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Monday, July 18, 2005


VATICAN CITY, JUL 17, 2005 (VIS) - During an informal meeting with journalists at Les Combes, the locality in the Italian region of Valle d'Aosta where the Pope is spending his holiday, Holy See Press Office Director Joaquin Navarrro-Valls described Benedict XVI's vacation, which began on July 11 and will last until July 28, as "a real holiday, but a working holiday."

  After celebrating Mass and eating breakfast the Holy Father reads the breviary before retiring to his room to write, said Navarro-Valls. "I would not say he is writing an Encyclical," said the Holy See spokesman, suggesting that perhaps the Holy Father is working on a book. In the afternoon the Pope usually takes a walk around the local area. On Saturday, returning home, he paused to greet some of the locals.

  The Holy Father's chalet, the property of the Salesians, is the same one in which John Paul II used to stay. "Everything has remained as it was," said Navarro-Valls, save the piano which has been placed in the study. The Pope loves music and "over these days I have heard him play Mozart", the press office director added.

  This evening, Benedict XVI visited a museum dedicated to John Paul II located some 500 meters from the chalet in which he is staying. The museum was inaugurated in 1996 and brings together personal objects used by John Paul II during his holidays in the alpine mountains. It also contains many photographs of the late Pontiff including pictures of him walking in the mountains wearing sports shoes and an alpine hat.

  Before returning home, the Holy Father paused briefly in a small nearby hermitage, where he spent a few minutes in prayer.
.../VACATIONS:LES COMBES/NAVARRO-VALLS                VIS 20050718 (300)


VATICAN CITY, JUL 17, 2005 (VIS) - At midday today, after praying the Angelus, the Pope greeted the bishop, priests, religious, families and local authorities of the Valle d'Aosta region in northwestern Italy where he is spending a brief vacation, and assured them of his special prayers for the sick and suffering.

  The Holy Father then approached the faithful who had gathered to see him and personally greeted the sick and disabled people occupying the front rows.

  Before leaving, he addressed some remarks to young people saying: "You have come to my first Angelus in the mountains. We are already spiritually on the march to Cologne. We will all meet in Cologne!"

  Benedict XVI is due to visit Germany from August 18 to 21 for the occasion of the 20th World Youth Day, which will be held in the city of Cologne.


VATICAN CITY, JUL 17, 2005 (VIS) - This morning Benedict XVI prayed the Angelus together with more than 6,000 people, including locals, holiday-makers and pilgrims, who joined him at Les Combes in Italy's Valle d'Aosta where he is spending his vacation.

  Before the Marian prayer, the Holy Father referred to his "beloved predecessor," John Paul II, "whose memory is still alive in the stupendous mountains of the Valle d'Aosta" where "for many years he came to spend brief periods of vacation."

  "This summer break," the Holy Father continued, "is a truly providential gift of God following the first months of the demanding pastoral service with which Divine Providence has entrusted me."

  "In the world in which we live it is almost a requirement to be able to restore body and spirit, especially for city dwellers, where the often frenetic lifestyle leaves little time for silence, reflection or the soothing contact with nature. Vacations are also a period in which one can dedicate more time to prayer, reading and meditation on the profound meaning of life, in the serene environment of one's own family and loved ones."

  "Through contact with nature, people again find their true dimension, they rediscover themselves as creatures, small but at the same time unique, and 'capable of God' because of an interior openness to Infinity. Driven by the need for meaning which rises from their hearts, they perceive in the surrounding world the signs of goodness and of Divine Providence and, almost naturally, they become open to praise and prayer."
ANG/VACATIONS/LES COMBES                        VIS 20050718 (270)


VATICAN CITY, JUL 16, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Cardinal Jozef Tomko, president of the Pontifical Commission for International Eucharist Congresses, as his special envoy to the closing celebrations of the Slovakian National Eucharistic Congress, due to be held in Bratislava-Petrzalka, Slovakia, on September 18, 2005.

 - Appointed Fr. Albert Vanbuel S.D.B., president of the superiors major of central Africa, as bishop of Kaga-Bandoro (area 95,000, population 230,420, Catholics 50,437, priests 17, religious 14), Central African Republic. The bishop-elect was born in Zolder, Belgium in 1940 and ordained a priest in 1967.

 - Appointed Bishop Walter Mixa of Eichstatt, military ordinary of the Federal Republic of Germany, as bishop of Augsburg (area 13,250, population 2,249,020, Catholics 1,536,294, priests 1,118, permanent deacons 129, religious 2,534), Germany.
NA:NER/.../TOMKO:VANBUEL:MIXA                    VIS 20050718 (140)


VATICAN CITY, JUL 16, 2005 (VIS) - Made public today was a telegram of condolence sent, in the Pope's name, by Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano to Archbishop Alain Lebeaupin, apostolic nuncio to Kenya, for the murder on Thursday night of Bishop Luigi Locati, apostolic vicar of Isiolo.

  "The Holy Father," writes Cardinal Sodano, "was deeply saddened to learn of the tragic death of Bishop Luigi Locati, and he extends heartfelt condolences and the assurance of his closeness in prayer to the clergy, religious and faithful of the apostolic vicariate of Isiolo. Commending the late bishop's noble soul to the infinite mercy of God our Father, His Holiness gives thanks for the selfless witness to the Gospel and the advancement of human dignity which characterized his priestly and episcopal ministry. He likewise prays that Bishop Locati's death may hasten the dawn of that peace and reconciliation to which he devoted himself to the last. To all assembled for the solemn Mass of Christian burial the Holy Father cordially imparts his apostolic blessing as a pledge of consolation and strength in our Lord Jesus Christ."

  In another telegram, addressed to Archbishop Enrico Masseroni of Vercelli, Italy, the archdiocese of origin of Bishop Locati, Cardinal Sodano states that the Pope "expresses, to the diocesan community and to the relatives of the heroic missionary, his spiritual participation in their unexpected mourning. Recalling, with a spirit of gratitude to the Lord, the generous episcopal ministry undertaken by this worthy prelate among the Kenyan people, the Holy Father raises fervent prayers invoking ... the well-deserved eternal reward for the late pastor, and he sends to everyone the comfort of a special apostolic blessing in the light of the supreme certainties of faith."
TGR/MURDER BISHOP LOCATI/SODANO                VIS 20050718 (310)


VATICAN CITY, JUL 18, 2005 (VIS) - Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano has sent a telegram of condolence, in the Pope's name, to Archbishop Edmond Farhat, apostolic nuncio to Turkey, for Saturday's bomb attack in the Turkish tourist resort of Kusadasi:

  "Informed of the deadly explosion that took place recently in Turkey, the Holy Father implores the mercy of the Almighty for the people who lost their lives in the horrific attack and the consolation of God on their suffering families. He express his heartfelt sympathy to the numerous people injured in this drama and to their families, as well as to the Turkish authorities and people."
TGR/ATTACK/TURKEY:SODANO                        VIS 20050718 (120)

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