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Thursday, November 24, 2005


VATICAN CITY, NOV 24, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Nine prelates from the Conference of the Polish Episcopate on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Archbishop Marian Golebiewski of Wroclaw, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Edward Janiak and by Cardinal Henryk Roman Gulbinowicz, archbishop emeritus.

    - Bishop Stefan Cichy of Legnica, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Stefan Regmunt and by Bishop emeritus Tadeusz Rybak.

    - Bishop Ignacy Dec of Swidnica.

    - Archbishop Tadeusz Goclowski C.M. of Gdansk, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Ryszard Kasyna.

 - Archbishop Andre Gaumond of Sherbrooke, Canada, president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, accompanied by Archbishop Vernon James Weisgerber of Winnipeg, and by Msgr. Mario Paquette P.H., respectively vice president and secretary of the same conference.

  This evening, he is scheduled to receive in separate audiences nine prelates from the Conference of the Polish Episcopate on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Jan Bernard Szlaga of Pelplin.

    - Bishop Andrzej Wojciech Suski of Torun, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Jozef Szamocki.

    - Archbishop Henryk Muszynski of Gniezno, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Wojciech Polak and by former Auxiliary Bishop Szczepan Wesoly.

    - Bishop Wieslaw Alojzy Mering of Wloclawek, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Stanislaw Gebicki, and by Bishop emeritus Bronislaw Dembowski.
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 24, 2005 (VIS) - The Vatican's traditional Christmas concert will be held in the Paul VI Hall at 6.30 p.m. on Saturday, December 3. This year it will be dedicated to missions in the east.

  According to a communique made public today, the concert aims "to raise public awareness concerning the question of the Church's missionary vocation and to gather funds to support missions in east Asia." One reason for this choice of theme, the communique says, "is because 2006 has been proclaimed as the 'Xavierian Year' (in honor of the patron of missions St. Francis Xavier, on the fifth centenary of his birth), of which the concert will officially mark the opening."

  The concert will include various pieces from a new musical on the life of the saint: "Xavier - dreaming of China." It was to that country that the Jesuit saint was travelling on his last missionary journey; however, he fell ill on the island of Sancian, 100 kilometers off the Chinese coast, and died there on December 3, 1552.

  Artists from all over the world will participate in the concert "to symbolize the encounter between a diversity of countries, cultures, religions, life experiences, ideals, and musical genres and styles," the communique concludes, and "in order to highlight once again the universality of the Church."
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 24, 2005 (VIS) - Benedict XVI today received in audience a group of representatives from member States of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), accompanied by Jacques Diouf, director general of the organization, for the occasion of the 33rd FAO Conference which is currently being held.

  "This is our first meeting and it allows me to see at close hand your efforts in the service of a great ideal: that of liberating humanity from hunger," said the Pope in his English-language address. He also expressed his "sincere appreciation for the programs which the FAO, in its diverse agencies, has carried out for the past sixty years, defending with competence and professionalism the cause of man, beginning precisely with the basic right of each person to be 'free of hunger'."

  The Holy Father went on to refer to the contrast between progress in the areas of the economy, science and technology, and the continuing increase of poverty, expressing the hope that the experience accumulated by the FAO may "help to develop a method adequate to the task of combating hunger and poverty, one shaped by that concrete realism which has always characterized the work of your distinguished organization."

  The FAO has, said Pope Benedict, "worked for broader cooperation and has seen in the 'dialogue of cultures' a specific means of ensuring greater development and secure access to food. Today more than ever, there is a need for concrete, effective instruments for eliminating the potential for conflict between different cultural, ethnic and religious visions. There is a need to base international relations on respect for the person and on the cardinal principles of peaceful coexistence and fidelity to commitments undertaken. ... There is likewise a need to recognize that technical progress ... is not everything. True progress ... enables each people to share its own spiritual and material resources for the benefit of all.

  "Here I wish to mention the importance of helping native communities, all too often subjected to undue appropriations aimed at profit, as your organization recently pointed out in its 'Guidelines on the Right to Food.' Also, it must not be forgotten that, while some areas are subject to international measures and controls, millions of people are condemned to hunger, even outright starvation, in areas where violent conflicts are taking place, conflicts which public opinion tends to neglect because they are considered internal, ethnic or tribal."

   The Holy Father identified one "encouraging sign" in the "initiative of the FAO to convene its member States to discuss the issue of agrarian reform and rural development. This is not a new area, but one in which the Church has always shown interest, out of particular concern for small rural farmers who represent a significant part of the active population especially in developing countries. One course of action might be to ensure that rural populations receive the resources and tools which they need, beginning with education and training, as well as organizational structures capable of safeguarding small family farms and cooperatives."

  Finally, the Pope recalled the forthcoming meeting in Hong Kong for negotiations on international commerce, particularly with regard to farm products. "The Holy See, he said, "is confident that a sense of responsibility and solidarity with the most disadvantaged will prevail, so that narrow interests and the logic of power will be set aside. It must not be forgotten that the vulnerability of rural areas has significant repercussions on the subsistence of small farmers and their families if they are denied access to the market. ... Support should also be given to the role of rural women and at the same time to children for whom not only nutrition but also basic education must be assured."
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