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Monday, April 24, 2006


VATICAN CITY, APR 24, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Oscar Gonzalez Villa of the clergy of the archdiocese of Manizales, Colombia, rector of the major seminary of "Nuestra Senora del Rosario," as bishop of Girardota (area 2,445, population 203,000, Catholics 183,000, priests 56, religious 99), Colombia. The bishop-elect was born in Alcala, Colombia in 1949 and ordained a priest in 1973.

  On Saturday, April 22, it was made public that he:

 - Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Ouesso, Republic of the Congo, presented by Bishop Herve Itoua, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.

- Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Okigwe, Nigeria, presented by Bishop Anthony Ekezia Ilonu, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law. He is succeeded by Coadjutor Bishop Solomon Amanchukwu Amatu.

 - Appointed Bishop Antonio Augusto dos Santos Marto of Viseu, Portugal, as bishop of Leiria-Fatima (area 1,700, population 267,000, Catholics 256,000, priests 154, religious 546), Portugal. He succeeds Bishop Serafim de Sousa Ferreira e Silva, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese, the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Msgr. Ignazio Sanna of the clergy of the diocese of Nuoro, Italy, professor and pro-rector of the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome, as metropolitan archbishop of Oristano (area 3,112, population 148,915, Catholics 148,067, priests 122, permanent deacons 6, religious 362), Italy. The archbishop-elect was born in Orune, Italy in 1942 and ordained a priest in 1967. He succeeds Archbishop Pier Giuliano Tiddia, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese, the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

- Appointed Fr. Beatus Kinyaiya O.F.M. Cap., former provincial superior for Tanzania, as bishop of Mbulu (area 1,605, population 900,000, Catholics 242,698, priests 58, religious 175), Tanzania. The bishop-elect was born in Shimbwe, Tanzania in 1957 and ordained a priest in 1989.

 - Appointed Bishop Sebastiano Sanguinetti of Ozieri, Italy, as bishop of Tempio-Ampurias (area 2,695, population 145,400, Catholics 144,000, priests 79, permanent deacons 2, religious 117), Italy.

 - Appointed Msgr. Gianfranco De Luca of the clergy of the diocese of Teramo-Atri, Italy, pastor and head of youth pastoral care, as bishop of Termoli-Larino (area 1,424, population 106,500, Catholics 105,850, priests 69, permanent deacons 8, religious 109), Italy. The bishop-elect was born in Atri in 1949 and ordained a priest in 1974.

 - Appointed Msgr. Jose Maria Ortega Trinidad, pastor of the cathedral "San Vicente Martir" in San Vicente de Canete, Peru, as bishop-prelate of the territorial prelature of Juli (area 17,427, population 455,000, Catholics 404,000, priests 13, religious 37), Peru. The bishop-elect was born in Nava, Peru in 1950 and ordained a priest in 1978.
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VATICAN CITY, APR 24, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences six prelates from the Ghana Bishops' Conference, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Matthew Kwasi Gyamfi of Sunyani.

    - Archbishop Gregory Ebo Kpiebaya of Tamale.

    - Bishop Philip Naameh of Damongo.

    - Bishop Lucas Abadamloora of Navrongo-Bolgatanga.

    - Bishop Paul Bemile of Wa.

    - Bishop Vincent Sowah Boi-Nai S.V.D., of Yendi.

  On Saturday, April 22, he received in separate audiences:

 - Six prelates from the Ghana Bishops' Conference, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Msgr. Joseph Kwaku Afrifah-Agyekum, bishop-elect of Koforidua.

    - Archbishop Peter Kwasi Sarpong of Kumasi, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Gabriel Justice Yaw Anoyke.

    - Bishop Peter Kwaku Atuahene of Goaso.

    - Bishop Joseph Osei-Bonsu of Konongo-Mampong.

    - Bishop Thomas Kwaku Mensah of Obuasi.

 - Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
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VATICAN CITY, APR 24, 2006 (VIS) - Made public today was a Message from the Pope for celebrations marking the fourth centenary of the death of St. Toribio de Mogrovejo, the second archbishop of Lima, Peru. The celebrations are being held in Lima from April 24 to 29.

  Addressing Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne, archbishop of Lima, as well as the bishops, priests, religious and laity participating in the event, the Pope invites them to "consider this anniversary as a providential opportunity to reactivate the journey of the Church in the various dioceses, drawing inspiration from the life and work of St. Toribio."

  That saint, writes the Pope, "distinguished himself for his selfless commitment to the edification and consolidation of the ecclesial communities of his day. He did so with a great spirit of communion and collaboration, always seeking unity as is shown by his calling of the third provincial council of Lima (1582-1583), ... one fruit of which was the so-called Catechism of St. Toribio."

  The Holy Father highlights the fact that the saint founded the conciliar seminary in Lima, which still exists today. He also expresses his hope that the seminary "may continue to give abundant fruit, precisely at a time when it is urgently necessary to promote vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life in order to face the immense task of building Christian communities that gather joyfully on Sunday, perform the Sacraments, foment spiritual life, transmit and cultivate the faith, bear witness of resolute hope, and always practice charity."

  "St. Toribio's profound missionary spirit," writes the Pope, was apparent in "his efforts to learn various languages in order to be able to preach personally to all those entrusted to his pastoral care." This, the Holy Father's message concludes, "was also a sign of his respect for the dignity of all human beings, whatever their condition, in whom he always sought to promote the joy of feeling themselves to be true children of God."
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VATICAN CITY, APR 24, 2006 (VIS) - Benedict XVI today received in audience prelates from the Ghana Bishops' Conference, who have just completed their "ad limina" visit. In his English-language talk to them, the Pope reminded the bishops that they "have all come to Rome, this city where the Apostles Peter and Paul gave of themselves completely in imitation of Christ. ... The gift of self to the other is also at the heart of the Sacrament of Holy Orders. Those who receive this sacrament are configured in a particular way to Christ, the Head of the Church."

  Pope Benedict praised recent efforts in Ghana "to deal with the scourge of poverty and to strengthen the economy. Notwithstanding this laudable progress, much still remains to be done to overcome this condition which impedes a large portion of the population. Extreme and widespread poverty often results in a general moral decline leading to crime, corruption, attacks on the sanctity of human life or even a return to the superstitious practices of the past."

  In such a situation, where it easy to lose trust in the future, the Church "shines forth as a beacon of hope in the life of the Christian, ... by helping the faithful gain a better understanding of the promises of Jesus Christ," and forming them "to deepen their Christian faith and thus enable them to take their rightful place both in the Church of Christ and in society." In this context, the Pope praised the work of catechists, though noting how they "are often impeded in their task by a lack of resources or hostile environments," and inviting bishops "to ensure that these evangelists receive the spiritual, doctrinal, moral and material support they require to carry out their mission properly."

  The Pope then observed that in Ghana "young people constitute almost half of the population. ... A solid catechetical foundation," he said, "will strengthen them in their Catholic identity and give them the necessary tools to confront the challenges of changing economic realities, globalization and disease. It will also assist them in responding to the arguments often put forward by religious sects."

  Going on to refer to "the Church's task to assist Christian families to live faithfully and generously as true 'domestic churches'," the Pope reiterated the bishops' own concern "about the proper celebration of Christian marriage in Ghana. ... While Christianity always seeks to respect the venerable traditions of cultures and peoples, it also seeks to purify those practices which are contrary to the Gospel," he said.

  "For this reason," he added, "it is essential that the entire Catholic community continue to stress the importance of the monogamous and indissoluble union of man and woman, consecrated in holy matrimony. For the Christian, traditional forms of marriage can never be a substitute for sacramental marriage."

  Turning to consider the priesthood, the Holy Father said it "must never be seen as a way of improving one's social standing or standard of living. If it is, then priestly gift of self and docility to God's designs will give way to personal desires, rendering the priest ineffective and unfulfilled."

  Finally, the Pope encouraged the bishops in their efforts "to ensure the suitability of candidates for the priesthood and to guarantee proper priestly formation for those who are studying for the sacred ministry." Recalling how this year marks the centenary of the arrival of missionaries in northern Ghana, he concluded by saying: "It is my special prayer that missionary zeal will continue to fill you and your beloved people, strengthening you in your efforts to spread the Gospel."
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VATICAN CITY, APR 23, 2006 (VIS) - Today, Divine Mercy Sunday, Benedict XVI prayed the Regina Coeli with more than 50,000 faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square. Before the Regina Coeli prayer, which substitutes the Angelus during the period of Easter, the Pope quoted the Gospel of John recounting Jesus' appearance to His disciples gathered in the Upper Room on the evening of the "first day of the week" and then again "eight days later."

  "From the very beginning, then, the Christian community began to live according to a weekly rhythm marked by the meeting with the Risen Lord," said the Pope, pointing out how this is also underlined by the Vatican Council II Constitution "Sacrosanctum Concilium": "By a tradition handed down from the apostles which took its origin from the very day of Christ's resurrection, the Church celebrates the Paschal mystery every eighth day; with good reason this, then, bears the name of the Lord's day or Sunday."

  The wounds Christ showed the apostles on both those occasions "are an inexhaustible fount of faith, hope and love from which everyone can draw, especially the souls that most thirst for divine mercy," said the Holy Father. He also recalled how John Paul II "wished the Sunday after Easter to be particularly dedicated to Divine Mercy; and Providence ordained that he himself should die on the eve of that day."

  Benedict XVI went on: "The mystery of God's merciful love lay at the center of the pontificate of my venerated predecessor. We particularly recall his 1980 Encyclical 'Dives in misericordia' and his dedication of the new Shrine of Divine Mercy in Krakow, Poland in 2002. The words he pronounced on that occasion were like a summary of his entire Magisterium, highlighting how the cult of divine mercy is no secondary form of devotion, but an integral dimension of a Christian's faith and prayer."

  The Holy Father concluded by calling on "Most Holy Mary, Mother of the Church ... to enable all Christians fully to experience Sunday as 'the Easter of the week,' savoring the beauty of the encounter with the Risen Lord and drawing from the fount of His merciful love in order to be apostles of His peace."

  After praying the Regina Coeli, the Pope recalled that the Eastern Churches celebrate Easter today. "In the festive climate of this day," he said, "I cannot fail to recall that many of these people - in Serbia, Romania, and Bulgaria - are suffering because of the flooding of recent days. I am close to them in prayer and have the heartfelt hope that, with a contribution from everyone, they may soon overcome these difficult moments."
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VATICAN CITY, APR 22, 2006 (VIS) - In the Vatican Basilica this morning, Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano celebrated Mass for members of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) who this year are celebrating the fifth centenary of the births of St. Francis Xavier and Blessed Pierre Favre.

  Benedict XVI arrived in the basilica at midday to greet and address some words to participants in the Eucharistic celebration.

  The Holy Father invited those present to give thanks to God for having conceded the Society "the gift of men of extraordinary sanctity and exceptional apostolic zeal such as St. Ignatius Loyola, St. Francis Xavier and Blessed Pierre Favre." May they, he continued, be "enlightened and dependable guides for your spiritual journey and your apostolic activity."

  St. Ignatius Loyola was, said the Pope, "a man of deep prayer, the center and summit of whose life was the daily celebration of the Eucharist. In this way, he left followers a precious spiritual heritage which must not be lost or forgotten."

  After pointing out how St. Ignatius served the Church faithfully, Benedict XVI mentioned some of "the Church's must urgent current requirements." These include "cultural commitment in the fields of theology and philosophy, ... and the dialogue with modern culture ... so deeply marked by positivist and materialist scientism." In this context, the Pope affirmed that promoting "a culture inspired by Gospel values requires intense spiritual and cultural preparation."

  Another concern of St. Ignatius, he added, was "the Christian education and cultural formation of the young. ... Continue this important apostolate, while upholding intact the spirit of your Founder."

  Going on to speak of St. Francis Xavier, the Pope recalled how Pope Pius XI proclaimed him as "patron saint of Catholic missions." And although "his mission in the East lasted just ten years, it has proved remarkably fruitful over the four and a half centuries of life of the Society of Jesus, because his example encouraged many missionary vocations among young Jesuits." And it still continues to be a model for "missionary activity in the great countries of the continent of Asia."

  Blessed Pierre Favre, said Benedict XVI, "spent his brief life in various European countries, especially Germany where, by order of Pope Paul III, he took part ... in discussions with the leaders of the Reformation. Thus he had an exceptional opportunity to practice the vow of special obedience to the Pope 'concerning missions,' becoming a model for all future Jesuits to follow."

  At the end of his address, the Holy Father recalled that "on April 22, 1541 St. Ignatius and his first followers made their solemn vows before the image of Mary in the Basilica of St. Paul Outside-the Walls," and he concluded by calling on the Virgin to continue to watch over the Society of Jesus.
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VATICAN CITY, APR 22, 2006 (VIS) - Yesterday evening, Benedict XVI attended a concert organized in his honor by the local authorities of Rome at the city's "Parco della Musica" Auditorium to mark the occasion of the 2759th anniversary of the foundation of the Eternal City.

  Returning to Rome from his Castelgandolfo residence in mid afternoon, the Pope travelled directly to the auditorium where he was welcomed by Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, president of the Italian Republic, Walter Veltroni, mayor of Rome, and other civil and religious authorities.

  At the end of the concert, the Pope delivered a brief address in which he described the anniversary of the foundation of the city as "an appropriate occasion to seek a better understanding of Rome's vocation as a beacon of civilization and spirituality for the entire world."
  He continued: "Rome has played a special role over the centuries, thanks to the encounter between its traditions and Christianity; and it remains an important attraction for many visitors today, drawn here by a rich artistic heritage largely linked to the city's Christian history."

  After recalling how the concert was organized "to recall the first anniversary of my pontificate," the Pope mentioned the generosity and openness of the people of Rome, which "I myself was able to experience from my first meeting with the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square on April 19, 2005."

  The Pope also expressed his gratitude for the decision to play "music from the works of Mozart, a great composer who left an indelible mark in history. This year marks the 250th anniversary of his birth and various initiatives have been planned throughout 2006 which has been justly called the 'Year of Mozart'."

  He concluded: "The pieces played by the orchestra and choir of the Santa Cecilia Academy are well known works by Mozart, among them some of significant religious inspiration. The 'Ave verum' for example, which is often sung during liturgical celebrations, is a composition of rich theological words with a musical accompaniment that invites one to prayer. In this way music, raising the soul to contemplation, helps us to grasp even the most intimate traces of human genius, in which something of the incomparable beauty of the Creator of the universe is reflected."

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