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Wednesday, December 14, 2005


VATICAN CITY, DEC 14, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Erected the new diocese of Maumere (area 1,732, population 270,000, Catholics 259,598, priests 123, religious 197) Indonesia, with territory taken from the archdiocese of Ende, making it a suffragan of the same metropolitan church. He appointed Fr. Vincentius Sensi, director of the pastoral care center of Ende, as first bishop of the new diocese. The bishop-elect was born in Saga, Indonesia in 1951 and ordained as a priest in 1980.

 - Appointed Fr. Jean-Paul Mathieu, vicar general, as bishop of Saint-Die (area 5,903, population 380,952, Catholics 370,000, priests 208, permanent deacons 23, religious 402), France. The bishop-elect was born in Hadol, France in 1940 and ordained as a priest in 1966. He succeeds Bishop Paul-Marie Guillaume, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese, the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Erected the new diocese of Uromi (area 2,800, population 787,884, Catholics 102,045, priests 61, religious 29) Nigeria, with territory taken from the archdiocese of Benin City, making it a suffragan of the same metropolitan church. He appointed Fr. Augustine Obiora Akubeze, vicar general of the diocese of Issele-Uku, as first bishop of the new diocese. The bishop-elect was born in Kaduna, Nigeria, in 1956 and ordained as a priest in 1987.

 - Appointed Fr. Giuseppe Negri P.I.M.E., spiritual director of the philosophical seminary of Florianopolis, Brazil, as auxiliary of the same archdiocese (area 7,862, population 1,243,807, Catholics 966,438, priests 177, permanent deacons 88, religious 687). The bishop-elect was born in Milan, Italy in 1959 and ordained as a priest in 1986.
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VATICAN CITY, DEC 14, 2005 (VIS) - Following today's general audience, the Holy Father received in separate audiences:

 - Archbishop Beniamino Stella, apostolic nuncio to Colombia.

 - Archbishop Geroge Kocherry, apostolic nuncio to Ghana.
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VATICAN CITY, DEC 14, 2005 (VIS) - Yesterday afternoon, the second World Congress for the Pastoral Care of Foreign Students opened in Rome. Participating in the event are representatives from bishops' conferences, religious congregations, associations and organizations from 30 countries, and two fraternal delegates, one an Anglican and the other from the World Council of Churches.

  The meeting, which concludes on Friday, is being promoted by the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples. According to a communique, the congress aims to promote "cooperation and coordination among people committed to the pastoral care of foreign students, especially those who encounter difficulties," while bearing in mind the phenomenon of emigration. For this reason, the theme of the meeting is: "Foreign Students and the Instruction 'Erga migrantes caritas Christi'." The Instruction was published by the pontifical council in 2004.

  Between 1980 and 2002, reads the communique, the number of foreign students has doubled, reaching a total of two million. Of these, 28% are in the United States, 12% in Great Britain, 11% in Germany, 10% in France, 9% in Australia and 4% in Japan. And these figures do not include students participating in specific programs of the European Union, such as Erasmus, Socrates or Leonardo da Vinci.

  Tomorrow afternoon, participants in the congress will meet with Benedict XVI at the conclusion of a Mass offered for the university students of Rome, which will be celebrated in the Vatican Basilica by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, vicar general for the diocese of Rome.
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VATICAN CITY, DEC 14, 2005 (VIS) - In today's general audience, celebrated in St. Peter's Square, 18,000 people gathered to hear the Pope's catechesis on Psalm 138, "God sees all."

  "The meditation of the psalmist," said Benedict XVI, "seeks, above all, to penetrate the mystery of God, Who is transcendent yet near to us."

  The Pope explained: "The message we are offered is straightforward: God knows everything and is present with His creation, which cannot detach itself from Him. Nevertheless, His presence is not menacing or inquisitive, though of course He looks severely on evil, to which He cannot remain indifferent.

  "Nonetheless, the fundamental element is a saving presence, one capable of embracing the totality of both existence and history. This is the spiritual context to which St. Paul refers, when speaking at the Areopagus of Athens, by alluding to a Greek poet: 'In Him we live and move and have our being'."

  Benedict XVI pointed out how the first part of the psalm celebrates divine omniscience, using verbs associated with the idea of knowledge. However, he went on, "biblical knowledge is superior to plain and simple intellectual knowledge; it is a kind of communion between the knower and the known: the Lord is close to us, while we think and act."

  "The psalmist then introduces the other reality in which we are immersed: time, symbolically represented by night and day. ... Even darkness, where it is difficult to walk and to see, is penetrated by the epiphany and the gaze of the Lord of being and time. His hand is always ready to take ours to guide us along our earthly path. His closeness, therefore, is not one of terrifying judgment, but rather of support and liberation."
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