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Friday, May 5, 2006


VATICAN CITY, MAY 5, 2006 (VIS) - The following prelates died in recent weeks:

 - Cardinal Raul Francisco Primatesta, archbishop emeritus of Cordoba, Argentina, on May 1, at the age of 87.

 - Bishop Marcelino Correr O.F.M. Cap., emeritus of Carolina, Brazil, on April 18, at the age of 74.

 - Bishop Dominic J. Khumalo O.M.I., former auxiliary of Durban, South Africa, on April 27, at the age of 88.

 - Bishop Andres Maria Rubio Garcia S.D.B., emeritus of Mercedes, Uruguay, on April 19, at the age of 81.
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 5, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Jose Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, accompanied by an entourage.

 - Four prelates from the Canadian (Quebec) Conference of Catholic Bishops on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Eugene Tremblay of Amos.

    - Bishop Vital Masse of Mont-Laurier.

    - Bishop Dorylas Moreau of Rouyn-Noranda.

    - Archbishop Andre Gaumond of Sherbrooke.

  This evening, he is scheduled to receive in audience Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 5, 2006 (VIS) - This morning, Benedict XVI received members of the US-based Papal Foundation, whom he thanked for "the help you give me in carrying out my mission to care for Christ's flock in every corner of the world."

  "The fruit of that gift of the Spirit," said the Pope in English, "can be clearly seen in the assistance that the Papal Foundation gives in Christ's name to developing countries, in the form of aid projects, grants and scholarships."

  "I assure you," he concluded, "that your love of the Church and your dedication to the practice of Christian charity is deeply appreciated. As we prepare to celebrate the great outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost, I encourage you to continue in your generous commitment, so that the flame of divine love may continue burning brightly in the hearts of believers everywhere."
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 5, 2006 (VIS) - This morning, Holy See Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro-Valls released the following declaration to journalists:

  "At 11 a.m. today, the Holy Father Benedict XVI received Jose Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission. President Barroso was accompanied by Luis Ritto, head of the European Commission delegation to the FAO; Jacques De Baenst, European Commission head of protocol; Pedro Cymbron and Clara Martinez Alberola. members of the president's cabinet; and Johannes Laitenberger, Commission spokesman.

  "In the absence of Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano, President Barroso met with Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, secretary for Relations with States, who was accompanied by Maria Isabel Telleria and Msgr. Ettore Balestrero, officials of the Secretariat of State.

  "During the discussions, President Barroso dwelt on the current state of the European Union, the challenges awaiting it and its future prospects. It was agreed that, despite current shadows, the process of integration and consolidation of European institutions may be regarded with hope. In the course of the conversation, particular attention was given to the ideal conditions and commitments of solidarity necessary for ensuring this process achieves stable goals, and to the contribution that Christians can make."
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 5, 2006 (VIS) - Yesterday afternoon, Benedict XVI appeared at the window of his private study overlooking St. Peter's Square to greet and bless participants in a commemorative march organized by the Pontifical Swiss Guard to mark the fifth centenary of their foundation by Pope Julius II in 1506.

  The former Swiss Guards participating in the march left Bellinzona, capital of the Swiss Canton of Ticino, on April 7 and covered 720 kilometers on foot to reach Rome, retracing the path followed by their predecessors five centuries ago along the old pilgrim route known as the Via Francigena.

  Once in Rome, the former Swiss Guards crossed the city, stopping in the Piazza del Popolo where they were welcomed by the local authorities. There Pius Segmuller, former commander of the Guard and leader of the march, consigned the flag to Elmar Theodor Mader, the current commander. Then, preceded by a guard of honor and the band of the Swiss Guards, the former Guards moved to St. Peter's Square where they were welcomed by representatives from the Italian armed forces and by forest rangers who had accompanied them during their commemorative march.

  Benedict XVI greeted the Guards in German, French and Italian, briefly recalling the itinerary followed both by the participants in the commemorative march and by the first "Gwardiknechte" (the name given to these soldiers during the Renaissance).

  "To greet you," said the Pope, "is the successor of Julius II, whose name is forever linked to the Pontifical Swiss Guard. ... I congratulate you for this wonderful initiative which reminds us of the valor of those 150 Swiss citizens who, with great generosity, defended even unto death the person of the reigning pontiff, writing with their sacrifice an important page in the history of the Church."

  "Considering these five centuries," he went on, "we give thanks to God for the good your predecessors have done, and for the priceless contribution the Swiss Guard continues to make to the Holy See in our own time."
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