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Monday, June 6, 2005


VATICAN CITY, JUN 6, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Manuel Sanchez Monge of the clergy of the diocese of Palencia, Spain, and vicar general of the same diocese, as bishop of Mondonedo-Ferrol (area 4,425, population 301,095, Catholics 298,073, priests 200, religious 293), Spain. Bishop-elect Sanchez was born in 1947 in Fuentes de Nava, Spain and was ordained a priest in 1970. He succeeds Bishop Jose Gea Escolano whose resignation the Pope accepted upon having reached the age limit.

  On Saturday, June 4, it was made public that the Pope:

 - Appointed Fr. Judes Bicaba, vicar general of Dedougou, Burkina Faso, as bishop of the same diocese (area 28,374, population 1,089,330, Catholics 76,206, priests 77, religious 85). The bishop-elect was born in Wakara, Burkina Faso, in 1947 and ordained a priest in 1975. He succeeds Bishop Zephyrin Toe, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese was accepted by the Holy Father, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Bishop Jose Luis Escobar Alas, auxiliary of San Vicente, El Salvador, as bishop of the same diocese (area 2,056, population 477,603, Catholics 456,982, priests 43, religious 155). He succeeds Bishop Jose Oscar Barahona Castillo, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, in accordance with Canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.
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VATICAN CITY, JUN 6, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father received today in separate audiences:

- Archbishop Joseph Powathil of Changanacherry of the Siro-Malabars, India.

- Five prelates of the Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Louis Mcamiso Mdlovu of Manzini, Swaziland.
    - Bishop Mogale Paul Nkhumishe of Pietersburg, South Africa.

    - Bishop Hugh Patrick Slatery of Tzaneen, South Africa.

    - Bishop Paul Mandla Khumalo of Witbank, South Africa.

    - Bishop Michael M. O'Shea, apostolic vicar of Ingwavuma, South Africa.

- Two prelates of the Episcopal Conference of Lesotho on "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Sebastian Koto Khoarai of Mohale's Hoeok.

    - Evaristus Thatho Bitsoane of Qacha's Nek.

- Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz of Krakow, Poland.

  On Saturday, June 4, he received in separate audiences:

 - Four prelates from the Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Archbishop George Francis Daniel of Pretoria, South Africa.

    - Archbishop-bishop Buti Joseph Tlhagale O.M.I., of Johannesburg, South Africa.

    - Bishop Zithulele Patrick Mvemve of Klerksdorp, South Africa.

    - Bishop Pius Mlungisi Dlungwana, apostolic administrator "sede vacante et ad nutum Sanctae Sedis" of Marianhill, South Africa.

 - Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
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VATICAN CITY, JUN 6, 2005 (VIS) - The Pontifical Council for Culture has convened its members and consultors on the American continent for a plenary meeting in Sumare, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from June 7 to 12. They will be joined by the presidents and leaders of the commissions for culture of the episcopal conferences of the Americas

  According to a communique published today by the council, the theme of the meeting, which follows the encounter that took place in Puebla, Mexico in 2001, is "The Pastoral Ministry of Culture, a New Look at the Dawn of the Third Millennium." Cardinal Paul Poupard and Fr. Bernard Ardura, O. Praem, respectively council president and secretary, as well as council officials, will attend the encounter.

  Following opening remarks by Cardinal Eusebio Oscar Scheid, S.C.I., archbishop of Sao Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro, Cardinal Poupard will speak on "Current Cultural Challenges and the New Dynamism of the Pastoral Ministry of Culture in America."

  The eight scheduled work sessions will treat various aspects of the pastoral ministry of culture: the family; youth and education; the media; universities and public fora; indigenous and Afro-American cultures; migration; rural culture; urban culture; sects and the path to beauty. In the final session a document will be read and approved that will serve as a guide for the next continental meeting in 2009.


VATICAN CITY, JUN 5, 2005 (VIS) - In remarks made during the noon Angelus prayer today, Pope Benedict spoke of the recent feasts of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, highlighted the difficult moments being lived in Bolivia where the Church is trying to help resolve a situation of unrest and protests, and asked for the liberation in Afghanistan of the Italian hostage Clementina Cantoni.

  The Pope noted that the June 3 feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was also "the world day for the sanctification of priests, a propitious occasion to pray that priests place nothing above love of Christ. One person deeply devoted to the Heart of Christ was Blessed Bishop Giovanni Battista Scalabrini, patron of migrants," who "founded the missionaries of St. Charles Borromeo, also known as the Scalabrinians, to proclaim the Gospel among Italian emigrants."

  He went on to say that "the heart that most resembled Christ's was without doubt the heart of Mary, his Immaculate Mother. ... We entrust to her Immaculate Heart, whose feast was yesterday, the entire world so that it might feel God's merciful love and know true peace."

  After reciting the Angelus with the tens of thousands of pilgrims in St. Peter's Square, Benedict XVI noted that "various regions of the world are, at this moment, experiencing social and political tensions that risk breaking out into serious conflicts. At this moment my thoughts go especially to Bolivia and to the worrisome situation it is living through. While I invite everyone to pray for that dear population, I entrust to Our Lady my hope and my appeal that in all cases the common good, a sense of responsibility and availability to open and loyal dialogue will prevail."

  Turning his attention to another tension-filled area of the world, the Holy Father said he joined his voice to that of Italian President Ciampi "and the president of Afghanistan and the Italian and Afghan peoples in asking for the liberation of Italian volunteer, Clementina Cantoni. May the sad experience our sister is undergoing be a stimulus to seek with all means possible peaceful and fraternal understanding among individuals and nations."
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VATICAN CITY, JUN 4, 2005 (VIS) - Made public today was a letter from the Holy Father to Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, in which he renews the invitation made by John Paul II to attend the Fifth World Meeting of Families, due to be held in Valencia, Spain, in July 2006.

  After recalling the theme of the meeting, "Transmission of Faith in the Family," the Pope writes in his letter, dated May 17, that he aims "to encourage, as John Paul II did, 'the stupendous novelty,' the 'Gospel of the family,' the value of which has central importance for the Church and for society."

  "In order to give a truly human face to society," he goes on, "no one can ignore the precious gift of the family, based on matrimony. The marriage bond, in which man and woman together constitute a life-long association, ordered by its very nature for the good of the spouses and the generation and education of children," is the basis of the family, the heritage and shared wealth of humanity. Thus the Church cannot cease to announce that, in accordance with God's plans, marriage and the family are irreplaceable and admit no alternatives."

  Benedict XVI underscores the fact that, "today more than ever, the Christian family has a most noble and inexorable mission, that of transmitting the faith. ... Parents are the first evangelizers of their children, precious gifts of the Creator, beginning with teaching them their first prayers. Thus a moral universe is created, one rooted in the will of God and in which children are raised in human and Christian values that give full meaning to life."


VATICAN CITY, JUN 4, 2005 (VIS) - Pope Benedict today welcomed a pilgrimage from the diocese of Verona, Italy which is celebrating the end of its three-year long diocesan synod. "You have come to be confirmed in the faith," he told the faithful, "and I, called just a short time ago to this serious duty, am happy to greet (you) ... and to encourage you in the commitment of giving a Christian witness in today's world."

  Noting that the culminating phase of the synod occurs during the Year of the Eucharist, he said: "'The Church lives by the Eucharist' - thus wrote Servant of God John Paul II in his last encyclical, 'Ecclesia de Eucharistia'. ... In the Eucharist, as I said last Sunday in Bari at the end of the National Eucharistic Congress, Christ is really present among us. His is not a static presence. It is a dynamic presence which takes hold of us to make us His, to assimilate us to Himself."

  "Our spiritual life," said the Holy Father, "essentially depends on the Eucharist. Without it, faith and hope are extinguished, charity becomes cold. Thus, dear friends, I exhort you to attend ever more to the quality of Eucharistic celebrations, especially on Sundays, so that Sunday will truly be the Lord's Day and will confer fullness of meaning on everyday events and activities."

  Benedict XVI then noted that the family is also one of the themes of the diocesan synod. He said that in this diocese, as in so many others, "divorces and irregular unions have increased and for Christians this is an urgent call to proclaim and  give witness to, in its entirety, the Gospel of life and the family" which "is founded on indissoluble matrimony. Notwithstanding the difficulties and social and cultural conditionings of the current historical moment, may Christian couples never cease to be with their lives a sign of God's faithful love."

  He concluded his remarks by referring to yesterday's solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Christ, saying "only from this endless source of love can you have the necessary energy for your mission."
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