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Tuesday, April 3, 2007


VATICAN CITY, APR 3, 2007 (VIS) - Yesterday afternoon in St. Peter's Square, Benedict XVI presided at a Eucharistic concelebration with cardinals in commemoration of John Paul II. More than 30,000 people were present at the event, many of them having come from Poland to attend.

  The aim of the celebration, said the Pope in his homily, is to give thanks to God for John Paul II, "for 27 years ... father and sure guide in the faith, zealous pastor and courageous prophet of hope, tireless witness and passionate servant of God's love."

  Having addressed a special greeting to Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, who for more than 40 years was the late pontiff's private secretary, the Holy Father turned to comment on the day's Gospel reading recounting the supper at Bethany during which Mary, sister of Lazarus, taking "a pound of costly perfume, made of pure nard, anointed Jesus' feet and wiped them with her hair."

  The Pope said: "Mary of Bethany's gesture has rich spiritual echoes and significance. It evokes the shining testimony that John Paul II gave of an unreserved and selfless love for Christ. The 'fragrance' of his love filled the house, in other words the Church. ... Are not the esteem, respect and affection that believers and non-believers expressed when he died an eloquent testimony?"

  "The intense and fruitful pastoral ministry, and even more so the Calvary of agony and the serene death of our beloved Pope, brought the men and women of our time to understand that Jesus Christ truly was his 'all.'

  "We know," the Holy Father added, "that the fruitfulness of his testimony depended upon the Cross. In the life of Karol Wojtyla the word 'cross' was not just a word. Ever since his infancy and youth, he had experienced pain and death." And, "particularly with the slow but implacable progress of his illness which little by little deprived him of everything, his existence became a complete offering to Christ."

  "His pontificate was marked by his 'prodigality,' by his generous and unreserved giving of self. What moved him if not his mystical love for Christ? ... 'Magister adest et vocat te' - the Master is here and He calls you. On April 2, 2005, the Master returned ... to call him and take him home, to the house of the Father. And he, again, responded readily with his intrepid heart and whispered: 'Let me go to the Lord'."

  "For a long time he had been preparing for this final meeting with Jesus, as evinced by the various drafts of his will. ... He died praying. He truly fell asleep in the Lord. ... The fragrance of the faith, the hope and the charity of the Pope filled his house, it filled St. Peter's Square, it filled the Church and spread over the whole world."

  "Servant of God," Benedict XVI exclaimed, "this is what he was and this is what we call him now in the Church, while the process of his beatification continues apace. ... Servant of God, a particularly appropriate title for him. The Lord called him to His service on the path of the priesthood and little by little opened ever vaster horizons before him: from his diocese to the Universal Church. This universal dimension reached its greatest extent at the moment of his death, an event that the entire world experienced with a level of participation never before seen in history."

  "May the 'Totus tuus' of the beloved Pontiff encourage us along the path of giving ourselves to Christ by the intercession of Mary," the Holy Father concluded. "To her maternal hands we entrust this our father, brother and friend that in God he may find peaceful repose and happiness."
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VATICAN CITY, APR 3, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Msgr. Angelo Spina of the clergy of the archdiocese of Campobasso-Boiano, Italy, episcopal vicar of the shrine of Our Lady of Sorrows in Castelpetroso and pastor of the co-cathedral of Boiano, as bishop of Sulmona-Valva (area 1,814, population 79,863, Catholics 77,976, priests 76, permanent deacons 1, religious 151), Italy. The bishop-elect was born in Colle D'Anchise, Italy in 1954 and ordained a priest in 1980. He succeeds Giuseppe Di Falco, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese, the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the diocese of Rockville Centre, U.S.A., presented by Emil A. Wcela, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Msgr. Peter A. Libasci of the clergy of the diocese of Rockville Centre, U.S.A., pastor of the parish of St. Therese of Lisieux, as auxiliary of the same diocese (area 3,164, population 3,354,000, Catholics 1,444,000, priests 476, permanent deacons 267, religious 1,397). The bishop-elect was born in Jackson Heights, U.S.A. in 1951 and ordained a priest in 1978.

 - Appointed Fr. Vincentius Sutikno Wisaksono, parochial vicar of the cathedral of Surabaya, as bishop of the diocese of Surabaya (area 24,461, population 3,000,000, Catholics 153,000, priests 118, religious 400), Indonesia. The bishop-elect was born in Surabaya in 1953 and ordained a priest in 1982.

 - Appointed Fr. Alessandro Pagani S.M.M., spiritual assistant of the Legion of Mary and vice-coordinator of the Italian Montfort mission in Malawi, as bishop of Mangochi (area 11,385, population 1,240,000, Catholics 230,433, priests 171, religious 55), Malawi. The bishop-elect was born in Torre Boldone di Bergamo, Italy, in 1937 and ordained a priest in 1965.
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VATICAN CITY, APR 3, 2007 (VIS) - The following prelates died recently:

 - Archbishop Marianus Arokiasamy, emeritus of Madurai, India, on March 22, at the age of 79.

 - Bishop Gervazio Moses Chisendra of Dedza, Malawi, on August 14, 2004, at the age of 76.

 - Archbishop Frane Franic, emeritus of Split-Makarska, Croatia, on March 17, at the age of 94.

 - Archbishop Antonio Magnoni, apostolic nuncio, on March 18, at the age of 87.

 - Bishop Patrick Laurence Murphy, emeritus of Broken Bay, Australia, on March 18, at the age of 86.

 - Bishop Eugenio Romero Pose, auxiliary of Madrid, Spain, on March 25, at the age of 58.

 - Archbishop Michael Rozario, emeritus of Dhaka, Bangladesh, on March 18, at the age of 81.

 - Archbishop Francois Saint-Macary of Rennes, France, on March 26, at the age of 71.

 - Archbishop John Aloysius Ward O.F.M. Cap., emeritus of Cardiff, Wales, on March 27, at the age of 78.
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