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Friday, June 2, 2006


VATICAN CITY, JUN 2, 2006 (VIS) - The following prelates died in recent weeks:

 - Bishop Gerardo de Andrade Ponte, emeritus of Patos, Brazil on May 24, at the age of 81.

 - Bishop Basil Filevich, emeritus of Saskatoon of the Ukrainians, Canada on April 20, at the age of 88.

 - Archbishop Raffaello Funghini, president of the Court of Appeal of Vatican City State, on May 17, at the age of 77.

 - Bishop Michael M. O'Shea O.S.M., apostolic vicar of Ingwavuma, South Africa on May 30, at the age of 75.

 - Bishop Oscar Serfilippi O.F.M. Conv. emeritus of Jesi, Italy on May 20 at the age of 76.
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VATICAN CITY, JUN 2, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne, archbishop of Lima, Peru.

  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, JUN 2, 2006 (VIS) - "Charity, Soul of the Mission," is the theme of the Holy Father's Message for 80th World Mission Day, due to be celebrated on October 22, 2006.

  "Each Christian community," writes the Pope in his Message which is dated April 29, "is called to communicate God Who is Love. ... Man came from the Creator's hands as the fruit of an initiative of love. Sin then clouded the divine stamp within him," but God the Father sent His Son to save "all human beings from the slavery of evil and death."

  "Thanks to Christ, the Good Shepherd Who does not abandon the lost sheep, men and women of all times are given the possibility of entering into communion with God. ... The amazing sign of this love is the Cross."

  Benedict XVI indicates that "in order to love according to God, it is necessary to live in Him and of Him. God is man's first 'home' and only those who live in Him burn with a fire of divine charity capable of 'setting alight' the world. Is this not the mission of the Church in all times? It is not, then, difficult to understand that true missionary solicitude - the principal commitment of the ecclesial community - is linked to faithfulness to divine love, and this is true for each individual Christian, for each local community, for the particular Churches and for the entire People of God.

  "Awareness of this shared mission," he adds, "is what animates the generous willingness of Christ's disciples to undertake works of human and spiritual promotion that bear witness, as the beloved John Paul II wrote in his Encyclical 'Redemptoris mission,' to 'the soul of all missionary activity: love'."

  The Holy Father emphasizes the fact that "to be missionaries means to love God with all one's being, to the point of giving, if necessary, one's life for Him. How many priests, religious and lay people, even in our own time, have rendered the supreme witness of love through martyrdom!"

  He adds: "To be missionaries is to attend, like the Good Samaritan, to everyone's needs, especially those of the poorest and most needy, because those who love with Christ's heart do not seek their own interest, but only the glory of the Father and the good of others. This is the secret of the apostolic fruitfulness of missionary work, which cuts across frontiers and cultures, reaches people and spreads even to the confines of the world."

  The Pope concludes his Message by asking that World Mission Day "be an occasion to better understand that the witness of love, the soul of the mission, concerns everyone. ... Alongside those who are on the front line ... of evangelization - and here my thoughts go out to missionaries - there are many others, children, young people and adults, who with prayer and cooperation contribute in various ways to spreading the Kingdom of God on earth. The hope is that, with everyone's contribution, this shared participation may grow ever more."
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VATICAN CITY, JUN 2, 2006 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received a group of 1,200 journalists and technicians from the Italian daily "Avvenire," the television channel Sat 2000, and other communications media belonging to the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI). The group was led by Cardinal Camillo Ruini president of the CEI.

  "Dear friends," said the Pope, "yours is a truly important function. Indeed, it is also thanks to your efforts that the commitment of Italian Catholics to bring the Gospel of Christ to the lives of nations can continue."

  The Holy Father then went on to recall the foundation of "Avvenire" by order of Paul VI in the years following Vatican Council II, and the subsequent expansion of Catholic communications media to include radio and television.

  "In order to understand the overall significance of the work to which you dedicate yourselves every day," the Pope said, "it may prove useful to reflect briefly upon the relationship between faith and culture" in Europe. "European culture ... was formed over centuries with the contribution of Christianity. However, since the Enlightenment western culture has been distancing itself from its Christian foundations." And, "especially in recent times, ... the reduction of faith to a subjective experience and the consequent secularization of public conscience show us, clearly and dramatically, the consequences of this separation."

  Nonetheless, the Pope continued, in various parts of the continent "experiences of and approaches to Christian culture are being affirmed or emerging anew, with increasing force. In particular, Catholic faith is still substantially present in the life of the Italian people and the signs of its renewed vitality are visible to all.

  "Therefore," he added, "constant discernment is necessary in your work as communicators inspired by the Gospel. As you well know, the pastors of the Italian Church are careful to conserve those Christian forms that come from the great traditions of the Italian people and that mould community life, updating them, purifying them where necessary and, above all, reinforcing and encouraging them. It is also your duty to sustain and promote the new Christian experiences that are coming into being, helping them to develop an ever greater awareness of their ecclesial roots and of the role they can play."

  Benedict XVI described the work of the communicators as "a task not to be undertaken in an abstract or purely intellectual manner, but remaining attentive to the infinite details of the real life of a people."

  "Do not tire," he concluded, "of building bridges of understanding and communication between ecclesiastical experience and public opinion. Thus you will be protagonists of a form of communication ... that serves modern mankind."
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VATICAN CITY, JUN 2, 2006 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, the Pope received Archbishop Justo Mullor Garcia, president of Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, accompanied by students and former students of that institution which trains candidates for the Holy See diplomatic service.

  In his address to the group, the Holy Father told the current students - from 20 countries on four continents - that in order to prepare themselves for their future mission, "you are called, above all, to be a community of prayer in which the relationship with God is constant, faithful and intense. ... May the Eucharist you celebrate every day be the vital center, the source and the root of all your activities over these years and in the future, when you will perform your priestly ministry at the service of the Holy See in various countries of the world. ... Only if you remain faithful to your vocation will you be able to offer a valid service to the Apostolic See"

  "Your academy," he went on, "wishes to continue to be a true school of human and theological formation. ... Today, there is more need that ever for a solid culture that includes, alongside the necessary theological formation, a deeper study of the perennial doctrine of the Church and of the guiding principles of the Holy See's activities at the ecclesial and international level."

  After recalling the academy's three centuries of history, Benedict XVI highlighted how the fact that all those present reside in Rome but come from many different continents "represents a precious opportunity to nourish the spirit of unity and communion. ... Open, then, the horizon of your minds and hearts to the universality of the Church, so as to overcome any temptation to particularism and individualism."

  The Pope concluded his address by calling on the future apostolic nuncios to ensure their formation "is not lacking in genuine devotion to the Virgin Mary. May she help you to grow in love for Christ and for the Church, and to tend ever more towards sanctity, the supreme ... aspiration of your Christian and priestly lives."

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