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Tuesday, February 21, 2006


VATICAN CITY, FEB 21, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Msgr. Eduardo Eliseo Martin vicar general and pastor of the cathedral of the diocese of Venado Tuerto, Argentina, as bishop of Villa de la Concepcion del Rio Cuarto (area 58,516, population 412,000, Catholics 391,400, priests 91, permanent deacons 17, religious 75), Argentina. The bishop-elect was born in Venado Tuerto in 1953 and ordained a priest in 1980. He succeeds Bishop Ramon Artemio Staffolani, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese, the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Cardinal Attilio Nicora, president of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, as pontifical legate to the Basilicas of St. Francis and of St. Mary of the Angels in Assisi, Italy.
NER:RE:NA/.../MARTIN:STAFFOLANI:NICORA                VIS 20060221 (140)


VATICAN CITY, FEB 21, 2006 (VIS) - A press conference was held this morning in the Holy See Press Office to mark the 75th anniversary of Vatican Radio. The title of the conference was "Vatican Radio at 75. New ways to serve the Church and future prospects."

  Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J., director general of Vatican Radio recalled how the mission of the station, as laid down in its Statutes, is: "To announce the Christian message freely, faithfully and effectively, and to link the center of Catholicism with the countries of the world by: diffusing the voice and teachings of the Roman Pontiff; providing information on the activities of the Holy See; reflecting Catholic life around the world; and encouraging the evaluation of contemporary problems in the light of ecclesial Magisterium and with constant attention for the signs of the times."

  Fr. Lombardi, pointed out how Vatican Radio is characterized by its flexible and multicultural approach, transmitting programs in 45 languages. Radio in a general sense, he added, "is vital everywhere and in some parts of the world - such as, for example, Africa - it is the means most capable of deep and effective penetration."

  After explaining how Vatican Radio has passed from analogue to digital technology and is experimenting with "digital transmissions on medium- and short-wave" frequencies, Fr. Lombardi revealed that the station has also developed "an original system for publishing text and audio files on Internet, in many different languages and alphabets." Through its web site www.radiovaticana.org the station is able "to act as a news agency, especially for those countries in which no Catholic news agency exists, and to carry out a useful service for the lay world of communication, e.g., the Japanese page, which is the most visited for searches under the word 'Vatican'."

  Fr. Lombardi concluded his remarks by highlighting the fact that Vatican Radio offers training courses to young journalists and students of social communications, "an average of 50 a year," although "there were 140 during the Jubilee Year 2000."

  Vatican Radio currently employs 384 people - priests, religious and male and female lay people - from 59 countries. Its average daily transmission time is 64 hours, and its annual running expenses stand in the region of 25-30 million euro, of which 57 percent represent staff costs.

  Fr. Andrzej Koprowski S.J., director of programs at the station, recalled how one of the objectives of Vatican Radio is that of being "a bridge between the Holy Father - the Holy See - the Universal Church and the respective societies and the respective particular Churches."

  Fr. Koprowski mentioned the language sections of Vatican Radio in the media and ecclesial context of the world. Each of these sections, he said, "came into being at specific moments in the life of the Church and the world," explaining how after World War II and the Communist takeover in the countries of eastern Europe the station directed its efforts towards the countries and particular Churches that were suffering most. "For this reason," he added, "we have a wealth of programs and languages above all from European countries, especially eastern and southern Europe."

  In our own times and with a view to the future, Fr. Koprowski went on, Vatican Radio remains highly aware "of the development of the Church in Latin America, Africa and Asia." He made particular reference to "Arabic language and culture, which is no longer the exclusive preserve of the Middle East but also of various regions of Europe and the world, because the view of the 'Arab world' and the 'Muslim world' is not just a political matter, but also a cultural, social and ecclesial question of primary importance, as the last few weeks have shown."

  Another key area identified by Fr. Koprowski is Asia. "We know of the development of the Church in India, and we are aware of the role Indian Christianity has for the future of the Universal Church, just as we are aware of ... the vital need for the Church to enter into dialogue and to understand the cultures of other countries in the immense continent of Asia: China, Japan, Vietnam, etc."

  Fr. Koprowski concluded by referring to the cultural and religious situation in former-Communist European countries, which "currently favors new forms of collaboration through the local media, both public and private, Catholic and non-Catholic."
OP/VATICAN RADIO/LOMBARDI                        VIS 20060221 (740)


VATICAN CITY, FEB 21, 2006 (VIS) - Made public today was a letter from the Pope addressed to Fr. Julian Carron, president of the Communion and Liberation association and successor to Msgr. Luigi Giussani, founder of the same association, the first anniversary of whose death falls tomorrow.

  In his Letter, the Holy Father recalls Msgr. Giussani as "a father and teacher of so many young people to whom he indicated Christ as the center of their lives." The Pope also gives thanks to God "for the gift of such a zealous pastor, who loved man because he loved Christ."

  Benedict XVI continues: "With emotion I recall the solemn celebration of his funeral in the Duomo of Milan, when I had a further opportunity to note the respect and appreciation that he, in the course of his fruitful life, was able to arouse around his person, his teaching and his apostolic work.

  "As I said during the funeral service, the most striking things about Don Giussani were his solid faithfulness to Christ and his incessant efforts to communicate the wealth of the evangelical message to all social groups."

  The Pope then calls on Don Giussani's spiritual followers to continue "in his footsteps and his teaching," and always to remain "in communion with bishops and other ecclesial figures. To that end, I give assurances of my prayers, asking the Lord that Communion and Liberation may serve the cause of the Gospel with joy, continuing the work begun by their venerated predecessor."
BXVI-LETTER/DON GIUSSANI/CARRON                    VIS 20060221 (260)


VATICAN CITY, FEB 21, 2006 (VIS) - Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano sent a telegram, in the name of the Holy Father, to the ecclesiastical and civil authorities of Nigeria, following recent violent clashes in the north of the country which led to a number of deaths.

  "Saddened to learn of the tragic consequences of the recent violent protests in northern Nigeria, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI assures all those affected of his closeness in prayer and commends the late Reverend Father Michael Gajere and all the deceased to the loving mercy of the Almighty. Upon their grieving families the Holy Father invokes divine blessings of strength and consolation. He likewise prays for all involved in providing security, encouraging them in their efforts to ensure peace and to promote the rule of law for which all people of good will long."
TGR/NIGERIA/SODANO                            VIS 20060221 (150)

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