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Thursday, January 12, 2006


VATICAN CITY, JAN 12, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Bishop Paul-Simeon Ahouanan Djro O.F.M., of Yamoussoukro, Cote d'Ivoire, as coadjutor archbishop of Bouake (area 18,818, population 918,730, Catholics 152,240, priests 50, religious 66), Cote d'Ivoire.
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VATICAN CITY, JAN 12, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Piero Marrazzo, president of the Region of Lazio, Italy.

 - Walter Veltroni, mayor of the City of Rome.

 - Enrico Gasbarra, president of the Province of Rome.

  This evening, he is scheduled to receive in audience Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.
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VATICAN CITY, JAN 12, 2006 (VIS) - Today in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received a group from the Neocatechumenal Way, including 200 families who will soon depart on evangelizing missions in various countries, especially in Latin America.

  These "mission families" came into being in 1986 in response to a call from John Paul II to undertake new evangelization. Participants, who all belong to the Neocatechumenal Way, offer themselves as volunteers to go to countries where the Church needs help. Their destination is decided by the founders of the Neocatechumenal Way - the Spaniards Kiko Arguello and Carmen Hernandez, and the Italian priest Mario Pezzi - bearing in mind the specific requirements of each particular area, and in response to requests from bishops who ask for "mission families" to be sent to their dioceses.

  "Your task," said the Pope after greeting the group, "is part of the context of new evangelization, ... because your apostolic activity aims to situate itself within the bosom of the Church, in total harmony with her directives and in communion with the particular Churches where you will go to work, fully evaluating the richness of the charisms that the Lord has generated through the founders of the Way."

  The Holy Father stressed how the families will be "humble and joyful witnesses" of Christ, "travelling in simplicity and poverty down the roads of all the continents. "He then went on to emphasize the importance of the liturgy in evangelization: "Your long experience can well confirm how the centrality of the mystery of Christ, celebrated in liturgical rites, constitutes a privileged and indispensable way to build vibrant and lasting Christian communities."

  The Pope then referred to norms concerning the celebration of the Eucharist recently emanated, specifically for the Neocatechumenal Way, by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. "I am sure," he said, "that you will attentively observe these norms, which are based on liturgical texts approved by the Church. By faithful adherence to all Church directives, you will render your apostolate even more effective, in harmony and full communion with the Pope and the pastors of dioceses."

  "Dear families," Pope Benedict concluded, "with your own history you can testify that the Lord does not abandon those who entrust themselves to Him. Continue to spread the Gospel of Life. ... In a world seeking human certainties and heavenly security, show that Christ is the solid rock upon which to build the edifice of one's own life, and that trust placed in Him is never placed in vain."


VATICAN CITY, JAN 12, 2006 (VIS) - This morning, Benedict received Piero Marrazzo, president of the regional administration of Lazio, Italy; Walter Veltroni, mayor of the city of Rome; and Enrico Gasbarra, president of the provincial administration of Rome, for the traditional exchange of New Year greetings.

  In his address to the three men and their entourages, the Pope highlighted how the people of Rome and Lazio had clearly expressed their affection for John Paul II during the period of his final illness and death. He also thanked the authorities and institutions for their "great contribution" in welcoming the millions of people who came to Rome "to pay their final homage to the lamented Pontiff, and on the occasion of my own election to the See of Peter."

  That "profound spiritual experience of faith and of prayer, of brotherhood and of rediscovery of the things that make our lives worthwhile and rich in meaning," must also bear fruit within "the civil community, its duties and its multiple responsibilities and relationships."

  Going on to refer to the family, the Holy Father recalled that for three years it has represented the central focus of the pastoral activities of the diocese of Rome, "in order to help [the family] face the reasons behind the crises and distrust present in our own culture, giving it a clearer and firmer awareness of its own nature and tasks."

  Benedict XVI then recalled the words he had used in June 2005 during the congress of the diocese of Rome, to the effect that "marriage and the family are not in fact a chance sociological construction, the product of particular historical and financial situations. On the other hand, the question of the right relationship between man and woman is rooted in the essential core of the human being and it is only by starting from here that its response can be found. ... Marriage as an institution is thus not an undue interference of society or of authority. The external imposition of form on the most private reality of life is instead an intrinsic requirement of the covenant of conjugal love."

  He continued: "What we are talking about here are not norms particular to Catholic morals, but elementary truths that concern our shared humanity. To respect them is essential for the good of the individual and of society. These truths, then, appeal both to your responsibility as public administrators and to your normative duties."

  The Pope referred to the need to support young couples in forming a family and in educating their children, bearing in mind the cost of rent and of nursery schools, adding: "It is a grave error to obscure the value and the functions of the legitimate family based on marriage, attributing to other forms of union inappropriate forms of legal recognition, for which there is no real social need."

  The Holy Father also asked that attention be given to "the protection of nascent human life," that there be no lack of "concrete assistance" to pregnant women experiencing difficulties, and that there be no introduction of drugs "that hide in one way or another the severity of abortion as a choice against life. In an aging society," he added, "help for the elderly and all the complex problems concerning the health care of citizens become ever more important."

  After encouraging the administrators to continue with the efforts they are making in these matters, Benedict XVI stressed that "continuous scientific and technological developments in the field of healthcare and the commitment to contain costs should be promoted while maintaining firm the principle of the central importance of the sick person."

  In the face of so many "cases of psychological suffering and illness," the Holy Father stressed the importance of giving "adequate help to families who often find themselves having to face extremely difficult situations." He concluded by expressing his satisfaction at the "growth over these years of various forms of collaboration between ecclesial volunteer organizations and the public administration of Rome city, province and region in the work of alleviating old and new forms of poverty which, unfortunately, afflict a large part of the population, especially many immigrants."
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