bubanza.

 - Vlado Buchkovski, prime minister of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, accompanied by his wife and an entourage.

  On Saturday, May 21, he received in separate audiences:

 - Superiors and officials of the Secretariat of State.

 - Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 23, 2005 (VIS) - Made public today was a letter from the Holy Father to the Spanish bishops on the occasion of the national pilgrimage to the shrine of Pilar de Zaragoza to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception and the 50th anniversary of the consecration of Spain to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

  "Mary Immaculate," he writes in the Letter dated May 19,  "reflects the mercy of the Father. Conceived without sin, she was capable of pardoning even those who abandoned and wounded her Son at the foot of the Cross. As our Advocate, she helps us in our needs and intercedes for us to her Son."

   "Accompanied by the paternal solicitude of Joseph," he adds, "Mary welcomed her Son. In the home at Nazareth Jesus reached maturity in a family that was humanly splendid and marked by the divine mystery, one that has been a model for all families. In this respect, in domestic coexistence the family realizes its vocation of human and Christian life, sharing joys and expectations in a climate of understanding and reciprocal help. Thus, the human person, who is born, grows and is formed in the family, is capable of undertaking with certainty the path of goodness, without letting himself or herself be disoriented by methods or ideologies foreign to the human person."

   Benedict XVI said he knows "the Catholic Church in Spain is disposed to take firm steps in her evangelizing projects. Thus, it is to be hoped that she will be understood and accepted in her natural truth and mission because it is a question of promoting the common good for everyone, with respect both to persons and to society. In effect, the transmission of the faith and religious practices of believers cannot remain confined to the purely private sphere."


VATICAN CITY, MAY 23, 2005 (VIS) - Prime Minister Vlado Buchkovski of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and an entourage were welcomed to the Vatican today by Pope Benedict on the occasion of the feast of St. Cyril and Methodius, Apostles to the Slavs. Their feast is celebrated in the East on May 11, and in the West on February 14.

  "When I received the new ambassador a few days ago," said the Holy Father, speaking English, "I wanted to acknowledge how strongly the traditions and culture of the Macedonian people resonate with the values which permeate the spirit of Europe. The brothers Saints Cyril and Methodius, Apostles of the Slav peoples, contributed significantly to its formation. Their human and Christian activity left indelible traces in the history of your own country. The pilgrimage which you make every year to the tomb of Saint Cyril provides a fitting occasion to return to the roots of your history."

  The Pope added, "I am convinced that the way to give life to a society truly attentive to the common good is to seek in the Gospel the roots of shared values, as the experience of Saints Cyril and Methodius demonstrates.  This is the ardent desire of the Catholic Church which has no other interest but to spread and bear witness to Jesus Christ's words of hope and love, words of life which down the centuries have inspired many martyrs and confessors of the faith.

  "I sincerely hope," concluded Benedict XVI, "that your pilgrimage today will contribute to keeping vibrant throughout the Nation these high human and Christian ideals. I pray too that your country will confidently open up to Europe, thereby contributing significantly to building its future, inspired by your invaluable religious and cultural heritage."


VATICAN CITY, MAY 23, 2005 (VIS) - Pope Benedict today received Georgi Parvanov, president of the Republic of Bulgaria, with his wife and a delegation, who are in Rome for the traditional annual homage to the tomb of St. Cyril who, together with his brother Methodius, are Apostles to the Slavs. With St. Benedict, they were proclaimed co-patrons of Europe by John Paul II on December 31, 1980.

  The Holy Father noted that Cyril and Methodius "forged in a Christian perspective the human and cultural values of the Bulgarians and other Slav nations. One could also say that, through their evangelizing action, it is Europe that was shaped, this Europe of which Bulgaria feels itself to be a convincing partner. Bulgaria even realizes that it has a special duty towards other peoples, knowing it is one of the bridges between West and East."

  Highlighting "the good relations that exist between the Holy See and the nation you represent," the Pope then asked: "How can we not thank Divine Providence for this rediscovered capacity of friendly and constructive dialogue after the long and difficult period of the communist regime?"

  In closing remarks, Benedict XVI thanked Bulgaria and its people for the "closeness shown to the Holy See in these last two months You, the government, the parliament, and so many citizens wished to show the Catholic Church their sincere sentiments on the occasion of the death of John Paul II and of my election as his successor."
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 22, 2005 (VIS) - Before praying the Angelus with the more than 20,000 faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square, the Holy Father highlighted today's solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, and greeted participants in the National Eucharistic Congress which opened yesterday in Bari, Italy. The Pope will personally close the congress next Sunday in this city on Italy's Adriatic coast.

  "Jesus has revealed to us the mystery of God," said the Pope. "He, the Son, made us know the Father Who is in heaven, and gave us the Holy Spirit, the Love of the Father and Son. Christian theology synthesizes the truth about God with this expression: one substance in three persons. God is not solitude, but perfect communion. For this reason the human person, in the image of God, is realized in love, which is the sincere giving of oneself."

  "Today, feast of the Most Holy Trinity," continued Benedict XVI, "I am very happy to greet the participants in the Eucharistic Congress of the Church in Italy, which opened yesterday in Bari. In the heart of this year dedicated to the Eucharist, the Christian people gather around Christ who is present in the Most Holy Sacrament, the source and summit of her life and mission." Noting that the theme of the congress is "Without Sundays We Cannot Live," the Holy Father said "as I wait to personally go to Bari next Sunday for the Eucharistic celebration, I am with all of you spiritually for this important ecclesial event."

  After the Angelus prayer, the Pope greeted the faithful in Spanish, Polish, German. "I greet Italian-speaking pilgrims," he said in closing. He then added in spontaneous remarks, as he noted people continuing to arrive in the square, that they "are very numerous, as we can see and hear."
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 21, 2005 (VIS) - Pope Benedict met this morning with Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano, the substitute for General Affairs, Archbisbop Leonardo Sandri, the secretary for Relations with States, Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, their assistants and all the collaborators in both the First and Second Sections of the Secretariat of State.

  Following remarks by Cardinal Sodano, who spoke in the name of all officials present as well as of those who work in pontifical representations throughout the world, the Holy Father spoke in off-the-cuff remarks.

  "I have come here with no written speech, but with a sense of vibrant gratitude in my heart, and with the intention to learn. I am slowly learning something about the structure of the Secretariat of State, especially as each day a pile of documentation arrives, of work done in this Secretariat of State. And so I see - from the variety, density and even competency concealed in this work - just how much is done here in these offices."

  "If we think of the great international administrations - for example the European administration, and Msgr. Lajolo has told me the number of employees who work there - we truly are a small number. The fact that such a reduced number of people does such an immense task for the Universal Church does great honor to the Holy See. This large job done by a small number of people shows the assiduousness and dedication with which the work is actually done."

  "We do not work - as many people say of work - to defend power. We do not have a secular, earthly power. We do not work for prestige, we do not work to see a company grow or anything of that nature. We work, in fact, so that the paths of the world may be open to Christ. And in the end all our work, with all its ramifications, serves precisely so that the Gospel, and thus the joy of the Redemption, can reach the world. ... We become ... collaborators of the Truth, in other words, of Christ in His action in the world, in order that the world may truly become the Kingdom of God."

  "I can, then, simply say a big thank you. Together we undertake the service that is proper for Peter's Successor, the 'Petrine service,' that of confirming our brothers and sister in faith."
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 21, 2005 (VIS) - Pope Benedict welcomed eight bishops from Rwanda this morning as they end their "ad limina" visit to Rome and, in his address in French, asked them to greet their communities on his behalf and to "exhort priests and the faithful, harshly tried by the 1994 genocide and its consequences, to remain strong in the faith and to persevere in the hope given by the Risen Christ, while overcoming every temptation to discouragement."

  "To work actively for peace and reconciliation," said the Pope, "you are notably promoting a pastoral ministry of closeness, based on the commitment of small communities of lay people to the missionary work of the Church, in harmony with her pastors. I encourage you to support these communities so that the faithful welcome the truths of the faith and its demands, thus developing a stronger ecclesial and spiritual life, so that they do not allow themselves to be turned away from the Gospel of Christ, notably by the numerous sects present in the country."

  The Holy Father urged the prelates "to work ceaselessly so that the Gospel penetrates ever more deeply into the hearts and lives of believers, inviting the faithful to assume their responsibilities in society, especially in the fields of economy and politics, with a moral sense nourished by the Gospel and the Church's social doctrine."

  Benedict XVI, noting that the clergy is Rwanda is becoming native-born, said, "I would like to honor the patient work done by missionaries to proclaim Christ and His Gospel, and to have created the Christian communities entrusted to you today." He exhorted the bishops to be close to their priests, attentive to their ongoing formation and "to their conditions of life and the exercise of their mission." May your priests, he concluded "remain faithful to the demands of their state and live their priesthood as a true path of holiness!"
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 21, 2005 (VIS) - Yesterday afternoon Holy See Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro-Valls made the following declaration to journalists concerning the visit to the Vatican by former U.S. President Bill Clinton:

  "Today, May 20, 2005 Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano received William J. Clinton, former president of the United States of America, who visited the Vatican to report on activities entrusted to him by the secretary general of the United Nations Organization to promote international solidarity in support of Asian peoples struck by the tsunami.

  "For his part, the secretary of State described to the illustrious guest the Holy See's commitment in this field. Cardinal Sodano then introduced President Clinton to Archbishop Paul Josef Cordes, president of the Pontifical Council 'Cor Unum,' who gave a detailed account of work undertaken in this field by various Catholic institutions around the world.

  "The occasion was also used to give attention to two other large contemporary problems: the contribution of States to under-developed countries and the struggle against AIDS, especially in Africa."
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 21, 2005 (VIS) - Pope Benedict XVI, following the honor conferred by Austria on his brother, Msgr. Georg Ratzinger, on May 19 in the Vatican, made brief remarks in German to those present. Following is a translation of those remarks that was made public yesterday afternoon.

  "It feels strange for me to speak now. As I came down here, my secretary said to me: 'Now, dear Holy Father, your brother is the most important person'. There is no doubt about that. I find it pleasing that my brother, who for 30 years has so committed himself to sacred music in Ratisbone Cathedral and in the rest of the world, should receive recognition from such a competent body.

  "When I speak, despite my inadequacy, I feel, so to say, like the spokesman for those present here who feel joy, gratitude and satisfaction for this moment. As my brother has said, Austria is in a very special way a country of music. Whoever thinks of Austria, thinks in the first place of the beauty of creation that the Lord granted it. They think of the beauty of the buildings, the cordiality of the people, but also and above all of the music. ... For this reason, the fact that our dear neighbor Austria should give this recognition to my brother takes on a particular importance. And I too give my heartfelt thanks.

  "I imagine that also the new generation of cathedral cantors, instructed by the choir master, find cause for joy and encouragement in the fact that 30 years of work have been recognized, and that this may help them to honor the message of the good God, in these times when we have such need, and to lead men to joy with renewed drive and enthusiasm. Thank you."
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