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Monday, March 27, 2006


VATICAN CITY, MAR 27, 2006 (VIS) - This morning in the Paul VI Hall, Benedict XVI received the 15 new cardinals created in the consistory of March 24, accompanied by members of their families and pilgrims.

  The Pope greeted those presented in the languages of the newly-created cardinals: Italian, English, French, Spanish, Slovene and Polish.

  Addressing Cardinal Albert Vanhoye S.J., the Holy Father thanked him for his "fruitful exegetic labors in studying the Word of God, and the patient transmission of this knowledge to numerous generations of young people, providing them with the means to live by and be witnesses to the Gospel. May everyone regularly dedicate time to nourish themselves from Holy Scripture."

  To the newly-elected Spanish Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera, archbishop of Toledo, Spain, Benedict XVI said "your people distinguish themselves for their faithfulness to Peter's Successor and their devotion to the Virgin Mary. May she always be the star that guides your particular Churches in the work of evangelization."

  In greeting Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, archbishop of Krakow, Poland, the Pope thanked him "for all the years spent alongside John Paul II and for everything this service brought to the Universal Church. I pray that your own future ministry will prove equally fruitful."

  The Pope spoke to the newly-elected cardinals of the need he felt for their collaboration, adding that "the meetings of the entire College of Cardinals with Peter's Successor, such as that of last Thursday, will continue as privileged moments to seek together how best to serve the Church, entrusted by Christ to our care."
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VATICAN CITY, MAR 26, 2006 (VIS) - At midday today, following his morning visit to the Roman parish of God the Merciful Father, Benedict XVI appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square, among them many who came to Rome in the company of their bishops who were elevated to the rank of cardinal in Friday's consistory.

  Before the Marian prayer, the Pope recalled how the recent consistory, in which he created 15 new cardinals, "was an intense ecclesial experience that enabled us to taste the spiritual wealth of collegiality, finding ourselves together among brothers from different backgrounds, all united in a single love for Christ and His Church."

  The Holy Father continued: "In some way, we relived the situation of the first Christian community, united around Peter and Mary Mother of Jesus to welcome the gift of the Spirit and undertake to spread the Gospel throughout world. Faithfulness to this mission even unto the sacrifice of their lives is a distinctive characteristic of cardinals, as their oath testifies and as symbolized by the red they wear, the color of blood."

  By a "providential coincidence," said the Pope, the day of the consistory, March 24, coincided with "the commemoration of missionaries who, over the past year, have died on the frontiers of evangelization and service to man in various parts of the earth. Thus, the consistory provided an opportunity for us to feel closer than ever to those Christians who suffer persecution because of their faith. Their witness, of which news reaches us every day, and especially the sacrifice of those killed, edifies and encourages us to an ever more sincere and generous evangelical commitment.

  "I am thinking particularly," he added, "of those communities living in countries where religious freedom is lacking or where, despite its affirmation in theory, in practice it suffers many restrictions. To all those communities I send warm encouragement to carry on in the patience and charity of Christ, seed of the Kingdom of God to come." Benedict XVI also expressed "solidarity in the name of the entire Church" and "daily recollection in my prayers" to those who work in the service of the Gospel under such difficult conditions.

  "The Church marches forwards in history and spreads over the earth accompanied by Mary, Queen of the Apostles," the Pope concluded. "We ask her to guide us on our daily journey and to protect with special concern those Christian communities undergoing the greatest difficulty and suffering."
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VATICAN CITY, MAR 26, 2006 (VIS) - At 9 a.m. today, the Holy Father visited the parish of God the Merciful Father in the eastern area of the diocese of Rome, where he celebrated the Eucharist.

  At the beginning of his homily the Pope recalled that today, the fourth Sunday of Lent, "traditionally known as 'Laetare,' is permeated with a joy that to some extent attenuates the penitential climate of this holy time." One reason for this, he said, "is the closeness of Easter," but the "deeper reason," as today's readings show, is "that despite our unworthiness we are the recipients of God's infinite mercy."

  "It is the Cross, then, that must always, but especially in this time of Lent, be at the center of our meditations. ... It is the glory of Christ crucified that all Christians are called to contemplate, experience and bear witness to with their lives. The Cross is the definitive 'sign,' ... given us that we might understand the truth of man and the truth of God: we were all created and redeemed by a God Who, out of love, sacrificed His only Son."

  "Jesus died and rose again," the Pope exclaimed. "In Him we are able to understand the truth of life and obtain salvation. This is the Church's central message, unchanged over the centuries. Thus, Christian faith is not an ideology but a personal encounter with the crucified and risen Christ. From this, which is at once an individual and a community experience, arises a new way of thinking and acting, it is the beginning, as the saints show, of a life marked by love."

  Referring to the parish in which he was speaking, Benedict XVI recalled how its creation was due to "my beloved predecessor John Paul II in memory of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000 and in order to effectively condense the significance of that extraordinary spiritual event."

  The Pope then went on to read out part of a text due to have been pronounced by John Paul II on April 3 last year, Divine Mercy Sunday and the second Sunday of Easter: "To humanity, which at times seems to be lost and dominated by the power of evil, selfishness and fear, the risen Lord offers the gift of His love that pardons, reconciles and opens the soul to hope. It is love that converts hearts and brings peace. ... How much the world needs to understand and accept Divine Mercy!" These handwritten words, said Benedict XVI "are like a last will and testament."

  "Understanding and welcoming the merciful love of God: let this be your task, above all within your families and in all areas of the neighborhood."

  The Holy Father concluded by calling on the faithful to continue to strive to ensure the parish becomes "a true family where day after day faithfulness to the word of God and to the Tradition of the Church become a rule for life." Referring then to the "original architectural structure" of the church building which attracts many sightseers, the Pope asked the faithful to ensure that visitors "appreciate not only the beauty of the sacred building, but above all the richness of a living community, that bears witness to the love of God the Merciful Father."
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VATICAN CITY, MAR 25, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Keewatin-Le Pas, Canada, presented by Archbishop Peter Alfred Sutton O.M.I., in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law. He is succeeded by Coadjutor Archbishop Sylvain Lavoie O.M.I.

 - Appointed Fr. Philip Banchong Chaiyara C.Ss.R., director of the Redemptorist Fathers' Center at Pattaya and pastor of the church of St. Nikolaus, as bishop of Ubon Ratchathani (area 53,917, population 7,921,117, Catholics 25,750, priests 42, religious 175), Thailand. The bishop-elect was born in Chang Ming, Thailand, in 1945 and ordained a priest in 1975. He succeeds Bishop Michael Bunluen Mansap, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese, the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

- Appointed Fr. Carlos Pellegrin Barrera S.V.D., rector of the Divine Word School in Santiago de Chile, as bishop of Chillan (area 12,461, population 436,002, Catholics 300,841, priests 52, permanent deacons 28, religious 104), Chile. The bishop-elect was born in Santiago de Chile, in 1958 and ordained a priest in 1985. He succeeds Bishop Alberto Jara Franzoy, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese, the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Fr. Elenito Reyes Galido of the clergy of the diocese of Malaybalay, Philippines, vicar general, as bishop of Iligan (area 3,092, population 1,338,000, Catholics 1,029,000, priests 84, religious 108), Philippines. The bishop-elect was born in Managok, Philippines, in 1953 and ordained a priest in 1979.

 - Appointed Archbishop Charles Daniel Balvo, apostolic nuncio to New Zealand, Fiji Islands, Palau, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Federated States of Micronesia, Tonga, Vanuatu, and apostolic delegate to the Pacific Ocean, as apostolic nuncio to the Cook Islands.

 - Appointed Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples, as his special envoy to celebrations due to be held in Ariano Irpino, Italy on May 20, to mark the 17th centenary of the martyrdom of St. Liberatore.
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VATICAN CITY, MAR 25, 2006 (VIS) - Holy See Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro-Valls released the following declaration to journalists today:

  "Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano, in the name of the Holy Father Benedict XVI, has written a letter to Hamid Karzai, president of Afghanistan, regarding the fate of the Christian convert Abdul Rahman, who is risking the death penalty.

  "The letter, which bears the date of March 22, states that the Pope's appeal is inspired by 'profound human compassion,' by 'firm belief in the dignity of human life and by respect for every person's freedom of conscience and religion.'

  "Cardinal Sodano goes on: 'I am certain, Mr. President, that dropping the case against Mr. Rahman would bestow great honor upon the Afghan people and would raise a chorus of admiration in the international community. It would then contribute in a most significant way to our common mission to foster mutual understanding and respect among the world's different religions and cultures."


VATICAN CITY, MAR 25, 2006 (VIS) - The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff announced today that at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, March 28, Cardinal Peter Poreku Dery, archbishop emeritus of Tamale, Ghana, will take possession of the diaconate of St. Helena fuori Porta Prenestina in Via Casilina 205, Rome.
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VATICAN CITY, MAR 25, 2006 (VIS) - This morning in St. Peter's Square, Benedict XVI presided at a Eucharistic concelebration with the new cardinals created in yesterday's consistory, during which he presented them with their ring of office, "a sign of dignity, pastoral solicitude and ever stronger communion with the See of Peter."

  After the Gospel reading, the Pope pronounced his homily which he began by recalling how the celebration coincided with the liturgical Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, in which, he said, "we recognize the origins of the Church."

  "Everything began from there," he added. "Every historical achievement of the Church and every one of her institutions must be shaped by that primordial wellspring. They must be shaped by Christ, the incarnate Word of God."

  Later in his homily, the Holy Father dwelt on the word "beloved," with which the Archangel Gabriel addressed the Virgin Mary at the Annunciation. "Origen observes that no such title had ever been given to a human being, and that it is unparalleled in all of Sacred Scripture. It is a title expressed in passive form, but this 'passivity' of Mary ... implies her free consent. ... In being loved, Mary is fully active, because she accepts with personal generosity the wave of God's love poured out upon her."

  Referring then to the reading from the Letter to the Hebrews, which explained how Christ came into the world to fulfil the will of the Father, the Pope affirmed that the mystery of the double 'yes' to God from Christ and from the Virgin must illuminate the lives of the ministers of the Church, and support the cardinals in their mission as the "Senate of Peter's Successor."

  "Today's event," the Pope said, "emphasizes the Petrine principle of the Church, in the light of the other, Marian, principle which is even more fundamental. The importance of the Marian principle in the Church was particularly highlighted, after the Council, by my beloved predecessor Pope John Paul II, in keeping with his motto 'Totus tuus'."

  "Everything in the Church, every institution and ministry, including that of Peter and his successors, is 'included' under the Virgin's mantle, within the grace-filled horizon of her 'yes' to God's will. ... The theme of the relationship between the Petrine principle and the Marian principle is also to be found in the symbol of the ring which I am about to consign to you. The ring is always a nuptial sign. ... [It is] a reminder to you that first and foremost you are intimately united with Christ so as to accomplish your mission as bridegrooms of the Church, ... which you are called to serve with the love of a spouse. So the two dimensions of the Church, Marian and Petrine, come together in the supreme value of charity, which constitutes the fulfillment of each."

  "Everything in this world will pass away. In eternity only Love will remain," said Pope Benedict who went on to recall how the Virgin, after receiving the Angel's message, went to her cousin Elizabeth "'in order to be of service to her.' ... Those who love forget about themselves and place themselves at the service of their neighbor.

  "Here we have the image and model of the Church," the Holy Father concluded. "Every ecclesial community, like the Mother of Christ, is called to accept with total generosity the mystery of God Who comes to dwell within her and guides her steps in the ways of love. This is the path along which I chose to launch my pontificate, inviting everyone, with my first Encyclical, to build up the Church in charity as a 'community of love'."

  After his homily, the Pope presented each new cardinal with his ring of office.

  Following the ceremony, the Holy Father went to the atrium of the Paul VI Hall, where he had lunch with the members of the College of Cardinals.
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