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Monday, December 12, 2005


VATICAN CITY, DEC 12, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the archdiocese of Caracas, Venezuela, presented by Bishop Roberto Antonio Davila Uzcategui, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Erected the new diocese of Buxar (area 11,311, population 5,781,132, Catholics 15,745, priests 22, religious 72), India, with territory taken from the archdiocese of Patna, making it a suffragan of the same metropolitan see. He appointed Fr. William D'Souza S.J., provincial superior of the Jesuit Fathers, as the first bishop of the new diocese. The bishop-elect was born in Madanthar, India in 1946 and ordained a priest in 1976.

  On Saturday, December 10, it was made public that the Holy Father appointed:

 - Fr. Martin Tetsuo Hiraga, diocesan administrator, as bishop of Sendai (area 45,951, population 7,332,000, Catholics 10,987, priests 50, religious 289), Japan. The bishop-elect was born in Hanamaki, Japan in 1945 and ordained a priest in 1974.

 - Msgr. Jose Guadalupe Torres Campos, vicar general of the diocese of Irapuato, Mexico, as auxiliary of Ciudad Juarez (area 29,639, population 2,500,000, Catholics 2,125,000, priests 118, permanent deacons 14, religious 216), Mexico. The bishop-elect was born in Leon in 1960 and ordained a priest in 1984.

 - Msgr. Juan Frausto Pallares, episcopal vicar of Leon, Mexico, as auxiliary of the same diocese (area 8,016, population 3,795,967, Catholics 3,416,000, priests 388, religious 1,496). The bishop-elect was born in Tomelopez, Mexico in 1941 and ordained a priest in 1968.

 - Archbishop Albert Malcolm Ranjith Patabendige Don, apostolic nuncio to Indonesia and East Timor, as secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.
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VATICAN CITY, DEC 12, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

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

    - Cardinal Jozef Glemp, archbishop of Warsaw, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishops Marian Dus, Piotr Jarecki, and Tadeusz Pikus.

    - Bishop Stanislaw Wojciech Wielgus of Plock, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Roman Adam Marcinkowski.

    - Bishop Slawoj Leszek Glodz of Warsaw-Praga.

    - Bishop Tadeusz Ploski, military ordinary.

    - Archbishop Wojciech Ziemba of Bialystok, accompanied by Archbishop emeritus Stanislaw Szymecki.

    - Bishop Antoni Pacyfik Dydzcz O.F.M. Cap., of Drohiczyn.

 - Cardinal Bernard Panafieu, archbishop of Marseille, France.

  On Saturday, December 10, the Holy Father received in separate audiences:

 - His Beatitude Cardinal Ignace Moussa I Daoud, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.

 - Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
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VATICAN CITY, DEC 12, 2005 (VIS) - Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano, sent a telegram of condolence, in the Pope's name, to Bishop Alexius Obabu Mazoki of Port Harcourt, Nigeria, for Saturday's air accident in that city which claimed the lives of numerous people, the majority of them children.

  "Saddened by news of the great loss of life in the air tragedy near Port Harcourt, the Holy Father asks you kindly to convey his heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims. He commends the dead to the eternal mercies of Almighty God and invokes the divine blessings of strength and peace upon all who mourn and upon all engaged in the work of relief."
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VATICAN CITY, DEC 11, 2005 (VIS) - After praying the Angelus with thousands of people gathered in St. Peter's Square, Benedict XVI affirmed that during Advent this year, as in previous years, the diocese of Rome will propose the initiative: "New churches for Rome."

  The Holy Father explained how the initiative aims to "raise awareness among the ecclesial community over the need to build new parish structures in neighborhoods that are still without them."

  After thanking "those who, with their generous commitment, have enabled many outlying suburbs to be provided with appropriate pastoral centers," the Pope made an appeal to people's sensibility, "because much remains to be done to ensure that the faithful of this city, which continues to grow, have appropriate places for liturgy, catechesis, and works of social and cultural animation."

  Finally, the Pope recalled that on Thursday, December 15, following Mass at 5 p.m. in the Vatican Basilica celebrated by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, vicar general for the diocese of Rome, he will meet with students at Roman universities. "I invite everyone," he said, "to join this moment of prayer in preparation for Christmas."
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VATICAN CITY, DEC 11, 2005 (VIS) - Preparation for Christmas was the central theme of Benedict XVI's reflections before praying the Angelus with the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.

  "In today's consumer society," said the Pope, "this season unfortunately suffers from the 'contamination' of commercialism that risks changing its true spirit, characterized by reflection, sobriety and a joy that does not come from outside, but from within. It is, therefore, providential that the entrance door to Christmas" should be "the feast of the mother of Jesus who brings us to know, love and adore the Son of God, made man. Allow her, therefore, to accompany us ... with sincerity of heart and openness of spirit to recognize in the Child of Bethlehem the Son of God, Who came to earth for our redemption."

  "Immediately after the feast of the Immaculate Conception, many families begin to prepare their nativity scenes, as if to relive, together with Mary, those days filled with trepidation which preceded the birth of Jesus. Bringing the nativity scene into the home can be a simple but efficacious way to present and transmit the faith to children ... A nativity scene can help us understand the true secret of Christmas, because it speaks of the humility and the merciful goodness of Christ, Who 'though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor'."

  To conclude, the Holy Father blessed, according to tradition, the figures of the Child Jesus brought by the children of Rome to St. Peter's Square to place in their own nativity scenes. "With this gesture I invoke the help of the Lord so that all Christian families may prepare to celebrate with faith the forthcoming Christmas celebrations."
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VATICAN CITY, DEC 10, 2005 (VIS) - Made public today was a telegram from the Pope to Mohamed El Baradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), congratulating him for winning the Nobel Peace Prize 2005, which was awarded during a ceremony held today in Oslo, Norway. The Holy See is a founding member of the IAEA.

  In his telegram, Benedict XVI offers his congratulations to Mohamed El Baradei and to the IAEA, and writes: "Even today, sixty years after the devastating attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it is clear that the peace of the world continues to be at risk from the spread of nuclear weapons. The service that you have given to the international community by promoting nuclear non-proliferation and by contributing to the process of nuclear disarmament deserves the highest commendation. I pray that God will continue to guide the efforts of all who work for peace and especially those who seek to prevent any further use of weapons of mass destruction."
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VATICAN CITY, DEC 10, 2005 (VIS) - Today in the Paul VI Hall, Benedict XVI received 8,000 religious and members of secular institutes and societies of apostolic life from the diocese of Rome.

  The Pope, greeting participants in the audience, said: "My special thoughts go out to those living in monasteries of contemplative life, who are spiritually united with us" and "consecrated people from Africa, Latin America and Asia currently studying in Rome."

  "As always," he continued, "consecrated people constitute a valuable presence in the life of the Church of Rome, because they offer a unique witness to the unity and universality of the People of God. ... The complex social and cultural context of our city ... demands from you a constant attention to local concerns, as well as a courageous faith in the charism that distinguishes you. From its origins, consecrated life has been characterized by a thirst for God. ... Do not be afraid of visibly showing yourselves as consecrated people and ... demonstrating the fact that you belong to Christ."

  The Holy Father then recalled how consecrated people are "deeply involved in diocesan programs" and collaborate in pastoral work, thanks also to the activities of groups that represent them such as: the Italian Confederation of Superiors Major, the Union of Italian Female Superiors Major, the Group of Secular Institutes and the Ordo Virginum. Benedict XVI called on consecrated people to continue this work with intensified loyalty to their commitments, the charisms of their institutes and the guidelines of the local Church.

  "The Church has need of your witness, of a consecrated life that faces the challenges of today with courage and creativity. Faced with the advance of hedonism, I ask of you the brave witness of chastity. Faced with the thirst for money, your sober life and your service to those in need reminds us that God is the authentic source of wealth that never perishes. Faced with individualism and relativism, ... your fraternal life of obedience confirms that your fulfillment comes through God."

  The Pope concluded by recalling the 40th anniversary of the promulgation of the conciliar Decree "Perfectae caritatis," dedicated to consecrated life and affirmed that: "Those living a consecrated life live in the world, but their hearts are directed beyond time; and to modern man, who is often absorbed by the things of the world, they bear witness that true destiny lies in God Himself."
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