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Wednesday, December 7, 2005


VATICAN CITY, DEC 7, 2005 (VIS) - As previously advised, there will be no VIS service tomorrow Thursday, December 8, Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, a holy day and a holiday in the Vatican. The service will resume on Friday, December 9.
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VATICAN CITY, DEC 7, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Bishop Odon Marie Arsene Razanakolona of Ambanja, Madagascar, as metropolitan archbishop of Antananarivo (area 12,500, population 2,816,149, Catholics 761,962, priests 277, religious 2,012), Madagascar. The archbishop-elect was born in Fianarantsoa, Madagascar in 1946, he was ordained as a priest in 1975 and consecrated a bishop in 1999. He succeeds Cardinal Armand Gaetan Razafindratandra, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese, the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Erected the diocese of Itanagar (area 52,283, population 664,895, Catholics 101,689, priests 25, religious 50) India, with territory taken from the diocese of Tezpur, making it a suffragan of the metropolitan church of Guwahati. He appointed Bishop John Thomas Kattrukudiyil of Diphu, India, as first bishop of the new diocese.

- Erected the diocese of Miao (area 31,445, population 426,239, Catholics 59,030, priests 60, religious 22) India, with territory taken from the diocese of Dibrugarh, making it a suffragan of the metropolitan church of Guwahati. He appointed Fr. George Palliparambil S.D.B., rector of the Don Bosco School at Dibrugarh, India, as first bishop of the new diocese.

 - Appointed Fr. Paulo Mendes Peixoto of the clergy of the archdiocese of Caratinga, Brazil, as bishop of Sao Jose do Rio Preto (area 14,423, population 850,458, Catholics 637,844, priests 119, permanent deacons 1, religious 124), Brazil. The bishop-elect was born in Imbe, Brazil in 1951 and ordained as a priest in 1979.
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VATICAN CITY, DEC 7, 2005 (VIS) - Following today's general audience, the Holy Father received in separate audiences:

 - Archbishop Antonio Lucibello, apostolic nuncio to Turkey and Turkmenistan.

- Archbishop Adolfo Tito Yllana, apostolic nuncio in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.
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VATICAN CITY, DEC 7, 2005 (VIS) - In his greetings to the faithful at the end of today's general audience, held this morning in St. Peter's Square, Benedict XVI addressed some words to participants in a congress being promoted by the Congregation for the Clergy, and to members of the Italian Association of Referees.

  To participants in the congress marking the fortieth anniversary of the Decree 'Presbyterorum Ordinis,' who were accompanied by Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, the Pope said: "This conciliar document marked a stage of fundamental importance in the life of the Church, reflecting upon the characteristics of priestly ministry which conforms priests to Jesus Christ, the head and shepherd of His people. In His image and at His service, priests must give their lives for the glory of God and the salvation of souls."

  The Holy Father then told members of the Bolzano and Florence sections of the Italian Association of Referees that their presence gave him the opportunity, "once again, to underline the value of sport which, if practiced well, can become the privileged vehicle for an incomparable message of hope, promoting a culture of respect, loyalty and serene coexistence."

  Turning then to address Polish pilgrims, Benedict XVI recalled that tomorrow is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God. "God," he told them, "chose her and preserved her from original sin, to prepare her to be the worthy mother of His Son."
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VATICAN CITY, DEC 7, 2005 (VIS) - In the general audience held this morning in St. Peter's Square, Benedict XVI continued his catechesis on the Psalms, speaking on Psalm 137, "a hymn of thanksgiving." Twenty thousand pilgrims filled the square to hear the Holy Father's words.

  The psalmist, said the Pope, "raises his voice before the Temple assembly or, at least, having the Shrine of Zion as a reference. ... He sings before God Who is in heaven with His host of angels, but Who also listens within the earthly space of the Temple."

  "The psalmist is certain that the 'name' of the Lord - in other words His personal, living and active reality and His virtues of faithfulness and mercy - are the ... bastion of all faith and all hope. The psalmist's gaze then goes back for an instant to the past, to the day of suffering, when the divine voice answered the faithful's anguished cry, infusing courage into his troubled soul."

  "Following this apparently personal premise," the Holy Father continued, "the psalmist extends his gaze to the earth and imagines his testimony incorporating the entire horizon: 'All the kings of the earth' ... join the Jewish psalmist in a common hymn of praise in honor of the greatness and regal power of the Lord."

  The themes of this chorus of praise, the Pope explained, are "the 'glory' and the 'ways' of the Lord. ... God is clearly 'high' and transcendent, but He 'regards the lowly' with affection while removing the haughty from His sight. ... Thus, God chooses to defend the weak, the victims, the smallest; and this fact is conveyed to all kings that they might know which option to choose in governing their nations."

  The closing section of the psalm contains an imploration to the Lord for His help in the trials of life, and a reference to the wrath of enemies. "A kind of symbol," said Pope Benedict, "of the hostility the just may face during their journey through history."

  "We must be certain," the Pope concluded, "that however burdensome and stormy are the trials that await us, we will never be left alone, we will never fall from the Lord's hands, the hands that created us and that now follow us on life's itinerary. As St. Paul confesses: 'He Who began a good work in you will bring it to completion'."
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