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Friday, March 10, 2006


VATICAN CITY, MAR 10, 2006 (VIS) - In the Paul VI Hall tomorrow, Saturday March 11, the Holy Father will preside at an evening vigil of Marian prayer with 7,000 university students. The students have come to Rome to participate in the fourth European Day for Universities which has as its theme: "Christian humanism, the path of a new cooperation between Europe and Africa."

  The Day is being promoted by the Council of European Bishops' Conferences (CCEE) and the vicariate of Rome's office for pastoral care in universities.

  The meeting will begin at 5 p.m. with the entrance of the university students' cross. Then, following the presentation of the European and African delegations, there will be satellite linkups with university students in Madrid, Spain, Nairobi, Kenya, and Dublin, Ireland.

  With the arrival of the Pope, scheduled for 6 p.m., the recitation of the holy rosary will begin, with the contemplation of the Glorious Mysteries. In further linkups local ordinaries - cardinals and bishops - will recite brief introductory prayers to each of the Mysteries: Cardinal Friedrich Wetter, archbishop of Munich and Freising, Germany; Archbishop Anthony John Valentine Obinna of Owerri, Nigeria; Bishop Bernard Genoud of Lausanne, Geneva and Fribourg, Switzerland; Cardinal Bernard Agre, archbishop of Abidjan, Ivory Coast; Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz of the archdiocese of the Mother of God in Moscow, Russia; and Bishop Gheorghi Ivanov Jovcev of Sofia and Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

  After the rosary, Benedict XVI will address some words to the participants before distributing copies of his first Encyclical "Deus caritas est" to ten student representatives and imparting his apostolic blessing. In keeping with tradition, the Day will conclude with the pilgrimage of the cross from the Paul VI Hall to the Church of St. Agnes in Rome's Piazza Navona.
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VATICAN CITY, MAR 10, 2006 (VIS) - Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano sent a Message, in the Pope's name, to Archbishop Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, for the first Meeting of Ecclesial Movements and New Communities in Latin America, which is being held in Bogota, Colombia from March 9 to 12.

  Benedict XVI, Cardinal Sodano writes, encourages participants in the congress "to share fraternally the wealth of their spirituality and experience, with the aim of invigorating Christian life in that part of the world, in which the Church lays so much hope."

  Referring to the theme of the meeting, "Disciples and missionaries today," the cardinal writes that "like good disciples, the Movements and Communities are called to be both witnesses to and missionaries of the message they have received, stretching out a friendly hand to others so that they too may discover Christ: to people who still do not know Him or who live their Christian faith in a superficial manner, to those who must be given the support necessary to strengthen their faith daily and form it correctly, against the snares of a secularized mentality or one that promotes religious indifference in many areas of Latin America.

  "In this task, missionaries do not cease to be disciples and give no more than what they themselves have received and continue to receive, without advancing their own ideas or seeking their own gain. ... In this context, it is worthwhile recalling the words used by the Holy Father Benedict XVI in Cologne, Germany: 'The spontaneity of new communities is important, but it is equally important to maintain communion with the Pope and the bishops. It is they who guarantee that it is not individual itineraries that are being sought, but that all continue to live in that great family of God that the Lord founded with the twelve Apostles."

  This, the cardinal concluded, also demonstrates "the importance of ecclesial communion, upon which the authenticity of all experiences of Christian life and the effectiveness of pastoral initiatives so much depend. For this reason, the much-loved John Paul II insisted that everyone be humbly integrated into the life of local Churches and within diocesan and parish structures, where they can all can communicate their different forms of association and expression."

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