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Monday, September 5, 2005


VATICAN CITY, SEP 5, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Their Majesties King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain, accompanied by an entourage.

 - Two prelates from the Conference of the Mexican Episcopate, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Fernando Mario Chavez Ruvalcaba of Zacatecas.

    - Archbishop Jose Ulises Macias Salcedo of Hermosillo.

 - Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.

 - Cardinal Camillo Ruini, vicar general for the diocese of Rome.

  On Sunday, September 4, he received in audience Cardinal Jozef Tomko, president of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses and special envoy to the closing celebrations of the Slovak National Eucharistic Congress.
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 5, 2005 (VIS) - The ninth Inter-Christian Symposium, promoted by the Franciscan Institute of Spirituality at the Antonianum Pontifical Athenaeum in Rome, and by the faculty of theology at the Aristotle University of Thessalonica, Greece, is taking place in the Italian town of Assisi from September 4 to 7.

  The inter-Christian symposia began in 1992 and are celebrated on alternate years in Greece and in Italy. The theme of this year's meeting - "The Eucharist in the eastern and western traditions, with particular reference to ecumenical dialogue" - will be introduced by Archbishop Yannis Spiteris O.F.M. Cap. of Corfu, Greece, and expounded by twelve scholars, six Orthodox and six Catholic. The symposium will also be attended by Msgr. Eleuterio F. Fortino, under-secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

  At the opening session of the symposium, Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the same pontifical council, read out a message from Benedict XVI.

  "The symposium," writes the Pope in his message, "represents a joyful opportunity for fraternal exchange, in which important themes from the heritage of shared faith may be reflected upon and given profound consideration. ... The search for full and visible unity among all Christ's disciples is felt as a particularly urgent need of our times."

  Benedict XVI goes on to point out that this year's theme "is highly significant for the life of Christians and for the recomposition of full communion among all the disciples of Christ. ... Dialogue and discussion in truth and in charity ... will surely bring out our shared faith as well as those theological and liturgical aspects particular to the East and to the West, complementary aspects that have a dynamic effect in forming the People of God, and that represent a treasure for the Church."

  "Achieving the full communion of Christians must be the objective of all those who profess faith in the Church. ... This concern extends to everyone, according to their talents, whether they be exercised in daily Christian life or in theological and historical research."

  Although the absence of communion means that concelebration is not possible, Benedict XVI observes that this "will in any case be an appeal to intensify prayer, study and dialogue with the aim of resolving the differences that still remain."


VATICAN CITY, SEP 4, 2005 (VIS) - After praying the Angelus at midday today at his summer residence at Castelgandolfo, the Pope gave assurances of his prayers for the victims of the hurricane that recently struck the U.S.A.: for the dead and their families, the injured, the homeless, the sick, children and the elderly.

  After blessing "those involved in the difficult work of rescue and rebuilding," he said that he had entrusted Archbishop Paul Josef Cordes, president of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum," to bring testimony of the Pope's solidarity to the people stricken by the disaster.

  The Holy Father concluded: "My thoughts also go to the Iraqi people who last Wednesday witnessed the deaths of hundreds of their fellow citizens - mostly elderly people, women and children - who had gathered in Baghdad for a religious ceremony, victims of an unstoppable moment of panic. May the Almighty touch everyone's hearts so that a climate of reconciliation and reciprocal trust may finally be instated in that troubled country."
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VATICAN CITY, SEP 4, 2005 (VIS) - At midday today, prior to praying the Angelus, the Pope addressed some remarks to the faithful who filled the internal courtyard of the Apostolic Palace at Castelgandolfo.

  Benedict XVI recalled that the Year of the Eucharist - instituted by John Paul II "to reawaken among Christian people faith, wonder and love for this great Sacrament that constitutes the true treasure of the Church" - will conclude in October with the meeting of the Synod of Bishops on the theme: "The Eucharist: Source and Summit of the Life and Mission of the Church."

  Referring to John Paul II, the Pope exclaimed: "With what devotion did he celebrate Mass, the focal point of each of his days! How much time did he spend in silent, adoring prayer before the tabernacle! In his final months his illness likened him ever more to the suffering Christ. It is striking to think that, at the moment of his death, he found himself uniting the offer of his own life to that of Christ in the Mass being celebrated next to his bed. His earthly existence closed in the octave of Easter, in the very heart of this Year of the Eucharist in which his great pontificate gave way to mine. It is with joy then that I, from the beginning of this great service the Lord has asked of me, reaffirm the centrality of the Sacrament of the real presence of Christ in the life of the Church and of each individual Christian."

  With a view to the forthcoming synod, the Holy Father then called on the entire ecclesiastical community to participate in this preparatory phase "with prayer and reflection, making the most of each occasion, event and meeting." He also highlighted the central role of the Eucharist in the recent World Youth Day, recalling the night vigil of Saturday, August 20, at Marienfeld, "which had its culminating moment in the adoration of the Eucharist," as well as the continuous adoration by day and night in some German churches.

  "I trust that, thanks to the commitment of pastors and faithful, participation in the Eucharist becomes ever more assiduous and fervent in all communities. Today, I would particularly like to call on people to sanctify with joy the 'day of the Lord,' Sunday, the holy day for Christians. In this context, I wish to recall the figure of St. Gregory the Great. ... That illustrious Pope made an enormously important contribution to the promotion of the liturgy in its various aspects and, in particular, to the correct celebration of the Eucharist."
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