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Thursday, July 14, 2005


VATICAN CITY, JUL 14, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Camillo Ballin M.C.C.I., director of the Center for Arab and Islamic Studies in Cairo, Egypt, as apostolic vicar of Kuwait (area 17,900, population 2,650,000, Catholics 158,500, priests 10, religious 13). The bishop-elect was born in Fontaniva, Italy in 1944 and ordained a priest in 1969. He succeeds Bishop Francis Micallef O.C.D., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same apostolic vicariate the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
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VATICAN CITY, JUL 14, 2005 (VIS) - The tragedy of the tsunami that struck the coasts of southeast Asia on December 26, 2004, the aid given to those affected by the catastrophe and the task of rebuilding the countries involved were the central themes of a speech delivered by Archbishop Celestino Migliore, Holy See permanent observer to the United Nations, on July 13 to the U.N. Economic and Social Council in a session dedicated to "special economic, humanitarian and disaster relief assistance."

  Archbishop Migliore recalled the promptness with which, following the disaster, the Holy See was able to provide four million dollars in emergency relief. "Dozens of Catholic agencies quickly followed this up, with projects for the reconstruction of homes and schools" in the countries affected, he said. "It is estimated that around 650 million dollars has been made available by agencies related to the Holy See to the peoples affected by the tsunami."

  "The funds just mentioned were firstly applied to the most urgent emergency needs: safe drinking water, food, shelter, clothing, etc. ... Refugees, internally displaced persons, and women and children especially vulnerable to human trafficking and exploitation, were among the first to be helped. After the emergency phase, reconstruction and rehabilitation projects were begun, including the rebuilding of homes, schools and hospitals, not to mention the provision of agricultural and fishing equipment."

  Going on to underline the importance of spiritual and religious support, he affirmed the Holy See's commitment "in all circumstances to respect religious and cultural differences, and to work amicably to facilitate greater trust among believers of all faiths and non-believers. Inter-religious cooperation and peace-building initiatives will continue to form an important element of the Church's work."

  The archbishop also dwelt on the subject of planning and the distribution of resources: "Our agencies and institutions in the areas affected by the tsunami specifically examined ways of avoiding the creation of a bloated bureaucracy to deal with the emergency, in order to ensure the delivery of the greatest amount of funding to its proper final destination."

  In closing, Archbishop Migliore recalled how, paradoxically, the catastrophe "has actually presented the affected governments and peoples with an unprecedented opportunity for reconstruction and development. The internal, bilateral, north-south and south-south cooperation which was seen at the time is a platform, not to be squandered, but to be built upon for the good both of the survivors and of all the peoples of the region."
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VATICAN CITY, JUL 14, 2005 (VIS) - Holy See Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro-Valls announced that at midday today, Benedict XVI participated in the two minutes of silence for the victims of the bomb attacks in London on July 7.

  The director of the Holy See Press Office, who is accompanying the Holy Father on his vacation at Les Combes in the Valle d'Aosta in northwest Italy, affirmed that the Pope "prayed for the victims of terrorism, for their families and, specifically, for peace. He also prayed that such acts of violence are not repeated."

  After recalling how the Pope prays the Angelus every day, the spokesman added that "on this occasion he prayed for the needs of the world."
.../POPE:PRAYER VICTIMS/NAVARRO-VALLS                VIS 20050714 (140)

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