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Tuesday, December 19, 2006


VATICAN CITY, DEC 19, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Archbishop Paolo Romeo, apostolic nuncio to Italy and the republic of San Marino, as metropolitan archbishop of Palermo (area 1,366, population 915,787, Catholics 887,169, priests 518, permanent deacons 33, religious 1,706), Italy. He succeeds Cardinal Salvatore De Giorgi, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese, the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Bishop Richard J. Garcia, auxiliary of the diocese of Sacramento, U.S.A., as bishop of Monterey in California (area 21,916, population 975,451, Catholics 195,000, priests 118, permanent deacons 5, religious 206), U.S.A. He succeeds Bishop Sylvester D. Ryan, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese, the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
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VATICAN CITY, DEC 19, 2006 (VIS) - Made public today was a Letter from the Pope to Cardinal Ignace Moussa I Daoud, prefect of the Congregation for Oriental Churches, appointing him as papal delegate for the ceremony of the confirmation of Ecclesiastical Communion of His Beatitude Antonios Naguib, the new patriarch of Alexandria of the Copts. The ceremony is due to take place in the Roman basilica of St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls.

  The Synod of Bishops of the Coptic Catholic Church, meeting in Cairo, Egypt, from March 27 to 30, 2006 accepted - having consulted the Supreme Pontiff - the resignation from office of His Beatitude Stephanos II Ghattas, C.M., patriarch of Alexandria of the Copts, and elected Bishop Antonios Naguib, emeritus of Minya of the Copts, Egypt as the new patriarch.
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VATICAN CITY, DEC 19, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father, through Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B., sent a Message to Mwai Kibaki, president of the Republic of Kenya and current president of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, which held its second session in Nairobi, Kenya, on December 14 and 15.

  Heads of State and government from 11 countries in the Great Lakes region attended the session, as did representatives from neighboring or associated States. The Holy See delegation was led by Archbishop Luigi Travaglino, apostolic nuncio, acting as special envoy.

  "The present summit," writes Cardinal Bertone in the English-language Message, "is called to take up again the challenge and satisfy the long-suffering populations' yearning for lasting peace by signing and bringing to fulfillment the Pact on Security, Stability and Development.

  "The four aspects envisaged in this plan (peace and security, democracy and good government, economic development and regional integration, social and humanitarian promotion) are interwoven and mutually inclusive. None of these human achievements can subsist, in a lasting and genuine form, without the support of the others. They will require from all those involved - authorities and citizens alike - generosity, courage and perseverance.

  "The Catholic Church," he adds, "attaches great importance to the values enshrined in these proposals and for many years has dedicated her untiring commitment to them. His Holiness is confident that the Catholic community will continue to do so with generous zeal, in cooperation with members of other religions and all men and women of good will."

  Benedict XVI, the secretary of State continues, "encourages all the delegations present at this conference to assume courageously their historic responsibility. His prayers will accompany them as they seek to agree upon and put into place the concrete measures that would decisively discourage any recourse to violence, and foster the only rational and human alternative to war: negotiation and dialogue. He is confident that on the basis of a genuine and stable peace, the Great Lakes region with its human and natural resources, and the support of the international community, can overcome its present difficulties and offer its people the genuine hope of a dignified future."

  At the end of the conference session, the bishops of the Great Lakes released a final declaration, also in English, in which they highlight the problems of the region, "including political instability in some areas, violence as a result of negative ethnicity, poverty and many others.

  "Due to violence leading to loss of human lives," they add, "some of our people have been left divided and without hope. Therefore, this initiative of our heads of State and government offers a chance to initiate the process of healing, which the Church fully endorses and commits itself to promote leading our people to forgive and reconcile with one another in the interest of peaceful co-existence now and in the future.

  "We call upon all those concerned to ensure equitable distribution of resources at the national and regional levels. We challenge ourselves to be pro-active so that we can be able to foresee and forestall explosive negative situations. This way we shall save our region from exhaustive wars and other negative experiences.

  "We urge our political leaders to nurture a culture of tolerance, patience and forgiveness," the bishops conclude. "We urge them to be sensitive to the plight of the majority of people when their differences of opinion plunge different countries into political instability. While we pray for them, we again urge prudence and wise discretion. We urge our lay people to take up the challenge of their calling and mission. This is to be the salt of the earth. They are to take up their rightful roles in the society including the political and administrative offices."

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