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Saturday, May 27, 2006


VATICAN CITY, MAY 27, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

 - Msgr. Lajos Varga of the clergy of the diocese of Vac, Hungary, pastor of Paszto, as auxiliary of the diocese of Vac (area 8,800, population 1,116,000, Catholics 640,000, priests 222, permanent deacons 5, religious 191). The bishop-elect was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1950 and ordained a priest in 1974.

- Fr. Pablo Virgilio Siongco David of the clergy of the archdiocese of San Fernando, Philippines, professor of Holy Scripture in the archdiocesan seminary, as auxiliary of the same archdiocese (area 2,180, population 3,060,000, Catholics 2,855,000, priests 165, religious 212). The bishop-elect was born in Betis, Philippines in 1959 and ordained a priest in 1983.
NEA/.../VARGA:DAVID                            VIS 20060527 (120)


VATICAN CITY, MAY 27, 2006 (VIS) - At 9.30 a.m. today, having celebrated a private Mass in the chapel of the archbishop's palace in Krakow, the Holy Father travelled by car to Wadowice, the home town of John Paul II.

  The Pope visited the basilica of the Immaculate Conception, where Karol Wojtyla was baptized, before going on to see the house in which he was born. On May 18, 1984, in honor of the late pontiff's 64th birthday, the house was converted into a museum. Benedict XVI visited the apartment in which the Wojtyla family lived, which is now used as an exhibition space for photographs recording Karol Wojtyla's life as priest, bishop and Pope.

  At 11 a.m., the Pope met with local inhabitants in Wadowice's Rynek Square, in front of the basilica of the Immaculate Conception.

  Following a greeting from Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, archbishop of Krakow, the Pope delivered his address. "I wished to stop precisely here, in the place where his faith began and matured," he said referring to his predecessor, "to pray together with all of you that he may soon be elevated to the glory of the altars."

  The Holy Father then recalled how John Paul II would often refer to the baptismal font of the church of Wadowice where, on June 20, 1920 he received the Sacrament of Christian initiation, and for which he had "special veneration." This, said Pope Benedict, is "the key to understanding the consistency of his faith, the radicalism of his Christian life and the desire for sanctity that he continuously manifested."

  "His love for the Church was born in the parish of Wadowice. In it he experienced the sacramental life, evangelization and the formation of a mature faith. For this reason, as a priest, as a bishop and as Pope, he treated parish communities with such great care. In the spirit of that same solicitude, during the visit 'ad limina,' I asked the Polish bishops to do everything possible to ensure that the Polish parish would truly be an 'ecclesial community' and a 'family of the Church'."

  The Holy Father then recalled another "characteristic of the faith and spirituality of John Paul II, which is united to this place. ... The deep attachment of the inhabitants of Wadowice to the local image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. ... This memory helps us arrive at the source of the conviction that nourished John Paul II: the conviction regarding the exceptional place that the Mother of God had in his life, a conviction that he himself, filled with devotion, expressed in the motto 'Totus tuus.' Until the last moments of his earthly pilgrimage he remained faithful to this dedication."

  "In the spirit of this devotion," the Pope concluded, "before this image I wish to give thanks to God for the pontificate of John Paul II and, like him, I ask that Our Lady watch over the Church which by the will of God has been entrusted to me to guide. I also ask all of you to pray for me just as you prayed for your great fellow countryman."

  At the end of the meeting, the Holy Father travelled by car to the Shrine of the Virgin of Kalwaria. The shrine, dedicated to the Passion of Jesus and the Virgin of Sorrows, takes its name from the Calvary of Jerusalem. Its 15 kilometer-long Via Crucis is the only Way of the Cross to be included among UNESCO's world heritage sites. As a youth Karol Wojtyla used to make frequent pilgrimages there.

  After visiting the shrine, Benedict XVI delivered a brief greeting to the community of Friars Minor living in the convent of the shrine, and to the faithful gathered there. The Pope recalled how, during his first journey to Poland, Pope John Paul II had visited this shrine and had dedicated his address to the topic of prayer. "At the conclusion he said: 'I ask you to pray for me here during my life and after my death.' Today, I wanted to pause for a moment in the chapel of the Blessed Virgin Mary and, with gratitude, to pray for him as he requested. Following the example of John Paul II, I also turn to you, kindly asking that you pray for me and for all the Church."

  During his return journey to Krakow, the Pope visited the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Langiewniki. He paused in prayer before the tomb of St. Faustina Kowalska where Karol Wojtyla frequently came to pray when he was a worker and later as a clandestine seminarian in the 1940s. Benedict XVI also visited the basilica where he met with 800 sick people.
PV-POLAND/.../WADOWICE:KALWARIA                    VIS 20060527 (790)


VATICAN CITY, MAY 26, 2006 (VIS) - At 5.15 p.m. today, Benedict XVI arrived by helicopter at the Polish city of Czestochowa to visit the Shrine of the Virgin of Jasna Gora, Poland's most famous Marian shrine, where John Paul II confided his pontificate to the Mother of God.

  The image of the Virgin of Jasna Gora is decked with new vestments, in fulfillment of a vow to mark the 350th anniversary of the defense of her shrine against Swedish troops by Fr. Augustin Kordecki, and as an expression of gratitude for the life of John Paul II on the 25th anniversary of the birth of the "Solidarnosc" trade union. The image's golden crowns were blessed and offered by John Paul II on April 1 2005, the eve of his death.

  At 6 p.m., having visited the convent of the shrine, which is under the care of the Pauline Fathers, the Holy Father met with religious, seminarians and representatives from Catholic movements and institutes of consecrated life.

  In his address to the them, Pope Benedict began by affirming that "Mary, the Mother of the Lord, is among us. Today it is she who leads our meditation; she teaches us how to pray. Mary shows us how to open our minds and our hearts to the power of the Holy Spirit, Who comes to us so as to be brought to the whole world."

  "Mary sustained the faith of Peter and the Apostles in the Upper Room, and today she sustains my faith and yours," said the Pope. "Faith is contact with the mystery of God. ... It is the gift, given to us in Baptism, which makes our encounter with God possible. God is hidden in mystery; to claim to understand Him would mean to want to confine Him within our thinking and knowing, and consequently to lose Him irremediably. With faith, however, we can open up a way through concepts, even theological concepts, and can 'touch' the living God."

  "In the Upper Room the Apostles did not know what awaited them. They were afraid and worried about their own future. ... Mary, 'she who believed in the fulfillment of the Lord's words,' ... taught perseverance in the faith. By her own attitude she convinced them that the Holy Spirit, in His wisdom, knew well the path on which He was leading them, and that consequently they could place their confidence in God."

  "Many of you here present have experienced this secret call of the Holy Spirit and have responded. ... It was Jesus who called you, inviting you to a more profound union with Him."

  "Do you remember," the Holy Father asked the religious, "your enthusiasm when you began the pilgrimage of the consecrated life, trusting in the grace of God? Try not to lose this first fervor, and let Mary lead you to an ever fuller adherence."

  He cried: "Dear men and women religious, dear consecrated persons! Whatever the mission entrusted to you, ... maintain in your hearts the primacy of your consecrated life" which, "lived in faith, unites you closely to God, calls forth charisms and confers an extraordinary fruitfulness to your service."

  Turning to address seminarians, the Pope recommended they reflect "on the way Mary learned from Jesus! From her very first 'fiat,' through the long, ordinary years of the hidden life, as she brought up Jesus, ... she 'learned' Him moment by moment. ... On your journey of preparation, and in your future priestly ministry, let Mary guide you as you 'learn' Jesus. Keep your eyes fixed on Him. Let Him form you, so that in your ministry you will be able to show Him to all who approach you."

  "The vitality of your communities," Benedict XVI told representatives of the new movements in the Church, "is a sign of the Holy Spirit's active presence! It is from the faith of the Church and from the richness of the fruits of the Holy Spirit that your mission has been born. ... Believe in the grace of God which accompanies you and bring it into the living fabric of the Church, especially in places the priest or religious cannot reach."

  "You are nourished," he continued, "by different schools of spirituality recognized by the Church. Draw upon the wisdom of the saints, have recourse to the heritage they have left us. Form your minds and your hearts on the works of the great masters and witnesses of the faith, knowing that the schools of spirituality must not be a treasure locked up in convents or libraries.

  "The Gospel wisdom, contained in the writings of the great saints and attested to in their lives, must be brought in a mature way, not childishly or aggressively, to the world of culture and work, to the world of the media and politics. ... The authenticity of your faith and mission, which does not draw attention to itself but truly radiates faith and love, can be tested by measuring it against Mary's faith. ... Remain in her school!"

  "God is love," the Holy Father concluded, "These were the words that I placed at the beginning of the first Encyclical of my pontificate. ... This is the most important, most central truth about God. To all for whom it is difficult to believe in God, I say again today: 'God is love.' Dear friends, be witnesses to this truth."

  At the end of the meeting, Benedict XVI returned by helicopter to Krakow where, after dinner, he appeared at the balcony of the archbishop's palace to greet people gathered in the street below, following a custom of John Paul II when he visited Krakow.

  "I know," he told them, "that on the second of each month, at the time my beloved predecessor died, you meet here to commemorate him and pray for his elevation to the honors of the altar. May this prayer be of support to those who concern themselves with his cause [of beatification] and enrich your hearts with grace."

  "Despite his death, he - young in God - is among us, he invites us to reinvigorate the grace of faith and renew ourselves in the Spirit."

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